olle
Topic Author
Posts: 497
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:38 am

Dresden 65 Years Today

Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:56 pm

Today it is 65 years ago that Dresden was bombed and probably around 25 000 people killed;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden#Second_World_War
 
keesje
Posts: 8611
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:49 pm

If the goal was killing civillians & destroying a middle age city, the mission was succesfull.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
airtran737
Posts: 3218
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:47 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:59 am

It was a part of war. A point needed to be made to the Nazi's, and I think that Dresden made that point very well. War is hell, people die, and that's how it works out. If my grandparents can forgive the Americans and British, then people here should move on as well. My grandfather was an officer in the Germany Army and fully understood that in a time of war you do what you have to do to get your point across.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
LimaNiner
Posts: 271
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:32 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:15 am

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):
in a time of war you do what you have to do to get your point across.

Well, I guess since the Fourth Geneva Convention (which talks about how to protect civilians in war) was not adopted until 1949, the wholesale bombings of civilian targets during WW II (including Dresden, Hamburg, and, for that matter, London) were not illegal, so "no harm, no foul", right?

Then again, many of the crimes that the defendants at the Nuremberg Trials were charged with (and convicted for) were not crimes at the time that they were committed... Convicting someone of something that wasn't a crime when they did it is problematic, as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court at the time, Harlan Stone, said:

"I don't mind what he does to the Nazis, but I hate to see the pretense that he is running a court and proceeding according to common law. This is a little too sanctimonious a fraud to meet my old-fashioned ideas."

As they say, "history is written by the victors."
 
columba
Posts: 5043
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:12 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:35 am

My grandmother and grandaunt survived the bombing. In fact all of their family did. It was a miracle.
My grandaunt later married a B17 crew member but he - at least told her - did not take part in the bombing of Dresden.

Still the bombing was unnecessary. Dresden was full of fugitives and had no military targets. The war was nearly over as well and the bombing of Dresden wound not have had any effect on the outcome of the war.

On the other hand the war crimes and torched earth the Nazis the Nazis have left in Europe were much much bigger.

The good thing now is that Dresden is getting rebuild. The reconstruction of the famous "church of our lady" is amazing.
Many people all over the world donated for it.
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
KRIC777
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2002 6:25 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:38 am

Firebombing of Dresden = unfortunate tragedy...

Quite frankly....at only 37, I'm really not of an age to even have a relevant opinion on what happened in WW2....but my last name is "Fritz", and I know for a fact that I have some kin (albeit distant) who perished in Allied bombings of civilian Germany. On the other hand, as an American, I also have any number of relatives who fought (and died) on the Allied side in Europe in the war.

With that said....I can only offer my prayers to those innocent German civilians (and there were a LOT of them) who died in the fire-bombing of Dresden...offer a salute to those Wehrmacht soldiers who died in the course of (what they believed to be was) the defense of the their Fatherland (as opposed to the defense of Hitler's crackpot Nazi regime)....and a middle finger to the racist monsters of the SS and Gestapo who perished in these operations (but not necessarily their innocent family members).

Lots of warm feelings for Germany here, based on my ethnic background (and the fact that they generally build the most awesome cars in the world), but I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for those Nazi operatives that met their fate in Allied bombing raids. The level of civilian casualties was a tragedy, though...and my most heartfelt prayers to the innocent civilians who died there : - (
 
TheCol
Posts: 1857
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:30 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:24 am

Unfortunately, much like WW1, the technology didn't exist for precision strikes. Carpet bombing and shelling was the only effective option available at the time. We learned, after witnessing the casualties sustained during both wars, how to utilize special forces more often and more effectively. Technology has also improved significantly as well.

At the end of the day, all we can do is learn from our past and be damn sure not to repeat it. As the saying goes:

Never Again
No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
 
speedygonzales
Posts: 518
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:01 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:58 am

The bombing of Dresden was an undisputable crime of war. Saying "the other guy was worse" does not excuse crimes of war.
Las Malvinas son Argentinas
 
GST
Posts: 808
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:27 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:26 pm

Quoting columba (Reply 4):

Still the bombing was unnecessary. Dresden was full of fugitives and had no military targets. The war was nearly over as well and the bombing of Dresden wound not have had any effect on the outcome of the war.

