Introduction: The Bomber As War Winner (01:29)
During World War II, strategic bombing was employed by German and Allied forces, affecting civilians on a large scale. Defenders of large scale bombing assert that massive destruction ends wars quickly, saving lives over time.
War Onset (07:53)
When Poland refused to surrender in 1939, German Dornier Do 17, Junkers Ju 88 and Heinkel He 111 bombers attacked Warsaw; in August 1940, Luftwaffe tried night attacks, and mistakenly bombed London. Winston Churchill sent 80 Vickers Wellington Bombers to attack Berlin; Hitler responded with nightly “blitz” bombing of British cities.
Improved Techniques (04:50)
Germans developed radio wave navigation systems, including the X-Gerat. Kampfgruppe 100 developed and employed the Pathfinder Location method during the November 14th, 1940 raid on Coventry. The blitzes united British citizens, determined to fight; on May 10th, 1941, London was heavily attacked for the last time.
Increasing Range (09:34)
On June 22nd, 1941, Luftwaffe invaded Russia; Soviets sent Ilyushin Il-4 Bombers to Berlin. The Royal Air Force gained Handley Page Halifax, Avro Manchester, and Short Stirling heavy bombers, but could not hit targets. In 1942, England obtained the Avro Lancaster Heavy Bomber, G Navigation, and Air Chief Arthur Harris.
United States Support (06:45)
On July 4th, 1942, Allied forces attacked a Dutch airfield with A-20 Boston Day Bombers; the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress deployed in France weeks later. In 1943, a bomber offensive of Germany was planned, but halted due to deadly defenses; Lancasters successfully destroyed Ruhr Dams using custom water skipping bombs.
Allied Forces Retaliation (04:23)
In July 1943, British and American forces attacked Hamburg night and day, creating a firestorm and killing 44,000 civilians; they used chaffs to blur German radar. General Lewis Brereton bombed oil supplies in Ploiesti on August 1st; a third of the 178 B-24 Liberator bombers were shot down.
War Worn (06:52)
On August 17th, 1943, the United States Eighth Air Force targeted German factories while under heavy fire; in 1944, they received the P-51 Mustang long range escort. British morale plummeted after major losses of bombers; many pilots died, were injured, captured, or mentally scarred.
Strategic Bombing Destruction (02:56)
General Eisenhower took command of allied bombing forces in April 1944; that fall, he targeted German oil supplies. In February 1945, British and American bombers attacked East Germany, heavily striking Dresden, and killing thousands of civilians and destroying the city.
War End (05:13)
In April 1942, B-25 Mitchell bombers attacked Japan; in 1944, the United States built airfields on Marianas Islands. The 21st Bomber Command employed low level raids and incendiary bombs on Tokyo in March 1945, devastating the city. In August 1945, a B-29 dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Emperor Hirohito surrendered.
Credits: The Bomber As War Winner (00:43)
Credits: The Bomber As War Winner
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