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Encyclopedia > RAF Bomber Command
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RAF Bomber Command was the organisation that controlled the RAF's bomber forces. It was formed on 14 July 1936 from the bomber element of the Air Defence of Great Britain and absorbed into the new Strike Command in 1968. This image is Crown copyright protected. ... This image is Crown copyright protected. ... The Royal Air Force (often abbreviated to RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ... The Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB) refers to two different components of the RAF depending on the time period in question. ... The Royal Air Forces Strike Command is the military organization which controls the majority of the United Kingdoms combat aircraft. ...

Bomber Command first found fame during World War II, when aircrews under the command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... An Air Chief Marshals sleeve/shoulder insignia Air Chief Marshal is the most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force (RAF) today, after the inactivation of Marshal of the Royal Air Force as a substantive rank in peacetime during defence cuts of the 1990s. ... Sir is a British honorary title representing knighthood or baronetcy. ... Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet (April 13, 1892 - April 5, 1984), commonly known as Bomber Harris, and often, in the RAF, as Butcher Harris, was commander of RAF Bomber Command and later a Marshal of the Royal Air Force during the latter half of World War II. In 1942... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ...

Many of Bomber Command's personnel and squadrons during the war were neither British nor part of the RAF; a large proportion came from Commonwealth countries, or occupied Europe. The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as The Commonwealth, is an association of 53 independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. ... World map showing Europe Political map Europe is one of the seven continents of Earth which, in this case, is more a cultural and political distinction than a physiographic one, leading to various perspectives about Europes borders. ...

Bomber Command came to prominence again in the 1960s, when it was at the peak of its postwar power, with the V force of Valiant, Victor and Vulcan nuclear bombers, and a supplemental force of Canberra light bombers. The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... The term V bomber was used for the Royal Air Force aircraft during the 1950s and 1960s that comprised the UKs strategic nuclear strike force. ... this article is about the jet powered bomber, for the biplane see Vickers 131 Valiant. ... The Handley Page Victor was a British jet bomber aircraft, one of the V bombers intended to carry Britains nuclear arsenal. ... The Avro Vulcan was a British delta-wing subsonic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. ... The English Electric Canberra was a first-generation jet bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s, and as of 2006 some still remain in service. ...


Bomber Command 1936-1945

When Bomber Command was formed, Giulio Douhet's slogan "the bomber will always get through" was popular, and was cited by figures like Stanley Baldwin. Until advances in radar technology in the late 1930s, this statement was effectively true. Attacking bombers could not be detected early enough to assemble fighters fast enough to prevent them reaching their targets. Some damage might be done to the bombers by AA guns, and by fighters as the bombers returned to base, but that was not the same as a proper defence. Consequently, the early conception of Bomber Command was in some ways akin to its later role as a nuclear deterrent force. It was seen as an entity that threatened the enemy with utter destruction, and thus prevented war. However, in addition to being made obsolete by technology, even if the bomber did always get through, its potential for damage to cities was massively overrated. General Giulio Douhet (30 May 1869 - 15 February 1930) was an Italian air power theorist and contemporary of the 1920s air warfare advocates Billy Mitchell and Sir Hugh Trenchard. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867–14 December 1947) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on three separate occasions. ... This long range radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to detect, determine the distance of, and map, objects such... American troops man an anti-aircraft gun near the Algerian coastline in 1943 Anti-aircraft, or air defense, is any method of combating military aircraft from the ground. ...

The problem was that the British Government was basing its data on a casualty rate of 50 per ton of bombs dropped. The basis for this assumption was a few raids on London in the later stages of World War I, by Zeppelins and Gotha bombers. Both the government and the general public viewed the bomber as a far more terrible weapon than it really was. Combatants Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Romania, Belgium, British Empire, United States, Italy, and others Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total of dead: 8 million Military dead: 4 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total dead: 7 million The First... LZ127 Graf Zeppelin, one of the two zeppelins that carried passengers from Germany to the United States. ... The Gotha G series of bombers were the main German twin-engine bombers of World War I. Built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik, the first unsuccessful variant was the G.I. It had an unusual shape, with a fuselage upon the upper wing of the biplane, and only a small number were...

At the start of WWII, Bomber Command was hampered by three problems. The first was simple lack of size; Bomber Command was not large enough to effectively attack the enemy as a pure, stand-alone strategic force. The second was rules of engagement; at the start of the war, the targets allocated to Bomber Command were not wide enough in scope. The British Government did not want to violate international law by attacking civilian targets, and the French were even more concerned lest Bomber Command operations provoke a German bombing attack on France. Since the Armée de l'Air had few modern fighters, and no defence network comparable to the British chain of radar stations, France was effectively prostrate before the threat of a German bombing attack. The final problem was lack of good enough aircraft. The main Bomber Command workhorses at the start of the war were the Battle, Blenheim, Hampden, Wellesley, Wellington and Whitley. All had been designed as tactical support medium bombers, and none of them had enough range or ordnance capacity for anything more than a limited strategic offensive. The familiar French military aviation roundel gave rise to similar roundels for air forces all over the world, including that of the United Kingdom (RAF), which reversed the colors on the French roundel. ... Fairey Battle The Fairey Battle was a light bomber of the Royal Air Force built by Fairey Aviation in the late 1930s. ... The Bristol Type 142M Blenheim was a high-speed light bomber used extensively in the early days of World War II, built by Bristol Aeroplane Company. ... The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force that was one of the main front-line bombers at the start of World War II. Along with the Whitley and Wellington bombers, the Hampden bore the brunt of the early bombing war... The Vickers Wellesley was a 1930s light bomber built by Vickers for the Royal Air Force. ... The Vickers Wellington was a twin-engine, medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs Chief Designer, R.K. Pierson. ... The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.38 Whitley was one of three twin-engine, front-line medium bombers in service with the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of World War II. Along with the Handley Page Hampden and the Vickers Wellington, it bore the brunt of the early fighting, seeing...

