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Posted: 2/12/2002 5:50:53 AM EDT
I've read that German industrial output increased every year of WWII in spite of the Allies' strategic bombing campaigns. Did the same pattern hold in Japan? If it didn't, how much of that was due to the bombing and how much was due to the destruction of Japanese shipping by the US Navy?
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 6:24:42 AM EDT
Bombing of Japan proper didn't begin until late in the war, so I'm not sure its a valid comparison. Some of the B 29 raids did cause immense damage to industrial works but by that time the submarine campaign had decimated the merchant fleet. Oil and other raw materials in very short supply.
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 6:37:17 AM EDT
One of many reasons the German production went up every year is because they really never went into "war production" until late in the war. The numbers seem misleading, since the Germans never really converted their factories to war footing until '44 or so. And although they were able to raise production, they didn't have a vital resource, namely FUEL! They could churn out lots of tanks and fighters, but they had no fuel to fly them, much less give pilots training. Off the top of my head I'm not too sure about Japan, but I would guess they would be in a much tighter spot since they are an island nation, and would have to ship over all of their resources (exempting the factories on the Asia mainland). WW2 bombing really didn't accomplish much in the way or reducing output by destroying/damaging factories. Don't get me wrong, it did slow down production, but repairs could be made relatively fast to a factory. The workers, however, could not function if they were being bombed all the time, thus reducing production. Av.
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 6:50:21 AM EDT
In '42 &'43 Albert Speer began to decentralize German war production. Aircraft were produced in pieces all over Germany, and then reassembled. That's just one example. As of March, 1945, much of Berlin still funtioned, inspite of massive air attacks. Those people must have been pretty tough. A lot of B17's were lost in the attacks, something that is not really emphasized, in my opinion. The Germans could take it and they could mete it out, too. John
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 9:54:55 AM EDT
The B-29 raids on Japan were fairly ineffective till the firestorm bombing tactics were used to destroy cities. If I recall, this started in 1945. Until then, B-29 losses outweighed any damage they did to the Japanese. The Japanese concluded themselves that "even a rich nation like the US could not afford to continue" attacking the Japanese mainland with high explosive bombs.
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 12:13:30 PM EDT
The original B-29 missions were flown from China, which was a longer flight than the island bases that were later used. That's why a couple landed in Russia and got cloned. Additionally, the B-29 was intended to operate at high altitides in formation, hence the pressurization. As has been said, this didn't work well, partly because of Japanese AAA, but mostly because the aircraft burnt a lot of fuel getting to altitude. This reduced their bombload. Curtis LeMay was reassigned to the Pacific theater, and altered tactics to low altitude raids that conserved fuel greatly increased bombload. He also sent the planes in alone. Japanese cottage industries were a critical source of small components for war industrial production, and these small shops were dispersed throught the cities. The small incendiaries effectively (and very bloodily) wiped these out to the point where the Tokyo damage control people immediately recognized "that there was no point in rebuilding." It didn't hurt the US cause that traditional Japanese construction methods were entirely wood, creating a firestorm potential. Speer, in his apologist narrative on the 1930-1945 era thought that the US/Brit strategic bombing campaign was very effective. As was said, Jerry ran out of pilots and fuel. Part of this shortage was certainly caused by their pilots having to attack US formations. Strategic bombing, while very costly to the US was effective, although I would like to see a cost/benefit analysis plus intangibles. I also think that if we had flown into German cities ala Dresden or Tokyo or Kobe or Nagoya or... on a regular basis, they would not have been very happy.
Link Posted: 2/16/2002 8:34:17 PM EDT
The issue isn't whether German or Japanese production increased in the face of bombing. The issue is what they would have been able to deliver WITHOUT the bombing, and whether it would have made any difference.
Link Posted: 2/17/2002 12:26:55 PM EDT
Umm... if we didn't bomb the fuel production facilities and their transportation infrastructure, they would have been able to churn out a lot of advanced weapons and kick our asses. You won't find many people who will dispute that. Although I'm having a hard time trying to figure out why we wouldn't have bombed them. Care to explain? Av.
Link Posted: 2/17/2002 3:55:01 PM EDT
Av, your post relates to precisely why the U.S. could do what it did - it was immune to bombing by the Axis. It is quite certain that had Dearborn Michigan been destroyed, for example, the output of tanks & trucks would have been greatly affected. John
Link Posted: 4/6/2002 1:17:37 PM EDT
Anyone else notice the changes in war-fighting policies since WWII? We bombed Germany and Japan heavily, with no regard for civilian casualties. Now, in SouthWest Asia, we are going out of our way to avoid civilian casualties. What was acceptable then, is unthinkable now. If we were still fighting wars the way we did in the '40s would we be popular or pariahs? Scott
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