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MadameConcorde
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Dresden

Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:17 pm

Dresden Germany - February 13, 1945 and the war is over, Germany has lost. With no warning or military reason, US and British bombers pour over 3,300 tons of incendiary bombs on beautiful non-combatant Dresden, swollen with countless refugees fleeing the murdering, raping Soviet hordes to the East. The bombs ignited a massive firestorm burning alive 500,000 innocents in the worst single event massacre in history. More were genocided in defenseless Dresden than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. The fleeing city zookeeper later wrote on the spine-chilling of the elephants he had to abandon.
Dresden. Don't forget.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Dresden

Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:28 pm

To the defence of the RAF, Dresden was a major logistics hub for the German Eastern front (the German troops fighting the Russians) and AFAIK, the Soviets asked the British to do something about it.

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RE: Dresden

Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:34 pm

Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
Dresden Germany - February 13, 1945 and the war is over

The German forces surrendered in Italy on the 29th of April, on the Western Front on the 7th of May, and on the Eastern Front on the 8th.And the estimates of civilian casualties place the figure between 24,000 and 40,000.

[Edited 2009-02-12 10:35:12]
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pelican
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RE: Dresden

Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:20 pm



Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
The bombs ignited a massive firestorm burning alive 500,000 innocents in the worst single event massacre in history.

Where did you get those numbers from?

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 2):
And the estimates of civilian casualties place the figure between 24,000 and 40,000.

The newest and most profound research estimates between 18.000 and 25.000.
Futile? Probably, but did those who ordered the bombardment new this beforehand?

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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:46 am

I wonder if any a.netters were in Bomber Command, and what was their read of Dresden ? Clearly it was a generation before, but their must be some institutional memory of the events and decision making behind it. I think Air Chief Marshal Sir 'Bomber' Harris was in charge at the time.
Right or wrong, there is no doubt that Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrific events and put civilian and military lives on the same footing for the first time.

I'll have to read up on my AJP Taylor (eminent historian) to understand this better. What surprises me is the lack of outrage by the Japanese - did they just end up feeling that they had it coming?
 
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:50 am



Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
Dresden. Don't forget.

And the blitz on Coventry, say, or London - should they be forgotten?

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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:54 am



Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
The bombs ignited a massive firestorm burning alive 500,000 innocents in the worst single event massacre in history.

The population of Dresden today is 500,000, lets say it was exactly the same in 1945 (most likely it was less) that would mean every single person in the City was killed.
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:35 am



Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
Dresden Germany - February 13, 1945 and the war is over, Germany has lost.

Actually the Battle of the Bulge had ended just a month earlier, and the Allies were worried about the Nazis mounting another counteroffensive. Dresden had over 100 factories producing munitions and other war material.
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:52 am



Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 7):

Actually the Battle of the Bulge had ended just a month earlier, and the Allies were worried about the Nazis mounting another counteroffensive. Dresden had over 100 factories producing munitions and other war material.

Checkmark

Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
The bombs ignited a massive firestorm burning alive 500,000 innocents in the worst single event massacre in history.

500,000?

Not even immediately after firebombing did anyone think the death toll was that high. In the immediate aftermath, they estimated 250,000. However, recent independent studies put the number at 25,000..

Personally, I might care about the civilians of Dresden, if there weren't 5.5+ million Jews incinerated by their Nazi government during the course of the war. But lets not let those pesky Jews get in the way of good scolding over Dresden.
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:01 am

Well I cant remember where I got my sources from or the exact facts and figures but I am sure I have read several times that the fire-bombing of Dresden was completely unnecessary and was only done in revenge.

How else can you explain British and American planes mowing down civilians who had been lucky enough to survive the blaze with machine guns ???

Actually I think my major source was Slaughterhouse V, by Kurt Vonnegut, an American soldier who was in Dresden during the firebombing. ( a great book by the way !!! )
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:01 am

I've been to Dresden...interesting place, in 2004. I have been through much of western Germany, so this was my first visit to the "east". While I wasn't treated badly in any way there, people seemed much quieter and kept to themselves. I suppose that's more of an after effect of the East Germany days, as well as the hard economic times experienced by many there. The Frauenkirche was being reconstructed when I was there, and a lot of it was financed by British and U.S. private interests. The cross at the top was built and donated by someone in Coventry. The other buildings that had been restored are remarkable. I can see why it's called the Florence on the Elbe.

I'm sorry for what happened there, but then there needs to be equal remorse for London, Coventry, et. al. that the Nazis nearly destroyed. My grandparents lived through all of that.

"The Last 100 Days" by John Toland is a great book - it talks a lot about Dresden and what happened during the bombing. I recommend reading the entire book - which starts with the liberation of Auschwitz and goes through V-E Day.
 
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:05 am



Quoting Thestooges (Reply 9):

Actually I think my major source was Slaughterhouse V, by Kurt Vonnegut, an American soldier who was in Dresden during the firebombing. ( a great book by the way !!! )

Yes, because we all know how unbiased the bitter, angry Kurt Vonnegut was.
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:16 am

Gosh, MadameConcorde, that's an impressive bit of 'revisionist history.'  

