Which is more pivotal to a war; strategic bombing or land occupation?
Which is more crucial to a military operation; airpower or ground invasion? Which is more vital for a military operation to achieve its goals and objectives? What is more important for a military operation to accomplish; to protect an American city from attack or to defeat an enemy offensive? These and many more questions remain unanswered. This article will help you determine what is most vital to a military operation.
In battle it is often difficult to know which is more important to a winning team; resourcefulness or superior intelligence. Resourcefulness is often important but often the deciding factor in a battle. Intelligence on the other hand is often the determining factor in success or failure.
Strategic Bombardment vs. Ground Attack: The Air Power is considering the most important tool in any military operation. When one considers airpower to be the most important element of a successful military operation; it is also often considered to be decisive. But, this must be balanced with the use of force and the willingness of the attacking force to use discretion and take the fight to the enemy. It is therefore important to win the air battle; and to destroy the enemy’s air defenses. Therefore, it is important to strike their airfields and to hit their aircraft.
Strategic bombing however, is less decisive. Strategic bombing does not guarantee a decisive victory. Strategic bombing involves the employment of large amounts of ordinance against relatively small numbers of military forces. Although strategic bombing may and often does, reduce the ability of the enemy to defend himself; this action is rarely necessary. Strategic bombing is not necessary to achieve success in a military campaign.
On the other hand, it is important to strike hard at the most important military targets. Strategic bombing by contrast is necessary for the successful employment of airpower. Ordinary bombing can and sometimes does not achieve this goal. In fact, strategic bombing is generally more expensive than ordinary bombing because it is undertaken at strategic locations.
The purpose of strategic bombing is to reduce the enemy’s ability to produce air power and to defend himself. If this task is accomplished the threat of decisive combat is removed. This process of psychological effectuation is a key element of military strategy. The perception of fear that is generated by the sight of U.S. Navy or Army planes dropping bombs on strategic targets in Japan, Vietnam, or Korea is an example of this process.
Strategic bombing is however more essential to military operations conducted within a hostile environment. In the case of the blockade of the Japanese ports during World War 2, strategic bombing was actually necessary in order to starve the Japanese of food. If they had been allowed to continue their attack on the ports they would have undoubtedly defeated the United States Navy. Although not directly related to the operation of sea power in the strategic bombing of Japan’s key industry, the shipping industry, was instrumental in assisting the Allied victory. In the case of Germany during the Second World War strategic bombing had a minor bearing on the results of the Nazi attempt to conquer the Soviet Union but its indirect effect on world trade in the Far East was of great importance.
In modern times strategic bombing is necessary in order to hit key industry centers. The objective of any military operation is to hit as many of the major enemy centers as possible and to inflict as heavy a loss of the enemy’s war production as possible. Ordinary bombing is usually disproportionate to this end and is therefore less effective. Which is more important to a military operation; attacking the target or preventing the target from being hit?