HC Deb 23 July 1941 vol 373 cc863-4
10. Mr. Granville

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can make any statement upon the effect of our intensified bombing attacks upon Germany, and our fighter and bomber operations over occupied territory; and whether he can make a further statement on the growing striking power of the Royal Air Force, and the possibility of air parity with Germany in the near future?

The Secretary of State for Air (Sir Archibald Sinclair)

The scope of Royal Air Force operations is increasing both by day and by night. Our night bombing is on a heavy scale and is being steadily and skilfully maintained. Evidence of the damage is accumulating and is published as it becomes available. By day we are forcing a reluctant enemy to give battle and we are inflicting substantial damage on his factories and communications, on his shipping and on his fighter force. What is still more important, we have compelled him to maintain large air forces in the West to resist our growing assaults. With regard to the second part of the Question, Bomber Command dropped in May this year more than twice the tonnage of bombs dropped in May last year, and in June they dropped more than half as much again as was dropped in May. My hon. Friend asks me about obtaining air parity with Germany in the near future, but I must decline to be drawn into prophecy. I will, however, gladly assure him that no efforts are being spared to obtain first parity with and then overwhelming superiority over the German Air Force.

Mr. Granville

Are these attacks succeeding in affording relief to our Russian Allies, and is there any indication that the Luftwaffe are heading to the West?

Sir A. Sinclair

I had better not say anything about the movements of the Luftwaffe. Certainly the attacks are having a considerable effect on the morale of the German people.

Mr. Thorne

I take it for granted that the Minister knows that Moscow has been bombed and he now knows what he should do?

Mr. Noel-Baker

When the right hon. Gentleman says we dropped twice the tonnage that we did in May last year, does he include in that total bombs dropped from French bases in May, 1940, and does he include in the May, 1941, total occupied France as well as Germany?

Sir A. Sinclair

All parts of France. The more significant fact that I mentioned is that we dropped half as many again in June as we did in May.

Mr. Noel-Baker

The tonnage dropped this year includes occupied France?

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