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Unshakeable Faith: the Flawed Command of Bomber Harris

In: Historical Events

Submitted By lchaloux
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Joint Command and Staff Programme 38
Distance Learning

Rank & Name: Major Lynne Chaloux

Syndicate No: 1

Directing Staff: BGen (ret’d) Gagnon

Course: JCSP 38 DL

Assignment Code: D1/DS 542/ENV/RP-01

Assignment Name: Command Research Paper

Unshakeable Faith: The Flawed Command of Bomber Harris


Assessor: Richard Martin




INTRODUCTION This research paper will focus on Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris’ wartime command of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Bomber Command from 1942-1945. This analysis will utilize Dr. Ross Pigeau and Carol McCann’s model to evaluate the dimensions relating to Harris’ Competency, Authority and Responsibility (CAR) and to assess the overall balance and effectiveness of Harris’ command. The CAR model was deemed most suitable to dissect pertinent aspects of this complex and controversial commander, allowing for the necessary depth of analysis into his abilities, responsibilities, beliefs, actions and reactions over a specific timeframe. This paper will illustrate that Harris, although highly skilled in many areas and having demonstrated impressive successes at the helm of Bomber Command, had a singular and seemingly intractable approach to war – to obliterate Germany’s war production capacity by area bombing its cities. This inflexible approach inhibited his ability to see the bigger picture with any measure of objectivity and was the Achilles Heel of his leadership, limiting his command capability and resulting in an abuse of his authority -- and ultimately, having a detrimental effect on the Allied offensive. His unshakeable faith became a measure of “obstinacy and dogmatism . . . [that] prevent Harris from being called a truly great commander.”[1]


The Battle of Britain denied Germany the air superiority required for a land invasion in World War II, so Hitler changed tactics in September 1940. The Luftwaffe engaged in night bombing raids on British cities, known as The Blitz, which killed 40,000 Britons and rendered 750,000 homeless by the time it ended in May 1941.[2] Total war had been declared. Despite the Blitz’ onslaught, “British morale failed to buckle; rather, it hardened… [Hitler] left a United Kingdom that was physically scarred but morally and psychologically strengthened . . . and determined to give it back to the Germans.”[3] Notwithstanding these intentions, the first years of the war did not yield successful results for Bomber Command. In August 1941 (six months before Harris took command), a report to Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s War Cabinet criticized Bomber Command’s performance, stating that only one-third of bomber sorties produced attacks coming within five miles of their target, while many bombers were simply dropping their bombs in the open countryside.[4] Furthermore, only two of every three bombers dropped their loads within 75 square miles of their target.[5] As precision bombing was failing, the Air Ministry changed its policy on 14 February 1942, abandoning it in favour of bombing “ . . . focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population and in particular the industrial workers.”[6] This new policy of area bombing aimed to destroy Germany’s ability to wage war by systematically decimating its cities, where war potential was concentrated. There was no better person to implement this policy than Harris, who took over as commander-in-chief of Bomber Command a week later.[7]

[Harris] was the living embodiment of the ‘bomber dream,’ the theory that bombing could win wars without the need for land offensives and perhaps, by taking wars off the battlefields and into the homes of the civilian population, make war itself impossible.[8]


Pigeau and McCann define competency as a four-pronged dimension, encompassing physical, emotional, intellectual and interpersonal aspects.[9]

Physical Competency

Physical competency encompasses “physical strength, sophisticated sensory motor skills, good health, agility and endurance.”[10] As Harris did not engage in actual flying operations, his physical strength and motor skills were not required to the same degree as a line pilot. He did suffer from a chronic and untreated stomach ulcer,[11] but this did not seem to affect his ability to withstand the exigencies of his duties.

Emotional Competency

Emotional Competency relates to stability, “resilience, hardiness and the ability to cope under stress.”[12] By all accounts, Harris possessed these qualities in spades. “[He] was sombre in spirit, single-minded, dogged, determined, and. . . thick-skinned, all qualities he needed at Bomber Command”[13] and in the face of significant pressures on multiple fronts.

