This series contains six sub-series
The series documents SZ’s investigations into the effects of allied air operations in North Africa, his involvement in the planning of air support for operations to capture the islands of Pantelleria and Sicily, and the establishment and work of the Bombing Survey Unit (BSU).
At the end of January 1943 SZ and J.D. Bernal arrived in Tripoli, charged by the Air Staff with the task of studying the effects of allied bombing on the town and port and evaluating the bombing of road convoys. Within a month Bernal had been recalled to England and SZ completed the work on Tripoli alone, submitting his report in March 1943 on his return to England. In April he was back in the Middle East at the behest of Air Chief Marshal Tedder to make further studies, following the allied advance. This time he had an OEMU colleague, Ben Burns, to assist him.
In May operations against the island fortress of Pantelleria commenced, with heavy air bombardment the principal weapon. SZ was called in to assist in planning the air offensive as well as to analyse it. In June and July 1943 he was similarly engaged in planning air operations against Sicily. By this time he had been joined by Major A.P.D. (Sandy) Thomson, RAMC. After the allied capture of Sicily SZ succeeded in having his proposal for the establishment of a new operational research unit accepted. This was to become the Bombing Survey Unit, directed by SZ and formally established on 26.10.43. By that time the survey of the effects of bombing on Sicily and Southern Italy by a team recruited by SZ during a flying visit to England in August 1943 was already well under way. At the end of 1943 SZ was recalled to England to join the planning staff of AEAF and direction of BSU was handed over to E.C. Williams.
Contains 14 files
The files contain general correspondence, working papers and reports. The reports deal with: air operations; air attacks on tanks and military transport; an action involving the 2nd Rifle Brigade; ground-strafing and bombing; and the effects of allied raids on Tripoli and Messina. They include reports prepared for Combined Operations Headquarters. Working papers include: POW statements; Major Thomson's diaries covering his work in Tripoli and other journals; and notebooks and photographs relating to the Tripoli survey;
SZ/BSU/1/1 Correspondence, memoranda, etc. 1942-1944
Contains 150 items referring to SZ and Bernal's casualty surveys in the Middle East and investigations into close air support for the army by the RAF. Correspondence with A.P.D. Thomson relates to the bombardment of Tripoli and its effects. Correspondence between J.C. Kendrew and SZ refers to operational research in the Middle East.
SZ/BSU/1/2 Reports on air operations (1) 1942-1943
Contains six items.
SZ/BSU/1/3 Reports on air operations (2) 1943
Contains 13 items being reports on air operations and bombing in the Middle East and North Africa.
SZ/BSU/1/4 Air attacks on tanks and military transport 1942-1943
Contains 20 items which include photographs and reports on the damage sustained by tanks and military transport both Allied and Axis.
SZ/BSU/1/5 POW statements 1942-1943
Contains three items reporting information from captured Axis troops on their experiences of RAF air bombardment, gathered from diaries and interrogations.
SZ/BSU/1/6 Major Thomson's diaries in Tripoli 1943
Contains eight items being A.P.D. Thomson's diary for the period March to May 1943 and his notes of a German air raid on 18.3.43.
SZ/BSU/1/7 Journals 1942-1943
Contains three items: SZ’s personal journal kept following his arrival in Cairo in January 1943, and two copies of the periodical RAF Middle East Review.
SZ/BSU/1/8 2nd Rifle Brigade 1943
Contains one item, a report on an action involving this unit during the Battle of Alamein.
SZ/BSU/1/9 Ground-strafing and bombing 194?
Contains two items being copies of a report on ground-strafing and bombing.
SZ/BSU/1/10 Effect of air raids on Tripoli - preliminary report, 15.6.40 - 23.1.43 1943
Contains seven items being a report by SZ on allied air raids on Tripoli, and covering letters relating to the report.
SZ/BSU/1/11 Report to Col. Ent, United States 9th Air Force, on Tripoli and Messina bombings 1943
Contains five items being photographs and plots of the bombing of Tripoli and Messina reproduced in a report on the subject of allied bombing accuracy sent to Colonel Ent, and related correspondence.
SZ/BSU/1/12 Reports for Combined Operations Headquarters 1943
Contains twelve items being reports and related memoranda and letters concerning air support for attacks by land forces.
SZ/BSU/1/13 Tripoli survey: notebooks and photographs 1943
Contains three items being notebooks relating to casualty and street surveys, and panoramic photographs of Tripoli.
SZ/BSU/1/14 Report on the effects of air raids on Tripoli town and harbour 1943
Contains 28 items including copies of the report, its appendices, distribution lists, and photographs and graphs that were included in the report.