In fact, Allied forces had only just (at the end of January) recovered the ground that they had lost during the German counter-offensive (the 'Battle of the Bulge'), and 'British' (actually mainly Canadian) forces were still fighting hard to complete the capture of Antwerp, which was essential as a supply base. It was to be early April before Allied forces (genuinely British this time) managed to cross the Rhine in force and begin the advance into Northern Germany that finally ended the war.

Further, this is 'beautiful non-combatant London' receiving 'tender loving care' from the Luftwaffe in 1940. Please point out the essential differences between the London case and the Dresden one?

http://www.worldsfamousphotos.com/st...thedral-during-the-blitz-1940.html

About 'the murdering, raping Soviet hordes' - AKA 'our Soviet allies' - as a matter of fact, the Russians hadn't even made it into Germany proper at that time - they were held up by stiff resistance from German armies supplied and reinforced through Dresden.

About firestorms, once again, the British had another unenviable 'historic first' there - the very first firestorm caused by bombing was the English cathedral city of Coventry in November 1940. Once again, please point out for us the essential differences between the Luftwaffe bombing style and those of the RAF and USAAF?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GeYuScOBLY

Things like Dresden happened all over Europe, Poland, and Russia for over five years.

About 'Dresden. Don't forget" - as far as I'm concerned a more appropriate ending would be:-

"Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Franco. Don't forget."

[Edited 2009-02-12 19:18:21]
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:20 am



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 12):
"Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Franco. Don't forget."

You forgot Mao, Miliosevic and a bunch of others.
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:27 am

This revisionist history is somewhat amusing....

Anyway, I've noticed that the original poster likes to make these sorts of outrageous posts with no intent of sticking around to refute her viewpoint.
 
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:42 pm

Quoting Comorin (Reply 4):
wonder if any a.netters were in Bomber Command, and what was their read of Dresden ? Clearly it was a generation before, but their must be some institutional memory of the events and decision making behind it.

I was only a very small child, Comorin - but I knew numbers of RAF veterans after the War. Perhaps I should say 'survivors' - an RAF 'operational tour' consisted of no less that 30 completed trips - relatively few people survived that, and even if they did they were only granted a short break before they started another tour. RAF Bomber Command lost over 40,000 killed in WW2.

I don't recall Dresden being singled out for special mention. I'm sure that it was 'just another raid' at the time. Virtually all German cities were accorded the same treatment over the years - as were virtually all British cities. The Dresden raid was relatively late in the war simply because, given the very efficient German defences, it simply wasn't practical for even the RAF night bombers - leave alone the US daylight ones - to penetrate that far into Germany until late in the war. Dresden later came in for special mention because (as with Coventry in 1940, and several other British and German cities over the years) a rare combination of climatic conditions caused a 'firestorm' (huge torrents of super-heated air flowing upwards, causing hurricane-force winds blowing 'inwards').

As to how any aircrew probably 'felt,' it's important to remember that the RAF and the Luftwaffe mostly flew at night - and that even US daylight bombers usually found their targets covered by cloud. Nor could many aircrew see out of the aircraft, not even the gunners (who were naturally looking out for fighters, not gawping at the targets).

So both sides therefore seldom saw their targets - they bombed target-markers dropped by pathfinders, or bombed by radio beams, or even occasionally 'bombed on ETA' ('estimated time of arrival'). All this guff about 'precision bombing' was, and remains, the purest rubbish, as far as the main bombing forces were concerned.

All in all, I'd reckon that their mindsets were mostly just hoping that they'd get home safe, and then somehow manage to survive the rest of their tours.

[Edited 2009-02-13 04:52:11]
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RussianJet
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:16 pm

The bombing of Dresden is a well known controversy in British history, and the morality and necessity of launching such a raid is still hotly debated to this day.

Whilst Wiki is normally to be taken with a large pinch of salt, the article on this provides a fairly good summary of things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:34 pm

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 18):
The bombing of Dresden is a well known controversy in British history

And US history, RussianJet. They bombed Dresden as well, the same day. Well, to quote the Wiki article you linked to, the MAJORITY of them did  :-

"316 B-17 Flying Fortresses bombed Dresden, dropping 771 tons of bombs. The rest misidentified their targets. Sixty bombed Prague, dropping 153 tons of bombs on the Czech city while others bombed Brux and Pilsen."

Both Prague and Pilsen were about 150km. from Dresden......in a different country that was on our side........