Job Pressures

Harris’ responsibilities were daunting. “Perhaps no airman had ever been given a more difficult job: to create from scarce resources a bomber force that would be the one sure means of taking the war directly to Nazi Germany.”[14] The stakes were high. As Prime Minister Churchill wrote to Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister of Aircraft Production, during the Battle of Britain:

When I look round to see how we can win the war, I see that there is only one sure path . . . [a] devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland. We must be able to overwhelm them by this means, without which I do not see a way through.[15]

Despite the formidable pressure of being responsible for the one weapon deemed capable (before 1944) of bringing the war to Germany itself[16] -- but which had demonstrated sorely disappointing results to date -- Harris never wavered in his belief, enthusiasm or commitment to destroy Germany by industrial bombing. On an emotional level, Harris’ steadfastness could not have been easy to uphold. Despite his enduring affection, respect and concern for the welfare of the crews under his command, Harris nonetheless exposed them daily to “a danger which at times was so great that scarcely one man in three could expect to survive his tour of 30 operations.”[17] Harris never shirked from this responsibility and saw it as being his alone.[18] While he worked diligently to ensure his men were not put at risk unnecessarily,[19] he rationalized the heavy and regular casualties as being necessary for the greater good.[20]

Moral pressures

In the face of moral questions surrounding the bombing of innocent civilians, Harris was unremorseful. He compared it to World War I and rationalized it as better than the Flanders killing fields and no different than starving Germans to death during the naval blockade .[21] “Harris was. . . ruthless, but ruthlessness was necessary in order to prosecute the war.”[22]

Pressure From Within the Armed Services

The inter-service rivalries and competing demands for resources that characterized Harris’ tenure meant he was constantly engaged in a fight -- not only to get more resources for his command, but to ensure they were not poached by the other services. Naturally combative, “he took up these challenges with relish.”[23]

Personal Pressures

Harris was under considerable personal financial stress during the war[24] and was simultaneously raising a young child born when Harris was 47, at the outbreak of war. He upheld his family responsibilities, and his daughter attested that he was a “wonderful father with a great sense of humour and sense of fun . . . [who] almost always seemed to have time for me.”[25]

A man of lesser resilience and hardiness would surely not have fared so well in the face of such intense daily pressures, hardships and challenges that confronted Harris during his tenure at the helm of Bomber Command.

Intellectual Competency

Pigeau and McCann describe Intellectual Competency as

. . . critical for planning missions, monitoring the situation, using reasoning, making inferences, visualizing the problem space, assessing risks and making judgements. . . since no two missions will ever be the same, intellectual competency must include creativity, flexibility and a willingness to learn.[26]

Harris displayed very high intellectual competency when addressing issues related to his passion for area bombing. He had a profound level of understanding about the bombing business and demonstrated a frank approach to operational problems.[27] Perceptive and articulate,[28] Harris employed clever creativity, problem-solving and skilful oratory in convincing superiors of the need for more and better resources for Bomber Command, and he produced impressive results. For example, during his tenure, Harris more than doubled his number of squadrons (from 51 to 108) and aircraft, and he decreased their non-operational rate from 27 percent to less than one percent.[29] “His night-fighting fleets overcame poor equipment and training and pioneered such essentials of modern warfare as electronic countermeasures.”[30] Another of his successful tactics was recognizing and harnessing the potential of positive public relations. Prior to Harris taking over in 1942, Bomber Command had “claimed to be the war-winning arm but had so far failed to produce much evidence to support that assertion.”[31] There was pressure that “the RAF should abandon its attempt at making a strategic impact on the war and revert to being a tactical force [strictly in support of the Navy and Army.]”[32] Bomber Command was also subject to political criticism. Within weeks of Harris assuming command in 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps made a speech in the House of Commons that seemed to put the future of strategic bombing into doubt.[33] Harris therefore devised plans to quell his critics and convince politicians of the importance of area bombing and of the true potential of overwhelming airpower. His experimental raids on Lübeck, Augsburg and Rostock in the spring of 1942 proved that his preferred method of area bombing at night was the only feasible method of attack, and that it was highly effective.[34] Later that spring, he devised a clever plan that essentially amounted to an exercise in propaganda,[35] whereby an overwhelming demonstration of effectiveness would silence nay-sayers and gain public and political support. He conceived and managed to cobble together a series of 1000-bomber raids beginning with Cologne in May 1942 – at a time when the highest monthly average of aircraft and crews available for operations in Bomber Command was 373. It was a remarkable achievement, in which Harris mustered every conceivable resource[36] and used them in an “as yet unheard of concentration of force.”[37] The effect was a public relations bonanza, a reprieve from political sniping, support for more resources for Bomber Command, and a much-needed morale boost for his airmen and the British public at large.[38] Harris’ plan and his ability to pull together the near impossible to attain his higher-level objectives demonstrate his adept assessment of the situation, political shrewdness, advanced planning skills and a willingness to take risks to ultimately achieve great effect and advance his cause. As stated by John Terraine, a reknowned historian, “Harris’ calm and deliberate decision to stake his whole force and its future on that night showed the true quality of command.”[39] However, it soon became apparent that Harris’ superior vision was severely constrained. “When Harris finally molded Bomber Command into an efficient organization for massed night bomber raids, he wanted to use his crews for nothing else.”[40] His intellectual competency was hampered considerably by his single-minded pursuit of area bombing. He could not -- or would not -- see the forest through the trees.

