4-008 Memorandum for the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff, June 14, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 14, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff

June 14, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: Air operation against German Navy.

At the present time a small German Naval force successfully contains in home waters a large proportion of the British Royal Navy. It is assumed that the British Air Force has considered the problem of an air attack against the German fleet elements. However, except for the new Mosquito aircraft, the British have not specialized on daylight bombing.

Under the circumstances it is proposed that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff submit to the Combined Chiefs of Staff a directive initiating immediate study of the problem of operating against the German North Sea capital ships with American four-engine bombers.1

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. One of the army’s chief planners, Brigadier General Albert C. Wedemeyer of the Operations Division had brought the operation to Marshall’s attention. (Wedemeyer Memorandum for General Marshall, June 8, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OPD, 381, Case 168].) The Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed a proposed directive (J.C.S. 362, “Air Operation Against the German Navy”) at their June 15 meeting. They agreed to expand the proposal to include a study of the feasibility of precision bombing against the French fleet in Toulon and referred the paper to the British Chiefs of Staff for study. The British objected that the targets in northern Norway were out of range, but Arnold and Marshall argued that the B-17s could be specially fitted and permission obtained from the Soviet Union for them to land at Murmansk bases, refit, and strike again on the return trip to Britain. On July 2, however, the JCS accepted British objections and dropped the project. The Royal Navy was planning to attack the German ships (Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, and L

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