Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, February 15, 2010

The One Rule of War:
If You Are Going To Call the Tune, You Had Better Be Prepared to Dance to It.

The New York Times had a blog post today about the "Dresden Debate", which is whether or not the British were justified to attack and burn the city of Dresden.

There is one overriding justification in war between nation-states and that is if one side does X, the other side is free to do X and if the second party is able to do X with a vengeance, then the first doer of X has little grounds to complain. The Germans bombed British cities from the air in both World Wars.

That is all the justification that the British needed to bomb German cities. That the Lancaster and Halifax heavy bombers carried a far larger bomb load than the German medium bombers (Ju-88, He-111 and Do-17) of the Second World War and the dirigibles of the First World War was of no consequence.


J. said...

You're right about the issue of reciprocity when it comes to military strikes. I seem to remember something about Churchill using an off-target hit on London to push for bombing Berlin. And the Germans neglected heavy bomber development, to their failure.

But "Bomber" Harris really overdid it in his enthusaism, and the post-war air bombing assessments showed that bombing cities really didn't do that much. We could have saved a lot of bomber crews by more deliberately targeting specific industrial sites (ball bearing plants, according to Speer) and related infrastructure.

That said, water under the bridge, lessons learned, etc.

Comrade E.B. Misfit said...

One of the underlooked reasons for city bombing was the point that dropping high-drag bombs from high-altitude bombers was a very inaccurate art. If you wanted to demolish a factory using B-17s and Lancasters, you pretty much were going to smash the town anyway.

Unless you could plan a way to send in Mosquitoes at low altitude and high speed, but that was pretty damn risky.