That very single-mindedness which was to prove such an asset in pulling his Command together and focusing it on its task also did not permit him to develop the broadness of vision to see the other side of the coin.[41]

Harris was “utterly convinced that a concentration of force over a selected range of industrial cities would break German morale and fatally damage the enemy’s war-making capacity.”[42] He believed area bombing was the only way to deal the decisive blow to Germany, and this led to serious lapses in strategic judgement. Harris claimed Army Cooperation Command was a ‘gross misuse of the RAF’ and he refused to consider their requirements. Furthermore, he felt that Coastal Command was an ‘obstacle to victory’ and fought against giving them any long-range aircraft for submarine hunting.[43] In particular, the latter viewpoint demonstrated seriously flawed strategic thinking. German U-boats were winning the Battle of the Atlantic in 1942/43, and “the next step towards winning the war – or avoiding defeat – was beating the U-boat menace in the North Atlantic.”[44] Without Allied success, “the Combined Bomber Offensive was not going to happen, and neither was re-invasion of the continent.”[45] Harris’ firm belief, however, was that with provision of adequate resources, “he could smash Germany from the air – which would make a seaborne invasion unnecessary.”[46] Remaining fully committed to area bombing, Harris did not believe in so-called “panacea targets” – precision bombing targets aimed at critical vulnerabilities in Germany’s ability to wage war, which were selected on the advice of intelligence and industrial research experts. In late 1944, the British Air Staff and the Allied high command wanted him to join a combined attack on German oil supplies and communications to limit the German forces’ ability to manoeuvre and prevent Germany from continuing the war.[47] Harris eventually had to be strong-armed by his boss, Air Chief Marshal Charles Portal, into finally cooperating, although the extent of this cooperation is debatable.[48] “Harris had other ideas about the best use for Bomber Command . . . His single-mindedness not only bedevilled Allied strategic planning, but also frustrated and alienated colleagues.”[49] Harris also strongly “opposed the diversion of airpower to support the Normandy invasion [and] downplayed the need to bomb the German V-2 missile sites,”[50] and increasingly resented suggestions that Bomber Command should be used for anything but area bombing of cities.[51] In short, Harris saw everything except area bombing as a diversion, although these “diversions” were what the war was really all about.[52] Although area bombing was indeed the only means available at the beginning of the war, this was certainly no longer the case by 1944.[53] Harris, however, “delayed switching to selective targeting after Bomber Command had developed the capability.”[54] Instead of seeing the war effort as a joint utilization of resources, he viewed it as a competition between services.[55] Harris held on to his narrow view ferociously. “[He] made a habit of seeing only one side of a question and then exaggerating it. He had a tendency to confuse advice with interference, criticism with sabotage and evidence with propaganda.”[56] Harris’ narrow and intractable approach to war therefore inhibited his ability to see the bigger picture objectively, to collaborate with the other services, and to voluntarily use his formidable resources where they would have the greatest effect toward winning the war or averting defeat. Although a brilliant tactical and operational-level commander, Harris’ unwillingness or inability to grasp the strategic picture points to a marked limitation of his intellectual competency as a higher-level commander, who would be expected to maintain the flexibility of mind to offer creative solutions in the face of the war’s changing landscape.

