How the West began to die: the bombing of Europe

from "Bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, and Other Cities: 28 Mar 1942 - 3 Apr 1945," by C. Peter Chen, World War II Database

Bombing of Münster

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 wonder 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 be bombed throughout the war. By 1945, more than 90% of the Old City and more than half of the city overall were destroyed.




Bombing of Lübeck

28-29 March 1942

The first massive-scale bombing by the Royal Air Force Bomber Command was conducted against the port city of Lübeck. The city dated back to the Hanseatic days, thus many buildings were made of wood; Harris said that Lübeck was built "more like a fire-lighter than a human habitation". 234 Wellington and Stirling bombers dropped about 400 tons of bombs. Though German defenses were light, 12 of the RAF bombers were still lost in the attack. The damage inflicted was heavy. The first of three waves of bombers used the new "blockbuster" bombs to blast over the building roofs and windows, allowing subsequent bombers and their incendiary bombs to contents inside of buildings on fire. 1,468 buildings were destroyed, 2,180 were seriously damaged, and 9,103 were lightly damaged; together, this represented 62% of all buildings in Lübeck. Initial German reports showed 301 killed, 3 were missing, and 783 were wounded, but actual deaths might be as high as 1,000; 15,000 people, or 10% of the city's population, was displaced. After seeing footage of the destruction, German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary:
"[t]he damage is really enormous, I have been shown a newsreel of the destruction. It is horrible. One can well imagine how such a bombardment affects the population".

Smaller scale raids were conducted against Lübeck subsequently. On 16 Jul 1942, 21 Stirling bombers were dispatched to bomb Lübeck; 8 aircraft reached the city and 2 were lost. On 24-25 Jul 1943, 13 Mosquito aircraft bombed Lübeck as diversion for the main target of Hamburg (see Bombing of Hamburg later in this article). On 15-16 Sep 1943, 9 Mosquito aircraft bombed Lübeck as diversion for the main target of Kiel. On 2-3 Apr 1945, Lübeck was hit by RAF bombers manned by training crews.




Bombing of Köln

30-31 May 1942

The techniques for the carpet bombing strategy was probably perfected at Köln (commonly Anglicized as Cologne) on 30-31 May 1942 when 2,000 tons of high explosives were delivered by 1,046 bombers in a small 90-minute window The original target was supposed to be Hamburg, the that city was saved as it was shrouded in bad weather. Post-action reports claimed that 250 factories were destroyed, marking the mission a success. What the British report left out was the destruction to downtown Köln, which was clearly the center of the target; countless civilians died, and 45,000 were left homeless. Official German reports noted the destruction of only 36 factories, while 3,300 residences; German reports noted only 469 deaths.

Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring refused to believe such figures; "[i]t's impossible! That many bombs cannot be dropped in a single night!" Author Daniel Swift noted that "Cologne was perfect ruin, and what survived, like the front of the great cathedral, stood only to mark the loss."

With the the bombing of Köln, the RAF achieved a great propaganda success. With the magic number of 1,000 bombers on this raid, the RAF proved that the United Kingdom was able to put more bombers in the air against Germany than the Germany could against the United Kingdom.




Bombing of Bremen
25-26 Jun 1942

The British launched the third Thousand Bomber Raid against the German city of Bremen during the night of 25-26 Jun 1942. 1,067 aircraft, most of which from the Bomber Command but also with participation from Coastal Command and Army Cooperation Command, were launched against Bremen. Although only 696 successfully reached the city, they were able to damage the capacity of the Focke-Wulf factory and destroy 572 houses. 85 were killed on the ground, with a further 497 wounded, at a cost of 48 Bomber Command and 5 Coastal Command aircraft.




Bombing of the Ruhr Industrial Region

Essen, the center of the the Krupp enterprise in the heart of the industrious Ruhr region, received their share of bombing as well. A Belgian chaplain who had been imprisoned there recalled the effect of British bombing on the region's women and children as "completely chaotic". In Essen, too, the target was the residential districts of the workers, not the factories themselves. Nearby cities of Dortmund, Bochum, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, and Hamm all received similar waves of destruction.




Bombing of Berlin

Berlin did not escape bombing, either. On 1 Mar 1943, Harris noted to his bomber crews that "[y]ou have an opportunity to light a fire in the belly of the enemy and burn his Black Heart out" and sent 302 aircraft, over half Lancaster bombers, over Berlin. Press officer Hans-Georg von Studnitz noted in his diary:

"[W]e came upon places through which it was impossible to pass by car. Craters filled with water, heaps of rubble, firehoses, ... and convoys of lorries blocked the streets, where thousands of those rendered homeless were searching the ruins, trying to rescue some of their possessions, or were squatting on the pavements and being fed from field kitchens."

On 22 Nov, a major RAF raid struck Berlin again, sending 764 bombers that destroyed 3,000 buildings and killed 2,000; only 26 bombers were lost in the action. Total deaths due to bombings on Berlin in the month of Nov 1943 amounted to over 4,000. Just as the citizens of Berlin thought they had seen the worst, by the beginning of 1944 the Americans were able to send long range fighters to escort bombers all the way to Berlin. The German propaganda machine continuously denounced such attacks on German cities as terror bombing.



Bombing of Hamburg
24 Jul-2 Aug 1943





During the night of 23 Jul 1943, British bombers took off for the German city of Hamburg, which delivered 2,300 tons of bombs to the city between 0100 and 0200 in the early morning of 24 Jul. This began Operation Gomorrah, a bombing campaign against Hamburg. Once again, 8,000-pound "blockbuster" and 4,000-pound "cookie" bombs, both explosive bombs, knocked out roofs and windows, and subsequent waves of bombers dropped 350,412 incendiary bombs to start fires. Crews of the Halifax bombers of the RAF 6 Group, which were among the latter waves, reported "a mass of raging fires with black smoke rising to 19,000 feet".

RAF bombing practice called for lead bombers to drop markers so that the following bombers would know where to release bombs in the dark. Hamburg resident Johann Johannsen, who manned a flak battery that night, recalled being directly underneath one such marker.
"High above us we could hear the drone of the enemy machines. Suddenly countless flares were above us, so that the whole city was lit up in a magically bright light.... With incredible swiftness the disaster was suddenly upon us. Before and behind our battery heavy chunks of metal were striking. Howling and hissing, fire and iron were falling from the sky. The whole city was lit up in a sea of flames!"

