Saturday, June 30, 2012


This event  in London a couple of days has finally brought some semi official recognition of the sacrifices made by the aircrew of RAF bomber command, after they were shunned at the the end of the war by a government trying to distance itself from the outcomes of it's own strategy. It brought to mind this graphic, which I came across a wee while ago (I can't remember where), and was saving for use one day. It shows in a way that numbers can't the sheer scale at which World War 2 was fought (click to enlarge).
Each Lancaster had a crew of seven, each Mosquito two, with thousands more needed to service, arm and organise the aircraft, and thousands more on the other side trying to stop them. On this raid losses among the attackers were light at only 9 aircraft, but on one occasion (Nuremberg in 1944) 96 bombers were downed in the space of a few hours. On the ground thousands were killed or de-housed.

It's a distraction that the particular raid chosen for the graphic was the notorious one on Dresden, since it might suggest that was a special effort. In fact the horrific result at Dresden was the atypical aspect; the resources used to achieve it were not. By the mid to latter stages of the war raids of this size were sent against Germany most nights practicable, with the USAAF doing the same by day. And this was only one aspect of one theatre of the war.

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