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Encyclopedia > Bomber Command

Bomber Command is an organizational military unit, generally subordinate to the air force of a country. Many countries have a "Bomber Command", although the most famous ones were in Britain and the United States. A bomber command is generally composed of bombers (i.e. planes used to bomb targets). An air force is a military or armed service that primarily conducts aerial warfare. ... Look up country in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground targets, primarily by dropping bombs. ... The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, also known as Mother Of All Bombs, produced in the United States. ...


RAF Bomber Command

Main article: RAF Bomber Command

RAF Bomber Command was formed in 1936 to be responsible for all bombing activities of the RAF. It became infamous in some eyes during World War II, when its aircraft were used for devastating nighttime air raids on Germany and occupied Europe, their bombing raids causing hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths alongside the destruction of urban areas and factories. Many non-British squadrons and personnel served with Bomber Command. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, many Commonwealth countries contributed squadrons or individuals to British air and ground staff. For example, No. 6 Group, which represented about one-sixth of Bomber Command's strength, was a Royal Canadian Air Force unit. Bomber Command badge RAF Bomber Command was the organisation that controlled the RAFs bomber forces. ... Bomber Command badge RAF Bomber Command was the organisation that controlled the RAFs bomber forces. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Nazi Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Harry Truman Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead... External links The Canadian Contribution (includes newspaper archives) World War II Newspaper Archives — The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. ... The Commonwealth of Nations (CN), usually known as the Commonwealth, is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former colonies of the United Kingdom. ... No. ... The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) was the air force of Canada from 1924 until 1968 when the three branches of the Canadian military were merged into the Canadian Armed Forces. ...

At its height, Bomber Command under Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur T. "Bomber" Harris could put over 1,000 aircraft into the air over Germany. Over 12,000 Bomber Command aircraft were shot down during World War II, and 55,500 aircrew were killed. It had the highest attrition rate of any British unit. Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet (April 13, 1892 - April 5, 1984), commonly known as Bomber Harris, and often within the RAF as Butcher Harris[1], was commander of RAF Bomber Command and later a Marshal of the...

The planned campaign medal for Bomber Command was never struck and Harris turned down the offer of a peerage in protest at the snub. In spite of tying up huge resources in defence of Germany, which might have been diverted to the Eastern and Western Fronts and elsewhere by their raids and physical destruction of war materiel, Bomber Command's contribution had become shameful to the incoming Labour Government of 1945. The battle for a campaign medal continues. Harris was promoted to marshal of the RAF in 1946. Harris was persuaded by Winston Churchill when he became Prime Minister in 1953 to accept a baronetcy.

Various aircraft were used, from the obsolete and horrendously vulnerable Fairey Battle in 1939 to the command's most numerous and successful aircraft, the Avro Lancaster. Bomber Command used not only British aircraft but also American-built machines such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator; in the case of the former they were the first to put into battle and gave useful information on improvements before the US entered the war. Fairey Battle The Fairey Battle was a light bomber of the Royal Air Force built by Fairey Aviation in the late 1930s. ... The Avro Lancaster was a four-engine World War II bomber aircraft made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force (RAF). ... The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was the first mass-produced, four-engine heavy bomber. ... A B-24 Liberator photographed from above while in flight The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American bomber that was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat aircraft during World War II and was used by most of the Allied air forces during the war. ...

RAF Bomber Command was merged into RAF Strike Command in 1968. The Royal Air Forces Strike Command is the military organization which controls the majority of the United Kingdoms combat aircraft. ... 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1968 calendar). ...


Whereas the Bomber Command in the RAF was a single organisation, reporting directly to the Chief of the Air Staff, there were many American Bomber Commands. They were subordinate formations, reporting in general to various numbered Air Forces around the world. Out of those organisations, four were tasked with strategic bombing of Germany and Japan. VIII Bomber Command, XV Bomber Command, XX Bomber Command and XXI Bomber Command. Chief of the Air Staff can also refer to the head of the Canadian Forces Air Command or the head of the Indian Air Force. ... The XX Bomber Command of the USAAF was established in November 1943 to oversee B_29 Superfortress training in the US. The XX, an operational unit under the Twentieth Air Force was then moved to India. ...