Paul Elingshausen, the deputy air raid warden of his block, remembered the frustration of not being able to fight the massive fires.

"There was no running water, the Tommies had smashed the waterworks first... we had to abandon house after house. Finally Dr. Wilm's house caught fire, and I, as deputy air-raid warden, stopped fighting the fire since there was neither sand or water, and the flames were already licking the side of our roof. We started to save what could be saved.... I had all of fourteen minutes to rescue the most important things, some clothes and other stuff.... One cannot imagine how fast fire is, and how easily it can cut off your escape route; this is why I also gave up, no matter how much I would have liked to have this or that. And so I stood below with what little stuff I had, and was forced to watch, full of impotent anger, as our beloved building burned."

The RAF bombers' entrance over German air was aided by "Window", code name for strips of paper coated with foil on one side, which successfully blinded German short-range radar and the anti-aircraft flak weapons that depended on radar. Once they completed their attack on Hamburg, however, German night fighters arrived in response and shot down a number of British bombers.

Only 12 aircraft were lost during the raid of 24 Jul 1943.

At 1440 in the afternoon on the next day, 25 Jul, United States Army Air Force bombers arrived during daylight. The Americans, operating under a separate command, chose to follow up the British bombing for military reasons. Top American commanders noted Hamburg's aircraft parts factories and submarine builders, and the chaos caused by the British bombing the day before might increase the rate of success for the raid. Brigadier General Frederick L. Anderson, Jr. gave the order that day to launch his B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, with the Blohm & Voß shipyards and the Klöckner aircraft engine factories as the primary objectives. When 109 bombers arrived at Hamburg, crews reported that the smoke rising from fires were so heavy that they were having trouble locating their targets. They thought the fires were caused by the first wave of American bombers; little did they know, the fires had actually been burning since the first British raid.

German fighters inflicted a heavy toll on the American bombers. Even as the bombers were fleeing after unloading the bombs, fighters hovered on the edges of the flight groups, looking for bombers that were unable to stay with the group. German fighters were typically afraid of flying into a group of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, as the high concentration of defensive guns meant certain death. However, there were reports of fighters directly challenging bombers, with the most of them employing the strategy of flying from the direction of the sun to mask their attacks. The American bombers returned to Britain around 1930 in the evening, finding that they had lost 15 aircraft.

In the afternoon of Sunday, 25 Jul, Gauleiter of Hamburg Karl Kaufmann decided to seal the city. As the city continued to burn, he announced no one would be allowed leave, reasoning that it would maintain the manpower needed to fight fires and to help survivors. Little did he know that it was only the start of an entire bombing campaign on the city. Keeping the population in the city "ensured the deaths of thousands in the coming days", said Keith Lowe.

At dawn on 26 Jul, USAAF bomber crews gathered again for another mission. To their surprise, they found themselves staring at a map of Hamburg once again. They took off around 0900 that morning. When they arrived at Hamburg at noon time, they were once again blinded by smoke, but this time, the smoke was generated by German efforts to mask areas of the city. The attacking bombers released their 126 tons of bombs in a short one-minute window, scoring direct hits on the Blohm & Voß shipyards and MAN diesel engine works. Neuhof power station was hit by the 303rd Bomber Group, which disabled the power station for the coming two weeks. This precision bombing killed few civilians outside the intended military and infrastructure targets. Only two American bombers were lost on this raid.

The American bombings on 25 and 26 Jul did serious damage to the Blohm & Voß shipyards. Construction shops, ship fitters shops, engine shops, boiler house, power station, foundry, and tool stores were all seriously damaged, while two of the dry docks were also considerably damaged. The Howaldtswerke factory lost several furnaces, shipbuilding and machinery sheds, and the diesel engine shops. Oil stores near the Rosshafen rail station were hit. Putting the Neuhof power station out of commission was probably the most important achievement.

During the night of 26-27 Jul, 6 British Mosquito aircraft conducted a nuisance raid on Hamburg, just like the night before. They were not meant to cause much damage to the city. Instead, they were sent to keep the Hamburg residents on their toes. By depriving them of sleep, the RAF Bomber Commanded intended on destroying their morale bit by bit.

During the night of 27-28 Jul, 787 British bombers attacked Hamburg from the northeast. The direction was chosen so that creep-back would cause damage to a totally different part of town, thus systematically destroying the area from city center outwards. "Creep back" was the term used to describe the fact that, as subsequent bomber crews saw explosions and fires near the target caused by the first waves, they would grow more excited, which led them to release their bomb slightly early. Thus as each subsequent waves released their bombs earlier and earlier, the damage spreads toward the direction that the bombers came from. As city center buildings were already damaged, the British Lancaster, Halifax, and Stirling bombers carried far more incendiary bombs tonight, instead of explosives. The 722 aircraft that reached Hamburg dropped more than 2,313 tons of bombs on Hamburg in the span of 50 minutes. The resulting fire destroyed 16,000 buildings and killed thousands of people. Trevor Timperley of 156 Squadron RAF, who flew two missions over Hamburg, recalled the city being "a sea of flames" on this night. Leonard Cooper, a British flight engineer aboard a 7 Squadron RAF Lancaster bomber, recalled smoke rising to the altitude of 20,000 feet, carrying the stink of burning human flesh. "It's not a thing I'd like to talk about", he told his interviewer emotionally. On the ground, the scene of destruction exactly mirrored what the RAF bomber crews imagined. Erich Titschak recalled his entire neighborhood engulfed in "one enormous sea of fire", while Hans Jedlicka expressed a similar experience, noting "[t]he whole of Hammerbrook was burning!" A 40-year-old survivor gave the following account, which without a doubt contributed to some of the awful smell that the RAF bomber crews took note of high above.

The stretch of road upon which we now travelled brought ever worsening scenes of horror. I saw many women with their children held in their arms running, burning and then falling and not getting back up. We passed masses of people made up of four or five corpses, each probably a family, visible only as a pile of burned substance no larger than a small child. Many men and women fell over suddenly without having caught fire.... Silently and with the last of their force, women tried to save their children. They carried them pressed close. Many of these children were already dead, without their mothers knowing.