Dresden was selected as a target on one basis only, its inflammability. Yes, I believe that allied bombing shortened the war by crippling much of Germany's industry, fuel storage, & transport infrastructure, however Dresden had only one of these things, a train station, and torching a whole city for a rail halt with no industry feeding into it made little sense in a strategic sense. The goal was to break the German city dweller's morale, but it had already been shown that this was unlikely to happen as the citizens of London, Coventry, and many others only had their will hardened by bombardment.

The crews of the bombers were heroes in my opinion (and yes that does include German bomber crews, they too faced long odds for a cause that they believed in), along with all other wartime servicemen, British, American, German, Indian, Japanese, the list goes on. They were all victims of circumstance to some extent, even the soldiers of the SS. Late in the war many crack SS units were largely made up of teenagers, most of whose lives had been subject to propaganda and their opinions warped by the diabolical Nazi regime.
 
airtran737
Posts: 3218
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:47 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:30 pm

Quoting columba (Reply 4):
My grandmother and grandaunt survived the bombing. In fact all of their family did. It was a miracle.
My grandaunt later married a B17 crew member but he - at least told her - did not take part in the bombing of Dresden.

That's kind of a cool yet ironic end to a story. It's kind of funny how after the war is over things seem to work out
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
mechatnew
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 5:59 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:51 pm

My Father was a gunner on a USAAF B-17 that bomber Dresden. He has said that there target was the rail yards. he also has told me that he saw the RAF bombers on the way back to England, as they were heading over to Germany. I agree that there was a great lost of civilian lives, but if the war was almost over, why did the Germans not surrender sooner?
 
columba
Posts: 5043
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:12 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:36 pm

Quoting mechatnew (Reply 10):
My Father was a gunner on a USAAF B-17 that bomber Dresden. He has said that there target was the rail yards. he also has told me that he saw the RAF bombers on the way back to England, as they were heading over to Germany. I agree that there was a great lost of civilian lives, but if the war was almost over, why did the Germans not surrender sooner?

Because of they were ruled by a madman who wanted to fight to the very last moment. If ordinary soldiers tried to surrender they were being executed so no one dared. See the movie the downfall it gives you a very good impressions on the last days of the war.
Also many people still believed in the propaganda and that the "wunderwaffen" would bring the final victory.
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 13761
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:25 pm

Quoting columba (Reply 4):
Still the bombing was unnecessary. Dresden was full of fugitives and had no military targets. The war was nearly over as well and the bombing of Dresden wound not have had any effect on the outcome of the war.

Easy to say after the fact. Maybe it was one air strike too many, but those making the decision had no way of knowing that and they were under intense pressure to keep flying missions till the Germans surrendered.

Quoting GST (Reply 8):
Dresden was selected as a target on one basis only, its inflammability. Yes, I believe that allied bombing shortened the war by crippling much of Germany's industry, fuel storage, & transport infrastructure, however Dresden had only one of these things, a train station, and torching a whole city for a rail halt with no industry feeding into it made little sense in a strategic sense. The goal was to break the German city dweller's morale, but it had already been shown that this was unlikely to happen as the citizens of London, Coventry, and many others only had their will hardened by bombardment.

Then why are we focusing on Dresden?

The British certainly were well aware that the citizens of London, Coventry, and many others only had their will hardened by bombardment, yet they chose to focus on night time large scale area bombing of Germany long after the Battle of the Blitz was over. Also the Americans knew the same things and did large scale aerial bombing of Japanese cities.

While the bombing hardens the will of the surviviors, the dead can no longer aid in the war effort, and the living have a much harder time contributing to the war effort if their house has burned to the ground and all the local businesses are gone too. It also forces the enemy to devote large forces to defending cities instead of participating in the battle.

I'm not aware of what contribution Dresden made to the war efforts. It could have just been production of food for other cities, or being a source of manpower for the army or factories, and so while it could be said to have made little sense to bomb it, the phrase itself implies it made some sense to bomb it, and in those terrible days, that was enough.