Contains six files
The first file also includes correspondence relating to Sicily and North Africa, but that apart the files concentrate on the battle for Pantelleria and neighbouring islands (Operation Corkscrew) and its planning. See also Sub-series SZ/BSU/3.
Operation Corkscrew was the first major operation in the planning of which SZ was actively engaged. The objective of the operation was the capture of the islands of Pantelleria, Linosa and Lampedusa in the Mediterranean. For the first two weeks of June 1943 the island fortress of Pantelleria was subjected to massive bombardments by sea and air at the end of which the allied landing force met virtually no resistance from the defenders.
SZ/BSU/2/1 Pantelleria and Sicily: Correspondence 1943-1947, 1962
Contains 116 items being correspondence relating to: arrangements for SZ’s return to North Africa on 22.5.43; other personnel, in particular those of the BSU, and photographic reconnaissance staff; and SZ’s reports on the effects of allied air raids on Tripoli, and on Operation Corkscrew.
SZ/BSU/2/2 Pantelleria: Planning 1892, 1943
Contains 20 items: photographic reconnaissance interpretation reports on the bombing of Pantelleria; photographs; maps; miscellanea; minutes of meetings; damage assessments; operational instructions; and lists of bombing target priorities. The earliest item is a copy of an MS letter in Italian dated 11th November 1892 [picked up as a ‘souvenir’?].
SZ/BSU/2/3 Pantelleria: Journals 1943
Contains one item, a journal kept by SZ of events over the first three days of his second Mediterranean trip from his arrival in Algiers on 24.5.43 (from where he went to Constantine).
SZ/BSU/2/4 Pantelleria: A.P.D. Thomson 1943
Contains 37 items being chiefly notes, photographs, and plots relating to the damage sustained by gun batteries on Pantelleria. A few diary entries by A.P.D. Thomson are also included.
SZ/BSU/2/5 Pantelleria: Miscellaneous reports 1943, 1965
Contains seven reports, both official and personal , including those of POW interrogations, which describe the attack on Pantelleria, the battle for the island, and the defences of the island of Lampedusa.
SZ/BSU/2/6 Pantelleria: Operations dispatch 1943
Contains one item, the official dispatch of General Dwight D. Eisenhower on the capture of Pantelleria and associated operations.
Contains 12 files
The files relate to the report that SZ submitted on the effort deployed and effects achieved by bombing operations against Pantelleria.
SZ/BSU/3/1 Narrative by SZ on effort and effects of the bombing operation 1943-1945
Contains four items.
SZ/BSU/3/2 Appendix I 1943
Contains two items. Appendix I is a paper by Colonel George A. McDonald, USAF, Information about Pantelleria provided by I.S.I.S. Report C.B. 4096 T(i) and A.F.H.Q. intelligence collations...and Special Military Report No. 23..., May 1943.
SZ/BSU/3/3 Appendix II 1943
Contains five items. Appendix II is a memorandum from SZ to General Carl Spaatz, NAAF, Operation "CORKSCREW" – estimation of the bomber effort required, 2.6.43
SZ/BSU/3/4 Appendix III 1943
Contains seven items. Appendix III is a set of tables and graphs collectively entitled ‘Scale of Effort’.
SZ/BSU/3/5 Appendix IV 1943
Contains two items. Appendix IV is a compilation of 12 daily progress reports on the bombardment of Pantelleria from SZ to General Spaatz, 2.6.43 - 11.6.43, with an introductory note.
SZ/BSU/3/6 Appendix V-IX 1943
Contains eight items. Appendix V is a final assessment of damage to emplacements on Pantelleria, as determined from operational and post operational photographic cover. Appendix VI is a description of the layout of gun batteries, with plans. Appendix VII is a general description of damage to batteries as determined by ground survey, with bomb plots. Appendix VIII is a set of tables, with an introductory note, based on a ground survey of bomb damage to gun batteries by personnel from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). Appendix IX is a set of tables collectively entitled ‘Tabular statement of damage to emplacements and ammunition lockers’.
SZ/BSU/3/7 Appendix X 1943
Contains one item. Appendix X is a report by 2nd Lt Gisto Canestari, 439th Signal Battalion, US Army, Damage to underground cable and aerial wire (Pantelleria) caused by Allied bombings, 4.7.43.
SZ/BSU/3/8 Appendix XI 1943
Contains seven items. Appendix XI is a report on the effects of aerial bombardment on the defences of Pantelleria as described by prisoners of war.
SZ/BSU/3/9 Appendices XII-XXIV 1943
Contains 14 items. Appendix XII is a comparison of the ground assessment by REME personnel of bomb damage to guns with statements made by prisoners of war and Appendix XIII is an account of damage to defences on Pantelleria other than gun batteries.
