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 Strategic bombing...Efficiency?

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyMon 06 Apr 2020, 16:20

Edited on 7/04/2020

I started years ago with a thread to defend the French in their 1940 defeat.

In my research about the French aviation and their role in the defeat, I came for the first time in my life on the Italian Giulio Douhet, who seems to be a defender of the "strategic bombing", but when one read all the texts there seems to be a lot of controversy about what Douhet really meant by it.
In the interwar period this theory of "strategic bombing" led in the interwar period even to struggle between Pierre Cot (strategic bombing) and Guy La Chambre (close air assault) and was together with the struggle between the new "armée de l'air" , the government and the rest of the army, disastrous for the working of the aviation from 10 Mai 1940 on.
 
About Giulio Douhet
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulio_Douhet
About the controversy:
Discussion
I don't find anything about the author of the article: Nicholas Morrow.

Due to a documentary about WWII strategic bombing of Germany, I did again some further research on internet and found a rather "general" approach of the "bombing of the people for strategic reasons": "Bombing the people" from Thomas Hippler
here
And a critique:
Overhere

From what I have read up to now on strategic bombing of the population, especially as nowadays in for instance Syria the "so-called soldiers" are mixed within the population, has not had any serious effect on the  morale of the population and on the ennemy resourches  and industry. That strategic bombing was only efficient, when one had the full mastery of the ennemies airspace, as in 1944-45 in Germany. And even then, was the German ennemy still capable of doing something.

For instance this example of WWII strategic bombing by Britain and the US in Germany...
Bomber Command in British memories since 1945
Bomber Command
And the about us:
About us
From the article:
"The nature of the offensive can be summarised in two sets of figures. First, approximately 125,000 men served as Bomber Command aircrew, 69.2 per cent of them British, the rest from Commonwealth or occupied European countries. Of these, 47,305 were killed in action or died while prisoners of war; a further 8,195 were killed in accidents; 8,403 returned home wounded; and 9,838, many of them also wounded, became prisoners of war. Thus 59 per cent of all who served became casualties, including 47 per cent killed5. As some of the most highly-trained men in the armed services, aircrew were well placed to know their chances; but all were volunteers."

Sources both human and material, that could much more efficently used in other areas, as I read elsewhere, to win the war.
Interesting is also the controversy among historians, the public, the government evoluting during time...

And no, up to now; I don't see where strategic bombing had an efficiency.
Even in nowadays Isis Syria or Irak, bombing entire villages as solved nearly nothing...
The bombing

Oh and I forgot the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was perhaps the only exception in my narration?

Kind regards, Paul.


Last edited by PaulRyckier on Tue 07 Apr 2020, 13:47; edited 3 times in total
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyMon 06 Apr 2020, 17:51

Paul, can you please reformat your post ... some of the addresses you give are very, very long, and you always post them in full, which completely skews the whole message thread. When you do it like that everyone else has to scroll across the screen to the right to see the full message (if they can be bothered), and it's then not just your own message but every other message in the same thread that's affected because your text 'sentences' (ie http links) are too long and have completely upset the whole visual format.

You need to put something like this:

Bomber command memories ... or whatever you choose to write.

Otherwise your posts are a nightmare to read and, sorry, but I for one don't even bother trying.

But, since I know you have experienced at first hand some of what you are describing, then I would actually much rather read your own experiences, than those reported by wiki. We can all access wiki and do google searches if we so want,  so why do you keep directing us to what is commonly available (for all its failing). Frankly I'm far more interested in what you have to say, than wiki.

Please, I hope you take this as from one friend to another - van een vriend naar een andere.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyMon 06 Apr 2020, 22:00

Not sure where I read it, but I'm sure I've seen calculations that for much of the war, the cost to Britain of the bomber offensive was actually higher than the value of the damage it was doing.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyTue 07 Apr 2020, 06:37

In purely monetary terms this must be even more true these days than in the 1940s. The cost, for example, of constructing, deploying and detonating just one GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided "smart bomb" to take out a hovel in the Gulf War would probably have matched the GDP worth of a medium sized Iraqi village over an entire decade. Scale that up based on the number of these and similar ordinance used during that conflict alone, then imagine the money instead used to finance alternative investment in sustainable growth and education in a region compared to what any "enemy" is capable of achieving, and it does make one wonder why warfare, let alone strategic bombing, is still considered the preferred option of any so-called "civilised" power.