The British bombers that flew over Hamburg on the night of 27-28 Jul met a tougher defense. Realizing that "Window" took away their ability to use radar to direct flak, more stress was put on the use of night fighters. Particularly, Major Hajo Herrmann's Wilde Sau, or "Wild Boar", tactics were deployed; Wilde Sau tactics called for flak to explode at a the particular altitude that enemy bombers traveled, while night fighters hovered at a safe distance higher above. As the fighters flew high above, the fires on the ground easily contrasted the outlines of bombers, and Wilde Sau fighters would sweep down against targets of opportunity. Over Hamburg and on the British bombers' return journey, Wilde Sau and conventional fighters claimed many hits.

The 27-28 Jul raid killed about 42,600 people and destroyed over 16,000 residential buildings. Goebbels called this raid "the greatest crisis of the war" in his diary a few days later. British newspaper The Daily Express published, on the front page, the headline "RAF blitz to wipe Hamburg off the war map".

During the night of 28-29 Jul, four Mosquito aircraft performed a nuisance raid on Hamburg.

On the following night, 29-30 Jul, 777 British aircraft attacked the northern areas of Hamburg. En route, the bombers flew straight into a huge storm, and almost all crew members who participated in this raid reported the St. Elmo's fire phenomenon as their aircraft became electrified. Pilot J. K. Christie of a Lancaster bomber of the 35 Squadron noted his "spectacular experience" in his diary:
"There were huge luminous rings around the propellers, blue flames out of the wing-tips, gun muzzles and also everywhere else on the aircraft where its surface is pointed. For instance, the de-icing tube in front of my window had a blue flame around it. Electrical flowers were dancing on the windows all the time until they got iced up, when the flowers disappeared. The wireless operator told me afterwards that sparks were shooting across his equipment all the time and that his aerials were luminous throughout the lengths. I didn't feel a bit happy and tried to go down below the clouds."

The unexpected electrical storm was not the only danger the British bombers faced. With additional anti-aircraft weapons brought into the city, the density of flak at and below 4,500 meters altitude were far greater than during previous raids; above that altitude, aside from the dangerous storm clouds, Wilde Sau fighters continued to sweep down from above on unsuspecting bombers. 28 aircraft were lost during this raid. They caused damage, but did not start another firestorm.

The final large scale raid conducted on Hamburg took place on the night of 2-3 Aug, where 740 aircraft launched for Hamburg, but bad weather prevented many of the bombers from reaching the target; many of them were diverted to bomb secondary targets instead. 30 of the 740 bombers were lost.

In the mere ten days, Hamburg was utterly destroyed. Perhaps a personal correspondence from German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel to his wife dated 3 Aug 1943 captured the fear instilled in the German people after the bombings on the city:

"Hamburg has been a catastrophe for us, and last night there was yet another heavy air raid on it. The same must be expected for Berlin as soon as the nights are long enough for the longer flying time involved. That is why I want you to leave Berlin as soon as possible in view of the enormous danger there now is of fires breaking out; fires are far more dangerous than high explosive.... I am afraid of vast conflagrations consuming whole districts, streams of burning oil flowing into the basements and shelters, phosphorus, and the like. It will be difficult to escape from the shelters then, and there is the danger of tremendous heat being generated. This will not be cowardice, but the sheer realization that in face of phenomena like these one is completely powerless; in the heart of the city you will be quite powerless."

Although the bombings put a halt on Hamburg's war industries, production was recovered relatively quickly. By the end of 1943, the aircraft industry was operating at 91% of pre-bombing levels, while electrical goods, optics, and precision tools either returned or surpassed pre-bombing levels. The chemical industry, which suffered greatly during the ten days, returned to 71% of pre-bombing capacity by end of 1943 as well. Most importantly, the submarine-building industry, which the Allies targeted, returned to near pre-bombing capacity within two months. René Ratouis, a French worker who witness the destruction of the shipyards, recalled his surprise when he returned in Sep and saw nearly no sign of any attack; by 28 Sep, submarine Wa 201 was completed and launched from the Blohm & Voß shipyards.




Bombing of Dresden
13-14 Feb 1945

Early in 1945, Allied commanders gathered to plan Thunderclap, a new plan to strategically bomb Germany, particularly to aid the advance of Russian troops. They argued that carpet bombing of large cities in eastern Germany would allow Russian troops to exploit the confusion that would ensue, hampering movement of German troops from west of the target cities. On 27 Jan 1945, Given the Allied Joint Intelligence Command's conclusion that the Germans could reinforce the Eastern Front with half a million men (up to 42 divisions), Sir Archibald Sinclair of the RAF sent Churchill the recommendation of bombing Berlin, Dresden, Chemnitz, Leipzig, or other large cities with available resources, in order to hinder efficient enemy movement should such a reinforcement be ordered by Berlin. Interception of Enigma-coded messages confirmed that such movements were likely. Documents dated 4 Feb revealed that RAF bombing priority list were, in specific order:

  • Cities with oil production facilities, such as Politz, Ruhland, and Vienna
  • Cities that were considered transportation hubs or with considerable industrial facilities, such as Berlin and Dresden.
  • Cities with factories capable of producing tanks, self-propelled guns, and jet engines.

In sum, the official documents as well as the Yalta Conference discussions noted the goal of the strategic bombings was to disrupt enemy communications and other military or industrial goals, not to kill evacuees. However, rumors of "off the record" discussions ran rampant. For example, British Air Commodore Grierson was accused in saying that the (after the bombing of Dresden) that the aim of Thunderclap was the bomb large population centers to disrupt the logistics of relief supplies.

Dresden was the capital of the state of Saxony, situated on the Elbe River. It was a cultural center, containing famous landmarks as the Frauenkirche, and was dubbed the Florence of the Elbe. Population of the city was largely anyone's guess as refugees flooded into the city shortly prior to the bombing as Russian troops advanced to the city's east, however common estimates put the population at the time of bombings at greater than 650,000.