Bomber Command was further reduced in size after the declaration of war. No. 1 Group, with its squadrons of Fairey Battles, left for France to form the Advanced Air Striking Force. This was for two reasons; to give the British Expeditionary Force some air striking power, and also to allow the Battle to operate against German targets, since it lacked the range to do so from British airfields. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British army sent to France and Belgium in World War I and British Forces in Europe from 1939 - 1940 during World War II. The BEF was established by Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War in case the...

The "Sitzkrieg" (or Phoney War) mainly affected the Army. However, to an extent, Bomber Command was not properly at war during the first few months of hostilities either. Bomber Command flew many operational missions, and lost aircraft, but it did virtually no damage to the enemy. Most of the missions either failed to find their targets, or were leaflet dropping missions. The attack in the west in May 1940, changed everything. The Phony War, or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was the phase of World War II marked by no military operations in Continental Europe, that followed the collapse of Poland. ...

The Fairey Battles of the Advanced Air Striking Force were partially disabled by German strikes on their airfields at the opening of the invasion of France. However, far from all of the force was caught on the ground. The Faireys proved to be horrendously vulnerable to enemy fire. Many times, Battles would set out to attack, and be almost wiped out in the process. This was somewhat ironic given the fact that due to French paranoia about being attacked by German aircraft, during the Sitzkrieg, the Battle force had actually trained over German airspace at night. The RAF Advanced Air Striking Force was formed on 24 August 1939 from No. ...

Bomber Command itself soon fully joined in the action. With the immensely quick collapse of France, invasion seemed a clear and present danger. As its part in Battle of Britain, Bomber Command was assigned to pound the invasion barges and fleets assembling in the Channel ports. This was much less high profile than the battles of the Spitfires and Hurricanes of Fighter Command, but still vital and dangerous work. Combatants United Kingdom Germany Italy Commanders Hugh Dowding Hermann Göring Albert Kesselring Strength 700 fighters 1,260 bombers, 316 dive-bombers, 1,089 fighters Casualties 1,547 aircraft, 27,450 civilian dead, 32,138 wounded 1,887 aircraft One of the major campaigns of the early part of World...

Bomber Command was also indirectly responsible, in part at least, for the switch of Luftwaffe attention away from Fighter Command itself to bombing civilian targets. A German bomber on a raid had got lost due to poor navigation. It bombed London. Churchill consequently ordered a retaliatory raid on the German capital of Berlin. The damage caused was minor, but the raid sent Hitler into a rage. He ordered the Luftwaffe to level British cities, thus precipitating the Blitz. German bomber over the Surrey Docks, Southwark, London The Blitz was the bombing of the United Kingdom by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 16 May 1941, during World War II. It was carried out by the Luftwaffe across the UK, but their attack was concentrated on London. ...

Like the United States Army Air Forces later in the war, Bomber Command had first concentrated on "precision" bombing in daylight. However, when several 1939 raids were cut to pieces by German defences, a switch to night attack tactics was forced upon the Command. The problems of enemy defences were then replaced with the problems of simply finding the target. It was common in the early years of the war for bombers relying on dead reckoning navigation to miss entire cities. Surveys of Bombing photographs and other sources published during August 1941 indicated that less than one bomb in ten fell within 5 miles of its intended target. One of the most urgent problems of the Command was thus to find technical aids to allow accurate bombing. The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was a part of the U.S. Army during World War II. The direct precursor to the U.S. Air Force, the USAAF formally existed between 1941 and 1947. ...

Bomber Command was made up of a number of Groups during the war. It began the war with Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Groups. No. 1 Group was soon sent to France, as indicated above. It was, however, returned to Bomber Command control after the evacuation of France, and reconstituted. No. 2 Group consisted of light and medium bombers who although operating both by day and night remained part of Bomber Command until 1943, when it was removed to the control of Second Tactical Air Force, to form the light bomber component of that command. Bomber Command also gained two new Groups during the war. No. 6 Group was activated on 1 January 1943. It was unique in that it was entirely made up of Royal Canadian Air Force crews and aircraft. Several squadrons and many personnel from Commonwealth and other European countries were distributed throughout the other Groups. No. 8 Group was actived on 15 August 1942. It was a critical part of solving the navigational problems referred to in the previous paragraph. Number 1 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the two groups in Strike Command. ... Number 2 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the two groups in RAF Strike Command. ... Number 3 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the three groups in RAF Strike Command. ... No. ... This is a list of Royal Air Force groups. ... The RAFs Second Tactical Air Force was one of the major commands of the Royal Air Force during World War II. It was formed in June 1943 in connection with preparations then in train to invade Europe a year later. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... 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. ... No. ... August 15 is the 227th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (228th in leap years), with 138 days remaining. ... This article is about the year. ...

The navigational problems of Bomber Command were solved by two methods, technical aids to navigation and the use of specialist Pathfinders. The technical aids to navigation took two forms. One was external radio navigation aids, as exemplified by Gee and the later highly accurate Oboe systems. The other was the centimetric navigation equipment H2S radar, which was carried in the bombers themselves. The Pathfinders were a group of elite, specially trained and experienced crews who flew ahead of the main bombing forces, and marked the targets with flares and special marker bombs. No. 8 Group controlled the Pathfinder squadrons. The Pathfinder squadrons of the Royal Air Force were elite squadrons of RAF Bomber Command during World War II. During World War II the RAF Bomber Command practiced mainly night bombing. ... Radio navigation is the application of radio frequencies to determining a position on the earth. ... GEE (short for Grid and pronounced simply as G) or AMES Type 7000 was a British radio navigation system used during World War II; the ideas in GEE were developed by the Americans into the LORAN system. ... The navigators Oboe CRT display Oboe (Observer Bombing Over Enemy) was a British aerial blind bombing targeting system in World War II, based on radio transponder technology. ... An early H2S picture of the Pembroke and Milford Haven area The H2S radar was used in bombers of RAF Bomber Command. ...

Bomber Command was increasing massively in size. In the early days of the war, it was common for raids to consist of a few tens of aircraft. By late 1941, raids by hundreds of aircraft were regularly being mounted.