PS: Paul, I agree with Meles meles - can you please cut back on superfluous links in your posts, and especially posting them without formatting them to fit into the frame? As MM said it simply presents the potential reader with a mess of words and discourages others from actually reading what you have to say, which would indeed would be of much more interest anyway if you cited less from internet sources that we can all easily find anyway and instead shared your own obviously well considered opinions based on your own experience.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyTue 07 Apr 2020, 11:37

Remember a throwaway line from Forester (The Ship I think) about a £2000 torpedo used to carry £5 worth of explosive to its target.
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyTue 07 Apr 2020, 14:52

MM and nordmann,

yes, my "utterings" aren't not that easy to read, and to be honest, as I don't expect mostly that our ten members aren't that much interested in details or some subjects, I post them nevertheless, because for me personally, they are a great help to find them back when I start or reply to a discussion in the big fora as Historum and Passion Histoire...
Sorry, nordmann to use your excellent forum as "store" Embarassed

I had till last year the excellent shortener from Google to use overhere, as on the big fora they shorten it directly and automatically in your message...

MM, my own experiences, although I studied the event afterwards with some witnesses of my former city, are not that many and I didn't even recall it, while I was still a baby in 1944...but I survived a bomb attack of an American P38 Lightning on some 30-40 meter distance (I was on the first floor of our house...
Strategic bombing...Efficiency? Two-p-38-in-flight.jpg.pc-adaptive.1920.medium

But back to subject: 

As I,  for the moment, don't want to discuss the morality of the strategic bombing, I will, if I have time this afternoon, start a discussion about the efficiency of the bombing of Japan with plutonium bombs.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyTue 07 Apr 2020, 19:42

About the efficiency of the American atomic bombing of Japan.

I took already part in the "evergreen" discussion: Was the atomic bombing of Japan necessary for the surrender?

I then already mentioned that I read that the bombing was not influencing the decision making of the Japanese Supreme War Council, while they wanted no surrender. There were two factions in the Supreme War Council, one pro and one contra...I thought that ultimately the Emperor supported the surrender faction. I read also that there was a kind of Palace revolution and that the pro faction said that two bombs were not enough to surrender, because they thought that the Americans would rapidly run out of their stock and the Japanese population was already used to the much greater devastation of cities by the conventional method. They even tried to steal or destroy the record on which the Emperor had spoken his surrender speech.

Trying to find this back, I came on the following from Historum:
https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/japan-surrenders
The authors seems to be the History team.
Here I find some confirmation of what I told in the third and fourth paragraph.

This morning I already wanted to launch an up to now seemingly conspiracy theory of the Americans launching the atomic bombs for fear of the Soviet intervention in Japan, as the postwar Cold War was already looming. And if they did it the conventional way it would give a lot of time to the Soviets to invade Japan and do the same as in Germany...
And by that I came on some at first sight logical narration, where it were not the Americans, but the Japanese Supreme War Council, which saw the danger of the two front war and preferred to surrender to the Americans from whom they expected better conditions than from the Soviets.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/30/the-bomb-didnt-beat-japan-stalin-did/
https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/152086
https://foreignpolicy.com/author/jonathan-tepperman/

And then you will ask, what had the Japanese civil population to do in this equation?
In my humble opinion, the civil population is always screwed in any conflict and of no importance for the warring "leaders" and their politics. Nowadays they have invented the term "collateral damage"

As for the efficiency of the two atomic bombs...they seem to be less efficient than the "normal" area tactical bombing, but perhaps they costed, when made in series, less than a conventional area bombing campaign...
but I read today about a cost developement of I don't remember 2 billion (milliard) dollars?
Of course once in series production...but as all "new medicaments" one has in the early phase to pay in the price the cost of development...