VIII Bomber Command

VIII Bomber Command was the UK-based strategic bomber arm of the Eighth Air Force and contributed a substantial part of Operation Pointblank, the day-night bombing campaign by the RAF and USAAF to eliminate the Luftwaffe in preparation for the invasion of Europe. Two aircraft, the B-17 Flying Fortress, and the B-24 Liberator, were the mainstays of this command. The B-17 was more highly regarded, but the Liberator had a greater range and a larger bomb load. VIII Bomber Command, known as "Pinetree", began strategic operations in Europe on 17 August 1942, with daylight missions on the precept that daylight attacks were more accurate than night attacks. However the RAF and the Luftwaffe had both tried daylight bombing early in the war and abandoned it in the face of serious losses. Until June, 1943, VIII Bomber Command could not mount missions of more than 100 aircraft and consequently limited targets to those in Occupied France and the Low Countries, and to shallow penetrations of Germany. Attempts to attack the German aircraft industry during the summer and fall of 1943, beyond the range of escort fighters, resulted in critical losses of aircrew. Not until long range escort fighters such as the P-51 Mustang became available in sizeable numbers did daylight bombing become effective. In January 1944, VIII Bomber Command was re-designated the 8th Air Force when the United States Strategic Air Forces came into being to coordinate the combined efforts of the 8th and the 15th Air Force in Italy. The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force (NAF) of the major command (MAJCOM) of Air Combat Command of the United States Air Force and it is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was the first mass-produced, four-engine heavy bomber. ... A B-24 Liberator photographed from above while in flight The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American bomber that was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat aircraft during World War II and was used by most of the Allied air forces during the war. ... Species About 115. ... August 17 is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... For other uses of Vichy, see Vichy (disambiguation). ... The Low Countries, the historical region of de Nederlanden, are the countries (see Country) on low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse (Maas) rivers. ... The North American P-51 Mustang was a long-range single-seat fighter aircraft that entered service with Allied air forces in the middle years of World War II and became one of the conflicts most successful and recognizable aircraft. ... The United States Strategic Air Forces was the command body of the American strategic bomber forces in Europe during World War II. It was formed on 22 February 1944 by the redesignation of the Eighth Air Force. ... Activated on November 1, 1943, the Fifteenth Air Force was established as part of the U.S. Army Air Force in the World War II Mediterranean Theater of Operations as a strategic air force and commenced combat operations the day after it was formed. ...

XV Bomber Command

IX Bomber Command was part of the Ninth Air Force and had started life as the heavy bomber unit contingent of the U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East (USAFIME) fighting in the Egypt-Libya Campaign during 1942. When in 1943, the Ninth Air Force moved from the Mediterranean Theater of Operations to the United Kingdom to become a tactical air force in the European Theater of Operations, they left behind the heavy bombers of IX Bomber Command which joined the newly created Fifteenth Air Force as XV Bomber Command. Ninth Air Force is a Numbered Air Force in Air Combat Command (ACC). ... US Army Forces in the Middle East (USAFIME) was a unified United States Army command during World War II established in August, 1942 by order of General George Marshall to oversee the Egypt-Libya Campaign. ... The Egypt-Libya Campaign was an American campaign in North Africa during World War II. It is the name used by the United States military to describe the support that US force gave the British Commonwealth fighting the Axis forces in the Western Desert Campaign and was part of the... Ninth Air Force is a Numbered Air Force in Air Combat Command (ACC). ... This pages deals with the United States militarys Mediterranean Theater of Operations. ... The European Theater of Operations, or ETO, was the term used by the United States in World War II to refer to most United States military activity in Europe north of the Mediterranean coast. ...

Initially the bombers flew from bases in the Middle East and North Africa, but after the invasion of Italy they relocated the bulk of the bombers to bases in Southern Italy. From there they were able to launch raids all over Axis occupied Europe and Germany as far afield as Poland.

XX Bomber Command

Main article: XX Bomber Command

XX Bomber Command was part of the Twentieth Air Force and flew missions from China against mainland Japan in Operation Matterhorn. The XX Bomber Command of the USAAF was established in November 1943 to oversee B_29 Superfortress training in the US. The XX, an operational unit under the Twentieth Air Force was then moved to India. ... Twentieth Air Force is a Numbered Air Force in Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). ... Operation Matterhorn was organised by U.S. XX Bomber Command during World War II to place USAAF B29 Bombers in China for use against Japan. ...

The forward airbases in China were supplied out of India by the flying supplies over the Hump from India. The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew from India to China to resupply the Flying Tigers and the Chinese Government of Chiang Kai-shek. ...

The key development for bombing Japan was the Boeing B-29, with an operational range of 1500 miles (2,400 km); almost 90% of the bombs dropped on Japan's Home Islands (147,000 tons) were delivered by B-29s. The first mission from China was on June 15, 1944, from Chengdu, over 1500 miles away. This first attack was not particularly damaging to Japan. Only forty-seven of the sixty-eight B–29s airborne hit the target area in Tokyo; four aborted with mechanical problems, four crashed, six jettisoned their bombs because of mechanical difficulties, and others bombed secondary targets or targets of opportunity. Only one B–29 was lost to enemy aircraft. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress (Boeing Model 341/345) was a four-engine heavy bomber flown by the United States Army Air Force. ... June 15 is the 166th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (167th in leap years), with 199 days remaining. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ... Chengdus location within China   (Chinese: ; Pinyin: Chéngdu; Wade-Giles: Cheng-tu), located in southwest China, is the capital of the Sichuan province and a sub-provincial city. ...

