Category Archives: Allied Strategies, 1940-45
Before and after: the Courrier de l’Air celebrates 617 squadron’s destruction of the Möhne dam. Courtesy Mémorial de Caen, PA/2.
‘Leave the forbidden zones!’ Late in 1942, the Courrier de l’Air told French civilians to evacuate the restricted coastal areas as defined by the occupying Germans. This was the prelude to the bombing offensive on the Biscay ports. Courtesy Mémorial … Continue reading
‘Imposed by Hitler, Laval takes power’. A less than flattering profile of Pierre Laval, in the Courrier de l’Air of early May 1942, is juxtaposed with claims that Allies attacks on French territory are aimed at Germany’s war effort, and … Continue reading
‘What the RAF is aiming at in France.’ The first Courrier de l’Air after the German invasion of the USSR, on 3 July 1941, highlights ‘Circus’ operations over northern France, and stresses that they help draw the Luftwaffe away from … Continue reading
‘The Renault factories were working for the Germans; the Renault factories were hit.’ Leaflet produced by the British Political Warfare Executive and dropped over France after the RAF raid on Renault in March 1942. © Crown Copyright. Courtesy The National … Continue reading
On 5 September 1944, 335 aircraft from RAF Bomber Command dropped 1,882 tons of bombs on the centre of Le Havre, aiming at a ‘troop concentration’ that was not there. Routine reconnaissance photos recorded the raid. ‘TI’s’ are Target Indicators. … Continue reading
RAF Reconnaissance produced a series of Tactical targets files for each of 37 sectors in Belgium and Northern France. The level of detail is shown by the page for the centre and port area of Le Havre. © Crown Copyright. … Continue reading
In what might appear an uncharacteristic initiative, Harris, as Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, asked for contributions from bomber crews to help French families who had suffered through Allied bombing – either after helping RAF airmen or after being hit. The … Continue reading
Four days before the Normandy landings, Eisenhower instructed the air chiefs to minimise civilian casualties. His note preceded the three most intensive months of Allied bombing over France. © Crown Copyright. Courtesy The National Archives, AIR37.1012.
Churchill had reluctantly accepted the Transportation Plan, but agreed an informal upper limit of 10,000 French civilian deaths with Eisenhower’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder. The Prime Minister sent a succession of memos to Tedder asking if … Continue reading