[Edited 2009-02-13 05:47:31]
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RussianJet
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:48 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 18):
And US history, RussianJet. They bombed Dresden as well, the same day. Well, to quote the Wiki article you linked to, the MAJORITY of them did :-

Of course, of course, just talking from my point of view as a Brit.  smile 
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:01 pm

Quoting Pelican (Reply 3):
The newest and most profound research estimates between 18.000 and 25.000.

qoting Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II
The Bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Army Air Force (USAAF) between 13 February and 15 February 1945, 12 weeks before the surrender of the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) of Nazi Germany, remains one of the most controversial Allied actions of the Second World War. The raids saw 1,300 heavy bombers drop over 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices in four raids, destroying 13 square miles (34 km2) of the city, the baroque capital of the German state of Saxony, and causing a firestorm that consumed the city centre.[2] Estimates of civilian casualties vary greatly, but recent publications place the figure between 24,000 and 40,000.[3]

Well even 1 civilian death is one to many
P.S. due to technical difficulties this posting was delayed by over 14 hours  Yeah sure

[Edited 2009-02-13 06:03:33]
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NAV20
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:14 pm

Cheers, RussianJet. Thing was, everyone was bombing everyone else at the time. My earliest memories are dominated by us having to troop out of our nursery-school classroom and into the air-raid shelter, because the Germans were sending over V1s and V2s, several of which landed in our peaceful village twenty miles north of London.

Come to that, the first time I ever saw an aeroplane was a daylight German 'intruder' who flew low over our house when we were playing in the garden. The pilot must have been a 'good sort,' because he left the village alone and dropped his bombs on a fenced-and-hutted, military-looking camp on the outskirts.

Which was in fact a POW camp full of German prisoners, mostly Afrika Korps. I was glad to hear that none of them was hurt (or so I was told), because they were nice guys who were mostly set to mending roads and cutting hedges - and they used to give us little toys they'd made as we passed them on the way to school.

Still remember that when my father got home from the Military Hospital he was working in, my elder brother asked him if we could find out what sort of aeroplane it was. So Dad put his tunic back on and walked us round to the Bofors AA gun emplacement outside the camp gate to ask.

I thought for years that the corporal we talked to there was Polish or something, because I couldn't understand what he'd said. Years later I found out that he'd said (roughly), "Some sort of f*****g Messerschmitt - 110, maybe. It was the clearest f*****g shot we've had in the whole f*****g war so far and we STILL f*****g missed the b*****d....."
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RussianJet
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:31 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 21):
Cheers, RussianJet. Thing was, everyone was bombing everyone else at the time. My earliest memories are dominated by us having to troop out of our nursery-school classroom and into the air-raid shelter, because the Germans were sending over V1s and V2s, several of which landed in our peaceful village twenty miles north of London

Indeed. My view of things comes down to the fact that pretty much everything that happened militarily in WW2 was awful, and I see no value so long after the event trying to say that one bombing raid was better or worse than another, for example.
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:39 pm



Quoting RussianJet (Reply 22):
My view of things comes down to the fact that pretty much everything that happened militarily in WW2 was awful

Couldn't agree more. But in those days, 'we' could honestly say - looking at things like the German/Russian invasion of Poland, or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - that 'they' started it; and that 'we' were left with no choice but to finish it.

Nowadays, unfortunately, 'we' appear to start most of the wars.......
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RussianJet
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:01 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 23):
But in those days, 'we' could honestly say - looking at things like the German/Russian invasion of Poland, or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - that 'they' started it; and that 'we' were left with no choice but to finish it.

Absolutely right.  checkmark 

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 23):
Nowadays, unfortunately, 'we' appear to start most of the wars.......

Unfortunately, you are also right about that.  Sad
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vc10
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:55 pm

It always amazes me when people say by the time of the Dresden raid the war was over
However perhaps the people of London who were getting regular visits from V1 and V2
rockets might disagree on that point.

Apparently the V1 and V2 rockets were fired at London from June 1944 right up to March 1945,
and according to the following site, 8938 Londoners were killed with 25000 injured.

http://www.flyingbombsandrockets.com/

So let us not say the war was over, it was not

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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:33 pm



Quoting JCS17 (Reply 8):
Personally, I might care about the civilians of Dresden, if there weren't 5.5+ million Jews incinerated by their Nazi government during the course of the war. But lets not let those pesky Jews get in the way of good scolding over Dresden.

The Nazis exterminated 11 million people, of which about 6 million were Jews. In addition to Jews, they also exterminated Poles, Romanies, Russians and other Slavic people, as well as Asians and Africans.
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David L
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:44 pm



Quoting Pelican (Reply 3):
Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
The bombs ignited a massive firestorm burning alive 500,000 innocents in the worst single event massacre in history.

Where did you get those numbers from?

Good question.  confused 

Quoting Thestooges (Reply 9):
but I am sure I have read several times that the fire-bombing of Dresden was completely unnecessary and was only done in revenge.

It was controversial at the time... behind the scenes.

Quoting Thestooges (Reply 9):
an American soldier who was in Dresden during the firebombing

... who apparently hadn't witnessed the many similar scenes in the UK, for example.

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 19):
Well even 1 civilian death is one to many

Well, yes, but it was World War II.  Smile

Quoting VC10 (Reply 24):
Apparently the V1 and V2 rockets were fired at London from June 1944 right up to March 1945,
and according to the following site, 8938 Londoners were killed with 25000 injured.

 checkmark  Even when the outcome was becoming obvious, old Adolf was still determined to take as many with him as he could.
 
