Winston Churchill on Strategic Bombing

Jul 2016
8,659
USA
#21
To begin with, you compared all Bomber Command deaths to UK military casualties, even though substantial numbers of Bomber Command aircrew came from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and are not included in the "British dead" figure you compared it to. You also excluded UK civilian deaths (which as most were caused by German bombing, is somewhat ironic)
I specifically mentioned in my post that the number of total British dead were not related simply to combat and included Crown Countries.

No, UK parliament. The Fallen
UK Fallen is wrong. "384,000 British soldiers" did not die in combat. Soldier is a term for a class of combatant specific to a branch. It doesn't include those in the RAF, it does not include those in the RAF.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

About as legit a source as we can get. You can play around with this.

I just searched WW2 and Army, which doesn't specify nation (includes UK and all crown and commonwealth and allies fighting under British Flag).

total dead: Army 368,036, AF 124,360. Navy 65,916. Doesn't include merchant navy, civilians, miscellaneous. Doesn't specify how they died, nor by which country they belonged, either English, Scottish, Crown Colonies, or Commonwealth, nor other allies like Polish, who all fought under British command.

Narrowing it down to those serving with UK, meaning English, Scottish, Northern Ireland, etc., plus Crown Colonies, only including army, navy, air force, the three wings of the armed services, and not civilians, merchant navy, or misc., and that figure now comes out to ~353,000 total dead.

Not killed in action. TOTAL DEAD. Including accident, sickness, died of heart attack, killed themselves, etc.

__________

RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Roll of Honour 1939-47 - amendments and additions Volume 9, Appendix 1 Casualty Statistics, p484

Now we look specifically at the composition of Bomber Command and how many died. 39,589 from RAF Bomber Command.

39,589 RAF Bomber Command deaths out of 353,000 UK armed forces deaths is 11.2%. Which is beyond the 10% required to be labeled as "decimated."

You claim that "so many resources" were not used. However you want to play this stat game, you're going to lose. The British committed a significant number of their best and brightest and wasted them in fruitless strategic bombing missions for years, with little but peripheral/incidental results, at the same time the proponents of RAF strategic bombing were flat out saying a land or sea campaign was largely worthless, as they alone would end the war. Which was total nonsense and the historical record needs to be aware of it. WW2 strategic bombing was largely a failure.
 
Jun 2012
789
#22
Narrowing it down to those serving with UK, meaning English, Scottish, Northern Ireland, etc., plus Crown Colonies, only including army, navy, air force, the three wings of the armed services, and not civilians, merchant navy, or misc., and that figure now comes out to ~353,000 total dead.
From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission annual report, 2014/15, war dead by forces, UK:
244,843 identified burials
138,915 commemorated on memorials
Total dead: 383,758

Now we look specifically at the composition of Bomber Command and how many died. 39,589 from RAF Bomber Command.

39,589 RAF Bomber Command deaths out of 353,000 UK armed forces deaths is 11.2%.
Out of the 383,758 actual UK military war dead, it's 10.3%.

However, your original claim was

Bomber Command KIA was 17% of total British dead in WW2, and that considers EVERYONE, including non-combat deaths and those from Crown Colonies.
Total British dead in WW2 includes civilian casualties. The total figure from your original comparison was around 450,000. Bomber Command made up 8.8% of total UK war dead.

Again, this is about half your initial claim.

You claim that "so many resources" were not used. However you want to play this stat game, you're going to lose. The British committed a significant number of their best and brightest and wasted them in fruitless strategic bombing missions for years, with little but peripheral/incidental results, at the same time the proponents of RAF strategic bombing were flat out saying a land or sea campaign was largely worthless, as they alone would end the war. Which was total nonsense and the historical record needs to be aware of it. WW2 strategic bombing was largely a failure.
You clearly view the bombing campaign as a failure, but making up statistics to justify your claim is wrong, and you shouldn't have done it.

As to whether or not it was a failure, the Germans devoted more of their war effort to opposing the bombing. With the significant losses it also caused to German production the balance was clearly in favour of bombing. And that's before you consider the strategic situation that meant reallocating BC resources to other branches of the military would not have enabled the UK to invade Europe, so would not have aided the war effort significantly.
 
Jul 2016
8,659
USA
#23
From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission annual report, 2014/15, war dead by forces, UK:
244,843 identified burials
138,915 commemorated on memorials
Total dead: 383,758
LOL, a source you didn't even know existed 20 minutes ago and now you're an expert at extrapolating data from it. Now you're still screwing it all up.

Those numbers are not supposed to be added up for total war dead they are relating how many dead, including military and other, were identified as being buried in war graves, with others commemorated in memorials. They are listed because its a stat devoted to funding, because the CWGC is responsible for maintenance of war graves and memorials. Those individuals are counted toward them because the CWGC is directly responsible for those individuals. Which are not total deaths.

The numbers I pulled before are associated with names, units, where they're buried, etc. That data is clean and is in direct reference to deaths.

You are still just trying to substantiate your earlier wrong claim. Stop. You're doing it badly.

You clearly view the bombing campaign as a failure, but making up statistics to justify your claim is wrong, and you shouldn't have done it.
I'm the one making stats up? LOLOLOL. Pot meet kettle.

