By Richard G Davis
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Extra resources for Bombing the European Axis Powers: A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive, 1939 -1945
The body quickly followed. On 4 October 1940 Sir Charles Portal became chief of the air staff, a post he would hold until the end of the war; Sir Richard Peirse became AOC, Bomber Command. On 30 October Portal made his previous views official policy—lowering German morale would no longer be the by-product of strategic air attack but the end product. The air staff ordered Bomber Command to concentrate on oil and morale—oil when visibility allowed, morale when it did not. The command would devote limited efforts to U-boats, communications, and airfields.
The navigation aids, precise scheduling, practice, and experience gave Bomber Command remarkable skill at this difficult task. Until late in the war, when they ran out of aviation gasoline and real estate, the German night defenses stubbornly contested Bomber Command’s operations into Germany. In the prewar period, the Luftwaffe had made little provision for night air defense. Thus, initial Bomber Command night operations dropping leaflets and bombs met no effective opposition, which encouraged Bomber Command to engage in yet more night operations, albeit ineffective ones.
36 Part I 5/31/06 1:42 PM Page 37 INTRODUCTION At the meeting on 14 November, the president did most of the talking. He noted the weak state of US defenses and pointed out that Germany had a reported air strength almost double the combined Anglo-French total. He pointed out that the United States needed to enlarge its airplane production capacity greatly to counter the mounting security threat to the United States posed by the Germans. Roosevelt intended these planes not only for the Air Corps but for the French and British as well.