May 14

This Day in History

World War II

May 14, 1943:

United States and Britain plan Operation Pointblank

On this day in 1943, U.S. and Great Britain chiefs of staff, meeting in Washington, D.C., approve and plot out Operation Pointblank, a joint bombing offensive to be mounted from British airbases.

Operation Pointblank's aim was grandiose and comprehensive: "The progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people." It was also intended to set up "final combined operations on the continent." In other words, it was intended to set the stage for one fatal blow that would bring Germany to its knees.

The immediate targets of Operation Pointblank were to be submarine construction yards and bases, aircraft factories, ball bearing factories, rubber and tire factories, oil production and storage plants, and military transport-vehicle factories and stores. Ironically, the very day planning for Pointblank began in Washington, the Germans shot down 74 British four-engine bombers as the Brits struck a munitions factory near Pilsen. Joseph Goebbels, writing in his diary, recorded that the biggest setback about the British raid on the factory was that the drafting room was destroyed.

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