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Memorandum for the President
September 28, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The fall of Foggia has come exactly at the time when it is needed to complement our Bomber Offensive now hammering Germany from bases in the United Kingdom.1 As winter weather sets in over northern Europe, our heavy bombers operating in the fair weather from the dozen or more (13) air bases in the Foggia Area will strike again and again at the heart of German production not only in Germany proper but in Austria, Hungary and Rumania. For our bombers operating from England, this aerial “Second Front” will be a great assistance.
This new avenue of approach for our allied air forces adds something like 1200 miles for which the German must provide air defenses. He cannot possibly spread his air defense to the south and east to meet this threat and yet maintain his present degree of security in the north and west. In a matter of days now we will be in a position to strike into the soft side of Germany.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 Germans had abandoned the Foggia plain on September 27 to defend the hills to the north and west. It was October 11, however, before the British Eighth Army had driven the Germans west of the Trigno River, thereby making Foggia and the nearby airfields secure. (Blumenson, Salerno to Cassino, pp. 170-71.)
2. Eisenhower had written to Marshall on September 18 noting the advantages of basing bombers in the Foggia area. (Papers of DDE, 3: 1434-35.) General Arnold had first proposed basing strategic air forces in Italy in August. On October 9 he submitted a plan to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to create a new Fifteenth Air Force to carry out the missions; this organization was established effective November 1. (Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., Europe: TORCH to POINTBLANK, August 1942 to December 1943, a volume in The Army Air Forces in World War II [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949], PP-563-65,723-27.)
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. 138-139.