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:09 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 17):
Both Prague and Pilsen were about 150km. from Dresden......in a different country that was on our side........

...occupied by the nazis and the Skoda heavy machinery works in Pilsen were producing ammo and weaponry for the wehrmacht like crazy almost to the very end of the war.
Perfectly legitimate target to me.
French harbors full of Kriegsmarine submarines were also technically on "our side"...
 
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:09 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 12):
About 'the murdering, raping Soviet hordes' - AKA 'our Soviet allies' - as a matter of fact, the Russians hadn't even made it into Germany proper at that time - they were held up by stiff resistance from German armies supplied and reinforced through Dresden.

Wrong, they were deep into Eastern Germany at that time. How this should make any difference I don't know.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 15):
he Dresden raid was relatively late in the war simply because, given the very efficient German defences, it simply wasn't practical for even the RAF night bombers - leave alone the US daylight ones - to penetrate that far into Germany until late in the war.

Wrong again. Berlin, which surely more heavily defended than Dresden, and which is only about 35 km nearer to London, was target to large scale bombings as early as November 1943.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 12):
About firestorms, once again, the British had another unenviable 'historic first' there - the very first firestorm caused by bombing was the English cathedral city of Coventry in November 1940. Once again, please point out for us the essential differences between the Luftwaffe bombing style and those of the RAF and USAAF?

The difference lies in scale. The Luftwaffe was at no point of the war able to conduct such huge air raids like the RAF. In Dresden the death toll was about 30 times higher than in Coventry (about 20.000 in Dresden and about 600 in Coventry)

For me the controversy lies in the fact that British night time bombing was especially aimed at living quarters of civilians while the American day time raids were aimed at industrial sites. It makes it hard to me to justify bombings like Operation Gomorrah or Dresden, because to me the Brits were - of course - "the good guys" and to single out civilian homes for bombing doesn't sound like something "good guys" do. I can understand why Dresden caused even Churchill to feel uneasy.
But in the end it was a war and war is never nice. And Britain had to fight for survival after it was attacked by Germany in a war which was started by Germany.

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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:18 pm

I agree with the responses here.

Stalin asked for Dresden to be attacked, it was seen as a military target.
It had been largely untouched before mainly due to it's extreme range for both Bomber Command and the USAAF.

We should be careful of revisionist history, in the case of Dresden some of it comes from Nazi apologists. (I bet David Irving has a view).

But the RAF had been doing firebombing for some years before, it was genuinely seen as a way of shortening the war.
It is unacceptable by today's standards, but today's standards have the luxury of 60 years of technological advancement.
It was stretching the technology back then to at night, find the targets in the first place.

War is hell. WW2 was a fight for the survival of civilization from about the most malign new dark age imaginable.

When Bomber Command could, they used new technology, radar mapping, radar jamming, specialist weapons like the 'Grand Slam' and 'Tallboy' bombs, the dams raid.
Indeed, they were often at the technological cutting edge.

Bomber Command was, for British and Commonwealth crews, the most dangerous posting in WW2, they had the worst casualty rates.

For the UK, it was for a long time the only weapon they had to strike Nazi Germany.
Arguments still rage if it was an appropriate use of resources as well as the moral questions.
Certainly Nazi Germany had to devote major resources to countering the bombing, just at the point when they could least afford to, with Russia not being a quick victory and the US entering the war.
All those 88mm guns pointed skywards and not at Allied armour on the battlefield.

Albert Speer certainly thought the bombing was effective, since while it did not cut industrial production as hoped, it DID largely retard the major ramping up of production planned and needed as Germany found herself in a much less favorable situation.

The US firebombed Tokyo to devastating effect, even then, most major Japanese cities were badly hit, they still did not surrender.
We know what happened next, and here's the thing, had the European war gone differently in 1944/5, the first Atomic bombing would likely have been on Berlin.

It is really, a good thing in a way that there was such moral soul searching afterward about events like Dresden, that is, all those years of total war had not made the Allies lose their moral compass, despite everything.
Nonetheless, Bomber Command were treated somewhat shabbily after the war.

It was not until the 1990's that a statue of one of our great WW2 commanders, 'Bomber Harris', was unveiled to join the others.
Many here were appalled still, maybe the best counter to that was what one journalist found, covering the event he expressed his distaste to a German colleague, but the German pointed out don't you see, it made us behave.
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:39 pm



Quoting Pelican (Reply 28):
The difference lies in scale. The Luftwaffe was at no point of the war able to conduct such huge air raids like the RAF.

You must admit that what the Luftwaffe lacked in resources they made up in enthiousiasm.

The Dutch forces in Rotterdam where given an ultimatum on the 14th of may 1940: surrender or your town will be levelled by the Luftwaffe. So a cease-fire was given to allow the commander of the Dutch forces to contact his superiors and the local autorities of Rotterdam. Guess what? Rotterdam got leveled after all due to a "communication error" between the German Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe.