Quoting columba (Reply 11):

Because of they were ruled by a madman who wanted to fight to the very last moment. If ordinary soldiers tried to surrender they were being executed so no one dared. See the movie the downfall it gives you a very good impressions on the last days of the war.
Also many people still believed in the propaganda and that the "wunderwaffen" would bring the final victory.

And in Japan the dropping of the first atomic weapon also wasn't enough to convince the leadership to surrender. I have a hard time seeing how a military leader of the time would not use every asset under their control to keep pressuring the enemy to surrender, because no one could say what it would take to get the enemy to surrender.

And indeed the victors get to write the history, but in this case the victors were the ones attacked by the losers, and the losers were countries run by dictators whose main focus was taking resources and territory from others by the use of force.
Inspiration, move me brightly!
 
magyar
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2000 4:11 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:16 pm

I think Dresden was set aside for nuclear bombing, just like Nagasaki and Hiroshima were in Japan. When the allies realized that Germany would surrounder before their nuke was ready, they destroyed Dresden to make sure no German city got away without destruction.

And, yes, I honestly believe it was a war-crime that went unpunished, just like the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the firebombing of Tokyo. Of course, this does not change the fact that Germans and the Japanese made even more terrible war-crimes, I just think we owe the massacred civilians as much that at least admit this after 65 years.
 
magyar
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2000 4:11 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:34 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 12):
And in Japan the dropping of the first atomic weapon also wasn't enough to convince the leadership to surrender.

Really, how many times you formally asked them to surrender in that 3 days between Hiroshima and Nagasaki? This would have been the sensible way, immediately after Hiroshima asking them to surrender through intermediaries. I know about no such request. In fact, AFAIK, there was a third nuclear attack planned ( forgot the name of the city) which was
only prevented by a timely Japanese surrender.

These attacks were deliberately planned experiments on human beings (and a message for future adversaries), the darkest moments of the otherwise gracious US history.
 
GDB
Posts: 12652
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:39 pm

Quoting SpeedyGonzales (Reply 7):
The bombing of Dresden was an indisputable crime of war. Saying "the other guy was worse" does not excuse crimes of war.

You might want to ask any in your country who experienced Nazi occupation if they share your after the fact certainties.

Dresden was bombed on the request of Stalin, he wanted to RAF and USAAF to 'clear the path' for the approaching Soviet troops, that meant Eastern cities.
Dresden did have some war industry, was a communications hub.

Why do what 'Uncle Joe' wanted? Churchill himself had been subjected to Stalin's anger during 1942-44 on not opening up a 'second front' to relieve Russia.
Accused of cowardice, of a 'Western Plot', we know what Stalin was like, but this was a view shared by many Russians without the state propaganda fuelling the fire.
Though D-Day could not have been successfully carried out before it was, there was a lingering guilt about this, this was another reason for Bomber Harris and his expansion of that part of the service, an attempt to open a second front by air, draining the Luftwaffe and other rescources from elsewhere, most notably the Eastern Front.

It was not as certain in Feb 1945 that the European war would be over in a matter of weeks, Germany was on the brink of defeat, but many fighting would have recalled that in the imeediate aftermath of D-Day, 'over by Christmas' was confeidently predicted.
While it's true that the German land forces back was broken on the Eastern Front, the westwards advance had been very tough too, and not just at the Ardennes.

Was Dresden a legitimate target? Yes. In an industrial war, such places are.
Was it over-bombed - causing the firestorm? Yes and this was quickly realised on the Allied side too.
 
na
Posts: 9129
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 3:52 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:20 pm

If anything, Dresden was a close to a large scale Western allies warcrime than nothing else in WWII. If it happened today, everyone would say it was a crime. But one has to see the times and situation in early 1945. The Wehrmacht had just made (and lost) their last major offensive operation in the West (Ardennes, or Battle of the Bulge for the English-speaking) and killed a lot of GIs and British soldiers. Everywhere the German Armies stubbornly still held ground where possible, inflicting totally unnecessary casualties on the allies and even more so, stupidly, on themselves. Dresden was a tragedy and we all now it was totally unnecessary because it didnt win the Allies nothing military and psychologically - it gained only bad press, and that forever.

Quoting mechatnew (Reply 10):
but if the war was almost over, why did the Germans not surrender sooner?

