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Memorandum for General Surles1
June 16, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
With relation to the publicity regarding the heavy losses sustained by our Flying Fortresses on June 11th (see editorial in the Post today)2 the following message has just been received from General Devers:
“Final account of enemy casualties during bomber mission of June 11th shows 85 enemy fighters destroyed, 20 probably destroyed and 24 damaged.”
This is a total of 125 enemy planes “shot out of the air” in MacArthur terminology. It seems to me you should get some publicity on this in relation to the excess of publicity over the loss of planes. Along with it you should dig up what you can on the destructive results of the bombing. About all the American public knows is that we bombed a certain place and lost 26 planes.*
* Gen. Surles: I find that in the raid of June 11th we only lost 8 planes. The loss of 26 was on June 13th.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Major General Alexander D. Surles was director of the War Department Bureau of Public Relations.
2. The editorial commented on the effectiveness of Army Air Forces raids on Germany on June 11 and 13. “This advantage of precision which characterizes the American method has always been acknowledged by the critics of daylight bombing. What they object to is its high cost. And last Sunday’s [June 13] raid, it must be confessed, gave them a handle, for out of an unspecified fleet we lost no fewer than 26 bombers. . . . Our losses amounted to 10 per cent, as compared with the average 4 per cent of loss in the R. A. F.’s night raids. This is a sobering factor.” (Washington Post, June 16, 1943, p. 16.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 16-17.