The attacks were originally planned to start with a raid by the US Eighth Air Force, but weather prevented the American bombers from taking off. During the night of 13-14 Feb, 796 British Lancasters and 9 Mosquitoes were displaced and dropped 1478 tons of high explosive and 1182 tons of incendiary bombs on the first bombing run and 800 tons of bombs on the second run. The incendiary bombs contained combustible chemicals such as magnesium, phosphorus, or petroleum jelly/napalm. There were claims that due to the extreme temperatures inside buildings caused by the tremendous fires, air currents were formed where people fleeing would be sucked into the burning buildings. 3 hours later, 529 Lancasters dropped 1800 tons of bombs. On the next day, 311 American B-17 bombers dropped 771 tons of bombs while the escort Mustang fighters strafed traffic (no distinction between military and civilian) on the streets to cause further havoc. Some reports indicate that civilians fleeing the bombing were strafed by American fighter pilots, but these reports are largely without solid evidence. Margaret Freyer, a Dresden resident, recalled:

'The firestorm is incredible, there are calls for help and screams from somewhere but all around is one single inferno. To my left I suddenly see a woman. I can see her to this day and shall never forget it. She carries a bundle in her arms, it is her baby. She runs, she falls, and the child flies in an arc into the fire.... Insane fear grips me and from then on I repeat one simple sentence to myself, 'I don't want to burn to death'."

Lothar Metzger, another Dresden resident who was only nine years old at the time, recalled:
We did not recognize our street anymore. Fire, only fire wherever we looked. Our 4th floor did not exist anymore. The broken remains of our house were burning. On the streets there were burning vehicles and carts with refugees, people, horses, all of them screaming and shouting in fear of death. I saw hurt women, children, old people searching a way through ruins and flames.... (A)ll the time the hot wind of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from. I cannot forget these terrible details. I can never forget them.

Prior to this bombing, Allied bombers had already bombed Dresden railways twice (7 Oct 1944 and 16 Jan 1945). After the massive bombings on 13-14 Feb 1945, American bombers once again bombed Dresden on 2 Mar 1945.

The bombing methods used by the Allied were to encourage total destruction of buildings: the high explosive bombs first expose the wood frames of buildings, then the incendiary bombs ignite the wood, and finally followed by various explosives to hamper the firefighting efforts. The results were devastating. 24,866 out of 28,410 houses in the inner city of Dresden were destroyed, many of them schools, hospitals, and churches. Estimate of deaths range from 25,000 to more than 60,000 (the official German report stated 25,000 estimated with 21,271 registered burials). Roy Akehurst, a wireless operator in a RAF bomber crew, was struck by the destruction that he had help caused.

It struck me at the time, the thought of the women and children down there. We seemed to fly for hours over a sheet of fire, a terrific red glow with thin haze over it. I found myself making comments to the crew 'Oh God, those poor people'. It was completely uncalled for. You can't justify it.

The civilian deaths at Dresden would be used by two political machines as propaganda. First, the Nazi Propaganda Ministry would attempt to use this to stir public resentment against the Allied invaders. Then during the Cold War, Russian propaganda would describe this bombing as western cruelty, alienating the East Germans with the British and Americans. Churchill, too, started to feel guilty of the widespread destruction the western Allies had caused in Germany, even though he was an early proponent of bombing German cities. In a memorandum sent to Harris, Churchill noted that:

"It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing terror, should be reviewed.... I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives..., rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction."

Although Dresden did not see particularly more attacks when compared to other German cities, the ideal weather conditions and the common usage of wooden structure made the destruction more widespread. The lack of anti-aircraft fire also contributed to the higher level of destruction, as Germany did not defend her with anti-aircraft guns as Dresden was far from Allied bomber bases, at least earlier in the war. However, contrary to that statement, a study conducted by the United States Air Force indicated that Dresden was indeed defended by anti-aircraft guns, operated by the Combined Dresden and Berlin Luftwaffe Administration Commands.

In recent history German historian Joerg Freidrich suggested that the Dresden bombings might be considered a war crime. German sources often suggestion Dresden, even during war time, was nothing more than a cultural center. However, Allied reports indicated the presence of the Zeiss-Ikon optical factory and Siemans glass factory (which produced gun sights), and other factories building radar, anti-aircraft shell fuses, gas masks, fighter engines, and various fighter parts. The proponents of the war crimes argument claimed that Dresden was bombed by Allied terror bombing strategy, meanwhile prominent military historians such as B. H. Liddell Hart compared the bombing to the methods of the 13th century Mongols. For years to come, Air Marshal Arthur Harris had been again and again under challenge to justify the attacks. He held fast to the belief that although it was near the end of the war, the military needs at that time warranted the bombing of this communications hub.

In 1969 Kurt Vonnegut, who witnessed the Dresden bombing, published the fictional work Slaughterhouse Five with this event as the backdrop. A film version of the work was released three years later.

Sources:
United States Air Force History Support Office
Walter Görlitz, In the Service of the Reich
Keith Lowe, Inferno
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp
Anthony Read and David Fisher, The Fall of Berlin
Daniel Swift, Bomber County



The Bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, and Other Cities Timeline:

21 Jun 1938 The British Minister of Parliament for Derby P. J. Noel-Baker spoke at the House of Commons against aerial bombing of German cities based on moral grounds. "The only way to prevent atrocities from the air is to abolish air warfare and national air forces altogether."
16 Dec 1940 134 RAF bombers attacked Mannheim, Germany in retaliation for German raids on British cities; 34 civilians were killed, 81 were injured, and 1,266 homes destroyed by 100 tons of high explosive bombs and 14,000 incendiary bombs. This was the first Allied area bombing raid of the war against a populated target, as opposed to targets of military or industrial value.
21 Dec 1940 Berlin suffered minor damage from an RAF bombing raid.
31 Dec 1940 RAF bombers attacked the bridge over the Rhine River at Emmerich, Germany and Köln, Germany.
3 Jan 1941 RAF bombers attacked Bremen and the Kiel Canal in Germany. The Kiel Canal Bridge suffered a direct hit and collapsed on Finnish ships Yrsa.
15 Jan 1941 Overnight, Wellington bombers of No. 57 Squadron RAF attacked Emden, Germany while 76 RAF bombers attacked Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
4 Feb 1941 British bombers attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
10 Feb 1941 222 British aircraft attacked Hannover, Germany.
24 Mar 1941 The RAF conducted its first bombing raid on Berlin for the year.
17 May 1941 British bombers attacked Bramsfeld, 12 kilometers northwest of Köln, Germany; the Atlantik rubber plant was hit with 2 high explosive and 44 incendiary bombs.
24 Jun 1941 British bombers attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
27 Jun 1941 British bombers attacked Bremen, Germany.
3 Jul 1941 British bombers attacked Essen, Germany.
5 Jul 1941 63 British Wellington bombers attacked Münster, Germany at between about 0050 hours and 0250 hours local time with 396 500-pound bombs, 50 250-pound bombs, and almost 6,000 4-pound incendiary bombs. The railway station was the intended main target. German authorities at Münster estimated 240 high explosive bombs and 3,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. 21 were killed and several fires were started. It was the first time Münster was subjected to large scale bombing.
7 Jul 1941 British bombers attacked Münster, Germany.
8 Jul 1941 Before dawn, British bombers attacked Münster, Germany. During the day, German anti-aircraft guns began arriving at the city in response to the recent successive night bombings.
9 Jul 1941 The British Air Ministry instructed Bomber Command to concentrate its efforts against the German transportation system and breaking the morale of the civilian population. At about 0130 hours, British bombers attacked Münster, Germany; the reading room of the state archive, warehouse of the state theater, the post office at the Domplatz, and the eastern wall of the cathedral were destroyed.
25 Jul 1941 British bombers took off at 2230 hours on the previous day, reaching Kiel, Germany at about 0145 hours on this date. Bombs were dropped on the Deutsche Werke shipyard facilities. Surviving attacks landed at their bases in Britain at about 0600 hours.
12 Aug 1941 Overnight, British bombers attacked railway yards at Hanover, Germany.
14 Aug 1941 Overnight, British bombers attacked railway yards at Hanover, Germany.
17 Aug 1941 Overnight, British bombers attacked the rail station at Duisburg, Germany. Air crews reported poor visibility due to bad weather.
18 Aug 1941 British War Cabinet member Mr. Butt wrote a report to the RAF Bomber Command, noting "[o]f those aircraft recorded as attacking their target, only one in three got within five miles" of the intended targets. The conclusion was reached after studying post-bombing reconnaissance photos taken between 2 Jun and 25 Jul 1941.
5 Sep 1941 British bombers attacked chemical works at Hüls, Germany.
15 Sep 1941 British bombers attacked the rail station at Hamburg, Germany.
28 Jan 1942 Münster, Germany was bombed for the first time during the night of 28-29 Jan 1942 by mainforce aircraft of RAF Bomber Command. It would ultimately be bombed on six occasions, destroying 65% of the city.
14 Feb 1942 British Deputy Chief of Air Staff informed the RAF Bomber Command that "the primary object of your operations should be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population."
25 Feb 1942 A two-day debate in British House of Commons ended with many being critical of the policy of bombing German cities.
24 Mar 1942 The British House of Commons began a two-day debate on the conduct of the war in Germany; bombing of German cities was to be a focal point.
30 May 1942 By adding 367 training aircraft, British Air Marshal Harris managed to mount the first thousand-plane raid against Germany (the actual count was 1,046), Operation Millennium. Originally targeted for Hamburg, it was switched to Köln due to weather. Over 1,400 tons of explosives were dropped on that city during the night of 30-31 May 1942, killing 500, injuring 5,000, and making nearly 60,000 homeless. 40 British bombers failed to return. The German government estimated that Köln received 900 tons of high explosive and 110,000 incendiary bombs, and about 400 were killed.
1 Jun 1942 The second British 1,000-bomber raid attacked Essen, Germany.
25 Jun 1942 Sir Arthur Harris of the RAF Bomber Command launched the third Thousand Bomber Raid, this time sending 1,067 aircraft (including some aircraft from Coastal Command and Army Cooperation Command) to attack Bremen, Germany; only 696 reported successfully reaching the city. The RAF Bomber Command lost 48 aircraft, half of which had inexperienced crews recruited from training squadrons flying worn out aircraft; the RAF Coastal Command lost 5 aircraft. 572 houses were destroyed, 6,108 were damaged. 85 were killed, while 497 were wounded and 2,378 were made homeless. An assembly shop at the Focke-Wulf factory was destroyed, while the Bremer Vulkan shipyard and nearby docks and warehouses were also damaged.
18 Aug 1942 Targets at Flensburg and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany were marked for attack by RAF Bomber Command, making this the first operational use of the Pathfinder force (formed on 15 Aug).
16 Jan 1943 British bombers attacked Berlin, Germany.
21 Jan 1943 Allied leadership issued the directive to RAF and USAAF commanders "[y]our primary objective will be the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally wounded."
27 Jan 1943 The USAAF struck Germany proper for the first time as B-17 and B-24 bombers attacked Emden and Wilhelmshaven.
30 Jan 1943 The RAF’s first daylight raid on Berlin, Germany was completed by No. 105 and No. 139 Squadrons' Mosquito aircraft.
28 Feb 1943 712 RAF aircraft (457 Lancaster, 252 Halifax, and 3 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 20 aircraft were lost.