Interpersonal Competency

Social skills are the basis for Interpersonal Competency, which is “essential for interacting effectively with one’s subordinates, peers, superiors. . . and other government organizations. . . [and include] the attributes of trust, respect, perceptiveness and empathy that promote effective teamwork.”[57] Harris was a difficult man. Social skills and diplomacy were not his forte. He was described as brusque, opinionated and outspoken;[58] aggressive, blunt, and sometimes extremely rude.[59] He was “incapable of deploying guile, diplomacy, or charm as weapons in his armory.”[60] He had “a reputation for being prickly and did not suffer fools gladly – irrespective of their seniority.”[61] Harris was a stern wartime commander.[62] His feelings of intense rivalry and distrust of the Army and Navy caused consistent antagonism toward them.[63] He showed contempt toward Air Ministry officers[64] and his relations with them were distrustful and extremely strained,[65] with exchanges characterized as “often acerbic.”[66] Harris didn’t trust intelligence experts and discounted information that contradicted his expectations.[67] Although generally wary of all civilian advisors,[68] he was particularly contemptuous of the Ministry of Economic Warfare (MEW), whom he saw as ‘panacea-mongers’[69] and whom he accused of being ‘amateurish, ignorant and irresponsible.’[70] By the end of 1943, Harris would not even consider any targets suggested by MEW. This had serious consequences for British strategy in 1944, when MEW advocated oil and communications targets, key weaknesses of Germany’s war effort.[71] Clearly, Harris was not focused on interpersonal relations, and his obstinacy and inflexibility were not conducive to the sort of teamwork necessary in such complex operations. All that said, Harris made good use of relationships he had managed to build over his career. He was a “convivial host at home and canvassed unceasingly for Bomber Command in the process.”[72] He also leveraged his personal power with Churchill to great effect.[73] As such, it appears the interpersonal skills he did possess were utilized for Bomber Command’s gain.

Overall Competency Assessement

Harris’ extremely high emotional competency cannot make up for his lack of intellectual competency as a strategic commander. Regardless of his high intellectual competency as an operational commander, “the hallmark of the great senior commander is the ability to grasp the big strategic picture, and Harris certainly failed in this respect.”[74] Coupled with his difficult personality, obstinacy and general lack of interpersonal skills that negatively affected most of his working relationships, Harris’ competency is judged as Low-Medium.


Authority refers to command’s domain of influence and is the degree and scope of a commander’s power and the resources available for enacting his/her will. There are two types of authority: Legal (which is assigned) and Personal (which is achieved.)

Legal Authority

Legal authority is formalized power and officially assigns commanders the resources and personnel to accomplish the mission.[75] As the Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command from February 1942 until the end of the European war in 1945, with responsibility for its resources and personnel, Harris clearly had appropriate legal authority by virtue of his position.

Personal Authority

Personal authority is tacit, given informally and earned over time based on reputation, experience and character. It is tied to professional competence, ethics, values and courage, and it serves to motivate others.[76] By all accounts, Harris had exceptional personal authority with those under his command. When he took over in February 1942, “a fresh air of optimism swept through the squadrons of Bomber Command.”[77] He arrived with “a reputation for getting things done, a leader.”[78] As their commander-in-chief, Harris was revered by his men. They knew he had their interests at heart, despite the fact he never went out of his way to court popularity and they rarely saw him at their stations.[79] “By some mysterious process, he knew the crews and they knew him – a curious example of the link that a strong commander can forge with his subordinates.”[80] His reputation was solid. “No one doubted that he was a master of his trade and had been so since the first years of the RAF’s existence.”[81] The crews of Bomber Command “were, and remain, Harris’s men, and the judgement of his subordinates and contemporaries [was] that he was a fine man and an inspiring leader.”[82] Harris also had very high personal authority with his superiors, particularly in the first years of his tenure.[83] As a war leader, Churchill supported Arthur Harris, finding him a kindred spirit, a man who would not ‘flag or fail’, someone who would fight the war to the finish, however hard the road to victory, however high the cost.[84]