Strategic bombing 1942-45

The government's chief scientific adviser, Professor Frederick Lindemann was very close to Winston Churchill, who gave him a seat in the Cabinet. In 1942, Lindemann presented a seminal paper to the Cabinet advocating the "aerial bombing of German cities by carpet bombing" in a strategic bombing campaign. Due to the inability of Bomber Command to hit specific industrial targets or even whole cities with any accuracy, his paper put forward the theory of carpet bombing major industrial centers as the only way to effecively attack the Reich war machine. An effect of this policy would also be to destroy as many homes and houses of the workers in those vital industrial centers. Working class homes were to be targeted because they had a higher density and were more likely to be destroyed by fire. This would displace the German workforce and reduce industrial output. Lindemann's calculations showed that Bomber Command would be able to destroy the majority of German houses located in cities quite quickly. The plan was highly controversial even before it started. However it was considered an integral part of the "total war" which the German leaders had begun, and the British Cabinet all agreed that bombing was the only option available to directly attack Germany, since an invasion of Western Europe was years away. The Soviet Union was also demanding that the Western Allies do something to relieve pressure on the Eastern Front. The plan was readily accepted by the Cabinet and Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris as Air Officer Commanding was charged with carrying out the task. Professor Frederick Alexander Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell (April 5, 1886 - July 3, 1957) was a physicist who became an influential scientific adviser to the British government and a close associate of Winston Churchill. ... Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician and author, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. ... This article is about the year. ... Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war style campaign that attempts to destroy the economic ability of a nation-state to wage war. ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... This article is about Total War. ... A common understanding of Western Europe in modern times. ... The Eastern Front was the theatre of combat between Nazi Germany and its allies against the Soviet Union during World War II. It was somewhat separate from the other theatres of the war, not only geographically, but also for its scale and ferocity. ... Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet (April 13, 1892 - April 5, 1984), commonly known as Bomber Harris, and often, in the RAF, as Butcher Harris, was commander of RAF Bomber Command and later a Marshal of the Royal Air Force during the latter half of World War II. In 1942...

Harris decided to mount a massive raid on Cologne on May 30, 1942 by scraping together virtually every aircraft in Bomber Command that could fly — including those from advanced training units — to form a force of 1,000 aircraft. Cologne was virtually destroyed; only 300 houses in the whole city escaped damage. However, this was not an effort that could be repeated on a regular basis by the RAF in 1942, but had proved that given the right conditions, investment and technology Bomber Command could inflict serious damage. Henceforth the building up of Bomber Command would take up a huge portion of the British industrial war effort. Cologne in 1945 The City of Cologne was bombed in 262 separate air raids by the Allies during World War II. During the war the Royal Air Force (RAF) bombed Cologne more than thirty one times. ... May 30 is the 150th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (151st in leap years). ... This article is about the year. ...

Along with an increase in the size of the Command came a massive increase in the capability of the aircraft it was using. In 1942, the main workhorse aircraft of the later part of the war came into service. The Halifax and Lancaster made up the backbone of the Command, and had a longer range, higher speed and much greater bomb load than the earlier aircraft. The classic aircraft of the Pathfinders, the Mosquito, also made its appearance. Wingspan Height 20 ft 9 in 6. ... The Avro Lancaster was a four-engine World War II bomber aircraft made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force (RAF). ... de Havilland Mosquito. ...

A prolonged offensive against the industrial centers of the Ruhr in early 1943 caused major damage and high RAF losses. The series of raids on Hamburg (the Battle of Hamburg) in mid 1943 was one of the most successful Command operations, although Harris' extension of the offensive into the Battle of Berlin failed to decimate the capital and cost his force over 1,000 crews through the winter of 1943-44. The large port city of Hamburg was very heavily bombed many times by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II. During one of the attacks in July 1943 a firestorm was created that caused many thousands of casualties. ... The term Battle of Berlin is sometimes restricted to the Royal Air Force for a bombing campaign on Berlin and other cities between the night of November 18 1943 and March 1944. ...

By April 1944 Harris called off his strategic offensive as the bomber force was seconded ( much to his annoyance) to tactical and communications targets in France prior to D-Day. The anti-transport offensive proved highly effective. By late 1944, back attacking Third Reich targets, Bomber Command did have a genuine operational capability to put 1,000 aircraft over a target without extraordinary efforts. Ironically by this time the land battle through Northern Europe was making the Bomber Offensive increasingly meaningless. The most controversial RAF raid of the war took place in the very early morning of February 14, 1945 with the bombing of the city of Dresden resulting in a lethal firestorm which killed several tens of thousands of civilians. Land on Normandy In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. ... February 14 is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... The bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) between February 13 and February 15, 1945 remains one of the more controversial events of World War II. Historian Frederick Taylor says: The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality... A firestorm is the mass movement of air resulting from fire, creating a fire of extreme intensity over a wide area. ...