Because Mr. Hitler was a madman who said (quoting from my mind): "The Gerrman people have prroven to be inferiorr in this war, they dont deserrve the most basic things for their surrvival."
Also many Germans were witness to the defeat in WWI and suffered the hardships imposed on them by the imprudent ill-advised allies after 1918.

Quoting magyar (Reply 13):
I think Dresden was set aside for nuclear bombing, just like Nagasaki and Hiroshima were in Japan.


I read that too though I havent come over something that proves it.

Quoting magyar (Reply 13):
When the allies realized that Germany would surrounder before their nuke was ready, they destroyed Dresden to make sure no German city got away without destruction.

If really someone in the allied high command was thinking that way, he was a war criminal.
About all major bombings of German cities at the end of the war were unnecessary. Dresden was just the biggest and most tragic, the only one which is still remembered internationally. But there was a calculation behind it, a thinking almost impossible to today: Better kill 10.000 German civilians and save the life of a dozen GIs than the other way around.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 13761
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:08 pm

Quoting NA (Reply 16):
But one has to see the times and situation in early 1945.

That's the key point. No one knew exactly what it would take to get the Nazi regime to surrender. If the Nazi regime was reasonable, they could see the war was lost and should have surrendered, but clearly they were not reasonable, and so the Allies resorted to all kinds of unreasonable actions to try to get the Nazis to surrender.

The public TV stations in the US are running an episode of "American Experience" about the bombing of Nazi Germany. The last sentence spoken is along the lines of the greatest war crime the Allies could have committed was losing the war...
Inspiration, move me brightly!
 
User avatar
STT757
Posts: 13176
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 1:14 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:34 pm

Quoting magyar (Reply 14):

Really, how many times you formally asked them to surrender in that 3 days between Hiroshima and Nagasaki? This would have been the sensible way, immediately after Hiroshima asking them to surrender through intermediaries. I know about no such request. In fact, AFAIK, there was a third nuclear attack planned ( forgot the name of the city) which was
only prevented by a timely Japanese surrender.

You know of no such request?.. Were you there?..

Quote:
These attacks were deliberately planned experiments on human beings (and a message for future adversaries), the darkest moments of the otherwise gracious US history.

The atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was unfortunately necessary to once and for all remove any doubt from the brain washed minds of the Japanese citizens that their beloved Emperor was not a "God". Also as the Allied forces drew closer to Japan the fighting became even more fanatical, Guam, Iwo Jima and Okinawa were horrible battles. If the Japanese were not forced to surrender do to the Atomic bombings the next step of the war would have been an invasion of the home islands of Japan, that would have led to more deaths than the dropping of the atomic bombs. Also at this point the Soviet Union had joined the fight against Japan, if the war had continued part of Japan would have been annexed by the Soviet Union. Ask Eastern Europe how that worked out for them.

What the Japanese didn't know is that the US didn't have any other atomic bombs ready for use, they led the Japanese to believe the US possessed hundreds of atomic bombs with which the US would destroy the remaining Japanese cities. This is what forced the Emperor to finally capitulate, although the Japanese military tried a coup to continue the war. If the Japanese knew the US didn't have anymore Atomic weapons to use, the war would have continued.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
fsnuffer
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:38 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:02 pm

Quoting magyar (Reply 13):
And, yes, I honestly believe it was a war-crime that went unpunished, just like the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the firebombing of Tokyo. Of course, this does not change the fact that Germans and the Japanese made even more terrible war-crimes, I just think we owe the massacred civilians as much that at least admit this after 65 years.

Why was the firebombing of Tokyo a war crime? Most of the support for Japan's war industry was from small factories located in residential neighborhoods hence it was a legitimate military target. War is not a pretty thing and it amazes me that people think killing people one way vs. another is more "humane". The end result is the same.

