A B 17 has a fuel capacity of 10 tons, and a payload of 1 ton. The 2.5 m tons of bombs dropped thus required 25m tons of fuel. Nazis produced around 5m tons of oil annually domestically.

Does this mean strategic bombing was pretty much a losing proposition? Unless they identified Holocaust trains or such.

  • 2
    This seems an odd way of evaluating the (in)effectiveness of strategic bombing. Also, are you sure the Germans produced just 5 tons of oil a year? – Steve Bird Aug 29 '17 at 5:01
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    I think the most effective way to stop the Holocaust was to defeat Germany. – o.m. Aug 29 '17 at 5:03
  • Yes, it is as ineffective as your math suggests - if your maths was a valid measure. – user13123 Aug 29 '17 at 5:49
  • According to a quick glance at b17texasraiders.org/index.php/texas-raiders/b-17-intel/…, a B-17G had a fuel load of 2,780 gallons (at approx 6lbs/gallon) and a bomb of up to 20,000lbs. – Marakai Aug 29 '17 at 6:14
  • I guess you mean m tons = million tonnes? Better use M tons or Mt (Megatonne) in that case. – Scrontch Aug 29 '17 at 8:20

It's an interesting way to look at it, but you do state a false equivalence. Not all strategic bombing was aimed at disrupting oil production, and allied production was not equal.

Anything that could possibly help the German war effort was targeted: factories, bridges, harbours, railroads, etc.

Apart from that, a very significant tonnage of bombs (stand by for sources...) was dropped on civilian city centres. This was done to turn the population against the war.

At the end of the day, the allies didn't have to be cost (fuel) efficent about it either. Going by wikipedia, the US produced 833m tonnes of oil during the war, vs Germany's 33m.

Even if that 33m ton was yearly (unbombed) production, that still wouldn't be half of what the US churned out.

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