J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the Combined Chiefs of Staff1

C.C.S. 166/1/D

The Bomber Offensive From the United Kingdom

Directive to the appropriate British and U.S. Air Force Commanders, to govern the operation of the British and U.S. Bomber Commands in the United Kingdom (Approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 65th Meeting on January 21, 1943)

Your primary object will be the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened.
Within that general concept, your primary objectives, subject to the exigencies of weather and of tactical feasibility, will for the present be in the following order of priority:
German submarine construction yards.
The German aircraft industry.
Oil plants.
Other targets in enemy war industry.
The above order of priority may be varied from time to time according to developments in the strategical situation. Moreover, other objectives of great importance either from the political or military point of view must be attacked. Examples of these are:
Submarine operating bases on the Biscay coast. If these can be put out of action, a great step forward will have been taken in the U-boat war which the C.C.S. have agreed to be a first charge on our resources. Day and night attacks on these bases have been inaugurated and should be continued so that an assessment of their effects can be made as soon as possible. If it is found that successful results can be achieved, these attacks should continue whenever conditions are favorable for as long and as often as is necessary. These objectives have not been included in the order of priority, which covers long-term operations, particularly as the bases are not situated in Germany.
Berlin, which should be attacked when conditions are suitable for the attainment of specially valuable results unfavorable to the morale of the enemy or favorable to that of Russia.
You may also be required, at the appropriate time, to attack objectives in Northern Italy in connection with amphibious operations in the Mediterranean theater.
There may be certain other objectives of great but fleeting importance for the attack of which all necessary plans and preparations should be made. Of these, an example would be the important units of the German Fleet in harbor or at sea.
You should take every opportunity to attack Germany by day, to destroy objectives that are unsuitable for night attack, to sustain continuous pressure on German morale, to impose heavy losses on the German day fighter force, and to contain German fighter strength away from the Russian and Mediterranean theaters of war.
When the Allied armies reenter the Continent, you will afford them all possible support in the manner most effective.
In attacking objectives in occupied territories, you will conform to such instructions as may be issued from time to time for political reasons by His Majesty’s Government through the British Chiefs of Staff.
  1. This directive to the appropriate British and U.S. Air Force Commanders was approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their meeting on January 21, 1943 (see ante, p. 669). This was a revised and expanded version of C.C.S. 166, January 20, 1943, which was a memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff entitled “The Bomber Offensive from the United Kingdom” suggesting that a draft directive be issued by the C.C.S. to govern the bomber offensive. For the original versions of paragraph 2 and paragraph 7 (paragraph 6 of the six-paragraph C.C.S. 166), see footnote 6, ante, p. 670 and footnote 5, p. 669.