5 Mar 1943 British bombers attacked Krupp works at Essen, Germany; this was the Allies' first attack on this industrial region, which started what the Allies called the Battle of the Ruhr. This attack also saw the first successful use of Oboe, an aerial blind bombing targeting system.
11 Mar 1943 British Secretary of State for Air Sir Archibald Sinclair spoke at the House of Commons, noting that "[t]he past 12 months have been marked by striking changes in the conduct and effectiveness of... the pulverising offensive of Bomber Command.... The monster raids saturating the enemy's active and passive systems of defence is one example. A second example is the success achieved in finding, marking and illuminating targets which has contributed enormously to the recent triumphs of Bomber Command.... Praise the men who are striking these hammer blows at German might... fearless young men flying through storm and cold and darkness higher than Mont Blanc, through the flak, hunted by the night fighters, but coolly and skillfully identifying and bombing these targets." Some Members of Parliament, such as Mr. Montague, representing West Islington, voiced concerns for the "wanton destruction" delivered by the Bomber Command.
12 Mar 1943 RAF bombers attacked Krupp steel plants in Essen, Germany, causing heavy damage.
14 Mar 1943 Aircraft of the US 8th Air Force bombed Kiel, Germany.
18 Mar 1943 USAAF aircraft bombed the Vegesack district of Bremen, Germany.
23 Mar 1943 In its heaviest bombing raid to date, the British RAF Bomber Command attacked Dortmund, Germany with 2,000 tons of explosives.
24 Mar 1943 The British RAF Bomber Command had by this date dropped 100,000 tons of explosives on Germany.
1 Apr 1943 12 British Mosquito aircraft destroyed a power station and a railways yard at Trier, Germany without any losses. Local reports recorded 21 deaths.
1 Apr 1943 RAF Squadron Leader C. O'Donoghue of 103 Squadron commanded a lone Lancaster bomber on a bombing attack on Emmerich, Germany. The aircraft was shot down, killing the entire crew.
4 Apr 1943 RAF bombers conducted a raid on Kiel, Germany during the night.
12 Apr 1943 Joseph Stalin informed Winston Churchill his delight to see German industry in shambles.
26 Apr 1943 RAF bombers conducted a raid against Duisburg, Germany.
2 May 1943 The RAF Bomber Command reported to the British Air Ministry that it currently had 725 ready crews for operations; the number included 129 crews of Wellington bombers and 250 crews for Lancaster bombers.
4 May 1943 RAF bombers conducted a raid on Dortmund, Germany late in the night and into the next day, killing almost 700. Log book of pilot J. H. Searby noted there were "considerable flak" and that he "took ciné (35mm) film hoping to get pictures to convince the 'public' that we do bomb Germany."
24 May 1943 British bombers attacked East Frisian Islands (Ostfriesische Inseln) in northwestern Germany.
26 May 1943 759 British heavy bombers attacked Düsseldurf, Germany starting at about 0200 hours.
29 May 1943 RAF bombers attacked Wuppertal, Germany with 1,900 tons of explosives. The Ruhr region city housed an I. G. Farben chemical plant and a G. & J. Jaeger ball-bearing factory.
10 Jun 1943 USAAF and RAF began a coordinated air offensive with the RAF over Europe, conducting area bombing at night and the USAAF flying precision bombing raids by day. The British Assistant Chief of the Air Staff noted that the primary objective of bombing campaign was "the destruction of German air-frame, engine and component factories and the ball-bearing industry on which the strength of the German fighter force depend" and the secondary objective was "the general disorganization of those industrial areas associated with the above industries".
11 Jun 1943 In Germany, 200 B-17 bombers of US 8th Air Force bomb Wilhelmshaven, while RAF aircraft bombed Münster and Düsseldorf.
12 Jun 1943 RAF aircraft bombed Bochum, Germany.
20 Jun 1943 The RAF initiated shuttle bombing, where planes departed home fields to bomb Germany, re-armed in Africa, then bomb Italian targets en route back to Britain. The first of these raids targeted Friedrichshafen, Germany.
21 Jun 1943 RAF bombers attacked Krefeld in the Ruhr region of Germany.
24 Jun 1943 RAF bombers attacked Elberfeld in the Ruhr region of Germany.
28 Jun 1943 Köln, Germany was bombed by British aircraft, heavily damaging the cathedral. About 4,000 were killed and 1,500 were wounded.
3 Jul 1943 Köln, Germany suffered a heavy air raid.
24 Jul 1943 The first operational use of "Window" radar jamming took place during Operation Gomorrah when 746 RAF planes drop 2,300 tons of explosive on Hamburg, Germany, losing 12 aircraft. Hamburg burned in a major firestorm that killed a significant number of civilians.
25 Jul 1943 109 USAAF bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany in the afternoon as a follow up to the night raid by British bombers on the previous day; 15 bombers were lost. Elsewhere, Essen was also targeted with 2,000 tons of bombs.
27 Jul 1943 After nightfall, a repeated bombing of Hamburg, Germany by 787 RAF aircraft created a fire storm in which an estimated 42,000 people perished, most of them by carbon monoxide poisoning when all the air was drawn out of their basement shelters. The fire storm, in which the heat and humidity of the summer night was a contributory factor, raged for three hours until there was nothing left to burn.
30 Jul 1943 Hamburg, Germany was bombed again before dawn by 777 RAF bombers.
2 Aug 1943 Overnight, Hamburg, Germany suffered its ninth and final raid in eight days as 740 RAF bombers attacked; 30 of the bombers were shot down. By this time Hamburg had lost as many civilians as Britain had in the entire air war.
13 Aug 1943 US 9th Air Force bombed the Messerschmitt factory at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Planners of the attack thought they were conducting a strike on a factory producing fighter aircraft, but in actuality it was manufacturing parts for V-2 rockets.
17 Aug 1943 The US 8th Army Air Force lost 59 heavy bombers during daylight raids upon Regenburg and Schweinfurt, Germany, which was about 25% of the attacking force. Meanwhile, British bombers took off to bomb German rocket research site at Peenemünde at 2100 hours London time. At 2230 hours London time or 2330 hours Berlin time, air raid sirens went off at Peenemünde, but many ignored it, thinking it was to be yet another false warning as Allied bombers flew over the region to bomb German cities further inland. At 2317 hours London time or 0017 hours Berlin time on the next day, the first of the British bombers struck Peenemünde.
18 Aug 1943 Between 0017 and 0043 hours, three waves of British bombers (227, 113, and 180 bombers, respectively) struck the German rocket research site at Peenemünde, dropping a total of 1,600 tons of high explosive bombs and 250 tons of incendiary bombs. Initially the damage appeared to be extensive, but the site returned to operation within four to six weeks. Many buildings would remain unrepaired and craters unfilled in order to trick the British into thinking that the site was abandoned after the raid.
