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The Beginnings of Air Targeting

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Air Targeting   
    
on target policy within RAF Bomber Command. But it was in the nature of precision bombing, as opposed to area bombing, that close liaison between operations and intelligence was required, and EOU's irregular status put it in position to help forge that link. It was an evident lesson of the European experience that classic staff channels and procedures are demonstrably inadequate for the effective conduct of precision air operations.
    
Aiming Point Reports  
    
The EOU analysts soon discovered that although the British were getting and analyzing a vast amount of data, they were doing little work explicitly addressed to the needs of a precision bombing program. The Ministry of Economic Warfare analyzed a large flow of assorted intelligence mainly to throw light on the over-all German economic position rather than its target vulnerability. The Air Ministry was rapidly improving its knowledge of the German air force and refining its analysis, but the target aspects of the Luftwaffe were, with certain exceptions, neglected. Arrangements were therefore made for EOU to get the raw data, as well as products of analysis, in order to organize it in forms required by the U.S. air force.
    
The first assignment from the 8th Air Force was to analyze individual industrial targets, specifying the importance of the plant within the industry in question, the function of each of its buildings, the vulnerability of the processes it carried on, its probable rate of recovery after successful attack, and what sections of it should be destroyed to obtain the greatest and longest-lived effects on total output. No guidance was given to EOU at this time with respect to the factories or the industries in which the Air Force was then operationally interested, so that the full range of industry in German Europe was open to the first experimental analyses.
    
Such an analysis required not only all the data available from ground reports, PW interrogations, and photographic interpretation on the plant in question, but also a visit to at least one British factory carrying out the same process. The layout and operations of such a plant would be thoroughly examined and the judgment of the manager obtained about
    
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Posted: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM