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Bombing Policy

Volume 395: debated on Wednesday 1 December 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Air whether the policy of limiting objectives of Bomber Command to targets of military importance has, or has not, been changed to the bombing of towns and wide areas in which military targets are situated?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him to a similar Question on 31st March. There has been no change of policy.

May I say that the reply of my right hon. Friend does not answer this Question? Am I to understand that the policy has changed, and that now the objectives of Bomber Command are not specific military targets but large areas, and would it be true to say that probably the minimum area of a target now is 16 square miles?

My hon. Friend cannot have listened to my answer. I said there has been no change in policy.


asked the Secretary of State for Air the area in square miles in Berlin within which it was estimated that 100 per cent. of the 350 block buster bombs recently dropped in a single raid would fall?

I regret that this Question cannot be answered without giving useful information to the enemy.

No, Sir. Berlin is the centre of 12 Strategic railways; it is the second largest inland port in Europe; it is connected with the whole canal system of Germany; and in that city are the A.E.G., Siemens, Daimler, Benz, Focker-Wulf, Heinkel and Dornier establishments; and if I were allowed to choose only one target in Germany, the target I should choose would be Berlin.

Does not my right hon. Friend admit by his answer that the Government are now resorting to indiscriminate bombing, including residential areas?

The hon. Gentleman is incorrigible. I have mentioned a series of vitally important military objectives.

Will the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that while we deplore the loss of civilian life everywhere we wish to encourage and applaud the efforts of His Majesty's Government in trying to bring the war to a speedy conclusion?

Is it not a fact that these bombings are likely vastly to reduce our military casualties when we invade the Continent of Europe?


asked the Secretary of State for Air the approximate weight of bombs dropped on Germany during November and the estimated weight of bombs dropped on England during the same period?

During the month of November aircraft of Bomber Command dropped approximately 13,000 tons of bombs on Germany compared with some 120 tons dropped on this country by the enemy.

Will my right hon. Friend take the opportunity of informing the German nation that this ratio will increase?


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will give figures showing the comparative losses of night and day bombing over Europe from 1st January to 30th November this year; and whether he has any information as to similar figures for American losses?

From 1st January, 1943, to 6 a.m. on 30th November, 1943, 2,083 British bomber aircraft operating from this country were reported lost over Europe by night and 106 by day. 829 bombers of the United States Army Air Forces operating from this country were reported lost by day over the same period.