Bombing from China was never a satisfactory arrangement because not only were the Chinese forward airbases difficult to supply via "The Hump" (as the Himalayas' foothills were called), but the B-29s operating from them could only reach Japan if they substituted some of the bomb load for extra fuel tanks in the bomb-bays. When Admiral Chester Nimitz's island-hopping campaign captured islands close enough to Japan to be within the range of B-29s, XXI Bomber Command commanded Twentieth Air Force units flying from the islands in a much more effective bombing campaign of the Japanese home islands. Chester William Nimitz (February 24, 1885 – February 20, 1966) was the Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces for the United States and Allied forces during World War II. He was the United States leading authority on submarines, as well as Chief of the Navys Bureau of Navigation in 1939. ... In air travel, planes that did not have the range to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a single flight took the island hopping route from the United States of America to Europe via the Caribbean and the Canary Islands or even further south via Brazil, Ascension Island, and Africa. ... Bomber Command is an organizational military unit, generally subordinate to the air force of a country. ...

XXI Bomber Command

In the Pacific, XXI Bomber Command was also part of the Twentieth Air Force. It was the main instrument of destruction used against Japan. Its B-29 Superfortresses, operating from the Marianas, were the longest range and most modern bomber in service in the world at the time, although not developed until almost the end of the war. Again, as in Europe, the USAAF tried daylight precision bombing. However, it proved to be impossible due to the weather around Japan, as bombs dropped from great height were tossed about by high winds. General Curtis LeMay, commander of XXI Bomber Command instead switched to mass firebombing attacks by night from low level. The Japanese economy was uniquely vulnerable to this sort of attack, the cities being closely packed and largely built of wood, and manufacturing being 90% cottage industry. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a four-engine heavy bomber propeller aircraft flown by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II and other military organizations afterwards. ... Mariana Islands (sometimes called The Marianas; up to the early 20th century sometimes called the Ladrone Islands) are a group of islands made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the Pacific Ocean. ... General Curtis Emerson LeMay. ... The use of the term has expanded, and is used to refer to any event which allows a large number of people to lalalawork part time. ...

The Pacific attacks included the most devastating single air raid in history. It was not, as some might think, the result of dropping one of the two atomic bombs. It was a firebombing raid on Tokyo on the night of 910 March 1945, which created a firestorm and killed 100,000 people. Incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, or white phosphorus. ... Tokyo , literally Eastern capital)   is the capital and one of the forty-seven prefectures of Japan. ... March 9 is the 68th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (69th in Leap years). ... March 10 is the 69th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (70th in leap years). ... 1945 (MCMVL) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... A firestorm in Hamburg (Germany) during WWII A firestorm is the mass movement of air resulting from fire, creating a fire of extreme intensity over a wide area. ...

External links

  • WW2 propaganda leaflets: Germans airdropped special propaganda on some Eighth Air Force units in Britain portraying the losses of the Schweinfurt raids.

Schweinfurt is a city in the Unterfranken region of Bavaria in Germany on the right bank of the canalized Main, which is here spanned by several bridges, 27 km North-East of Würzburg. ...

RAF strategic bombing in World War II
Overview Documents
RAF Bomber Command | Bomber Command | Strategic bombing | Aerial bombing of cities
Prominent People
Sir Archibald Sinclair | Sir Charles Portal | Norman Bottomley
Arthur "Bomber" Harris | Sir Arthur W. Tedder | Professor Lindemann
Bombing Campaigns and Operations
Augsburg | "Dam Busters" | Berlin | Cologne | Braunschweig
Dresden | Hamburg | Kassel | Pforzheim | Würzburg
Aircraft, Technology and Tactics
Blenheim | Halifax | Hampden | Lancaster | Mosquito | Stirling | Wellesley | Wellington | Whitley
Window | H2S | GEE | Oboe | G-H | Monica
Blockbuster bomb | Tallboy bomb | Grand Slam bomb
Bomber stream | Pathfinders
Aerial Defence of the United Kingdom | USAAF | Luftwaffe

  Results from FactBites:
NLS - Bomber Command (700 words)
During the early months of the war, Bomber Command's attacks were a mere nuisance to the enemy.
Fourteen hours in a Hampden bomber on a winter's night was the lot of the crews who set out to destroy the oil storage depot lying outside Stettin and there are many similar stories.
On a raid to the Essen factories by 705 four-engined bombers ninety-six percent of the bombs were thought to have hit the factories.
::Bomber Command 1939:: (1634 words)
Bomber Command moved to its new headquarters near High Wycombe early in 1940.
Many of the senior officers in Bomber Command were experienced from World War One but none of them had experienced modern bombing as seen at Guernica in the Spanish Civil War.
The experiences of Bomber Command in the early months of the war, led to a decision being made that night raids were far better in terms of crew survival and night flying became the norm rather than day flying.
  More results at FactBites »



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