However, as the war progressed, Harris’ personal authority with his colleagues and superiors began to wane. By 1944, technological improvements and more reliable intelligence meant that Bomber Command was capable of identifying and hitting selective targets with the potential to cripple Germany.[85] However, Harris remained stubbornly committed to area bombing and continued to choose industrial city targets to an overwhelming degree, despite the new policy prioritizing precision targets, like oil.[86] His unwillingness to conciliate, despite prods and orders from the Air Ministry,[87] alienated superiors and compromised his reputation with his colleagues.[88]

Authority Assessment

Despite his failings, Harris had built up so much personal authority with his airmen and with the public at large that Air Chief Marshal Charles Portal could not fire him without public backlash and/or a huge drop in Bomber Command morale.[89] This essentially enabled Harris to wage his own personal war to a certain degree, allowing him more power than his position should have allowed. As a result, his overall Authority is judged as High.


Responsibility “addresses the degree to which an individual accepts the legal and moral liability commensurate with command.”[90] It has two components: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic Responsibility

Extrinsic responsibility is the degree to which an individual feels accountable -- both up to superiors and down to subordinates.[91]

Toward Subordinates

There is no doubt Harris felt completely accountable toward his airmen. He fully accepted the responsibility for the missions assigned to them and personally selected their targets.[92] He was respectful of their courage and efforts, stating in Bomber Offensive, “There is no parallel in warfare to such courage and determination in the face of danger over so prolonged a period.”[93] In a final act of loyalty, Harris declined (out of protest) his own individual honours after the war, because his crews had been denied the recognition he believed they deserved, including a Bomber Command campaign medal.[94]

Toward Superiors

Harris’ feelings of accountability toward his superiors in his chain of command were altogether different. He regularly dismissed or seriously delayed his obligations to comply with their orders and did virtually as he wanted – i.e., area bombing, regardless of assigned directives and pressure from superiors to concede. For example, he dismissed intelligence reports, selectively interpreted the joint June 1943 Pointblank directive that prioritized targets aimed at crippling the German war industry,[95] and then repeatedly ignored attempts by the British Air Staff in late 1943 to persuade him to follow his assigned priorities.[96] Of particular note was Harris’ outright refusal to attack ball bearing factories, which experts correctly predicted to be absolutely vital to Germany’s war industry.[97] German Minister of Armaments Albert Speer was terrified at the prospect of sustained attacks on ball bearing plants, which he believed would slow or even halt the growth of industrial production, leading to Germany’s defeat.[98] Yet regardless of orders, expert advice and sustained prodding, Harris refused to concede and continued to bomb cities, first and foremost.[99] In a series of heated written exchanges with his boss, Portal, over Harris’ unwillingness to cooperate in bombing (prioritized) oil targets, Harris was argumentative, unapologetic and insubordinate as he virtually disobeyed Portal’s orders.[100] He eventually acquiesced to a certain degree, increasing attacks on oil targets from 6 percent in October 1944 to more than 24 percent the following month.[101] It has been estimated that had Harris complied with just one or two more attacks on oil targets per month, it “might have made a discernible difference to the German war effort and inhibited, if not precluded, the Ardennes Offensive in December 1944.”[102] January 1945 represented the peak of Bomber Command’s contribution to the oil campaign, with 30 percent of their bombs hitting oil targets and 40 percent hitting cities.[103] In his continued exchanges with Portal over his lack of commitment to assigned priorities, Harris was unrepentent and unrelenting, threatening to resign if Portal was not prepared to accept continued area bombing over the next three months. Portal backed down.[104] However, had Portal actually relieved Harris of command, some historians estimate:

City bombing might have ended or at least been sharply reduced, and airplanes could have been redirected toward key oil and transportation targets. Tens of thousands of civilians would not have lost their lives, more than a dozen cities would have been spared, Germany might have capitulated earlier, and thousands of Allied lives might have been saved.[105]

According to Pigeau / McCann, “commanders must be held accountable for their creative actions. . . in a manner consistent with the intent of the commander.”[106] In Harris’ case, he took the courage of his convictions too far and remained unwilling to dispense his considerable power in accordance with commander’s intent (assigned directives), which he dismissed, ignored or, at best, selectively interpreted on multiple occasions beginning in mid-1943 -- thereby displaying low extrinsic responsibility toward his RAF supervisors.