The culmination of the RAF Bomber Command offensive occurred in the raids of March-April 1945 when the RAF dropped the highest monthly weight of ordinance in the entire war. The targets hit included: March 1st, Mannheim by 478 aircraft; 2nd, Cologne 858 aircraft; 3rd, Kamen 234, Dortmund-Ems Canal, 220; 4th, small raids; 5-6th, Chemnitz 760, (1,223 smaller raids); 6th-7th, small raids; 7-8th, Dessau 526, Hemmingstedt 256, Harburg 234 (1,276 smaller raids); 8-9th, Hamburg 312 Kassel 262 (805 smaller raids); 10th small raids; 11th Essen 1,079 aircraft; 12th Dortmund 1,079; 13th Wuppertal and Barmen 354; 14th, Herne and Gelsenkirchen 195, Datteln and Hattingen (near Bochum) 169; 14-15th, Lützkendorf 244, Zweibrücken 230 (smaller raids 812 sorties); 15-16th, Hagen 267, Misburg 257 (smaller raids 729); 16-17th, Nuremburg 231, Würzburg 225 (smaller raids 171); 17-18th, small day raids of total of 300 aircraft; 18-19th Witten 324, 277 Hanau (smaller raids 844); 19th, No. 617 Squadron RAF using six Grand Slam bombs hit the railway viaduct at Arnsberg; 20-21st, Böhlen 224, Hemmingstedt 166 (smaller raids 675). The daytime total on the 21st was 497; the nighttime total on the 21-22nd was 536, the 22nd daytime total was 708. On the 22-23rd and in daylight on the 23rd, about 300 bombers carried out small raids. On the 23-24th, 195 Lancasters and 23 Mosquitos from 5 and 8 Groups carried out the last raid on the town of Wesel. No aircraft were lost. (It is claimed that Wesel was the most intensively bombed town, for its size, in Germany: 97% of the buildings in the main town area were destroyed. The population, which had numbered nearly 25,000 on the outbreak of war, was only 1,900 in May 1945.) The attack was part of 537 sorties flown as tactical attacks in support of the British Army’s crossing of the Rhine on the 24th. On March 25th there were attacks on towns with communication support for German troops defending the Rhine: Hanover 267, Munster 175, Osnabruck 156. On the 27th, there were attacks on Paderborn 268, Hamm area 150 and smaller raids 541. On the 31st Hamburg was attacked by 469 aircraft. Basic information Country: Germany Federal state: Land Baden-Württemberg Regions: Rhein-Neckar District: Independent municipality Population: 324,787 (Mai 2005) Additional information Area: 144. ... population_ref = source style=vertical-align: top; Cologne (German: ; Kölsch: Kölle) is Germanys fourth-largest city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the largest European... Kamen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in the district Unna. ... Dortmund is a city in Germany, located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. ... EMS may stand for: Organizations Eastern Mountain Sports, an outdoor retailer Edinburgh Mathematical Society Electronic Music Studios (London) Ltd, manufacturers of synthesisers European Monetary System, 1979 European Mathematical Society Environmental Middle School Engineering Music Society, Melbourne University Science and Engineering Physics and Chemistry Electromagnetic spectrum Ethyl methanesulfonate (or methanesulfonic acid... Chemnitz (Sorbian/Lusatian Kamjenica, formerly called Karl-Marx-Stadt) is a city in Saxony, Germany. ... Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland (Federal State) of Saxony-Anhalt. ... (This article is about the district in northern Germany. ... The smaller Alster lake at dusk Hamburg (German pronounciation: []; Low German: Hamborg, [haË‘mbɔːχ]) is the second largest city in Germany and with Hamburg Harbour, its principal port, Hamburg is also the second largest port city in the European Union. ... Watershed of the river Weser Kassel (until 1926 officially Cassel) is a city situated along the Fulda River, one of the two sources of the Weser river, in northern Hessen in west-central Germany. ... [Essen], german for Meal [essen], german for eat Essen is the name of the following places: Essen, Germany, one of the major cities of the Ruhr area Essen, Belgium Essen, Netherlands, a village in the province of Groningen German: to eat, eating, food This is a disambiguation page — a navigational... Dortmund is a city in Germany, located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. ... Wuppertal university Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... Barmen is a municipal subdivision of the German city of Wuppertal. ... Herne is the name of a city in Germany and a municipality in Belgium: Herne, Germany Herne, Belgium Herne is also a village in Kent, England, near the town of Herne Bay Herne the Hunter has some similarities to Cernunnos (the Horned One). ... Gelsenkirchen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... Datteln is a town and a municipality in the district of Recklinghausen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... Hattingen is a German municipality in the district of Ennepe-Ruhr in North Rhine-Westphalia. ... Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... Zweibrücken is a city of Germany in Rhineland-Palatinate, on the Schwarzbach river at the border of the Palatine Forest. ... Map of Germany showing Hagen Hagen is the 37th largest city in Germany, located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia. ... This article is about the city in Germany. ... Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. ... Witten redirects here. ... Hanau is a town in Hesse, Germany with 91,000 inhabitants. ... No. ... A British 22,000 lb Grand Slam bomb The Grand Slam (Earthquake) bomb was a very large bomb developed by the British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis in late 1944. ... Map of Germany showing Arnsberg Arnsberg is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... Böhlen is a German town, south of Leipzig. ... Wesel is a city (population about 61,689 in 2004) in Germany, located at the point where the Lippe River empties into the Rhine. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ... Loreley At 1,320 kilometres (820 miles) and an average discharge of more than 2,000 cubic meters per second, the Rhine (Dutch Rijn, French Rhin, German Rhein, Italian: Reno, Romansch: Rein, ) is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe. ... Hanover (German: Hannover []), on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. ... Munster (Irish: An Mhumhain, IPA: ) is the southernmost province of Ireland, comprising the counties of Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. ... Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. ... Map of Germany showing Hamm Hamm is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... The smaller Alster lake at dusk Hamburg (German pronounciation: []; Low German: Hamborg, [haË‘mbɔːχ]) is the second largest city in Germany and with Hamburg Harbour, its principal port, Hamburg is also the second largest port city in the European Union. ...

The last raid on Berlin took place on the night of 21-22nd of April, when 76 Mosquitos made six separate attacks just before Soviet forces entered the city centre. Afterwards most of the rest of the bombing raids made by the RAF were tactical support attacks. The last major strategic raid was the destruction of the oil refinery at Tonsberg in southern Norway by 107 Lancasters, on the night of 25-26 of April. County Vestfold Landscape Viken Municipality NO-0704 Administrative centre Tønsberg Mayor (2004) Per Arne Olsen (FrP) Official language form BokmÃ¥l Area  - Total  - Land  - Percentage Ranked 381 107 km² 106 km² 0. ...

Once the surrender of Germany had occurred, the Allied high command turned its attentions towards Japan. RAF Bomber Command represented a significant resource as the proposed invasion of Japan approached. Plans were put in place to send a detachment of about 30 Commonwealth bomber squadrons to bases on Okinawa, under the code name Tiger Force and there was a reorganisation of groups within Bomber Command to facilitate this. However the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred before any part of the force had been transferred to the Pacific. Operation Downfall was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan at the end of World War II. It was scheduled to occur in two parts: Operation Olympic, the invasion of Kyushu, set to begin in November 1945; and later Operation Coronet, the invasion of Honshu near Tokyo, scheduled... This article is about the prefecture. ... Tiger Force was the name given to a World War II British Commonwealth long range heavy bomber force, formed in 1945, from squadrons serving with RAF Bomber Command in Europe, for proposed use against targets in Japan. ... Citizens of Hiroshima walk by the A-Bomb Dome, the closest building to have survived the citys atomic bombing. ...


