Harris, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur, 1892-1984

The Commander of No 5 Bomber Group at the outbreak of war, Harris became disillusioned with the effects of precision bombing and, when appointed Head of Bomber Command in February 1942, began to both advocate and institute ‘area’ bombing. This technique required the assembly of very large bomber fleets, up to a thousand or more, and the drenching of whole areas with high explosives and incendiaries. The aim was to use statistical probability rather than selectivity to destroy military targets and at the same time to make a direct assault on German civilian morale. The effectiveness of ‘Bomber’ Harris’ methods has never been satisfactorily established though their morality has been much questioned.

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