23 Aug 1943 727 RAF bombers dropped 1,700 tons of explosives on Berlin, Germany.
31 Aug 1943 RAF again attacked Berlin, Germany.
2 Oct 1943 RAF aircraft bombed München, Germany.
7 Oct 1943 RAF aircraft bombed Stuttgart, Germany.
8 Oct 1943 US bombers attacked Breman, Germany.
9 Oct 1943 US bombers attacked Mariensburg, Germany.
14 Oct 1943 US 8th Air Force launched 291 B-17 bombers and 60 B-24 bombers to attack the Schweinfurt ball bearing plants in Germany; the 60 B-24 bombers were diverted to another target. 77 American bombers and 1 escorting fighter were lost, while 38 Luftwaffe fighters were shot down the defense. 122 American bombers returned to base in bad condition but they were able to be repaired.
22 Oct 1943 During an RAF raid on Kassel, Germany, the RAF began Operation Corona to jam German night-fighter communications.
26 Oct 1943 RAF bombers attacked Stuttgart, Germany before dawn; during the day, USAAF bombers bombed Bremen, Germany.
3 Nov 1943 Overnight, 400 US bombers, escorted by 600 fighters, bombed Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Later in the same night, the RAF bombed Düsseldorf, Germany.
18 Nov 1943 RAF Bomber Command launched a concerted series of attacks on the Berlin, Germany dubbed "Operation Berlin". During the first attack, more than 700 tons of bombs were dropped. Over a five-month period, Berlin is attacked 32 times and hit by 25,000 tons of bombs, killing more than 6,000 and leaving 1.5 million homeless; RAF lost 1,047 aircraft during the five-month bombing campaign.
22 Nov 1943 Berlin, Germany was heavily bombed by 764 RAF aircraft (469 Lancaster, 234 Halifax, 50 Stirling, and 11 Mosquito), dropping over 2,300 tons of explosives; 26 bombers were lost. 175,000 Germans were made homeless and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was destroyed.
23 Nov 1943 383 RAF aircraft (365 Lancaster, 10 Halifax, and 8 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany.
24 Nov 1943 6 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany; one aircraft was lost.
25 Nov 1943 RAF bombers attacked Frankfurt, Germany; 3 Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany as diversion.
26 Nov 1943 USAAF launched its heaviest raid on Bremen, Germany, while the RAF hit Berlin, Germany for the fifth night in a row with 443 Lancaster and 7 Mosquito aircraft. Stuttgart, Germany was attacked in diversion by 84 aircraft. 34 RAF aircraft were lost during this night.
28 Nov 1943 10 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Germany.
29 Nov 1943 21 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Bochum, Cologne, and Düsseldorf in Germany.
30 Nov 1943 4 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Germany.
2 Dec 1943 458 RAF aircraft (425 Lancaster, 15 Halifax, and 18 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany, dropping 1,500 tons of bombs; 40 bombers were lost (37 Lancaster, 2 Halifax, and 1 Mosquito). Two Siemens factories, a ball-bearing factory, and several railway installations were damaged.
3 Dec 1943 527 RAF aircraft (307 Lancaster and 220 Halifax) attacked Leipzig, Germany.
4 Dec 1943 9 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Duisburg, Germany.
10 Dec 1943 25 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Leverkusen, Germany.
11 Dec 1943 The USAAF bombed Emden, Germany, while 18 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Duisburg, Germany.
12 Dec 1943 18 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Germany while 9 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
15 Dec 1943 16 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
16 Dec 1943 498 RAF aircraft (483 Lancaster and 15 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 25 Lancaster bombers were lost in combat and 29 more were lost while landing in bad weather. Berlin rail system was disrupted heavily, while the National Theater and the national archives buildings were destroyed.
20 Dec 1943 RAF made the heaviest raid of the war on Frankfurt, Germany, with 650 aircraft (390 Lancaster, 257 Halifax, and 3 Mosquito) dropping over 2,000 tons of explosives; less than an hour later, RAF Mosquito aircraft followed up in order to hamper firefighting efforts. 14 Lancaster and 27 Halifax bombers were lost.
21 Dec 1943 9 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked the Mannesmann factory at Düsseldorf, Germany.
22 Dec 1943 A small number of RAF Mosquito bombers attacked Frankfurt and Bonn in Germany.
23 Dec 1943 379 RAF aircraft (364 Lancaster, 7 Halifax, and 8 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 16 Lancaster bombers were lost.
29 Dec 1943 The RAF dropped 2,000 tons of bombs on Berlin, Germany.
1 Jan 1944 421 RAF Lancaster bombers attacked Berlin; 28 aircraft were lost. 15 Mosquito aircraft attacked Hamburg in diversion.
2 Jan 1944 383 RAF aircraft (362 Lancaster, 9 Halifax, and 12 Mosquito) attacked Berlin; 27 aircraft were lost.
3 Jan 1944 8 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Solingen and Essen in Germany.
4 Jan 1944 80 RAF aircraft attacked two German flying bomb sites in France, while 13 Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin.
5 Jan 1944 358 RAF aircraft (348 Lancaster and 10 Halifax) attacked Stettin, Germany, while 28 Mosquito aircraft attacked five other cities (13 against Berlin) in diversion; 16 aircraft were lost.
6 Jan 1944 19 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Duisburg, Bristillerie, Dortmund, and Solingen in Germany.
7 Jan 1944 11 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Krefeld and Duisburg in Germany.
8 Jan 1944 23 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Frankfurt, Solingen, Aachen, and Dortmund in Germany; 2 aircraft were lost.
10 Jan 1944 20 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin, Solingen, Koblenz, and Krefeld in Germany.
11 Jan 1944 US 8th Air Force launched over 600 bombers against Ascherleben, Braunschweig, and Magdeburg in Germany.
13 Jan 1944 25 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Duisburg, Aachen, and Koblenz in Germany; 1 aircraft was lost.
14 Jan 1944 498 RAF aircraft (496 Lancaster and 2 Halifax) attacked Brunswick, Germany, with 49 aircraft lost; German reports noted only 10 homes destroyed and 14 killed. As a diversion, 17 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Magdeburg and Berlin.
20 Jan 1944 The heaviest RAF raid on Berlin to date was launched, with 769 aircraft (495 Lancaster, 264 Halifax, 10 Mosquito) dropping over 2,300 tons of explosives on the German capital. 13 Lancaster and 22 Halifax bombers were lost. Damage on Berlin was thought to be extensive, but this could not be confirmed due to bad weather on the next day.
