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In this podcast Brian and I talk about the Bomber Offensive of the Second World War with particular focus on what later-on became known as “Big Week”. I must admit that this was something I had never heard of but it turns out it was crucial for the Allies in gaining air superiority in Western Europe. 

Big Week was made possible by the introduction of the P45 Mustang, the fighter that could go all the way with the bombers. Much to my surprise it turns out that this quinitessentially American plane had a huge amount of British involvement. Inevitably, we mention the Merlin engine and then demonstrate our ignorance trying to explain what was so good about it.

We get diverted - as is our wont - into talking about Dowding and the aftermath of the Battle of Britain. I had always found it odd that he was removed from command immediately after having won the most important battle since Trafalgar. Brian explains why. He also explains Dowding’s achievement.

We have a brief discussion about the morality of this but it turns out that neither of us is particularly interested. We do however discuss the role of bombing as punishment and deterrent. And then we get on to the subject of corporal punishment at public schools. 

Brian has a great anecdote about an Me262 pilot.

Towards the end Brian points out a practical difficulty in the theory that bombing could have won the war alone. 

Notes

  1. James Holland's book on Big Week.
  2. Sherman production was slightly less than 50,000 and Panther production a bit more than 5,000.
  3. The successor to Ira Eaker was Hap Arnold
  4. I have not yet been able to find where I found that stuff about Germany allowing Japan to enter the war.
  5. Steve Davies is a mere PhD and his opinions can therefore be ignored.
  6. Rolls Royce Merlin engine
  7. Bishop George Bell
  8. That book on the collapse of Army Group Centre
  9. The Soviet Union went to war against Japan the day after the Hiroshima bombing.
  10. The war between Russia and Japan in 1939.
  11. This is the Harris snippet that Brian was referring to.
  12. The Allies were indeed intent on dropping nuclear weapons on Germany.
  13. He177
  14. This is the book by John Ray that we talk about.
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