Intrinsic Responsibility

Intrinsic responsibility is the degree of self-generated obligation a person feels toward the military mission; the amount of resolve demonstrated, ownership taken and commitment expressed.[107] There is absolutely no question of Harris’ deep and enduring commitment to the Bomber Command mission, specifically to area bombing.

We are going to scourge the Third Reich from end to end. We are bombing Germany city by city and ever more terribly in order to make it impossible for her to go on with the war. That is our object, and we shall pursue it relentlessly.[108] Harris’ staunch resolve and steadfast determination -- some might call it obsession -- were incontestable. However, this extremely high intrinsic responsibility was directed toward getting “his” mission accomplished and employing only his methods, and this proved to be his biggest failure. He lost focus of the larger picture, which in the end had a detrimental effect on the war effort. It also turns out that Harris’s adherence to area bombing was not particularly effective. After the war, reports and surveys generally indicated that area bombing was inefficient, failed to weaken German morale or cause a noticeable decline in worker efficiency.[109]

Responsibility Assessment

There is a complete dichotomy between Harris’ high extrinsic responsibility toward his subordinates and low extrinsic responsibility toward his superiors. Coupled with a high instrinsic responsibility toward his area-bombing mission, but a compromised intrinsic responsibility toward the larger war mission, his overall Responsibility is judged as Medium.


Using Pigeau and McCann’s model, Harris’ high Authority with medium level of Responsibility, coupled with a chain of command that failed to keep him in check, ultimately led to a situation bordering on dangerous command or abuse of authority. Harris’ overall competence was largely inhibited by his stubbornness, lack of diplomacy, lack of flexibility and unwillingness to exercise creative thought by considering the strategic picture. This is not reflective of the balanced command aspired by the CAR model. Nonetheless, this is an accurate portrayal of a talented yet flawed commander, whose considerable power exceeded his abilities to wield it most effectively. The complex inter-relationships and dynamic interaction between Harris’ strengths and weaknesses are depicted in Figure 1. There can be little doubt… that Harris served the interests of Bomber Command to the best of his ability and was primarily responsible for putting in place those factors which made Bomber Command a decisive weapon. By the force of his convictions, he inspired confidence not only in his aircrews at a time when they were suffering devastating losses, but he also gave a very necessary fillip to the nation’s morale at a point in the war when Britain had suffered more defeats than victories.[110]

However, Harris had always said the only thing that mattered was the success of the bomber offensive, and he had an intractable bias toward area bombing. This narrow mindset promoted his disregard for other theatres of war and strategies, and it fuelled arguments over issued directives.[111]

Ironically, the stubbornness and determination that so appealed to the Air Staff when they needed a strong leader eventually constrained the effectiveness of Bomber Command and had a detrimental effect on the Allied offensive during the final years of the war. “Whatever Bomber Command accomplished… was compromised by Harris’ refusal to give up area bombing.”[112]

In the end, it was Harris’ unshakeable faith and unwavering commitment to the systematic decimation of German cities that prevented him from thinking and acting strategically. This was his ultimate failing as a higher-level commander.


Figure 1 - Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris’ Nexus of Competencies

This figure represents the nexus of Sir Arthur Harris’ command capabilities, and it serves to illustrate how these competencies inter-relate. The key nodes (or central competencies from which all others stem) are Strategic Intelligence, Tactical / Operational Intelligence, Emotional Competency and Interpersonal Competency.

Green = High competency
Yellow = Medium (or compromised) competency,
Red = Low competency.

Berrington, Hugh, “When Does Personality Make a Difference? Lord Cherwell and the Area Bombing of Germany.” International Political Science Review Volume 10, no. 1 (1989): 9-34;; Internet; accessed 2 December 2011.

Biddle, Tami Davis. “Bombing by the Square Yard: Sir Arthur Harris at War, 1942-1945.” The International History Review Volume 21, no. 3 (September 1999): 626-664.

Cox, Sebastian. “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry.” In Airpower Leadership Theory and Practice, edited by Peter W. Gray and Sebastian Cox, 210-226. London: The Stationery Office, 2002.

English, Dr. Allan. Command & Control of Canadian Aerospace Forces: Conceptual Foundations. Trenton: Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre, 2008. Document on-line; available from; accessed 13 January 2012.

