The Secondary Campaigns

During the course of the air war, and particularly during 1944 and 1945, a number of other German industries were attacked, some of them in force and others merely as secondary targets, or as targets of opportunity when the main objective could not be reached or found. The Survey has examined each of these industries. Individual plants and records were examined and analyzed in conjunction with over-all industry data which were also located.

Plants producing tanks and armored vehicles were attacked occasionaly in 1943 and early 1944. They were attacked more strongly in August, September and October 1944 in an effort to provide direct support to ground operations. Between October 1943 and July 1944, the period of the first attacks, the industry produced 14,000 tanks and related vehicles. Analysis of production schedules suggests that these attacks cost the Germans several hundred units. By the time of the heavier attacks, production, especially production of engines and components, had been considerably expanded and dispersed. The effect again may have been to cause the industry to fall short of achievable production. Production dropped from 1,616 in August to 1,552 in September. However, it rose to 1,612 in October and to 1,770 in November, and reached its wartime peak in December 1944, when 1,854 tanks and armored vehicles were produced. This industry continued to have relatively high production through February 1945.

In the last half of 1944 German truck production was attacked. Three plants produced most of Germany's truck supply. One of these, Opel at Brandenburg, was knocked out completely in one raid on August 6, 1944, and did not recover. Daimler Benz was similarly eliminated by attacks in September and October. Ford at Cologne, the third large producer, was not attacked but records show that production was sharply curtailed during the same period by destruction of component suppliers and the bombing of its power supply. By December of 1944, production of trucks was only about 35 percent of the average for the first half of 1944.

In November of 1944, the Allied air forces returned to an attack on the submarine building yards. In the months that had elapsed since the spring of 1943, the Germans had put into production the new Types 21 and 23 designed to operate for long periods without surfacing and so escape radar equipped aircraft patrols as well as surface attack. And an ambitious effort had been made to prefabricate submarine hulls and turn the slipways into mere points of final assembly. The program was not working smoothly. Though nearly two hundred had been produced, difficulties with the new type, together with the time required for training crews, had prevented all but eight from becoming operational. These delays cannot be attributed to the air attack.

The attacks during the late winter and early spring of 1945 did close, or all but close, five of the major yards, including the great Blohm and Voss plant at Hamburg. Had the war continued, these attacks, coupled with the attack on transportation, would have removed the threat of further production of the new submarine.

Many more German industries were hit mostly in the course of the city attacks of the RAF, but some as secondary targets of daylight attacks, or in spill-overs from the primary target. Industries so attacked included optical plants, power plants, plants making electrical equipment, machine tool plants, and a large number of civilian industries. There were also special enterprises. The bombing of the launching sites being prepared for the V weapons delayed the use of V-l appreciably. The attacks on the V-weapon experimental station at Peenemunde, however, were not effective; V-l was already in production near Kassel and V-2 had also been moved to an underground plant. The breaking of the Mohne and the Eder dams, though the cost was small, also had limited effect. Certain of the attacks -- as for example the Berlin raids that cost the Germans a good half of their clothing industry -- caused the Germans manifest discomfort and may have delayed war production. Also, in the aggregate, they caused some diversion of resources from essential war production, although this effect was minimized by the substantial cushion in Germany's war economy until the closing months of the war.