U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission home page
B-17s over Berlin
An example of strategic bombing-B-24s with bombs bursting on the target.

Strategic and Tactical Bombing

Military experts usually categorize bombing in two ways: strategic bombing and tactical bombing.

Strategic bombing is bombing of enemy targets such as industrial plants, port facilities, and railway bridges. It also includes more widespread bombing of an enemy's cities and other civilian-populated areas. Its goal is to eliminate the enemy's capability and will to sustain a war effort. Its effect may not be felt immediately. For example, if a munitions plant is bombed, the effect may be felt only after some time has passed.

Tactical bombing is bombing that is directed against enemy military forces and other military targets and enemy strongholds. It has a direct and immediate effect on the battlefront. For instance, if a train carrying guns is bombed as it's going to the front, the effects will be felt immediately.