Bombing of Germany / Bombardierung Aus Deutschland

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Bombing of Berlin

Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany, was subject to 363 air raids during the Second World War. It was bombed by the RAF Bomber Command between 1940 and 1945, by the USAAF Eighth Air Force between 1943 and 1945, and the French Air Force between 1944 and 1945 as part of the Allied campaign of strategic bombing of Germany. It was also attacked by aircraft of the Red Air Force, especially in 1945 as Soviet forces closed on the city. British bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs; the Americans dropped 23,000 tons. As the bombings continued more and more people moved out. By May 1945, 1.7 million people (40% of the population) had fled.

Bombing of Cologne*

The city of Cologne was bombed in 262 separate air raids by the Allies during World War II, all by the Royal Air Force (RAF) but for a single failed post-capture test of a guided missile by the United States Army Air Forces. A total of 34,711 long tons of bombs were dropped on the city by the RAF. 20,000 people died during the war in Cologne due to aerial bombardments.

While air raid alarms had gone off in the winter/spring of 1940 as British bombers passed overhead, the first bombing took place on 12 May 1940. The 30/31 May 1942 attack on Cologne was the first 1,000 bomber raid.

Bombing of Hamburg

The Allied bombing of Hamburg during World War II included numerous strategic bombing missions and diversion/nuisance raids. As a large port and industrial center, Hamburg’s shipyards, U-boat pens, and the Hamburg-Harburg area oil refineries were attacked throughout the war.

The attack during the last week of July 1943, Operation Gomorrah, created one of the largest firestorms raised by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces in World War II, killing 42,600 civilians and wounding 37,000 in Hamburg and practically destroying the entire city. Before the development of the firestorm in Hamburg, there had been no rain for some time and everything was very dry. The unusually warm weather and good conditions meant that the bombing was highly concentrated around the intended targets and also created a vortex and whirling updraft of super-heated air which created a 1,500-foot-high tornado of fire, a totally unexpected effect. Various other previously used techniques and devices were instrumental as well, such as area bombing, Pathfinders, and H2S radar, which came together to work with particular effectiveness. An early form of chaff, code-named ‘Window’, was successfully used for the first time by the RAF – clouds of shredded tinfoil dropped by Pathfinders as well as the initial bomber stream – in order to completely cloud German radar. The raids inflicted severe damage to German armaments production in Hamburg.

Bombing of Munster

Münster saw its first large scale bombing on 5 Jul 1941 when 63 British Wellington bombers arrived shortly after midnight with 396 500-pound bombs, 50 250-pound bombs, and almost 6,000 4-pound incendiary bombs. The city was caught unprepared, with anti-aircraft weapons not arriving until 8 Jul. Prior to the bombing, historian Dr. Franz Weimers was hired by the city to chronicle the war, and he was given permission to wander the streets to make observations and take photographs even during air raids. On 9 Jul, he wrote of what he had witnessed that morning after the British bombers had already left.

The poor people who stood at corners and in the squares with their few retrieved belongings but did not know where to go were a pitiful sight to behold. The authorities responsible for providing accommodation, such as the Red Cross, the security service, and deployed battalions, were all working at it at full speed, and consequently, all homeless people could be accommodated in the evening, even if some of the solutions were only provisional. The city continued to receive bombings throughout the war. By the end of the war, more than 90% of the Old City and more than half of the city overall were destroyed.

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