Appendix XIV describes damage to the town of Forto di Pantelleria, Appendix XIV describes damage to the harbour, Appendix XVI describes damage to roads, Appendix XVII describes the island’s water supply and damage to it as a result of the bombardment, and Appendix XVIII describes the effect of the bombardment on food supplies. Appendix XIX is a note on casualties among defending forces and the civil population of Pantelleria and Appendix XX is a note on the effects of the bombardment on morale.
Appendix XXI is a comparison of the post-operation ground assessment of damage with estimates of damage and reduction in fire-power made during the operation on the basis of photographic cover, Appendix XXIII is a study of the vulnerable areas of guns, emplacements and ammunition lockers, and Appendix XXIV is a study of the "economics" of the operation, with special reference to bombing accuracy.
SZ/BSU/3/10 Appendix XXV 1943
Contains one item. Appendix XXV reproduces a report by Brigadier A.D. Campbell on his visit to Pantelleria on 18-19 June 1943, dated 20.6.43.
SZ/BSU/3/11 Photographs 1943
Contains 11 items being a collection of 108 photographs and notes and a map which supports their interpretation. Many of the photographs are reproduced in the full report.
SZ/BSU/3/12 Complete report 1943
Contains two items being photographic copies of the complete report, one bound and one unbound.
Contains seven files
The files refer to allied operations in Sicily and mainland Italy in 1943 and include: a report on operations by the US 12th Air Force; SZ’s notebooks; papers relating to a survey of casualties sustained in the Sicilian campaign; and studies of the effects of bomber operations in Sicily, Italy and elsewhere. General correspondence relating to SZ’s work in Sicily is found in File SZ/BSU/2/1.
SZ/BSU/4/1 Sicily - Planning 1943
Contains eight items being notes and papers on the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 (Operation Husky).
SZ/BSU/4/2 Twelfth Air Force: report 1943
Contains one item, Operations and statistics of Twelfth Air Force, issued by the US 12th Air Force HQ on 23.10.43. This very detailed report covers 12th Air Force operations between November 1942 and September 1943.
SZ/BSU/4/3 Italy - Planning 1942-1946
Contains 66 items, including some maps, that relate to allied operations to secure Italy, in particular the bombing of the communications and transport infrastructure in order to block routes between northern and southern Italy.
SZ/BSU/4/4 Notebooks on Sicily and Southern Italy 1943?
Contains six sub-items that are catalogued collectively as one item. These are pocket notebooks in which SZ jotted itineraries and observations while conducting field surveys.
SZ/BSU/4/5 Effects of air attacks on Sicily 1943
Contains 11 items being a report and notes on the effects of allied air attacks on Sicily, with photographs showing the destruction caused.
SZ/BSU/4/6 Sicilian casualties - Survey 1943
Contains three items: a report and notes on a survey of casualties of the Sicilian campaign who were admitted from hospital ships to the Tripoli District between 10.7.43 and 13.8.43. This survey was carried out at the 2nd and 43rd British General Hospitals. Particular attention was focussed on wounds due to splinters in order to provide data for the development of improved body armour.
SZ/BSU/4/7 Bombing effects 1943
Contains five items being a report and notes on the effects of bombing and how best to maximise them. Although experience in Sicily is referred to, these papers are not specific to Sicilian operations.
Contains three files
Most of the contents of these files date from 1943-1945 and are mainly concerned with the administration and work of the Bombing Survey Unit, and its reports.
SZ/BSU/5/1 Correspondence and memoranda 1943
Contains 194 items covering the period from September to December 1943. SZ set up the BSU in Sicily with its main base in Palermo. A detachment was then sent to Messina to concentrate on investigating the effects of incendiary bombs. Included is correspondence between these two units, with the Air Ministry and with various army and air force units. Most of the correspondence is of an administrative nature and concerns the running of the Unit, personnel recruitment and related issues, and the difficult working conditions.
SZ/BSU/5/2 Correspondence and memoranda 1944
Contains 125 items being chiefly correspondence between SZ and E.C. Williams. By the beginning of 1944 SZ and most of the BSU staff had returned to the United Kingdom leaving Williams in charge of the Unit, the other remaining members being A.P.D. Thomson, Snowden Marshall, J.G. Angles, Alan H.M. Smith, G. Calcutt and Flying Officer Stevens. They stayed to continue the investigation of the effects that air attacks on marshalling yards and railways had on the transport of supplies through Italy by the Germans.