Kind regards, Paul.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyTue 07 Apr 2020, 21:02

Paul :
You need to remember that this cost was to develop two different types of bomb. "Little Boy" was a uranium 235 bomb, which yielded c. 13 kilotons, "Fat Man", used at Nagasaki, was a plutonium 239 bomb developing c.22 kilotons.Until Alamogordo, no-one could be sure that the bomb would actually work.
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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyTue 07 Apr 2020, 21:45

Paul ,

 have a read through:

[url=http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Should we drop the bomb WebQuest.htm]http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Should%20we%20drop%20the%20bomb%20WebQuest.htm[/url]


Dirk
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyTue 07 Apr 2020, 21:51

@Dirk Marinus wrote:
Paul ,

 have a read through:

[url=http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Should we drop the bomb WebQuest.htm]http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Should%20we%20drop%20the%20bomb%20WebQuest.htm[/url]


Dirk
I get an error 404 on this.
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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyWed 08 Apr 2020, 06:48

George,

Try:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/was-it-right-to-bomb-hiroshima/zhq7cqt


Not the same source  but it gives some information what people thought.


Dirk
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyWed 08 Apr 2020, 10:19

@Green George wrote:
Paul :
You need to remember that this cost was to develop two different types of bomb. "Little Boy" was a uranium 235 bomb, which yielded c. 13 kilotons, "Fat Man", used at Nagasaki, was a plutonium 239 bomb developing c.22 kilotons.Until Alamogordo, no-one could be sure that the bomb would actually work.

Gil, yes you are right. I forgot, although during my life I saw that many detailed documentaries about the bombs.

And I forgot yesterday to add. Although in the article that I mentioned the Japanese army was not on its knees, still some 4 million under the arms and 1.2 million to defend the homeland, I supported the no-drop side in the "Bomb debate" of the time, because the other side said along the official version that 1 million American soldiers had to die to invade and conquer Japan. But in my opinion they didn't have to invade Japan, as they were master in the air and on the seas, so they could start a blockade...but therefore they needed time...and they had no time...while those damned Soviets were already lurking with hundred thousands of soldiers at the Hokkaido island...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyWed 08 Apr 2020, 10:53

@Dirk Marinus wrote:
Paul ,

 have a read through:

[url=http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Should we drop the bomb WebQuest.htm]http://www2.sdsu.edu/walll/Should%20we%20drop%20the%20bomb%20WebQuest.htm[/url]


Dirk

Dirk, 

I found the URL by copy and past it in google but when I introduced it on the forum I have the same effect as you.
[url=http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Should we drop the bomb WebQuest.htm]http://www2.gvsu.edu/walll/Should%20we%20drop%20the%20bomb%20WebQuest.htm[/url]

I think nordmann explained it once, that if it is part of a search on a website...or something like that...

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyWed 08 Apr 2020, 13:03

The USAAF raid on 1 August 1943, Operation Tidal Wave, an attempt to destroy the oil wells at Ploesti, Rumania, and cut of Germany's main fuel supply.

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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyWed 08 Apr 2020, 17:26

@Triceratops wrote:
The USAAF raid on 1 August 1943, Operation Tidal Wave, an attempt to destroy the oil wells at Ploesti, Rumania, and cut of Germany's main fuel supply.

Yes, Triceratops, this was the most efficient part of "strategic bombing" as one can see that the "area bombing had no impact on the war industry nor on the morale of the population.

But sadly on this occasion, I read before that this raid had no real impact.
And it is confirmed here in this article:
https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/cutting-off-the-nazi-oil-production-x.html
And the about us:
https://www.warhistoryonline.com/about-us

But that wouldn't say that strategic bombing capitals, couldn't have some unexpected effect. As the bombing of London in 1940 perhaps by accident, while until then the German bombing was focused on the RAF and its airfields and by Churchill's retaliation on Berlin, Hitler ordered Goering, to change the policy of bombing to city bombing...which ligntened the pressure on the RAF and so perhaps avoided the invasion of England...