"Damage to Tokyo's heavy industry was slight until firebombing destroyed much of the light industry that was used as an integral source for small machine parts and time-intensive processes. Firebombing also killed or made homeless many workers who had been taking part in war industry. Over 50% of Tokyo's industry was spread out among residential and commercial neighborhoods; firebombing cut their output in half."
United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Summary Report (Pacific War), p. 18

[Edited 2010-02-15 11:03:16]
 
magyar
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2000 4:11 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:39 pm

Quoting NA (Reply 16):
If anything, Dresden was a close to a large scale Western allies warcrime than nothing else in WWII. If it happened today, everyone would say it was a crime. But one has to see the times and situation in early 1945. The Wehrmacht had just made (and lost) their last major offensive

I strongly disagree! This is relativisation, the common excuse of all war criminals. I believe killing defenceless children is a crime, was a crime, and will always be a crime, even if my own kind is doing it. This is a question of moral integrity. If the above arguement was unacceptable for the German/Japanese/Hungarian war crimes it should not be for allied ones. Especially if the later claims the moral high ground.

Furthermore, we should not accept such argument for respect for those who were able to resist. There were a few, and they mostly paid with their life for their resistance (e.g., von Stauffenberg).
 
User avatar
ptrjong
Posts: 4088
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:38 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:01 pm

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):

The point had long been made.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
GDB
Posts: 12652
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:10 pm

If ever there was one German city that would have, had it been necessary (the D-Day landings failing perhaps?) to be atomic bombed, it would have been Berlin.
As stated, very few of these bombs available, so regime decapitation would have been seen as a possible objective as well.
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5423
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:14 pm

Quoting magyar (Reply 20):
This is a question of moral integrity.

No, this is a question of playing an armchair moralist 70 years later.
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:21 pm

Strange how all these myths grow up.

The Germans, from 1940 on, bombed at night by radio beams (or, if those didn't work, on the basis of 'dead reckoning' - flying a course that they hoped would pass over the target, and releasing the bombs at the time their flightplan showed that they were passing over the city they were attacking. The RAF did much the same early on.

By 1943 the RAF, bombing at night, were aiming at target marker flares dropped by 'pathfinders.' The USAAF flew in daylight, but they bombed in formation - only the formation leader actually aimed his bombs, the rest just watched him and dropped when he did. The USAAF also had often to 'bomb on ETA' (Estimated Time of Arrival), or bomb marker flares, for the simple reason that the weather over Europe is so cloudy that it was unusual for them to be able to see their targets at all, even in daylight.

The Allies, late in the War, realised that what amounted to the blind bombing of cities could lead to criticism after the war, and devised what was termed the 'Transportation Plan.' This largely meant nominally attacking 'military targets 'like railway stations and marshalling yards. But, of course, the vast majority of those were in the centres of - er... cities........

There were two reasons why Dresden was one of the last cities to be bombed. First of all, it was so far to the east that it could not be reached at all, except with heavy losses, until the German fighter defences had been pretty well wiped out. Secondly, it was not overly industrialised. However, it was a 'route centre' and was on the main railway line supplying the German forces trying to stop the Russian advance into Eastern Germany. So it was bombed in accordance with the 'Transportation Plan' - the RAF 'aimng-point' was the central station and the USAAF one was the marshalling yards.

As to the atomic bombs, it was always intended to drop at least two, because the Allies (correctly) believed that dropping only one would suggest the the Japanese that the Allies only possessed one and could not 'repeat the dose.' That scenario worked out precisely as planned; the Japanese only began making peace overtures after the second one. Hiroshima was a 'legitimate military target' by the standards of the time - it was in fact the main port through which Japan was shipping armies and supplies to Kyushu in readiness for the Allied invasion, which was planned for October 1945. The primary target for the second bomb was actually the Kokura Arsenal, which was effectively an entire town dedicated to weapons production; but the crews had been strictly forbidden to 'bomb blind.' 'Bock's Car' could not see Kokura through the clouds, and therefore went on to bomb the secondary target, Nagasaki.

I've deliberately kept this fairly 'laconic' - in historical terms, that's broadly why the WW2 area bombing of cities - by both sides - happened; and also why it so seldom hit its targets. But if I'm allowed a personal reminiscence about 'air raids,' one of my earliest memories is of being close to the target of a 'copybook' bombing attack on a 'military target.' My older brother and I were playing in the garden (in our peaceful village) when we heard the sirens. Then there was a huge roar, plus gunfire, and a twin-engined aircraft flew low over our heads. The pilot 'did it by the book,' he left the village alone and dropped his bombs on a fenced-and-hutted camp on the outskirts.