After that nice display of German determination another ultimatum was given to the Dutch military. Surrender or Utrecht, The Hague, Amsterdam and Haarlem will get the same treatment as Rotterdam did.

So there's plenty of blame to go around. But make no mistake about it, it's the Germans that did start the tactic.
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Rj111
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:40 pm

Oh so easy to critisize war decisions in hindsight, sitting at your desk, in times of peace, 60+ years after the events occured.
 
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RE: Dresden

Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:18 pm



Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
The bombs ignited a massive firestorm burning alive 500,000 innocents in the worst single event massacre in history. More were genocided in defenseless Dresden than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Incorrect.

From Wiki:
"Estimates of civilian casualties vary greatly, but recent publications place the figure between 24,000 and 40,000."

In the first few decades after the war, some death toll estimates were as high as 250,000. However, figures in the regions of hundreds of thousands are considered disproportionate.
Today's historians estimate a death toll of between 24,000 and 40,000, with an independent investigation commissioned by the city itself stated that around 18,000 victims had been identified and that the estimated total number of fatalities was around 25,000.

Wiki Link

IIRC, The deadliest bombing of World War Two was the Tokyo Fire Raid just prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with approximately 100,000 people killed in that bombing (the day of - many of those killed from Nagasaki and Hiroshima died in the days and months following the bombing from after effects). Due to many buildings in Japan being made from wood (bamboo), the fires spread rapidly and out of control.

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 16):
The bombing of Dresden is a well known controversy in British history, and the morality and necessity of launching such a raid is still hotly debated to this day.

It shouldn't be. The Germans started the tactic. And even under the modern rules of warfare (Geneva Convention), you're allowed to counter with the same tactics your enemy is using.

"War, once declared, must be waged offensively, aggressively. The enemy must not be fended off, but smitten down. You may then spare him every exaction, relinquish every gain. But till down he must be struck incessantly and remorselessly." - Alfred Thayer Mahan
"Let's Roll"- Todd Beamer, United Airlines Flight 93, Sept. 11, 2001
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
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RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:40 am



Quoting Pelican (Reply 28):
The difference lies in scale. The Luftwaffe was at no point of the war able to conduct such huge air raids like the RAF.

That's true, Pelican. But the reason for that was that the Luftwaffe (thanks to the incompetence of Hitler's generals) was utterly under-equipped' right through the war. The potential of more powerful engines like the Merlin and the DB was obvious; and the British Air Ministry issued a Specification calling for the design of four-engined bombers as early as 1936; and the Stirling, Lancaster, and Halifax were in production by 1940/41.

I'm sure that you'll agree that if Hitler had had aircraft like that, he'd have used them?

Quoting Pelican (Reply 28):
For me the controversy lies in the fact that British night time bombing was especially aimed at living quarters of civilians while the American day time raids were aimed at industrial sites.

I'm afraid that both those notions are 'canards.' As I tried to explain earlier, only the very best crews stood any chance of navigating accurately to their targets, and bombing accurately; and even they couldn't do it unless there were clear conditions and moonlight. So most bombers never saw their targets, they just bombed target-markers,

The British used a 'Master Bomber' system - an 'on the spot' officer in radio contact who supervised the placing of the markers, checked that they were in the right place, and then ordered the main force to attack them.

Since the primary object of the Dresden Raid was to knock out the railways moving troops and supplies to the front, the 'aiming point' in that case was the main railway station. The markers were placed accurately.

The British did not fly in formation but used a 'bomber stream' system, with each aeroplane flying independently to the target, and each bomb-aimer bombing separately. If everything went 'well' the marker/stream system could lead to a high degree of 'accuracy' - that is, a heavy 'concentration' of bombs in the target area. But it was still 'area bombing,' not precision bombing. The Germans did the same thing to Rotterdam, Paris, London etc. from 1940 on.

The USAAF had the additional problem of having to fly in daylight. They did at first hope to carry out 'precision bombing' of miltary targets, but soon found that they had to spread their formations wide to defend themselves against fighters; and also that the rapid expansion necessitated by war meant that they simply couldn't train the pilots and bomb-aimers up to the required standard. So they adopted an even more 'scattered' bombing technique than the British - groups of up to sixty aircraft, spread over several miles of sky, staying in formation, watching the 'leader,' and dropping their bombs when he did. That is, only one aeroplane in about sixty 'aiming' at all.

"The U. S. Army Air Forces entered the European war with the firm view that specific industries and services were the most promising targets in the enemy economy, and they believed that if these targets were to be hit accurately, the attacks had to be made in daylight. A word needs to be said on the problem of accuracy in attack. Before the war, the U. S. Army Air Forces had advanced bombing techniques to their highest level of development and had trained a limited number of crews to a high degree of precision in bombing under target range conditions, thus leading to the expressions "pin point" and "pickle barrel" bombing. However, it was not possible to approach such standards of accuracy under battle conditions imposed over Europe. Many limiting factors intervened; target obscuration by clouds, fog, smoke screens and industrial haze; enemy fighter opposition which necessitated defensive bombing formations, thus restricting freedom of maneuver; antiaircraft artillery defenses, demanding minimum time exposure of the attacking force in order to keep losses down; and finally, time limitations imposed on combat crew training after the war began.