And by looking to that I found an unbelievable story of the first bombing of Berlin by the French plane Jules Verne...
That's trivia that reads as a novel...
https://www.historynet.com/target-berlin-the-first-air-raid-on-the-german-capital.htm
And even better told overhere:
http://talesanecdotesandtrivia.blogspot.com/2015/05/jules-verne-bombed-berlin.html
And yes here is the French "strategic bombing" PM: Pierre Cot, that I already hinted to, also mentioned
From the link:
On Monday, June 3, a German force of some 300 bombers attacked Paris causing several hundred casualties. The French decided to retaliate, and although they didn't have a comparable number of bombers, a psychological blow to the enemy was deemed necessary. Daillière was given the mission to be the first aviator to attack Berlin with ordnance. He planned to take advantage of the Farman's considerable range and fly around the Western Front to attack Berlin. The Jules Verne took off from the Merignac airfield near Bordeaux on June 7, 1940. The crew proceeded over Normandy, the English Channel, where they were promptly targeted by the anti-aircraft defenses of friendly ships, the North Sea, and over Denmark, where they encountered more Flak over the island of Sylt. The aircraft was not hit, and it flew in over the Baltic Sea before turning south and heading straight for Berlin at high altitude.

Strategic bombing...Efficiency? Verne3

On board the Jules Verne, the crew became increasingly tense. The pilot, Yonnet, wrote that "like former corsairs, we are facing the enemy alone...like Robert Surcouf, we must strike first, very hard if possible, to have a chance to escape before the enemy could regain his mind". The Jules Verne reached Berlin just around midnight. Daillière described the approach to Berlin: "I got ready to release the bombs and realized that someone had failed to install our bombsight, so I pressed my nose to the glass of the cockpit." The Berlin area was covered by clouds, and therefore difficult to find, but all of a sudden Daillière spotted the lights of the Tempelhof airfield, and he ordered an approach before accelerating away at low altitude from the airfield.


Strategic bombing...Efficiency? 21MynzZJ8ML


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptySat 11 Apr 2020, 19:43

Further seeking for examples of strategic bombing, especially in WWII. We have of course the strategic bombing of the Japanese cities, already mentioned and which had obviously no effect on the will to fight on. 

But thinking about Stalingrad I was hesitating, while the difference between tactical bombing and strategic one is many times difficult to make.
Of course in my opinion Monte Cassino is clearly tactical...and I thought also at the Ruhr dam, and there there seems to be a mixed view of both tactical and strategic...it seems to be the first time that the British stepped down from their area bombing to the more strategic goal of cutting the industry from its resources, they way the Americans already did a whole time, by bombing during the day the railway and road connections and factories.

But back to Stalingrad...I had a look first to the difference between tactical and strategic bombing, which is in my opinion as difficult as between impressionism and expressionism...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactical_bombing
From the wiki:
Tactical bombing is aerial bombing aimed at targets of immediate military value, such as combatants, military installations, or military equipment. This is in contrast to strategic bombing, or attacking enemy cities and factories to cripple future military production and enemy civilians' will to support the war effort, in order to debilitate the enemy's long-term capacity to wage war.[1] A tactical bomber is a bomber aircraft with an intended primary role of tactical bombing, even though strategic bombers have been used in tactical bombing operations.Tactical bombing is employed for two primary assignments. Aircraft providing close air support attack targets in nearby proximity to friendly ground forces, acting in direct support of the ground operations (as a "flying artillery"). Air interdiction, by contrast, attacks tactical targets that are distant from or otherwise not in contact with friendly units.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing

From the wiki:
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in total war with the goal of defeating the enemy by destroying its morale, its economic ability to produce and transport materiel to the theatres of military operations, or both. It is a systematically organized and executed attack from the air which can utilize strategic bombers, long- or medium-range missiles, or nuclear-armed fighter-bomber aircraft to attack targets deemed vital to the enemy's war-making capability.One of the strategies of war is to demoralize the enemy, so that peace or surrender becomes preferable to continuing the conflict. Strategic bombing has been used to this end. The phrase "terror bombing" entered the English lexicon towards the end of World War II and many strategic bombing campaigns and individual raids have been described as terror bombing by commentators and historians. Because the term has pejorative connotations, some, including the Allies of World War II, have preferred to use euphemisms such as "will to resist" and "morale bombings".[1][2]

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptySat 11 Apr 2020, 20:07

And further about the German bombing of Stalingrad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Stalingrad

Wasn't the destruction of Stalingrad from 23 August on by the Luftwaffe, not a strategical bombing?