Since this was very late in WW2 (in late 1944) the pilot was a very brave man to come over at all,especially in daylight; and doubly so to pick out and bomb what he obviously thought was a military target. He was right actually - only thing was, it was actually a prison camp full of German (mostly Afrika Korps) prisoners and Italian 'internees.'  But that was OK, as far as I know no-one was even hurt.

Good sequel too - when my father got home we nagged him to find out what kind of aeroplane it was, so he walked us round there and asked the NCO on the Bofors gun outside the camp gate. I thought at the time that the guy was Polish or something, as I couldn't understand a word he said. I learned years later that he'd actually said something like, "It was a f******g Messerschmitt - 210 or 410. The best f******g shot we've had in the whole f******g war so far and we clean f*****g missed the f*****r......"

[Edited 2010-02-25 04:50:29]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:49 pm

Quoting columba (Reply 4):
Still the bombing was unnecessary.

Agreed. And that is about all that needed to be said.

A vague memory of that time was that the reports in the UK papers were less triumphant than usual, perhaps a precursor of it being realised that is was not our finest hour.

I will be near Berlin later this year and will try to go to Dresden, if I can, out of respect for all those who died or were injured in the aerial war 1939 to 1945. Any who wish to see a different side of that struggle should visit Coventry cathedral and the ruin of the old cathedral.
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:43 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 25):
Any who wish to see a different side of that struggle should visit Coventry cathedral and the ruin of the old cathedral.

True enough. There's no doubt that terrible (and arguably largely-unnecessary) damage was caused to German cities in WW2. But this will, I hope, inform people about Brtian's 'Dresden' - which occurred as early as 14th. November 1940, when there was virtually no defence against the night bomber (except jamming the radio beams, which unfortunately didn't work in the case of Coventry:-

"As the raid progressed, mixtures of high explosives, incendiaries, oil bombs and land-mines came down, and gradually our ancient city centre, the street plan of which much had not significantly altered since medieval times, succumbed to the ferocity of the attack, the likes of which had never been seen in any town of our size. Below the ground, thousands of bewildered citizens sat tight in dozens of air-raid shelters and hundreds more small Anderson shelters. As some shelters became untenable through either nearby explosions or fires which turned them into large ovens........"

The Allies eventually 'perfected' the black science of the terror-bombing of cities.

But there's no shadow of doubt as to which country originally came up with the idea..........

http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/blitz/the-raid.php

http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/blitz/the-raid2.php
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
N14AZ
Posts: 1963
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:19 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:14 pm

Dresden, oh my God. If you allow me to tell my "personal" story:

My grandparents were separated shortly before that day. My grandmother was trying to escape from the Russians with her two children (5 and 1 years old). My grandfather was convinced that they had gone to Dresden because there they had some relatives. He arrived in Dresden the day after the bombing. He walked through all the streets between the destroyed houses and screamed their names. Heaven knows what he must have felt.

The happy ending is that my grandmother had considered going to Dresden but decided to go to somewhere else.
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:54 am

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 27):
The happy ending is that my grandmother had considered going to Dresden but decided to go to somewhere else.

On a slightly lighter note let me share a story told by a late German colleague. At the time she told me this, she was living in Krefeld and I asked her how she went when Krefeld suffered its heavy raid. She explained that at that time she was living in Berlin. Oh, I said how did she manage there. She explained they only had one bad night. She then went on to describe what was obviously the raid of 22-23 November 1943 arguably the only one of that campaign that seriously damaged Berlin as this turned out to be a much more "difficult" target compared with less open cities.

Her husband set off to take a train to S Germany where he was to do some field work. But by the time he got there, the station had been bombed and was out of action. He turned around and walked back through what must have been a very heavy raid to be walking!! When he got home, he found his wife on the landing outside their top floor apartment looking pleased with herself. An incendiary bomb had fallen through the roof and ignited but she had managed to extinguish it with little damage.

However husband blamed her in a low key manner (till he died apparently) for "allowing" the incendiary bomb to fall on their flat!! Quite how she was supposed to do this prevention remains a mystery.

