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Would Hugh Dowding have been a better tactician against the London Blitz (night bombing) as compared to William Sholto Douglas?

  • Welcome to HistorySE, @jsh! What has your research shown you so far?Where have you already searched? Please help us to help you. You might find it helpful to review the site tour and help center. You may improve your question to comply with site guidelines with an edit and the help of How to Ask. Thanks! – Mark C. Wallace Feb 20 '19 at 17:40
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    In addition, please cite every reference in the question (who are the two individuals? Why are they important?). And we avoid both hypothetical questions about things that didn't happen and subjective questions where it isn't possible to identify an authoritative answer. Is it possible to revise your question to fit within the site guidelines? – Mark C. Wallace Feb 20 '19 at 17:41
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The question is actually answerable, but the answer is driven by technology and strategy, not tactics.

The failure of the Blitz seems to have been largely due to errors in German strategy. The Luftwaffe failed to identify the proper targets and concentrate on them, and lacked the bomb-carrying capacity to have a serious effect on the large assortment of targets they attacked. The Blitz ended mainly because the Luftwaffe was needed for the invasion of the USSR, and only secondarily because of losses to the defences.

Until the availability of Airborne Interception Mk. IV radar in late 1940, the British could not do a great deal about German night bombing. They could have given AI Mk. IV higher priority in 1938-40, but it was competing for development money and people with Air to Surface Vessel radar and it's hard to argue with that priority. ASV radar was needed to hunt U-boats, and U-boats were a well-understood threat to the UK.

The RAF commander of night defences didn't really have an opportunity to make a major difference to the Blitz with tactics, so it's not meaningful to ask if someone else could have done it better. So, no, Dowding would not have been a better tactician for the battle than Sholto Douglas.

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    I agree with your analysis; I don't think this answers the question. – Mark C. Wallace Feb 20 '19 at 18:40
  • @MarkC.Wallace: made the answer explicit - better? – John Dallman Feb 20 '19 at 18:51
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    The whole concept of The London Blitz may well have been in error. Obviously the relevant history is quite short, but I'm unaware of any successful military campaign in history that relied solely on bombing civilian centers. What we do have seems to show it just pisses the residents off more. – T.E.D. Feb 20 '19 at 18:51
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    Yours is the best possible answer; all the fault lies in the question. – Mark C. Wallace Feb 20 '19 at 18:52

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