Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Günter Bischof

Second Advisor

Marc Landry

Third Advisor

Ryan Gray

Fourth Advisor

Robert Citino


From November 1944 until May 1945, the 57th Bomb Wing executed the “Battle of the Brenner” to incapacitate the German war machine. As a result of five campaign missions from March – April 1945, the USAAF not only decimated the village of Matrei am Brenner and Trautson Castle, but also killed dozens of civilians. Recent archaeological excavations at Medieval Trautson Castle prompted serious questions about the USAAF’s bombardment strategies and ethics, especially regarding precision bombing. By analyzing these bombing missions, this thesis will delineate the “Battle of the Brenner” within the evolution of the USAAF’s bombardment doctrine in order to further emphasize the inadequacies of daytime precision bombing. Furthermore, the precision bombing theory in and of itself created experiential disparities between those bombing in the skies and those dying on the ground that must be seriously studied if the entire picture of the U.S. bombing war is to be understood.


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Available for download on Tuesday, May 27, 2025