Goulter, Christina. “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives.” In The Challenges of High Command: The British Experience, edited by Gary Sheffield and Geoffrey Till, 126-136. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Grant, Rebecca. “Bomber Harris,” AIR FORCE Magazine Volume 88, no. 1 (January 2005): 68-72. Article on-line; available from; accessed 2 December 2011.

Gray, Captain Peter W. Review of Bomber Harris: His Life and Times, by Henry Probert. Air Power Review Volume 4, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 1-7.

Hansen, Randall. Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945. New York: New American Library, 2008.

Harris, Sir Arthur. Bomber Offensive. Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1990.

McKinstry, Leo. “Bomber Harris Thought the Dambusters' Attacks on Germany 'Achieved Nothing.'” The Telegraph, 15 August 2009. Article on-line; available from; Internet; accessed 4 January 2012.

Neillands, Robin. “Facts and Myths About Bomber Harris.” RUSI Journal Volume 146, no. 2 (April 2001): 69-73.

Neillands, Robin. The Bomber War: the Allied Air Offensive Against Nazi Germany. New York: The Overlook Press, 2001.

PBS The American Experience, “The Bombing of Germany,”; Internet; accessed 4 January 2012.

Pigeau, Ross and Carol McCann. "Clarifying the Concepts of Control and Command.” Paper on-line; available from; Internet; accessed 13 January 2012.

Pigeau, Ross and Carol McCann. "Reconceptualizing Command and Control." Canadian Military Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 53-64.

Probert, Henry. Bomber Harris: His Life and Times. London: Greenhill Books, 2003.

Terraine, John. The Right of the Line: the Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985.

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Webster, C. and N. Frankland. The Strategic Air Offensive Over Germany, 1939-45. London, HMSO, 1961.

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----------------------- [1] Christina Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives” in The Challenges of High Command: The British Experience, ed. Gary Sheffield and Geoffrey Till, 126-136 (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 127.

[2] Randall Hansen, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945 (New York: New American Library, 2008), 19.

[3] Ibid., 19.

[4] Rebecca Grant, “Bomber Harris,” AIR FORCE Magazine Volume 88, no. 1 (January 2005): 69; [Article on-line]; available from; accessed 2 December 2011.

[5] Hansen, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany…, 22.

[6] Ibid., 31.

[7] Ibid., 26.

[8] Robin Neillands, The Bomber War: the Allied Air Offensive Against Nazi Germany (New York: The Overlook Press, 2001), 104.

[9] Ross Pigeau and Carol McCann, "Reconceptualizing Command and Control," Canadian Military Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 58.

[10] Ibid., 58.

[11] Neillands, The Bomber War…, 5.

[12] Pigeau and McCann, "Reconceptualizing Command and Control," 58.

[13] Tami Davis Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard: Sir Arthur Harris at War, 1942-1945,” The International History Review, Vol. 21, no. 3 (September 1999): 635.

[14] Grant, “Bomber Harris,” 68.

[15] United States Air Force Association, “Air Power Quotes,”; Internet; accessed 14 January 2012.

[16] Neillands, The Bomber War…, 399.

[17] Sir Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1990), 267.

[18] Captain Peter W. Gray, review of Bomber Harris: His Life and Times, by Henry Probert, Air Power Review Vol. 4, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 5.

[19] Ibid., 5.

[20] Harris, Bomber Offensive, 269.

[21] Ibid, 176-177.

[22] Neillands, The Bomber War…, 398.

[23] Ibid., 105.

[24] Gray, review of Bomber Harris…, 5.

[25] Jacqueline Assheton, “Sir Arthur Harris: A Personal Note by his Daughter”, in Bomber Offensive (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1990), xv.

[26] Pigeau and McCann, "Reconceptualizing Command and Control," 58.

[27] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 135.

[28] Tami Davis Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard: Sir Arthur Harris at War, 1942-1945,” The International History Review Volume 21, no. 3 (September 1999): 631.

[29] Grant, “Bomber Harris,” 69.

[30] Ibid., 68.

[31] Neillands, The Bomber War..., 109.

[32] Ibid., 109.

[33] Ibid., 108, 111.

[34] Ibid., 113-114.

[35] Ibid., 119.

[36] Sebastian Cox, “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry” in Airpower Leadership Theory and Practice, ed. Peter W. Gray and Sebastian Cox, 210-226 (London: The Stationery Office, 2002), 216.

