Military Wiki
Transportation Plan
Part of Strategic bombing campaigns in Europe
Date6 March 1944[1] - Late August 1944
LocationEuropean Theatre of World War II
Result Allied victory[2][3]
United States
 United Kingdom
 Nazi Germany
Commanders and leaders

USAAF: Carl Spaatz

RAF Bomber Command: Arthur Harris

The Transportation Plan was a plan for strategic bombing during World War II against bridges, rail centres, including marshalling yards and repair shops in order to limit the German military response to the invasion of France in June 1944.

The plan was based those of Air Marshal Tedder and the "Overlord air plan" of Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory,[4] The plan was devised by Professor Solly Zuckermann, an advisor to the Air Ministry, to destroy transportation in Occupied France during the "preparatory period" for Operation Overlord so Germany would be unable to respond effectively to the invasion.[5][6]

The air campaign, carried out by the bombers of the RAF and USAAF crippled the German rail networks in France and played a crucial role in disrupting German reinforcements to the invasion area.[7]

Plan and operations

Air Officer Commanding (AOC) RAF Bomber Command Marshal Arthur Harris did not want to divert his bomber force away from their strategic campaign against German industry (known to the Germans as the Defence of the Reich campaign). However, he resigned himself early on to supporting Overlord as early as the 17 February 1944 while his force was engaged in the bombing campaign against Berlin.[8] On 6 March 1944, Charles Portal ordered attacks on the marshalling yards at Trappes, Aulnoye, Le Mans, Amiens, Lougeau, Courtrai and Laon. Control of all air operations was transferred to Eisenhower on 14 April at noon.[9]

Attacks made under the Transportation Plan

Bombing missions
Date Target Notes
7th March and a few days later Le Mans 300 bombers attacked Le Mans.
15th and 16th Amiens
23rd Laon[verification needed] The bombing had little effect.[citation needed]
25th and 26th Coutrai & Aulnoyne


The effectiveness of the Transport Plan was evident in German reports at the time. A German air ministry report of the 13 June 1944 stated: "The raids...have caused the breakdown of all main lines; the coast defences have been cut off from the supply bases in the interior...producing a situation which threatens to have serious consequences." and that although "transportation of essential supplies for the civilian population have been completely...large scale strategic movement of German troops by rail is practically impossible at the present time and must remain so while attacks are maintained at their present intensity".[10]


  1. Darlow 2004, p. 56.
  2. Hall 1998, p. 224.
  3. Buckley 1998, p. 150.
  4. Mets 1997, pp. 200-201.
  5. Darlow 2004, p. 52.
  6. Gooderson 2005, pp. 126-127.
  7. Buckley 1998, p. 150.
  8. Darlow 2004, p. 55.
  9. Darlow 2004, p. 56.
  10. Darlow 2004, p. 256.


  • Buckley, John. Air Power in the Age of Total War. UCL Press. 1998. ISBN 1-85728-589-1.
  • Darlow, Stephen. D-Day Bombers, The Veteran's Story: RAF Bomber Command and the US Eighth Air Force Support to the Normandy Invasion, 1944. Grub Street, London. 2004. ISBN 1-904010-79-2
  • Frankland, Noble (2006). The Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany, 1939-1945, Volume III, Part 5: Victory. Naval and Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-349-0.
  • Frankland, Noble (1961). The Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany, 1939-1945, Volume II, Part 4: Endeavour. Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
  • Gooderson, Ian. Air Power at the Battlefront: Allied Close Air Support, 1943-1945. Frank Cass 2005. ISBN 0-7146-4211-8
  • Hall, Cargill (1998). Case Studies In Strategic Bombardment. Air Force History and Museums Program. ISBN 0-16-049781-7.
  • Mets, David R. Master of Airpower: General Carl A. Spaatz. Presidio Press. 1997. ISBN 978-0-89141-639-5
  • "Campaign Diary". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 

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