As to whether or not it was a failure, the Germans devoted more of their war effort to opposing the bombing. With the significant losses it also caused to German production the balance was clearly in favour of bombing. And that's before you consider the strategic situation that meant reallocating BC resources to other branches of the military would not have enabled the UK to invade Europe, so would not have aided the war effort significantly.
Nobody claims strategic bombing had no results at all. The basic butterfly effect shows that it would. The point I made, clearly, numerous times, is that those results were "peripheral/incidental."

If I claim I am going to win the war myself, and for that I demand a high allocation of resources, including quality manpower, because I say I need that to win the war myself, and in the end we win the war, but its proven that I didn't win it or even contribute all that much, at the end I would hardly, with a straight face, be able to mention that the enemy had to divert forces to deal with me as some sort of personal victory. And yet that is exactly what the Air Power fanatics did them, and still do to this day.

Its a lie. Its a dishonor to the men in their commands they killed to get poor results. Its a dishonor to the men who died in endeavors that actually did contribute to the downfall of the enemy, in other parts of the RAF, in the British Army, the Royal Navy, and the other branches of allied forces.
 
Likes: Ichon
Jun 2012
789
#24
LOL, a source you didn't even know existed 20 minutes ago and now you're an expert at extrapolating data from it.
I'm not extrapolating data, I'm quoting it directly. And I've been aware of the CWGC for a very long time.

Now you're still screwing it all up.

Those numbers are not supposed to be added up for total war dead they are relating how many dead, including military and other, were identified as being buried in war graves, with others commemorated in memorials.
They are giving the number of men buried, and the number who have no known burial but are instead listed on memorials. In other words, the number of dead. The totals are broken down into major nationalities (UK will include some crown colony forces). If you bothered to look at the figures they are the same as the ones you linked to. It's just that the CWGC are listing merchant navy deaths under "forces", while you seek to exclude them altogether (by what logic, having claimed your figure was "total British dead" and included "EVERYONE", I don't know)

The numbers I pulled before are associated with names, units, where they're buried, etc. That data is clean and is in direct reference to deaths.
Once again, you are trying to change the data. Your original claim:

Bomber Command KIA was 17% of total British dead in WW2, and that considers EVERYONE, including non-combat deaths and those from Crown Colonies.

From your CWGC link, deaths during WW2:

Army 210,284
Air Force 84,835
Navy 59,182
Merchant Navy 28,981
Miscellaneous 1,252
Civilian 68,873
Total 453,407

You claimed 17% of "total British dead". You are now trying to exclude both merchant navy and civilian casualties.

I'm the one making stats up? LOLOLOL. Pot meet kettle.
Your original claim was BC deaths were 17% of total British dead in WW2. You are now excluding 99,106 British deaths and reaching a figure of 11.2%.

Total UK deaths in WW2: 453,407
Total UK Bomber Command deaths: 39,589
UK Bomber Command deaths as a percentage of total UK war deaths: 8.73%.

It's a far cry from your original claim of 17%, isn't it?

Why not admit your claim of "total war dead" and "EVERYONE" was hyperbole designed to exaggerate your figures? By no logic can you exclude civilians killed by enemy bombing, or merchant sailors killed delivering war supplies, from a figure of "total" dead that you originally claimed included "EVERYONE".
 
Likes: Ichon
Mar 2014
6,549
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
#25
Memo from Churchill to the Chief of Air Staff, 7 October 1941, talking about RAF plans for a strategic bombing campaign against Germany:

"The Air Staff would make a mistake to put their claim too high. Before the war we were greatly misled by the pictures they painted of the destruction that would be wrought by air raids. This is illustrated by the fact that 250,000 beds were actually provided for air-raid casualties, never more than 6,000 being required. This picture of air destruction was so exagerated that it depressed the statesmen responsible for the pre-war policy and played a definite part in the desertion of Czechoslovakia in August 1938. Again, the Air Staff, after the war had begun, taught us sedulously to believe that if the enemy acquired the Low Countries, to say nothing of France, our position would be impossible owing to the air attacks. However, by not paying too much attention to such ideas we have found quite a good means of keeping going."

A couple of ideas that we could talk about:

1. Did the British and French surrender at Munich, in part, because they were afraid of Guernica-style air raids?

2. Why did the British invest so many resources into their strategic bombing campaign if they were already skeptical of its results in 1941, before the bombing campaign really got going?
Churchill was only skeptical of grand claims. He was a firm believer in, and supporter of, strategic air power. He was aware, though, that for it to be a decisive weapon a much greater effort would be needed than that which the Germans had directed at Britain. He was particularly fond of the notion that bombing could cause an internal collapse by inciting anti-war elements.

Richard Overy's "The Bombers and the Bombed" is probably the best single-volume examination of strategic bombing in WW2.
 
Jan 2015
3,244
Front Lines of the Pig War
#26
????????

That's a wildly inflated figure for RAF losses. They didn't have that many aeroplanes to begin with, perhaps around 2000 available aircraft of all types at the beginning. I understand losses for the RAF stood at something like 1700 for the BoB.
I think he's talking about all WW2 RAF bomber losses?
6,400 aircraft lost over Germany perhaps?
 

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