About two thirds of the 500,000 to 600,000 (conservative estimates are 300,000) casualties of the bombings of German cities died during attacks by Bomber Command. One of the most controversial aspects of Bomber Command during WWII was the area bombing of cities. Navigational technologies of the day, until late in the war, did not allow for much more precisely targeting than a town or city, or at the very smallest an area of a city, by night bombing. All large German cities contained important industrial areas, and so were considered legitimate targets by the Allies. The two single most destructive raids in terms of absolute casualties were those on Hamburg in 1943 and Dresden in 1945. Both caused firestorms and left tens of thousands dead. The Luftwaffe also inflicted severe damage to civilian targets through the use of strategic bombing, including tens of thousands of deaths. Area bombardment is the policy of indiscriminate bombing of an enemys cities, for the purpose of destroying civilian morale. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Terror bombing. ... The smaller Alster lake at dusk Hamburg (German pronounciation: []; Low German: Hamborg, [haˑmbɔːχ]) is the second largest city in Germany and with Hamburg Harbour, its principal port, Hamburg is also the second largest port city in the European Union. ... The bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) between February 13 and February 15, 1945 remains one of the more controversial events of World War II. Historian Frederick Taylor says: The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality... A firestorm is the mass movement of air resulting from fire, creating a fire of extreme intensity over a wide area. ...

While the idea that the area bombing by the RAF of German cities, particularly in the last few months of the war, represented a regrettable or excessive campaign is widely held, the case that it rises to the level of a war crime is less widely subscribed to. "In examining these events [aerial area bombardment] in the light of international humanitarian law, it should be borne in mind that during the Second World War there was no agreement, treaty, convention or any other instrument governing the protection of the civilian population or civilian property, as the Conventions then in force dealt only with the protection of the wounded and the sick on the battlefield and in naval warfare, hospital ships, the laws and customs of war and the protection of prisoners of war."[1] A war crime is a punishable offense, under international (criminal) law, for violations of the law of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. ... International Humanitarian Law (IHL), also known as the law of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus comprised of the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law. ...

Mention must also be made of the extremely high casualty rate suffered by RAF Bomber Command crews, who suffered 55,573 dead, 4,000 wounded and 9,784 prisoner. It is illustrative that members of the Australian squadrons of Bomber Command equalled only two percent of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel, but represented 23% of the total number of RAAF personnel killed in action during World War II. No. 460 Squadron RAAF, which had an aircrew establishment of about 200, experienced 1,018 combat deaths during 1942-45 and was therefore effectively wiped out five times over. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. ... Squadron Motto: Strike and Return Aircraft operated: Vickers Wellington, Avro Lancaster 460 Squadron RAAF was raised at RAF Breighton, and operated as part of RAF Bomber Command for the duration of WWII. It was disbanded at RAF Binbrook in 1945 In a speech he made in 2003, Chief of the...

Taking an example of 100 airmen:

  • 55 killed on operations or died as result of wounds
  • 3 injured (in varying levels of severity) on operations or active service
  • 12 taken prisoner of war (some injured)
  • 2 shot down and evaded capture
  • 27 survived a tour of operations

In total 364,514 operational sorties were flown, 1,030,500 tons of bombs were dropped and 8,325 aircraft lost in action.

The very high casualty levels suffered give testimony to the dedication and courage of Bomber Command's aircrew in carrying out their orders. Statistically there was little prospect of surving a tour of 30 operations. This was because for much of the war the loss rate hovered around 5%, about 1 in 20 aircraft would, on average, be shot down - although obviously there was great variation here, on some occasions the loss rate exceeded 10% - sometimes much higher than that.

A couple of instances of outstanding bravery must suffice. With the Germans breaking through, 12 Squadron, flying obsolete Fairey Battles, were ordered to attack 2 bridges on the Albert Canal near Maastricht, on May 12th 1940. The whole squadron stepped forward to volunteer and 5 aircraft, all that were available, took off. 4 Battles were shot down by intense flak and fighter attack, the fifth staggered back to base heavily damaged. One of the four shot down was piloted by Flying Officer Garland - diving from 6000 feet in the face of intense fire, he succeeded in breaking one of the bridges. He and his observer Sgt, Tom Gray received the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross.

On May 14th 71 Battle and Blenheim bombers made an all out effort against the German bridgeheads over the Meuse - 40 were shot down by deadly flak and fighters.

From towards the end of the war - 24th December 1944 - comes a second example. 24 Pathfinder aircraft were attempting to mark a rail junction near Cologne, they encountered fierce opposition and 6 were shot down. One of these was the aircraft piloted by Squadron Leader R.A.M Palmer of 109 Squadron - on loan to 582. As an oboe leader he had to fly straight and level over the target area. Flak set 2 of his engines on fire, he then came under fighter attack - despite this he pressed on, and scored direct hits on the target before spiralling down in flames. The citation to his posthumous award of the Victoria Cross referred to his "record of prolonged and heroic endeavour". He was killed on his 110th operation. Modern Oboe The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. ...

These examples could be multiplied many times over.

The Balance Sheet

Some commentary needs to be made as to the effectiveness of Bomber Command's operations and its overall contribution to winning the war. The Command was overwhelmingly committed to the area offensive against Germany and it should therefore primarily be judged in that context.

The aim of breaking the morale of the German working class, the ostenstible aim of the offensive, must be accounted a failure. The scale and intensity of the offensive was an appalling trial to the German people and the Hamburg attacks, particularly, profoundly shook the Nazi leadership. However on balance the indiscriminate nature of the bombing and the heavy civilian casualties and damage stiffened German resistance to fight to the end. In any case as Sir Arthur Harris pertinently put it, the Germans living under a savage tyranny were "not allowed the luxury of morale".