[37] Neillands, The Bomber War…, 121.

[38] Cox, “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry”, 216-217; and Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 636.

[39] John Terraine (The Right of the Line, Hodder & Stoughton, 1985) quoted by Captain Peter W. Gray, review of Bomber Harris: His Life and Times, by Henry Probert, Air Power Review Vol. 4, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 6.

[40] Grant, “Bomber Harris,” 71.

[41] Cox, “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry,” 215.

[42] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 131.

[43] Ibid., 129, 130.

[44] Neillands, The Bomber War…, 116.

[45] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 131.

[46] Neillands, The Bomber War..., 116-117.

[47] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 626.

[48] Ibid., 648-651.

[49] Ibid., 626.

[50] Grant, “Bomber Harris,” 68.

[51] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 640.

[52] Ibid., 664.

[53] Ibid., 662.

[54] Ibid., 659.

[55] Ibid., 638.

[56] C. Webster and N. Frankland, The Strategic Air Offensive Over Germany, 1939-45 (London, HMSO, 1961): 80, quoted in Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 133-134.

[57] Pigeau and McCann, "Reconceptualizing Command and Control," 58.

[58] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 631.

[59] Neillands, The Bomber War…, 105.

[60] Sebastian Cox quoted in Grant, “Bomber Harris,” 68.

[61] Gray, review of Bomber Harris…, 6.

[62] Grant, “Bomber Harris,” 68.

[63] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard,” 627, 631, 638.

[64] Ibid., 637.

[65] Cox, “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry,” 217-222.

[66] Gray, review of Bomber Harris…, 6.

[67] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 649.

[68] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 132.

[69] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 133.

[70] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 651.

[71] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 133.

[72] Gray, review of Bomber Harris…, 5.

[73] Cox, “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry,” 213.

[74] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 130.

[75] Pigeau and McCann, "Reconceptualizing Command and Control," 59.

[76] Ibid., 58-59.

[77] Neillands, The Bomber War..., 105.

[78] Ibid., 105.

[79] Ibid., 105.

[80] Ibid., 110.

[81] Ibid., 106.

[82] Ibid., 105.

[83] Cox, “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry,” 213; and Hansen, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany…, 30-31.

[84] Neillands, The Bomber War..., 400.

[85] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 649.

[86] Ibid., 648-652.

[87] Cox, “Sir Arthur Harris and the Air Ministry,” 221.

[88] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 651.

[89] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 135; and Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 652.

[90] Pigeau and McCann, "Reconceptualizing Command and Control," 59.

[91] Ibid., 59.

[92] Neillands, The Bomber War..., 110.

[93] Harris, Bomber Offensive, 267.

[94] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 657.

[95] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 640; and Neillands, The Bomber War…, 200-202.

[96] Hansen, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany…, 130; and Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 640.

[97] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 133.

[98] Hansen, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany…, 124-125.

[99] Ibid., 130.

[100] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 663.

[101] Ibid., 652.

[102] Ibid., 653.

[103] Hansen, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany…, 244.

[104] Ibid., 242-246.

[105] Ibid., 246.

[106] Pigeau and McCann, "Reconceptualizing Command and Control,” 57.

[107] Ibid., 60.

[108] Sir Arthur Harris, quoted in United States Air Force Association, “Air Power Quotes,”; Internet; accessed 14 January 2012.

[109] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 658-660.

[110] Goulter, “Sir Arthur Harris: Different Perspectives,” 131.

[111] Ibid., 135.

[112] Biddle, “Bombing by the Square Yard…,” 661-662.

Personal Authority with Superiors BEFORE 1944 and Personal Authority with Public At Large

Personal Authority with his Airmen

Extrinsic Responsibility toward his Airmen

Intrinsic Responsibility toward
Area Bombing Mission

Personal Authority with Air Ministry Colleagues, MEW, civilian experts

Personal Authority with Superiors
AFTER 1944

Extrinsic Responsibility toward Superiors

Intrinsic Responsibility toward Larger War Mission

7”›?§¨»¼ÂÃStrategic Intelligence / Flexibility of Vision

Tactical / Operational Intelligence

Emotional Competency

Inter-personal Competency…...

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