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Strategic Bombing: Victory Through Air Power

DAYTON, Ohio -- Strategic bombing exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Strategic bombing exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

To avoid another long and bloody war like World War I, the U.S. Army Air Forces' leaders in the 1930s planned to use strategic bombing to destroy the enemy's factories, power supplies and transportation facilities. Without weapons, the enemy could not fight, and the war would be ended quickly.

During the 1930s, American military aviators adopted the doctrine of daylight precision bombing to destroy the enemy's means of production while doing as little damage to civilians as possible. Under this doctrine, long-range bombers would fly deep into enemy territory at high altitude -- above 20,000 feet -- to avoid enemy anti-aircraft guns. However, hitting a factory from that height required a very accurate bombsight and properly trained men to use it.

Click on the following links to learn more about strategic bombing during World War II.

Bombing as a Mathematical Problem
Bombing as a Technical Problem
Norden M-9 Bombsight
Honeywell C-1 Autopilot
Bombing as a Manpower Problem

Click here to return to the World War II Gallery.

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