German Air Attacks Against Industry and Railroads in Russia, 1941-1945

by Oleg Hoeffding

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A chronicle of the failure of German air force efforts to mount a strategic bombing offensive against industrial targets in the USSR. The study contends that what had been neglected in prewar planning could not be supplied by intrawar crash programs and improvisation--a topical lesson now that the doctrine of massive retaliation has given way to the notion that conventional air war may be with us in some form in the future. Luftwaffe doctrine was flexible enough to accommodate a strategic role for the German air force, but prewar disinterest and a wartime emphasis on tactical support of ground forces crippled the buildup of a strategic capability until it became a case of too little too late. Qualitative deficiencies coupled with numerical deficiencies in planes, delays in choosing a target and finally diversion of the "strategic" remnant to rail strikes, "the wrong target at the wrong time," spelled failure for the Luftwaffe.

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