I enquired about damage and she said apart from the hole in the roof very little except that the bomb had been full of dust. I assume some of this was from the phosphorus but most would have been from the 100 year old roof space.

However, nothing would convince her that the British were not trying to undermine the morale of the proud housewives of Germany by dropping dust bombs. One could just imagine the hundreds of British women out there with their Hoovers collecting material for tonights targets!! This part of the UK war effort should receive more attention and acclaim I think!!

War is a strange thing.   
 
ba97
Posts: 348
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 9:42 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:14 am

Looking back from the safety of today is much different than living within the event and decisions that must be made while all is happening. This can not be looked at as an isolated event. No one disagrees the end of the war in Germany was near. No one knew how fast and at what cost the end would come. Just look to the fall of 1944 and the thoughts of how fast people thought they would get from Normandy to Berlin.

To win a war you have to have the bond between people, government and the military broken. People look to the government to make sure the military defends them. If those bonds are broken, then government fails or society rises up and takes control. None of this had happened in Germany. This is the key point for one who is trying to defeat the other side. How much will it take to make the other side (government, people, military) say enough is enough and surrender? Consider the terrible loss of life in the defence of Berlin when clearly all was lost. Still no surrender. This is where all of us so many years later can not appreciate the insanity of all from within the war.

As noted earlier, the biggest mistake would be not to do all to win- and lose. The unfortunately aspect of the war was that by Dresden many years of fighting with no boundaries had happened. Civilians and cities had been targets for years and the death toll massive. As I recall, Tokyo was bombed the next day with equally terrible loss of life, yet it never gets the attention Dresden does. I wonder why?
there is economy class, business class, first class...then Concorde..pure class
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:05 am

Quoting ba97 (Reply 29):
Looking back from the safety of today is much different than living within the event and decisions that must be made while all is happening.

Good post, ba97, I think that's exactly right. Any commander who chose not to do something that was within his power might afterwards have had to live with the guilt of many of his people having been killed needlessly.

I always think that the bombing of the monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy was a classic example of that. The Germans had undertaken not to occupy it, and as far as anyone knows they kept that promise. But. of course, that promise didn't stop them establishing defensive positions all round it. The British Eighth. Army commander, who had the job of capturing the place, eventually decided that he had no option but to order it to be bombed. Looking at the place, one has to conclude that that was the right decision. We can all imagine how he'd have felt if he had spared the building, and then had to watch his people being mown down trying to climb the heights and capture what, in military terms, must have looked like the ultimate 'commanding position':-

http://images.google.com.au/imgres?i...z%3D1R2SKPB_enAU359%26tbs%3Disch:1

I've visited Monte Cassino and it has been completely restored. I suppose the moral is that any building can be rebuilt; but there is no way of bringing dead human beings back to life.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
MCIGuy
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 8:15 am

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:51 am

Yeah, and I'm sure the people of London thought the V-1 and V-2 attacks were just lovely.  
Airliners.net Moderator Team
 
GDB
Posts: 12652
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:30 pm

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 31):
Yeah, and I'm sure the people of London thought the V-1 and V-2 attacks were just lovely.  

Let's not forget the slave labour, many of who were literally worked to death, to produce the things.

As a young child in 1944, my mother in the late summer of that year was at a school sports day, it was interrupted by the now distinctive sound (they'd heard and seen plenty by them), of a V-1, or as they called them, Dooblebugs , approaching.
They all hit the deck as ordered, the V-1 buzzed overhead, the sports day resumed, (a lesson to much of the overheated media reaction to 'threats' today perhaps?)

But you could hear them coming, then see them, unlike the V-2.
The only positive was that these weapons, especially the V-2, was a waste of German resources.

On the wider subject, while agreeing that Dresden, with hindsight, was excessive, with reference to Coventry and others, in Spain, in the Netherlands to give examples, in a sense they were warned, as in they have sowed the wind, now they must reap the whirlwind.
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:18 am

Actually 'doodlebug,' GDB - although, as far as I recall (having been a very small child at the time) 'buzzbomb' was the more frequently-used term. They made a very distinctive sound - very like a motorbike. Oddly enough, the most frightening thing about them (for people older then me, I was too young to be overly bothered) was the 'sound of silence' when the engine stopped. You can hear that 'silence' towards the end of this filmclip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8co9nLAcxs

Quoting GDB (Reply 32):
They all hit the deck as ordered, the V-1 buzzed overhead, the sports day resumed, (a lesson to much of the overheated media reaction to 'threats' today perhaps?)

