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Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of
Staff, G-2 [Strong]
April 28, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The attached report of the Joint Intelligence Committee1 outlines the German capacity for the maintenance of its armed forces in relation to the industrial and allied requirements.
I should like to have a report on the accumulative effect of bombing in Germany on industry, the dislocation of labor, and the effect of bombing on its productive power, etc., etc. There are undoubtedly a number of factors involved in this matter which have to be considered.
At the same time I should like a report on the probable effect on the German fighter plane force of the increasing daylight bombings. We now have approximately 500 heavy bombers in the United Kingdom, by the end of May there will be nearly 750, by the end of June 860, and by September 30, 1150. In each case the operational planes are about 75% of the total.2
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. The report is not in the Marshall papers.
2. Major General Ira C. Eaker, commander of the Eighth Air Force in England, delivered a report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on April 29, 1943, regarding the mission of the Allied heavy bombardment units in the European Theater. The Army Air Forces in Europe and the Royal Air Force would conduct a Combined Bomber Offensive designed to destroy the German military-industrial system and the morale of the German civilian population. The U.S. Eighth Air Force would assault German military, economic, and industrial targets by daylight, employing the tactics of high-level precision bombing. The bomber command of the British Royal Air Force would assault the same type of targets at night, employing low-level area bombardment. (Craven and Cate, eds., Europe: TORCH to POINTBLANK, pp. 212-14; Minutes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting, April 29, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, JCS Minutes].)
Eaker envisioned seventy-six precision targets located within range of the Allied heavy bombardment units based in England, the destruction of which would neutralize six major constituents of the German war industry: U-boat construction yards and bases, the aircraft industry, ball bearing manufacturing centers, areas connected with the production of oil, plants manufacturing synthetic rubber and tires, and factories producing military transport. He reported that 944 American heavy bombers would be needed in England by June 30, 1943, to begin the Allied air offensive, and that by the fourth phase commencing by March 31, 1944, 2,702 American heavy bombers and 800 medium bombers would be needed. This American effort would necessitate 367,000 air force personnel. Eaker stated clearly that unless the growing fighter strength of the Luftwaffe was curtailed the Allied bomber offensive could not succeed. His figures demonstrated that the Germans were replacing and reinforcing their fighter strength at the expense of their own medium bomber force. The first objective of the Allied heavy bombardment campaign must, therefore, be the reduction of German fighter strength through a concentrated assault on their pursuit aircraft industry. The Allied command should be prepared, warned Eaker, to accept initial heavy casualties until the Allied strategy began to take effect. (Minutes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting, April 29, 1943, ibid.)
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 667-668.