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Thread: who and how targets were choosen ?

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    Default who and how targets were choosen ?

    Hello ,

    Reading this:

    "A number of small targets in Belgium and France suitable for precision attacks by relatively small forces of bombers have been allotted for 1 Group ......"

    It is from a form 540 for 1 GRoup in april 1944 for the birth of SDF Binbrook .( thanks to Greg)

    From where this order came ? HQ Bomber Command ? who choosed the targets, so targets were selected a long time before their attack ?

    Would be possible to find a trace in the archive ?

    Thank you for your comments !

    Alain .

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    Default Re: who and how targets were choosen ?

    Hi Alain,

    Bomber Command was at 'Priority Call' to Overlord from 1st April 1944. The targets referred to are likely to be rail related or coastal defence, which were the smaller targets dealt with by individual Bomber Groups using their own marker force (the Special Duties Flight). So the target lists likely came from Overlord staff direct, or via Combined Chiefs of Staff.

    Cheers,

    Richard

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    Default Re: who and how targets were choosen ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Hi Alain,

    Bomber Command was at 'Priority Call' to Overlord from 1st April 1944. The targets referred to are likely to be rail related or coastal defence, which were the smaller targets dealt with by individual Bomber Groups using their own marker force (the Special Duties Flight). So the target lists likely came from Overlord staff direct, or via Combined Chiefs of Staff.

    Cheers,

    Richard
    Thank you Richard !!

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    Default Re: who and how targets were choosen ?

    The British Bombing Survey Unit report says Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force officially took over Bomber Command on 7 March 1944 and the 8th Air Force on 17 April 1944. This made AVM Tedder effective head of the system selecting targets, lots of people wanted input so there were various committees. Discussions about what the plan was started in 1943, with plenty of differences over what to bomb, when and what with, plus competing ideas like the oil plan. One complication was the anti V weapon strikes.

    Look for the book Pre Invasion Bombing Strategy by W W Rostow, one of the people helping to draw up the plans for the 8th Air Force. He reproduces the 25th March 1944 meeting minutes, the 31st March memo and goes through the various claims about what the transport campaign did. The point being those who said bridges generally considered they were correct, as did those who said marshalling yards, the evidence could be made to support both cases.

    Also Point Blank and Beyond by Lacey-Johnson

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    Default Re: who and how targets were choosen ?

    I have Lionel Lacey-Johnson's book Point Blank and Beyond and it is very thorough and well researched with reference to wartime documents in the National Archives. To get into the details of the tactics against these targets you will need to examine the operational orders, which for Bomber Command Targets in March-August 1944 in the various AIR Documents: AIR 14/3115, AIR 14/3116, AIR 14/3117, AIR 14/3118, AIR 14/3119, AND AIR 14/3120.

    For example: https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...=AIR+14%2F3115.

    Lacey-Johnson identifies Solly Zuckerman, Scientific Advisor to Air Marshall Tedder as a key figure in advocating for attacks on Transportation. One of the problems with the Transportation plan was that rail lines required a lot of bombs, most of which missed their targets and once severed through lines were quickly repaired. Bridges were an even more difficult target for Bomber Command, and were best attacked by the tactical air forces.

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 7th December 2023 at 07:27.

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