As I understand it, before the war, the role of the German Luftwaffe was more seen by those responsable, as a tactical role of close air support to the actions of the army, which saw it's culmination in the Fall Gelb and Rot in 1940. And that different to French approach under Pierre Cot, which was than suddenly changed just before the war in close air support, which gave a lot of turmoil within the "armée de l'air".

However I read here that after Stalingrad in Germany that approach also changed more to strategical bombing, the American way of bombing the supply for the industry...but in 1943 that  change seems to have been too late...
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_memoranda/2006/RM6206.pdf

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptySun 12 Apr 2020, 15:27

As I was still mulling over the difficulties between the succesive French ministers in the Thirties about the direction and the task of the French military aviation about the question of "strategic bombing" or "close air support" (as between Pierre Cot and Guy de La Chambre) I wondered how it was in the UK?

So I came to Hugo Trenchard (from my reading an advocate of "strategic bombing")
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Trenchard,_1st_Viscount_Trenchard
What a life! I read it yesterday as a novel...

Reading it, initially I thought that Trenchard was more for close air support as you read this in the wiki:

"Trenchard's time in command of the R.F.C. on the Western Front was characterised by three priorities. First was an emphasis on support to and co-ordination with ground forces. This started with reconnaissance and artillery co-ordination, and later encompassed tactical low-level bombing of enemy ground targets. While he did not oppose the strategic bombing of Germany in principle, he rejected moves to divert his forces on to long-range bombing missions as he believed the strategic role to be less important and his resource to be too limited. Secondly, he stressed the importance of morale, not only of his own airmen, but more generally the detrimental effect that the presence of an aircraft had upon the morale of enemy ground troops. Finally, he had an unswerving belief in the importance of offensive action. "

But in the "legacy" I read then contrary to that:"Trenchard's work in establishing the R.A.F. and preserving its independence has led to him being called the "Father of the Royal Air Force". For his own part, he disliked the description, believing that General Sir David Henderson deserved the accolade.[38][179] His obituary in The Times considered that his greatest gift to the R.A.F. was the belief that mastery of the air must be gained and retained through offensive action.[180] During his life, Trenchard strongly argued that the bomber was the key weapon of an air force, and he is recognized today as one of the early advocates of strategic bombing,[3] and one of the architects of the British policy on imperial policing through air control.[181] And the (3) refers to This

As I read about the life of Trenchard in the wiki: the tribulations in the forming of the RAF seems not that much better than those in the forming of the French "Armée de l'Air", at least on the first sight...

Further digging about the question in the UK I found this book
https://www.amazon.com/Military-Effectiveness-Interwar-Period-Hardcover-ebook/dp/B00QIT3K3
I see now that if you look inside: you can read the part of Soviet Union...
Yesterday I could read nearly the whole part about the French interwar period and it was a great reading...
https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/military-effectiveness/french-armed-forces-191840/371B073D12A20441D73115F40AF3D37D
I can't shorten the URL of the seeking giving access to google books
It comes at the first entry on google search: "differences between pierre cot and la Chambre on strategic bombing"

And there I read that the whole quarreling in France during the interwar, was not that important and that it didn't contribute that much to the ineffectiveness of the French army in the 1940 battle.
I like to read the part about Britain, but sadly it is not available "for nothing?" (free of charge?)  Wink
I will seek via the granddaughter to obtain the work after the C-crisis...
It is indeed worth to discuss this comparison extending to WWII in a new thread.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Strategic bombing...Efficiency?   Strategic bombing...Efficiency? EmptyWed 15 Apr 2020, 17:56

I mentioned it perhaps already in the thread: is the targeted drone bombing from distance to pick some rebel leaders thousands of miles from the target to undermine their organisation and possibility of acting as a group, strategical or tactical?

I saw recently  a film about the theme:
"Good Kill" from "Andrew Nicoll" (2014)
I saw also recently a documentary about the subject on the French/German Arte channel, but I don't find it back immediately.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3297330/?ref_=vp_back

The youtube is not allowed overhere. You will have to watch it on IMDB...

Review of the New York Times

Kind regards, Paul.
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