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View Poll Results: Bomber Harris?

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  • War Hero

    20 24.39%
  • A Bastard but OUR Bastard.

    26 31.71%
  • War Criminal

    14 17.07%
  • A pragmatic wartime leader

    22 26.83%
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Thread: Bomber Harris, Criminal or Hero?

  1. #1
    Bluffcove Guest

    Default Bomber Harris, Criminal or Hero?

    What are peoples views of Bomber Harris?

  2. #2
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    He did go a bit OTT on a few occasions where it wasn't strictly necessary...

  3. #3
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    Did what he had to do. There was no other way to attack Germany in those days, he had to use area bombing because that's all we could use.

  4. #4
    Bluffcove Guest

    Default

    BDL, Dresden? and Firestorm tactics?

    Mosquito raid on the prison shows we were capable of accuracy,

    Im only playing devils advocate, and trying to start a thread that is reliant on opinion rather than fact.

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    Not sure what Bomber Harris did? Could you explain.........more? I get the general sense but not the specifics.

  6. #6
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    He was the chief of Bomber Command in WW2, and ordered a lot of the big night-time raids against cities - google or wikipedia to find out more.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluffcove
    BDL, Dresden? and Firestorm tactics?

    Mosquito raid on the prison shows we were capable of accuracy,

    Im only playing devils advocate, and trying to start a thread that is reliant on opinion rather than fact.
    The small raids by the Mosquito squadrons were very accurate, but were only made on very small targets and (if I recall correctly) a lot of training before the big day. I also believe they were made in the day?

    If the Mossies had attacked Germany during the day in anything other than tiny raids (which would not have been big enough to hurt German industry all that much), they would have been slaughtered in the way that the USAAF was. They had to use large formations of very heavy bombers to move enough bombs to attack the large industrial areas, those heavy bombers were not accurate enough to hit the factories in any kind of precise way. It's unfortunate that so many civillians had to die, but it was war and it had to be done (and it was against the country that had invented bombing civillians on a large scale).

    IMO Dresden was a legitimate target - one of the main transport hubs for moving supplies to the Eastern Front. Again, what happened is a pity, but these things happen during total war.

  8. #8

    Default

    He should have been sacked. He was insubordinate in pursuing the massive urban bombing campaign, when he had been directed to focus on key military and economic targets.

    I doubt he ordered any act that was egregious enough by the standards of the time to constitute a "war crime". Area bombing had been advocated by all major military nations as a legitimate instrument of war. However, the bombing of cities (particularly the fire raid on Dresden) caused massively disproportionate casualties for any military advantage gained.

    Bomber Command should have focused its efforts on strategic economic targets - particularly fuel production - and on flattening the Wehrmacht to assist the ground offensive.

  9. #9
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    I think he had too much power and was a law onto himself. Bomber command (BC) got the cream of the crop as far as recruits. Ministry of supply gave priority to BC for equipment and slowed down the introduction of a decent engine for tanks, the meteor based on the merlin.

    His refusal to allocate recourses to support ground forces should have got him sacked. He had lost sight of the big picture and could only see his little world. His continuing belief that bombing would win the war showed his inability to see the big picture.

    His early work was good and at a time when it was the only method we had of fighting back should not be forgotten. But he lost his way and his commanders lost control over him. If you think of the way that army commanders were treated it is surprising he got away with it.

    Having said all this the way he and BC was treated after the war was disgraceful

  10. #10
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    Well from what I read ill have to go with 'A Bastard but "YOUR" Bastard'

  11. #11
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    I understand that Dresden was bombed on request of the Russians, because they assumed that Dresden was a centre for supplies and reinforcements sent to the eastern front.

    Jan

  12. #12
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    Although what he did could be considered a little bit OTT, it was a TOTAL war. Nasty things have to be done to get results, even if that result was the worsening of German morale, lets not forget the Germans bombed British cities as well, in short they're all as bad as each other. I have no doubt that had the Axis won then Harris would have been had up for war crimes the same way Goering was, but he was 'our' bastard after all.
    "There is no country on the face of the earth to which the principle of citizen-soldiership is so well adapted as our own, for the freedom possessed by Britons is of so general and real a character as to cause the humblest in the land to feel deeply the neccessity of preserving the safety and independence of the nation of which he is a part"

    The Volunteer's book of facts 1863

  13. #13
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    It's easy with the benifit of hindsight to look back and critisize the tactics used in the air war. I'm sure that at the time you would be hard pressed to find critics amongst the citizens of London, Liverpool, Birmingham,Glasgow and particularly Coventry. Even with a contolled media you can't hide home losses and this has to have effected the moral of frontline forces.
    Area bombing wasn't about hitting strategic targets it was about bringing the war to the front door of the people who put Hitler in power.
    Harris may have been a bastard but he was the right bastard at the right time.

  14. #14
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    Plus, the entire tactic of night area bombing was forced on the RAF by the aircraft technology available to them and with the approval of their political leadership. Harris was merely the executor of civilan policy, and nothing he did violated the accepted laws of war at the time (the Hague convention for example explicitly bans only the bombardment of totally undefended cities and the deliberate destruction of certain types of building). If you want to blame someone for the bombing tactics of WW2, try Douhet.

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    your bastard.

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