The contents also deal with: negotiations to secure Thomson’s posting to the United Kingdom to continue his scientific research; efforts by Peter Krohn and SZ to secure reimbursement of living expenses incurred while in North Africa, Sicily and Italy; and the analysis of half a ton of statistical data on cards brought back to the United Kingdom in the middle of June 1944 by Marshall and Thomson. After completing their analysis, in mid-July, Marshall left for the United States.
SZ/BSU/5/3 Correspondence and memoranda 1945-1946, 1975, 1983
Contains 22 items most of which concern the forwarding of BSU papers and reports, but also included are lists of reports, a history of the Unit written by D.N. Sharp in 1975 and letters referring to an article by Robert Fox published in the Listener, 28.4.83.
Contains 20 files
Contains BSU reports, drafts and working papers. The reports deal mainly with the effects of air bombardment of Sicily and parts of southern Italy.
SZ/BSU/6/1 BSU report 1: 4,000 lb. H.C. incident at Syracuse 1943-1944
Contains 11 items being copies of the report and photographs.
SZ/BSU/6/2 BSU report 2: 20 lb. fragmentation bombs 1942-1944
Contains 25 items being working data, notes, photographs and drafts of the report. Copies of the final version can be found in File SZ/BSU/6/3.
SZ/BSU/6/3 BSU report 2: The performance of the U.S. M.41 20 lb. fragmentation bomb - report copies 1943-1945
Contains seven items being final copies of the report and a later distribution list.
SZ/BSU/6/4 BSU report 3: Analysis of air raids on Palermo. Miscellaneous data 1943-1944
Contains 18 items being letters and notes relating to the restoration of damaged buildings in Palermo, and tracings and data used in the report.
SZ/BSU/6/5 BSU report 3: Analysis of air raids on Palermo. Report 1943
Contains 25 items being copies of the report.
SZ/BSU/6/6 BSU report 4: Air attacks on rail and road communications. Tracings and appendices 1943
Contains 14 items being copies of the appendices, and constituent material such as photographs, graphs, and tracings of plans and graphs.
SZ/BSU/6/7 BSU report 4: Air attacks on rail and road communications 1943-1944
Contains two items, a copy of the report and a receipt slip.
SZ/BSU/6/8 BSU report 5: Ground survey of the results of attacks on airfields in Sicily and Southern Italy 1943-1945
Contains 23 items that include multiple copies of the report, photographs, and a distribution list.
SZ/BSU/6/9 BSU report 6: Relation between crater size and damage caused by British and American bombs in railway yards 1944
Contains eight items.
SZ/BSU/6/10 BSU report 7: Cassino Casualty Survey 1944, 1962
Contains eight items that include four copies of the report, a distribution list, a map, and a reprint of a chapter in a book in which the report was subsequently published, see also SZ/OEMU/2/16.
SZ/BSU/6/11 Operation Strangle 194?
Contains one item, a note concerning the report on Operation Strangle. The report itself is in File SZ/BSU/6/20.
SZ/BSU/6/12 Special Incident Report 1. Bombing of a foundry and engineering shop in Palermo 1944
Contains eight items being copies of the report and a distribution list. The bombed foundry belonged to Messrs Gaetano Basile and Company.
SZ/BSU/6/13 Special Incident Report 2. Bombing incident at Pozzuoli 1944
Contains 13 items being a distribution list and multiple copies of the report.
SZ/BSU/6/14 Special Incident Report 3. Lock gates to dry dock, Palermo 1944
Contains 19 items being multiple copies of the report and a distribution list.
SZ/BSU/6/15 BSU report: Incendiary bombing and fires in Messina 1943
Contains two copies of the report.
SZ/BSU/6/16 BSU report: Port of Messina 1943?
Contains one item, a copy of the report.
SZ/BSU/6/17 BSU report: Messina railways 1943?
Contains seven items being reports, special incident reports and tabulated data on the bombing of the Messina railways.
SZ/BSU/6/18 BSU report: Messina town 1943?
Contains seven items being reports, special incident reports and maps relating to the town of Messina, the construction of its buildings, and their ability to withstand the effects of blast.
SZ/BSU/6/19 BSU report: An analysis of the effects of air raids on Messina 1943
Contains four items that include a draft copy of the report on allied air raids on Messina, graphs, plans, photographs used as figures in the report, a list of these figures, and a note on the compilation of the report.
SZ/BSU/6/20 Bombing Survey Unit reports volumes 1 and 2 1943-1944
Contains two items being a two-volume bound set of BSU reports compiled for SZ in 1976. Volume 1 contains copies of Reports Nos. 1-4 and volume 2 contains copies of Reports Nos. 5-7, Special Incident Reports Nos. 1-3, and three un-numbered reports: Sicilian casualties; Bomb damage in Northern Italian ports; and Study of the bombing of Italian railway lines during Operation STRANGLE.