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Strategic bombing survey (Europe)

"Strategic bombing survey (Europe)" was a US Army report issued September 30, 1945. The major conclusion of the report was that strategic bombing, particularly the destruction of the oil industry and truck manufacturing[?] had major impact on the success of the Allies in World War II.

However, despite the overall contribution of the bombing, the survey concluded that the impact of strategic bombing could not be separated from the general collapse of Germany in 1945.

Success in Europe

The greatest claimed successes came in three crucial industrial areas:

  • Oil: This shortage was decisive in the eventual immobilization of the the German military.
  • Ammunition: Production fell markedly in 1944 and the arms industry shipped bombs and shells packed partly with rock salt., as Germany ran out of nitrogen, a vital ingredient. Finally, Albert Speer, head of the Nazi economy[?], shifted the last nitrogen from the war effort to agriculture because he believed the war was lost and next year's crops were more important.
  • Truck manufacturing[?]: Concentrated in three factories. Opel and Daimler Benz[?] works were bombed. The Ford Motor Company plant at Cologne was not bombed, but went out of production because its suppliers had been bombed out.
  • Submarine manufacturing was halted.

Limited effects and production increases

  • Aviation: "In 1944 the German air force is reported to have accepted a total of 39,807 aircraft of all types -- compared with 8,295 in 1939, or 15,596 in 1942 before the plants suffered any attack." According to the report, almost none of the aircraft produced in 1944 were used in combat and some may have been imaginary.
  • Armor production "reached its wartime peak in December 1944, when 1,854 tanks and armored vehicles were produced. This industry continued to have relatively high production through February 1945."
  • Ball bearings[?]: "There is no evidence that the attacks on the ball-bearing industry had any measurable effect on essential war production."
  • Steel: The bombing greatly reduced production, but the resulting shortage had no contribution to the defeat.
  • Consumer goods[?]: "In the early years of the war -- the soft war period for Germany -- civilian consumption remained high. Germans continued to try for both guns and butter. The German people entered the period of the air war well stocked with clothing and other consumer goods. Although most consumer goods became increasingly difficult to obtain, Survey studies show that fairly adequate supplies of clothing were available for those who had been bombed out until the last stages of disorganization. Food, though strictly rationed, was in nutritionally adequate supply throughout the war. The Germans' diet had about the same calories as the British."

The survey concluded that one reason German production rose in so many areas was in part that the German economy did not go on a complete war footing until late 1942 and 1943. Up until then, factories had been on a single shift in many industries and the German economy was generally inefficient and not operating at full capacity.

External Links

  • Strategic bombing survey (European War) (http://www.anesi.com/ussbs02.htm)

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