Sir Arthur Harris himself believed that there was a relationship between tonnage dropped, city areas destroyed, and lost production. The effect of Bomber Command's attacks on industrial production is not so clear cut. The British Bombing Survey at the end of the war was deliberately under-resourced, for Churchill wanted to put Dresden behind him. The much better provided US survey was little concerned with the RAF area bombing campaign. It pointed to the great success of the USAAF's attacks on Germany's synthetic oil plants starting in the spring of 1944 - this had a crippling effect on German transportation and prevented the Luftwaffe from flying to anything like its nominal order of battle. Further, in going for targets they knew the Germans must defend the American escort fighters were able to inflict crippling losses on the Luftwaffe's fighter force. However it should be pointed out that the RAF also made a great contribution to the oil offensive as its abilities to attack precision targets had greatly improved- by mid 1944 it was mounting huge bombing raids in daylight too. Speer, Hitler's Minister of Armaments noted that the larger British bombs did much more damage and so made repair more difficult, and sometimes impossible.

In terms of overall production decrease resulting from the RAF area attacks the US survey, based upon limited research, found that in 1943 it amounted to 9% and in 1944 to 17%. Relying on US gathered statistics the British survey found that actual arms production decreases were a mere 3% for 1943, and 1% for 1944. However they did find decreases of 46.5% and 39% in the second half of 1943 and 1944 respectively in the metal processing industries. These losses resulted from the devastating series of raids the Command launched on the Ruhr Valley at these times.

This apparent lack of success is accounted for in several ways. The German industrial economy was so strong, its industrial bases so widely spread, that it was a hopeless task to try and crush it by area bombing. Further up until 1943 it is undoubtedly the case that Germny was not fully mobilised for war, Speer remarked that single shift factory working was commonplace, and so there was plenty of slack in the system. It has been argued that the RAF campaign placed a limit on German arms production. This may be true but it also the case that the German forces did not run out of arms and ammunition, and that it was manpower that was a key limiting factor ultimately, as well as the destruction of transport facilities and the fuel to move.

Having dealt with the negative side of the case it is now time to put the positive. The greatest contribution to winning the war made by Bomber Command was in the diversion of German resources into defending the homeland, this was very considerable indeed. By January 1943 some 1,000 Luftwaffe night fighters were committed to the defence of the Reich - mostly twin engined Me-110 and Ju 88. Most critically, by September 1943, 8876 of the deadly, dual purpose 88mm guns were also defending the homeland with a further 25000 light flak guns - 20/37mm. The 88mm gun was the best artillery piece of the war, an effective AA weapon, it was a deadly destroyer of tanks and lethal against advancing infantry. These weapons would have done much to augment German anti-tank defences on the Russian front. The Junkers Ju 88 was a WW2 Luftwaffe twin-engine multi-role aircraft. ... The German eighty-eight was likely the best known, even famous, artillery piece of World War II. It was not one gun, but a series of anti-aircraft guns officially called the 8. ...

To man these weapons the flak regiments in Germany required some 900000 fit men, and a further 1 million were deployed in clearing up and repairing the vast bomb damage caused by the RAF attacks. To put this into perspective Rommel's army defending Normandy in 1944 comprised 500000, and it's resistance caused the Western Allies grave and bloody problems.

This diversion then to defensive purposes of German arms and manpower was an enormous contribution made by RAF Bomber Command to winning the war. By 1944 the bombing offensive was costing Germany 30% of all artillery production, 20% of heavy shells, 33% of the output of the optical industry for sights and aiming devices and 50% of the country's electro-technical output which had to be diverted to the anti-aircraft role.

In Spandau prison shortly after the war's end Speer was unequivocal about the effect of this: "the real importance of the air war was that it opened a second front long before the invasion of Europe. That front was the skies over Germany.....The unpredictbility of the attacks made the front gigantic.....Defence against air attacks required the production of thousands of AA guns, the stockpiling of tremendous quantities of ammunition all over the country, and holding in readiness hundreds of thousands of soldiers.......As far as I can judge from the accounts I have read, this was the greatest lost battle on the German side".

From the British perspective it should be noted that the RAF offensive made a great contribution in sustaining morale during the dark days of the war, and in particular the bleak 1941/2 winter period. It was the only means that Britain possessed of taking the war directly to the enemy at that time. Perhaps more importantly it helped prevent Britain being drawn into a premature and quite possibly disasterously early Second Front, under pressure as the Government was, not only by the Americans, the Russians - but also by home public opinion.

Bomber Command 1946 – 1968

In the aftermath of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was clear that the world had changed. In addition, the coming of the jet presaged an equally important change. In order for Bomber Command to keep up technologically in the early postwar years, B-29 Superfortresses were pressed into service as the Boeing Washington. However, they, and the Avro Lincoln, were only stopgap measures until the first of the new jet aircraft could come into service. The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the epicenter. ... Citizens of Hiroshima walk by the A-Bomb Dome, the closest building to have survived the citys atomic bombing. ... 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. ... A line up of Avro Lincoln B.IIs (B.2) The Avro 694 Lincoln was a British 4-engined heavy bomber of World War II, first flying on June 9, 1944 and entering service in August 1945, too late to be used in action. ...

That first jet was the English Electric Canberra light bomber, some of which remain in RAF service in 2006 as photo reconnaissance aircraft. The Canberra proved to be an extremely successful aircraft, being exported to many countries and being license-built in the United States. The next to enter service was the Vickers Valiant, the first of the V bombers. The English Electric Canberra was a first-generation jet bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s, and as of 2006 some still remain in service. ... this article is about the jet powered bomber, for the biplane see Vickers 131 Valiant. ... The term V bomber was used for the Royal Air Force aircraft during the 1950s and 1960s that comprised the UKs strategic nuclear strike force. ...

The V bombers were conceived as the replacement for the wartime Lancasters and Halifaxes. Three aircraft were developed, which many argue was a waste of resources. They contend that one design should have been pursued enabling a larger production run, however this is with 20/20 hindsight, it not being possible to predict which designs would be successful at the time. The V bombers became the backbone of the British nuclear forces. The Valiant, Handley Page Victor and Avro Vulcan were classic designs of British aviation. The Handley Page Victor was a British jet bomber aircraft, one of the V bombers intended to carry Britains nuclear arsenal. ... The Avro Vulcan was a British delta-wing subsonic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. ...