"It was considered that enemy opposition made formation flying and formation attack a necessary tactical and technical procedure. Bombing patterns resulted -- only a portion of which could fall on small precision targets. The rest spilled over on adjacent plants, or built-up areas, or in open fields. Accuracy ranged from poor to excellent. When visual conditions were favorable and flak defenses were not intense, bombing results were at their best. Unfortunately, the major portion of bombing operations over Germany had to be conducted under weather and battle conditions that restricted bombing technique, and accuracy suffered accordingly. Conventionally the air forces designated as "the target area" a circle having a radius of 1000 feet around the aiming point of attack. While accuracy improved during the war, Survey studies show that, in the over-all, only about 20% of the bombs aimed at precision targets fell within this target area." ("THE UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY, September 1945"


http://www.anesi.com/ussbs02.htm#eaocar

Quoting Pelican (Reply 28):
But in the end it was a war and war is never nice. And Britain had to fight for survival after it was attacked by Germany in a war which was started by Germany. "

Agree entirely.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
NAV20
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RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:51 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 29):
We should be careful of revisionist history, in the case of Dresden some of it comes from Nazi apologists. (I bet David Irving has a view).

That's a 'hole in one,' GDB. In fact, Irving started the whole Dresden controversy off, with his book 'The Destruction of Dresden' in 1963. I read it - it's very well-written, and superficially convincing. It only came out later that it was full of inaccuracies, and even contained a number of fabrications and unsupported 'facts':-

" In 1962, he wrote a series of 37 articles on the Allied bombing campaign, Wie Deutschlands Städte starben (How Germany's Cities Died), for the right-wing German journal Neue Illustrierte. These were the basis of his first book, The Destruction of Dresden (1963), in which he examined the Allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945. By the 1960s, a debate about the morality of the carpet bombing of German cities and civilian population had already begun, especially in the United Kingdom. There was consequently considerable interest in Irving's book, which was illustrated with graphic pictures, and it became an international bestseller.

"In the first edition, Irving's estimates for deaths in Dresden were between 100,000 and 250,000 — notably higher than most previously published figures.[15] These figures became authoritative and widely accepted in many standard reference works. In later editions of the book over the next three decades, he gradually adjusted the figure downwards to 50,000-100,000.[16] According to the evidence introduced by Richard J. Evans at the libel trial of Deborah Lipstadt in 2000, Irving based his estimates of the dead of Dresden on the word of one individual who provided no supporting documentation, used forged documents, and described one witness who was a urologist as Dresden's Deputy Chief Medical Officer. The doctor has since complained about being misidentified by Irving, and further, was only reporting rumours about the death toll.[17] Today, casualties at Dresden are estimated as most likely 25,000-35,000 dead, and probably towards the lower end of that range.[18]"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Irving
"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

Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:27 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 29):
Nonetheless, Bomber Command were treated somewhat shabbily after the war.

True but arguably not as badly as Churchill had treated Park and Dowding at the end of the Battle of Britain. You could sort of work out a retrospective reason for wanting to walk away from Bomber Command, but why treat Park and Dowding so shabbily?

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 33):
I'm sure that you'll agree that if Hitler had had aircraft like that, he'd have used them?

Well he did, not very many and not as reliable as Lancs, but the He 177s were quite formidable. It was presumed to be one of those that in 1944 dropped the longest stick that I remember and wiped out most of a road near where I lived. So yes he did a bit and yes he certainly tried to use them.
 
NAV20
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RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:46 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 35):
So yes he did a bit and yes he certainly tried to use them.

Sure, Baroque - but he reckoned without the sheer stubbornness of the British - and of the rest of the Commonwealth. !940-45, if even my own father had said to me, "Son, I've lived through one world war, we've had it in this one, we'd better surrender," I'd probably have said, "Why, Dad?"

The whole Nazi war-making ethos was based on 'terror-bombing.' What the USAF, more recently, called "Shock and Awe.' We both know, from experience, as kids who endured the Nazi Blitz, that it doesn't work. That, unless you actually get killed, "Tomorrow is another day"'.

We both know (also from experience) that these "Bomb the daylights out of any bastards who may even possibly disagree with us" tactics can't win.

The only question is, how long will Israel take to lose? My guess is that, like Hitler, they'll last around five years at most. Probably less if the USA stops supplying the ammunition.

After that,whoever is in power, Israel will have no option but to settle for the best peace terms it can get.............

If that happens, serve them right. In my view, if I had to sum up why the Second World War was fought, I'd unhesitatingly say that it was fought in order to ensure that, as far as ever possible, all forms of ethnic, religious, and political discrimination were outlawed for all time.

[Edited 2009-02-14 06:06:21]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
PanHAM
Posts: 9719
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RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:26 pm



Quoting Mariner (Reply 5):
And the blitz on Coventry, say, or London - should they be forgotten?