21 Jan 1944 648 RAF aircraft attacked Magdeburg, Germany; 55 British aircraft and 4 German fighters were destroyed during the engagement. It was the first time Magdeburg was raided by the Allies.
27 Jan 1944 515 Lancaster and 15 Mosquito aircraft of the RAF attacked Berlin, Germany; 33 Lancaster bombers were lost.
28 Jan 1944 677 RAF aircraft (432 Lancaster, 241 Halifax, and 4 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 46 aircraft were lost.
29 Jan 1944 In Germany, the Duisburg and Herbouville flying bomb site were bombed by 22 Mosquito aircraft of the RAF. Meanwhile, RAF bombers attacked Berlin and USAAF bombers attacked Frankfurt am Main and Ludwigshafen.
30 Jan 1944 534 RAF aircraft (440 Lancaster, 82 Halifax, and 12 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 33 aircraft were lost.
15 Feb 1944 891 RAF aircraft (561 Lancaster, 314 Halifax, and 16 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany, dropping over 2,500 tons of bombs in what was the heaviest raid to date. The industrial Siemensstadt area was damaged. 26 Lancaster and 17 Halifax bombers were lost.
19 Feb 1944 RAF bombers attacked Leipzig, Germany.
20 Feb 1944 USAAF launched the "Big Week", sending 970 bombers against Braunschweig, Hamburg, and Leipzig in Germany. The RAF followed through by hitting Stuttgart.
24 Feb 1944 USAAF (day) and RAF (night) bombings were conducted on the ball bearing plant at Schweinfurt, Germany.
3 Mar 1944 29 USAAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany; the attack was "accidental", as it was actually called off, but the aircraft failed to receive the order.
4 Mar 1944 USAAF launched its first major bombing raid on Berlin, Germany.
6 Mar 1944 730 USAAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany; 69 aircraft were lost.
8 Mar 1944 USAAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany.
15 Mar 1944 RAF bombers attacked Stuttgart, Germany, dropping over 3,000 tons of bombs from 863 bombers, of which 36 were lost.
18 Mar 1944 RAF bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany with approximately 3,000 tons of bombs.
22 Mar 1944 RAF bombers attacked Frankfurt, Germany, killing 948 and leaving 120,000 homeless.
24 Mar 1944 810 RAF aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany; 72 aircraft were lost. After sundown, Frankfurt was bombed by the RAF for the third time in four nights.
25 Mar 1944 811 RAF bombers raided Berlin, Germany; 122 aircraft were lost.
30 Mar 1944 A 795-plane air raid (572 Lancaster, 214 Halifax, and 9 Mosquito) against Nürnberg, Germany; 82 aircraft were lost on the way to the attack, and a further 12 were lost on the return flight; nearly 700 lives were lost by the RAF. This was Bomber Command's heaviest single loss of the war. German casualties included 69 civilians and 59 foreign slave laborers.
1 Apr 1944 US bombers unintentionally hit Schaffhausen, Switzerland, leading to official protests and reparation payments.
8 Apr 1944 USAAF bombers attacked a Volkswagen factory near Hannover, Germany.
18 Apr 1944 Aircraft of No. 466 Squadron RAAF conducted bombing operations against Helgoland, Germany.
21 Apr 1944 Operation Chattanooga: Allied aircraft destroyed German rail and other transportation targets.
22 Apr 1944 The RAF used of the new liquid incendiary device, J-Bomb, for the first time against Brunswick, Germany.
24 Apr 1944 British bombers attacked Munich, Germany. During this attack, the Spinosaurus fossil specimen BSP 1912 VIII 19 was destroyed at the Paläontologische Staatssammlung München (Bavarian State Collection of Paleontology).
7 May 1944 1,500 bombers of the US 8th Air Force attacked Berlin, Germany.
12 May 1944 The German synthetic fuel plants at Brüx in southern Germany (post-war Most, Czechoslovakia) and Lüna-Merseburg, Lützkendorf, and Zeitz in eastern Germany were hit by 800 US bombers.
28 May 1944 USAAF again bombed the synthetic oil plant at Lüne-Merseburg in eastern Germany.
29 May 1944 Taking advantage of their range, US bombers began hitting Marienburg and Posen in eastern Germany.
21 Jun 1944 US 8th Air Force bombers conducted shuttle raids on Berlin and Lüne-Merseburg in Germany, landing at Russian airfields.
29 Aug 1944 11 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and 34 B-24 Liberator bombers attacked Helgoland, Germany, escorted by 169 P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang fighters; 3 Liberator bombers were damaged.
3 Sep 1944 A B-17 Flying Fortress bomber was mistakenly directed to Düne Island, Helgoland, Germany; its original target was a German submarine pen.
28 Sep 1944 RAF bombers dropped 909 tons of bombs on Kaiserslautern, Germany, destroying 36% of the town.
29 Oct 1944 The Köln, Germany archive noted that, overnight, British bombers dropped about 4,000 high explosive bombs and 200,000 incendiary bombs on the city.
2 Nov 1944 Bombers of the No. 550 Squadron RAF attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
4 Nov 1944 Bombers of the No. 550 Squadron RAF attacked Bochum, Germany. Airman John Riley Bryne noted in his diary that "the target was a blazing inferno".
6 Nov 1944 Bombers of the No. 550 Squadron RAF attacked Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Airman John Riley Bryne noted in his diary that "[i]t was really wonderful experience to see hundreds of kite's [sic] attacking the hun".
17 Dec 1944 British bombers attacked Ulm, Germany.
31 Dec 1944 One B-17 Flying Fortress bomber of USAAF 8th Air Force attacked Helgoland, Germany.
2 Jan 1945 British bombers attacked Nürnberg, Germany.
13 Feb 1945 Allied firebombing raid started massive firestorms in Dresden, Germany.
23 Feb 1945 A raid of 379 British bombers attacked the German town of Pforzheim, killing 17,000 people and destroying 80% of the town's buildings.
2 Mar 1945 The RAF conducted its last major raid on Köln (Cologne), Germany with 858 aircraft; also on this date, one USAAF B-17 bomber attacked Köln as a target of opportunity.
12 Mar 1945 1,108 RAF bombers attacked Dortmund, Germany, dropping 4,851 tons of bombs.
14 Mar 1945 The RAF used the Grand Slam bomb for the first time in combat against Bielefeld, Germany.
30 Mar 1945 USAAF bombers bombed German ports of Hamburg, Bremen, and Wilhelmshaven.
19 Apr 1945 617 Lancaster, 332 Halifax, and 20 Mosquito aircraft attacked Helgoland, Germany; 3 Halifax bombers were lost. The attack prompted Germany to evacuate civilians from the island to the mainland.
25 Apr 1945 British bombers attacked Berchtesgaden, Germany. The US 8th Air Force conducted its last heavy bomber raid on Germany.
12 Mar 1946 Regarding the countless German civilian deaths as the result of Allied bombing, Wing Commander Millington, MP of Chelmsford, said at the House of Commons "We want - that is, the people who served in Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force and their next-of-kin - a categorical assurance that the work we did was militarily and strategically justified."

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