1956 saw the first operational test of Bomber Command since WWII, and its last major action in anger. The Egyptian Government nationalised the Suez Canal during that year, and the British Government decided to take military action. During the Suez Crisis, Bomber Command Canberras were deployed to Cyprus and Malta and Valiants were deployed to Malta. The Canberra performed well, but the Valiant had problems. Since the Valiant had just been introduced into service, this was hardly surprising. The Canberras were also vulnerable to attack by the Egyptian Air Force, which fortunately did not choose to attack the crowded airfields of Cyprus (RAF Akrotiri and RAF Nicosia holding nearly the whole RAF strike force, with a recently reactivated and poor quality airfield taking much of the French force). 1881 drawing of the Suez Canal. ... Combatants United Kingdom, Israel, France Egypt Commanders Moshe Dayan (CoS of the IDF) General Sir Charles Keightley (C-in-C), Vice-Admiral Pierre Barjot (Deputy) Gamal Abdel Nasser Strength 45,000 British, 34,000 French, 175,000 Israeli 300,000 Egyptians Casualties 189 Israelis KIA, unknown number WIA, 16 British... RAF Akrotiri is one of the few full-scale Royal Air Force stations left outside the United Kingdom. ...

Over 100 Bomber Command aircraft took part in operations against Egypt. By WWII standards, the scale of attack was light, but it did the job at hand.

Suez was the last major operational test of Bomber Command, but it was far from its last operation. During the following twelve years, Bomber Command aircraft frequently deployed overeseas to the Far East and Middle East. They were particularly used as a deterrent to Sukarno's Indonesia during the Konfrontasi. A detachment of Canberras was also permanently maintained at Akrotiri in Cyprus in support of CENTO obligations. Sukarno (June 6, 1901 – June 21, 1970) was the first President of Indonesia. ... The Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation was an intermittent war over the future of the island of Borneo, between British-backed Malaysia and Indonesia in 1962-1966. ... Map of Akrotiri (Western) SBA Akrotiri (also known as the Western Sovereign Base Area or WSBA) and Dhekelia (also known as the Eastern Sovereign Base Area or ESBA) are UK Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) in Cyprus, a former British Crown Colony. ... The Central Treaty Organization (also referred to as CENTO, the successor to the Middle East Treaty Organization or METO, also known as the Baghdad Pact) was adopted in 1955 by Iraq, Turkey, Iran, as well as United States chose not to initially participate as to avoid alienating Arab states with...

As the remaining V bombers came into service in the late 1950s, the British nuclear deterrent was gaining notice. The first British atomic bomb was tested in 1952, with the first hydrogen bomb being exploded in 1957. Operation Grapple saw Valiant bombers dropping hydrogen bombs over Christmas Island. Operation Grapple: Grapple X Valiant XD824 being bombed-up behind canvas screens Operation Grapple was a United Kingdom tri-service exercise leading to the detonation of the first British hydrogen bomb on May 15, 1957. ...

Nuclear annihilation came dramatically to world attention during 1962. The Cuban missile crisis was one of the nearest brushes with nuclear conflict the world has seen. During that tense period, Bomber Command aircraft maintained continuous strip alerts, ready to take off at a moment's notice. Heavy bombers were effectively doing what Fighter Command had done in 1940 in terms of reaction time. However, at no time did the Prime Minister take the decision to disperse the Bomber Command aircraft to satellite airfields, lest that be viewed as an aggressive step. U.S.A.F. spy photo of one of the suspected launch sites The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the russia regarding the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba. ...

By the early 1960s, doubts were surfacing about the ability of Bomber Command to pierce the defences of the Soviet Union. The shooting down of a U-2 spyplane in 1960 confirmed that the Soviet Union did have surface-to-air missiles capable of reaching the heights that bombers operated at. Since WWII, the philosophy of bombers had been to go higher and faster. That found its ultimate expression in the XB-70 Valkyrie, developed for the USAF. With the deprecation of high and fast tactics, the new mantra became ultra low level attack. However, since the Bomber Command aircraft were not designed for that kind of attack profile, problems were caused. Those problems were primarily airframe fatigue. The Valiant was the first to suffer. Severe airframe fatigue meant that all Valiants were grounded in October 1964, and permanently withdrawn from service in January 1965. Low level operations also reduced the lifespan of the Victors and Vulcans. The Lockheed U-2R/TR-1 in flight The U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude surveillance aircraft flown by the United States Air Force. ... A surface-to-air missile (SAM) is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft. ... The North American XB-70 Valkyrie was conceived for the Strategic Air Command in the 1950s as a high-altitude bomber that could fly three times the speed of sound (Mach 3). ...

Bomber Command's other main function was to provide tanker aircraft to the RAF. The Valiant was the first bomber used as a tanker operationally. Trials had been carried out with air to air refuelling using Lincolns and Meteors, and had proved successful, so many of the new bombers were designed to be able to be used in the tanker role. Indeed, some Valiants were produced as a dedicated tanker variant. As high level penetration declined as an attack technique, the Valiant saw more and more use as a tanker. With the introduction of the Victor B2, the earlier models of that aircraft were also converted to tankers. The withdrawal of the Valiant from service caused the conversion of many of the Victors to tankers to be greatly speeded up. The Vulcan also saw service as a tanker, but not until an improvised conversion during the Falklands War. Ironically, in the tanker role, the Victor not only outlived Bomber Command, but also all the other V bombers by nine years. The Gloster Meteor was the first jet fighter aircraft of the British Royal Air Force, introduced into service only weeks after the Third Reichs Messerschmitt Me 262, in August 1944 during World War II. It was thus the second fighter jet in history and the first of the WWII... The Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas), was an effective state of war in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands (also known in Spanish as the Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. ...