It's not commonly known that those weapons kept coming over well into 1945. The Germans held on the the north bank of the Scheldt until about April of that year, so they still had bases in range.That led to a decision (taken personally by Churchill, I believe) that would be unheard-of nowadays.

Both V1s and V2s were 'detectable' - The V1s could be seen and heard crossing the coast, and even the launch of V2 rockets was usually reported by Allied agents in France and the Low Countries. But they were utterly inaccurate - literally no-one, not even the Germans, had any idea where they would land within a circle of 50 miles' radius.

So, at first, the air raid sirens tended to go off all over Southern England as soon as the approach of either weapon was detected. This, of course, had the effect of stopping all activity (especially manufacturing - for hours, or even days, on end. Churchill (correctly in my opinion) reasoned that the risk was so slight that such vast disruption was unjustified - and told the authorities to stop sounding the sirens............ As you imply, try suggesting that today. 

My old man (who was also a bit 'cavalier' about bombs and things, having been in the Army in France in both 1918 and 1940!) told us that, if we heard one coming, we should just go out into the back garden and stay near the shelter. But only actually bother to dirty our clothes by getting into it if we heard the engine stop! Most people did that sort of thing - the old guy in the video, just glancing up and then going on with his gardening, is typical.

There was no warning from the supersonic V2s, of course. All anyone ever heard from them was the bang when they landed.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
N14AZ
Posts: 1963
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:19 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:29 pm

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 31):
Yeah, and I'm sure the people of London thought the V-1 and V-2 attacks were just lovely.

I think nobody said this here.

As a German, I can understand that the Allies did this. We had started this war, it's understandable that - after 6 years of war and after so many innocent civilians had been killed and after so many parents had lost their sons during combat - that the allies would take almost all measures to stop this war as soon as possible.

I don't know, but if one of my children would be killed in a war that we didn't start, I would immediately forget about my humanistic attitude and would urgue my government to take all measures to stop this war as soon as possible.
 
Kukkudrill
Posts: 1039
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:11 pm

RE: Dresden 65 Years Today

Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:57 pm

What was the military value in carpet-bombing cities? Here is a potted summary based on the reading I've done:

(1) Disrupting enemy industry. The British found that trying to hit factories with high explosive at night wasn't very effective ... but, on the other hand, turning a city into a carpet of fire was a way to shut down that city's industry for months. This is not to say fire-bombing cities was OK. Deliberately setting out to roast people alive is barbaric. Sadly, barbarism often proves militarily useful in war.

(2) Tying down enemy resources which might otherwise be used elsewhere. Germany had to divert vast resources into its anti-aircraft defences, which were manned by no less than a million men by August 1944 according to one source.

(3) Damaging enemy morale. This tends to be discounted, but according to Richard J Evans, who takes a detailed look at wartime life in Germany (The Third Reich at War, Penguin Books 2008), Allied bombing led to a lot of disenchantment towards the Nazi leadership on the part of the German population. Evans quotes a joke that was making the rounds in 1943 in which a man from Berlin is comparing bomb damage with a man from Essen. The Berliner says that bombing in his city was so bad that window-panes were still falling out hours later. That's nothing, says the Essen man. In Essen even a fortnight after the raid portraits of the Fuhrer were still flying out of windows.

(4) Lifting Allied morale. This shouldn't be discounted either. Denis Barnham, a Spitfire pilot in Malta in 1942, wrote that news of the first thousand-bomber raids "triggered off the most violent optimism ... the news is indeed like a pair of field-glasses lifted suddenly to our eyes: the end of the war, which had been too remote to think about, let alone talk about, has jumped into vivid focus ahead of us."
Make the most of the available light ... a lesson of photography that applies to life

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ikolkyo, Yahoo [Bot] and 12 guests