Never- Coventry and Dresden are twinned and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the twinning exactly yesterday. And that date is no coincidence. The raid on Dresden is remembered in the ruins of the Coventry Cathedral as is the raid on Coventry in Dresden.

From a military point of view, the raid on Dresden was not necessary and that is common belief in the UK today. Revenge for Coventry was taken long before, with dozens of German cities incinerated. Germany was taken over by a bunch of criminals in the 30s who started the war and Germany paid deerly for what it did to the Jews and to thje people who suffered in WW2.

There is always good coming out of bad and we have established the best state with the best constitution ever on German soil, a free and liberal democracy which, almost 20 years ago, incorporated the rest of Germany in freedom.

Dresden was a beautiful baroqoue city, called the Florence on River Elbe. Many historical buidlings have been lost, but today many of these buildings are re-created. Most important of all the Frauenkirche which stands again in her glory, paid for mostly by donations from all over the world.

For those who haven't been there yet, come and visit.
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:51 pm



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 37):
beautiful baroqoue city

? just the one "o" though?? Always wanted to see it however.
 
GDB
Posts: 13528
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RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:15 pm

At the time, Dresden WAS thought to be significant military target.
Even in early 1945, though Germany might have seemed to be close to defeat, at the time the certainty had not been as great.
They might have effectively shot their last bolt with the Ardennes offensive, but what if they had another surprise.
Like that weapon right out of comic books, the V-2 rocket, but worse?
It may have been a weapon unable to change the course of the war, but don't underestimate how shocking it's appearance was, with no active defence against it either.

Or as one Scientist on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos put it, after the V-2 appeared, each day we tuned the radio to the BBC World Service, just to see if London was still there. The V-2 only really made sense with an Atomic warhead, we feared one day just hearing static on the radio.

In a total war, the industrial production and those who manned and supplied and distributed it, was a legitimate target. Whether they be producing tanks, rifles, steel, refining oil, engines or canisters of Zyklon B.
 
comorin
Posts: 3858
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RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:36 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 15):
Quoting Comorin (Reply 4):
wonder if any a.netters were in Bomber Command, and what was their read of Dresden ? Clearly it was a generation before, but their must be some institutional memory of the events and decision making behind it.

I was only a very small child, Comorin

Thank you for your insights and recollections, much appreciated! Despite being brought up on Biggles, I know of the tremendous price paid by the young airmen who manned the Lancasters and Spitfires.

I have to think through the difference between civilian and military casualties, but in the end it's all human life, especially in struggles to the end? If so, doesn't terrorism become a legit form of warfare?

Anyway,we all owe a debt to the RAF for their bravery - truly, Never have so few....
 
PanHAM
Posts: 9719
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RE: Dresden

Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:43 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 38):
? just the one "o" though?? Always wanted to see it however

typing error indeed...Go visit Dresden it is really worth the trip.

Quoting GDB (Reply 39):
At the time, Dresden WAS thought to be significant military target

as you correctly say, "thought". The city was full of refugees, Germany was down to its knees and if you have ever been to Dresden and know the city, you will certainly agree, that the industrial areas were not in the city center but outside. There was no reason whatsoever to incinerate the city center.

BTW, in Coventry, the industrial production was right in the city, Don't count this remark as an excuse or apology to what happened it is just a fact. .
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!
 
NAV20
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RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:56 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 41):
There was no reason whatsoever to incinerate the city center.

PanHAM, as I've tried to explain, the bombs were not 'aimed' in the conventional sense. The RAF bombers flew in a 'stream' and bombed target-markers dropped by pathfinders on the main railway station. The USAAF ones approached in widespread formations and dropped their bombs when the formation leaders did. The nominal aiming-point for the US bombers was the marshalling yards - but the city was obscured by clouds and smoke and most formation leaders appear to have bombed on the basis of 'H2S' (airborne navigation radar) showing that the city was below.

As a matter of interest, the idea of 'pathfinders' marking the target was originally developed by the Luftwaffe in 1940. They also had difficulty with poor visibility etc. and developed several radio beam systems to tell the pathfinders when to drop their markers. The one in use at the time of Coventry ('X-Geraet) consisted of four beams - one indicating direction and the other three crossing it and indicating the distance to the target. There's a diagram showing the beams used on Coventry here:-

http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/blitz/defend-cov.php

What it boils down to is that all the air forces involved (German, British, and American) were in the 'area bombing of cities' business. They could usually be relied on to find the right city - although bombing the wrong one wasn't uncommon - but any idea that bombing could be restricted to different parts of a given city was way beyond the technology of the time.

[Edited 2009-02-14 17:29:52]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
Stealthz
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RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:03 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 29):
Stalin asked for Dresden to be attacked, it was seen as a military target.

The question is though.. In which war.
I have seen more than one Soviet propaganda film where the destruction of Dresden is used by the USSR to demonstrate how the Red army liberated the (East) Germans from the horror of "Anglo-American Terror bombing"
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!....well that might have changed!!!
 