In a further attempt to make the operation of the bomber force safer, attempts were made to develop stand-off weapons. With a stand-off capability, the bombers would not have to penetrate Soviet airspace. However, efforts to do so had only limited success. The first attempt was the Blue Steel missile. It worked, but its range meant that bombers still had to enter Soviet airspace. Longer range systems were developed, but failed and/or were cancelled. This fate befell the mark 2 of the Blue Steel, its replacement, the American Skybolt ALBM and the ground-based Blue Streak program. Blue Steel Type nuclear stand-off missile Nationality UK Era Cold War Launch platform Aircraft Target History Builder Avro Date of design Production period Service duration 1963-1969 Operators UK RAF Variants Number built Specifications Type Diameter 0. ... The Douglas GAM-87A Skybolt was an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) developed during the late 1950s. ... The Blue Streak missile was a British ballistic missile development programme of the mid to late-1950s, the initial design being based on licensed U.S. technology. ...

However, attempts to develop a stand-off nuclear deterrent were eventually successful. The American Polaris missile was procured, and Royal Navy submarines built to carry them. The modern form of the British nuclear force was thus essentially reached. Royal Navy submarines relieved the RAF of the nuclear deterrent mission in 1969. However, by that point, Bomber Command was no more. The Polaris Missile was a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) carrying a nuclear warhead developed during the Cold War for the United States Navy. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services being the oldest of its three branches. ...

In the postwar period, the RAF slowly declined in strength, and by the mid-1960s, it was clear that the home command structure needed rationalisation. To that end, Fighter Command and Bomber Command were merged in 1968 to form Strike Command. Coastal Command also followed shortly thereafter. Fighter Command was one of three functional commands that dominated the public perception of the RAF for much of the mid-20th century. ... The Royal Air Forces Strike Command is the military organization which controls the majority of the United Kingdoms combat aircraft. ... Coastal Command was an organization within the Royal Air Force tasked with protecting the United Kingdom from naval threats. ...

Bomber Command had a successful period of existence. Its early potential was at first not realised, but with the development of better navigation and aircraft, it carried the war to the enemy in spectacular fashion. Postwar, it carried Britain's nuclear deterrent through a difficult period, and continued the fine traditions existing in 1945.


At any one time several air officers served on the staff of Bomber Command and so the overall commander was known as the Air Officer Commander-in-Chief, the most well-known being Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris. The commanders-in-chief and their dates of appointment are listed below with the rank which they held whilst in post.

July 14 is the 195th day (196th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 170 days remaining. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Air Chief Marshal Sir John Miles Steel GCB KBE CMG RAF (11 September 1877 – 2 December 1965) was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... September 12 is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years). ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Edgar Rainey Ludlow-Hewitt GCB GBE CMG DSO MC RAF (9 June 1886 – 15 August 1973) was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... April 3 is the 93rd day of the year (94th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 272 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... RAF Air Chief Marshal Charles Portal (left) and Polish Commander in Chief Władysław Sikorski (right) visit an airbase of the 300th Polish Bomber Squadron in England. ... October 5 is the 278th day of the year (279th in Leap years). ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse KCB DSO AFC RAF (30 September 1892 - 5 August 1970), was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... January 8 is the 8th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... Air Marshal Sir John Eustice Arthur Baldwin KBE,CBE,OBE,CB,DSO (April 13, 1892 – July 28, 1975). ... February 22 is the 53rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 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... September 15 is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years). ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Norman Howard Bottomley KCB CIE DSO AFC (September 18, 1891 - August 13, 1970) was the Yorkshire-born successor to Arthur Bomber Harris as Commander-in-Chief of Royal Air Force Bomber Command in 1945. ... Do not change January 16 it preserves the date correctly formatted and stops robots from delinking it. ... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh William Lumsden Saunders GCB KBE MC DFC and Bar MM RAF (24 August 1894 – 8 May 1987) was a South African who rose through the ranks to become a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... October 8 is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years). ... Air Marshal Sir Aubrey Beauclerk Ellwood KCB DSC RAF (3 July 1897 – 20 December 1992) was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... February 2 is the 33rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Pugh Lloyd GCB KCB MC DFC RAF (12 December 1894 – 14 July 1981) was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ... 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1953 calendar). ... Air Chief Marshal Sir George Holroyd Mills GCB DFC RAF (26 March 1902 – 14 April 1971) was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... January 22 is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Harry Broadhurst GCB KBE DSO with Bar DFC with Bar AFC RAF (28 October 1905 – 29 August 1995), commonly known as Broady, was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... May 20 is the 140th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (141st in leap years). ... 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Kenneth Brian Boyd Cross KCB CBE DSO DFC RAF (4 October 1911 - 18 June 2003), was a senior Royal Air Force commander. ... September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years). ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ... Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Grandy (born 8 December 1913, died 2 January 2004) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. ... February 19 is the 50th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... Air Chief Marshall Sir Wallace Kyle was Governor of Western Australia from 1975 to 1980. ...

Battle honours

  • Honour: "Berlin 1940-1945": For bombardment of Berlin by aircraft of Bomber Command.
  • Honour: "Fortress Europe 1940-1944": For operations by aircraft based in the British Isles against targets in Germany, Italy and enemy-occupied Europe, from the fall of France to the invasion of Normandy.


  1.   International Review of the Red Cross no 323, p.347-363 The Law of Air Warfare (1998)

Further reading

  • RAF History Timeline
  • RAF Battle Honours
  • World War 2 Newspaper Archives - The Bomber Offensive
  • Bomber Command's 19 Victoria Cross Winners
  • Organisation, opérations ans casualty
  • Brian Grafton Bomber Command July-December, 1941

The German view

The following sites concerns respectable information from scientific institutions in Germany. They are not "linkspam"!

  • Bombenkrieg at Historicum.Net Extensive site with large content, maintained by the University of Cologne. (mainly in German)
  • Air Battle of the Ruhr 1939-1945 History of the most important industrial area in Germany in World War II, maintained by the Historisches Centrum Hagen. (mainly in German, with pictures)
  • Hagen 1939-1945 Example for a heavy bombed German town, maintained by the Historisches Centrum Hagen. (mainly in German, with pictures)
  • Mission 854, 28/2/1945 Air raid of the 8th USAAF on the railroad yards in Hagen, 28. February 1945. (in Germyn, with pictures)

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

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