Category Archives: War events

Wider war events

Sunday, 22 February 1942

Bomber Command

Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris is appointed to command Bomber Command.

He has spent the previous nine months in the United States, where he has been heading the RAF delegation to the USA to purchase American aircraft for the RAF. His previous hostility to SOE, when Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, was not directed towards SIS, the gathering of intelligence being a legitimate activity of war. He, like many of his contemporaries, regards SOE as an impostor, but his main beef is that the demands for bomber aircraft as the only aircraft that can deliver agents to Occupied Europe – no specification for armed transport aircraft having been issued, let alone any aircraft built – weaken the RAF’s offensive capabilities.

The demands of the clandestine services are not his only foes: Coastal Command also pinches his Whitleys and Wellingtons which, though by now obsolescent, are still in front-line service until the new ‘heavies’ reach the squadrons. The RAF’s possession of a strategic bomber force, the only force that can currently carry the fight to the Germans where it hurts them, the Fatherland,  keeps the Navy and Army from being able to divide the RAF between them: the Navy wants control of Coastal Command which guards the sea-lanes and the convoys within air-patrol range, and command over the bomber force to force it to attack German battleships. The Army would subordinate Bomber Command to tactical needs, as will in fact happen in the lead-up to D-Day and during the Normandy campaign.

Sunday, 7 December 1941

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii USA

At 07.38 local Hawaii time, the Japanese Navy starts its attacks on the American fleet at Pearl Harbour. Attacks are also made upon Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaya. (Publication time is adjusted to account for the time difference; in 1941 Hawaii is 10 hours 30 minutes behind GMT, but the UK is 1 hour ahead of GMT, so the time difference is 11 hours 30 minutes.)

At 23.35 Group HQ reports to Stradishall that the USA has declared war on Japan. Germany subsequently declares war on the United States of America.

Sources

Stradishall Ops Officers’ Log

Wednesday, 15 January 1941

Bomber Command

In a new directive, Bomber Command is ordered to concentrate its attacks on oil targets. While it might be tempting to suggest that the war might have been won sooner had this directive been implemented in full, at the time the USSR is supplying Germany with much of the oil it needs.