Aerial Bombing: A Formula for Estimating Residential Overcrowding

In a doctoral thesis, Ikle suggested that the proponents of airpower had overestimated the relationship between the intensity of aerial bombing and the density of a city’s surviving population.

“Ikle devised a simple formula to predict how overcrowded the houses of a bombed-out city might become.

If P1 = population of a city before destruction, P2 = the population of a city after destruction, H1 = the number of housing units before destruction, H2 = the number of housing units after destruction, and F = the number of fatalities, then ‘the fully compensating increase in housing density,’ cold be expressed as a mathematical equation:

(P1 – F) / H2 – P1 / H1  (Schlosser, 2013, p.120).


Fred Charles Ikle, a graduate of the University of Chicago and expert on bomb destruction, who wrote ‘The Social Impact of Bomb Destruction,’ published in 1958.

Schlosser, E. (2013) Command and Control: The Story of Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Safety. London: Penguin Book s Ltd.


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