PanHAM
Posts: 9719
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RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:05 am



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 42):
PanHAM, as I've tried to explain, the bombs were not 'aimed' in the conventional sense. The RAF bombers flew in a 'stream' and bombed target-markers dropped by pathfinders on the main railway station. The USAAF ones approached in widespread formations and dropped

There is no marshalling yard at Dresden Central station. Dresden is not even an industrialized city in the sense the Ruhr area was, or, a major strategically important place like a port city.
The closest industral area to the city is Friedrichsstadt, which has some railroad and port activity. It would have been easy to set the markers so the the core city with the main churches and the castle and all the historical buildings could have been spared. This, obviously, was not intended. The intention was to incinerate Dresden and to terrorize the civilian population. In a way, Dresden was even lucky that the nuclear bomb was not used.

How come bombers were able to spare the Cologne cathedral? My first impression as a small child which I can remember was when my parents took me to Cologne in 1951. The city was flat, the central station opposite the Cathedral was badly damaged, the cathedral itself had a few scratches.

I am not blaming the US and UK for anything, they did not start the war and at the end, the allies liberated Germany and prevented us from becoming a part of the communist block and all the misery we would have experienced by that as well (at least the larger part of Germany) .

Still, the bombing of Dresden was, at that time unnecessary and many in the UK consider it a war crime. The wounds have healed, most of the historical buildings have been refurbished and we live in peace and prosperity in central Europe, which, at the end of the day, is also a result of WW2 .
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!
 
GDB
Posts: 13528
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:36 am



Quoting StealthZ (Reply 43):
I have seen more than one Soviet propaganda film where the destruction of Dresden is used by the USSR to demonstrate how the Red army liberated the (East) Germans from the horror of "Anglo-American Terror bombing"

After WW2, the Soviet propaganda machine also wrote out the supply convoys sent via the Arctic, the amount of material sent (the USSR relied heavily on imported US trucks and jeeps, they licensed built the DC-3), I bet none of this was mentioned either.

PanHAM, Dresden did include important industries, refugees were all over the place by that stage of the war, it's also worth noting that many industrial 'workers', many of whom were killed by bombing, were of course slave labour.
But what could the Allies do about that?
 
skidmarks
Posts: 6614
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RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:40 am

A long time ago, and all these heinous events keep getting dragged up. The fact that 1 civilian died is bad enough, that millions perished is horrendous, It really doesn't matter who was to blame, who did what and when, and who should pay. It was a low point in an already vicious and deadly century which saw many more people suffer around the world than ever before. And this is progress.

I would respectfully suggest that resurrecting old arguements, opening old wounds and bickering over figures and facts that are largely irrelevant today, is pointless.

Yes, it should never be forgotten - Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Holocaust and all the other vile and evil actions perpetrated by all sides. But it should, by now, be in context with the relatively peaceful and progressive world we live in. There are still enough atrocities going on today to worry about without hectoring folk on a bad decision some 60+ years ago.

On the whole, recession aside, most of the countries that were actively involved in the World Wars are restored and prosperous. To continually bang on about who did what is, in my view, somewhat ridiculous and pointless.

Put it to bed, remember quietly and don't ever let it happen again.

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
David L
Posts: 8551
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RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:00 am



Quoting StealthZ (Reply 43):

The question is though.. In which war.

Well, it wasn't the hot one so it must have been the other one.  Smile

Quoting StealthZ (Reply 43):
I have seen more than one Soviet propaganda film where the destruction of Dresden is used by the USSR to demonstrate how the Red army liberated the (East) Germans from the horror of "Anglo-American Terror bombing"

As GDB points out, revisionist history was not unheard of under that regime.
 
PanHAM
Posts: 9719
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 6:44 pm

RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:43 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 45):
PanHAM, Dresden did include important industries, refugees were all over the place by that stage of the war, it's also worth noting that many industrial 'workers', many of whom were killed by bombing, were of course slave labour.
But what could the Allies do about that?

they could have spared the core city, if you take a look at the map that is the area between the river Elbe and the ring formed by the railway line and the Albert bridge. That would have been legitimate war activity. There was no industrial activity within that ring. The damage to the rest of the city would have been as bad and as disastrous.

But as Skidmarks has said, the cities have been restores and the countries are prosperous,, we live in peace and security and Europe should actually more acitvely promote istelf as a role model for other parts fo the world to show that former enemies can live together, respect each other and become real friends.
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!
 
Gman94
Posts: 1167
Joined: Fri May 28, 2004 2:56 am

RE: Dresden

Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:51 am



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 44):

How come bombers were able to spare the Cologne cathedral?

I think that's called sheer bloody luck similar to St Pauls still standing in London when all around it was damaged.

The simple fact is that we were at war with Germany, if German's didn't want us to bomb their cities then they shouldn't have started a war with us. Was the bombing of Dresden a terrible act, yes. Is it something that the UK or US should feel ashamed or embarrassed about, no.
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