-US Strategic Bombing Survey 1940-1945
In Europe, the American Eighth Air Force conducted its raids in daylight. USAAF leaders firmly held to the claim of "precision" bombing of military targets for much of the war, and dismissed claims they were simply bombing cities. However the Eighth received the first H2X radar sets in December 1943. Within two weeks of the arrival of these first six sets, the Eighth command gave permission for them to area bomb a city using H2X and would continue to authorize, on average, about one such attack a week until the end of the war in Europe.
In reality, the day bombing was "precision bombing" only in the sense that most bombs fell somewhere near a specific designated target such as a railway yard. Conventionally, the air forces designated as "the target area" a circle having a radius of 1000 feet around the aiming point of attack. Survey studies show, In the fall of 1944, only seven per cent of all bombs dropped by the Eighth Air Force hit within 1,000 feet of their aim point.
WAS THE ALLIED BOMBING OF GERMANY SUCCESSFUL?
-Richard G Davis American Bombardment Policy against Germany, 1942-1945, Air Power Review, Volume 6 Number 3, pp. 49–62. (see p. 54 (PDF 63). http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcms/mediafi...62250E094B.pdf
-United States Strategic Bombing Survey
During the Second World War, the Allied aerial forces performed air raids civilian populations in Europe and over Japan. These actions were not only defined crimes in retrospect, but were also viewed as such by the leaders of the Axis Powers during the war itself, despite the fact they themselves did likewise. On June 6, 1944, at a conference of top Nazi leaders in Klessheim, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop tried to introduce a resolution to define air raids on civilians as acts of terror, but his motion was rejected.
Source; Trial of German Major War Criminals, vol. 10, pp. 382-383.
Nearing the end of the War, shelter accommodation was available for only about eight million German people. The remainder sheltered in basements, and casualties in these places of refuge were heavy.
|Dresden after the American and British bombers had done their job|
As the flames subsided, the residents of Dresden discovered that 24,866 out of the 28,410 houses in the inner city were destroyed - an area of total destruction extending over eleven square miles. As for the death toll, German authorities gave up trying to work out the precise total after some 35,000 bodies had been recognized, labeled, and buried while hundreds of cellars and air raid shelters remained unopened.
There was far too great a risk for the spread of disease to allow the proper identification of the dead. So, a massive funeral pyre was constructed in the Altmarkt where thousands more were burned.
|Mass cremation of German civilians killed|
Bomber Command pilot
|This is what remained of the people of Dresden|
Stars & Stripes
London Edition, Saturday, May 5, 1945, Vol. 5, No. 156
Air Raid on Dresden Killed More Than 300,000
by Dan Regan
Stars and Stripes Staff Writer
With the 1st Army, May 3 (Delayed) -- The Allied air raid on Dresden on Feb. 13-14 killed 300,000 persons, according to a report by Dresden police to a group of 600 -- British and French -- prisoners who were given passes by the Germans to enter the American lines.
Nine British PWs were working in Dresden during the raid and said the horror and devastation caused by the Anglo-American 14-hour raid was beyond human comprehension unless one could see for himself.
One British sergeant said,
"Reports from Dresden police that 300,000 died as a result of the bombing didn't include deaths among 1,000,000 evacuees from the Breslau area trying to escape from the Russians. There were no records on them.
"After seeing the results of the bombing, I believe these figures are correct."
"They had to pitchfork shriveled bodies onto trucks and wagons and cart them to shallow graves on the outskirts of the city. But after two weeks if work the job became too much to cope with and they found other means to gather up the dead."
"They burned bodies in a great heap in the center of the city, but the most effective way, for sanitary reasons, was to take flamethrowers and burn the dead as they lay in the ruins. They would just turn the flamethrowers into the houses, burn the dead and then close off the entire area. The whole city is flattened. They were unable to clean up the dead lying beside roads for several weeks," the sergeant added.
|This is what remained of Hamburg after the bombing|
Air Marshal Sir John Curtiss KCB KBE
Bomber Command navigator
WHY WAS DRESDEN BOMBED TO BITS BY THE ALLIES DURING WW2?