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MB_Avro_UK
10-06-2005, 05:07 PM
I was talking to a German friend of mine recently about the RAF bombing of Germany.

In Britain there has been criticism since the war of the bombing of German towns and cities. A statue to the Commander of RAF Bomber Command ('Bomber' Harris) in London was pelted with eggs and paint by British protesters.

Over 52% of RAF bomber crews in WW2 were killed and many others injured. They did not receive a Campaign Medal because the British Public were upset by the 1945 images of destroyed German towns and cities.

Britain had no other way of attacking Germany without bombing at that time.

What was the view of occupied countries with regard to the bombing of German Cities?? Nothing is heard from them now in the media? Poland,Russia,France,Belgium,Norway,Denmark etc

What is the perception in the USA regarding their bombing?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

hop2002
10-06-2005, 05:25 PM
They did not receive a Campaign Medal because the British Public were upset by the 1945 images of destroyed German towns and cities.

That's widely quoted, but not really true.

Bomber Command crews are entitled to the same medals as Fighter Command and 2 TAF crews who fought in Europe, namely the Aircrew Europe Star. Campaign medals were usually split into geographic areas, not by branch (although there was a BoB award for fighter aircrew that took part in the BoB)

faustnik
10-06-2005, 05:29 PM
Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:

What is the perception in the USA regarding their bombing?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

I'd say the general attitude here in the USA has always been that the Nazis bombed London first and got what they deserved.

danjama
10-06-2005, 05:45 PM
"A statue to the Commander of RAF Bomber Command ('Bomber' Harris) in London was pelted with eggs and paint by British protesters."

You have no idea how sick that makes me feel. I have no respect for people like that and in no way are they to be mistaken as britons or my fellow countrymen in anyway. I have no problem with what we did. In fact it was necessary, on par with strategic bombing IMO. I really cant believe that it is questioned. What are people thinking? I would like to see them live through it and still say it wasn'y necessary....now im going to sit in anger for a while and think how my country could end up so twisted... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

ImpStarDuece
10-06-2005, 06:10 PM
"Terror bombing" was the German term for the bombing raids on Germany. German citizens commonly refered to bomber aircrew as 'terrorflieger', one of the more memorable and effective bzzwords of the German propaganda departments.

However, it is also important to remember that the LuftWaffe bombed London with a strength of 200 or more bombers every night for 57 nights straight. Then there is the early German bombing of Warsaw and Lodz. Area bombing wasn't just an Allied tactic, it was recognised and practiced by both sides. The Allies could just do it bigger and better

I'm not saying that it was right or moral to do the same thing, but 'tit for tat' has always been one of the oldest arguments in human history. "They did it so we did it, but they did it first" It is not an issue that will be resolved on these boards.

Formation bombing was the most effective method of attacking the German war effort that Britain had. The worst excesses of it weren't really realised until the massive combined daylight operations of late 1944 and through 1945, when Bomber Command and the 8th and 15th Air Forces could operate without fear of interference by the LuftWaffe.

p1ngu666
10-06-2005, 06:11 PM
i think alot hoped on british bombers and soviet tanks...

i think harris should have been removed, but he was the right man for the job for a few years.

most bombing was of dubious acuracy and concentration.

bomber command was just better than everyone else

lw put in a good effort at first, then it gradualy became a farce

the americans bulit up slowly to actully get bigger than bomber command, but not as good at destroying areas cos of limited loadout http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif and they didnt venture far untill 44

p1ngu666
10-06-2005, 06:15 PM
imp, the heavies of bomber command didnt fly in formation, a loose gaggle like us fb'ers do onwhine http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

they where more spritely than the american bombers, so u could really chuck them about the sky http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Aaron_GT
10-07-2005, 04:36 AM
Britain had no other way of attacking Germany without bombing at that time.

Up to 1941 only military targets were attacked but bombing accuracy was very low hence the move to area bombing. The critical report was delivered in 1941.

By the end of 1943 bombing accuracy had improved and commentators have suggested that continued area bombing may have been detrimental to the overall war effort by wasting bombs on poor targetting decisions. The policy came in for criticism in 1944 by the 8th AAF for this reason and due to poor coordination with 8th AAF attacks.

Zjoek
10-07-2005, 04:57 AM
Sorry, but I think area bombing (or extermination of civilians on a large scale...) is just wrong. I don't care who started it, don't care for the reason, it's one of the sad parts of wwII (it wasn't even that effective!). Those who ordered it (not those who flew it. They were following orders and their losses should be honoured) shouldn't be made statues of.

Both sides were guilty. Yes, the LW started it , among others they flattened Rotterdam, now one of our biggest cities, and later they bombed London which cost them the battle of britain. The allies didn't learn from their mistake and adopted it.

I wouldn't start throwing eggs and whatnot at those statues though...

On the other hand, without the bomber campaign the Luftwaffe wouldn't have been crushed so easily.

I'll probably be called a 'bloody pacifist' or '*****' now but I don't care. It's my opinion and I'm entitled to it. Yay for freedom of speech! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

ImpStarDuece
10-07-2005, 05:08 AM
Originally posted by p1ngu666:
imp, the heavies of bomber command didnt fly in formation, a loose gaggle like us fb'ers do onwhine http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

they where more spritely than the american bombers, so u could really chuck them about the sky http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Only before 1942 did the British really practice night bombing without formations. Standard tactic was for a squadron to take off for a target and all make their own way their. Accuracy was appauling. The Butt Report (yes, that is its REAL name), released in August 1941, stated that

1. Of 100 bombers setting out on an operation, many never found the target.
2. Of those attacking the target, on average only one-third placed their bombs within 5 miles of the target.
3. In hazy or inclement weather, the number of bombers finding the target was only one in ten.
4. On moonless nights, only one bomber in 15 found the targe
The end result of this type of bombing was that, on average, 20 bombers out of 100 arrived within a 5 mile radius of the target area. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif A 5 mile radius represents about 75 miles square, or enough to fit a large city in.

After the Butt Report there was a serious change in methodology and tactics. Of course, there were still lots of night bombing attacks where crews made their own way to the target area. However, formation bombing became more and more common as the war progressed. Standard practice was for small squadron sized formations with quie large horizontal and vertical speration to follow pathfinder aircraft and then forming up when closer to the target area. Even with specialist pathfinder forces, the British still managed to bomb the wrong sity on occasion.

Bomer Command regularly flew formations in the daylight raids that it committed to. It also managed to fly night formations in the 3 mass raids it flew in 1942.

p1ngu666
10-07-2005, 05:49 AM
they flew singly, but in a stream later on, only very rarely have i read about formations, and that was ad hoc on nights when it was bright, each plane did its own run over target, unlike the formation method where 1 guy drops and the others follow...

in the early days, crews could decide when they flew off, and did there own routes etc..

Banger2004
10-07-2005, 05:49 AM
When discussing the rights and wrongs of 'area bombing', I think it is important to bear in mind the technology available at the time. Navigation was an art in the earlier years of the war, so finding targets at night hundreds of miles from base was indeed very difficult, as aluded to in another post.

Navigational aids did come on stream as time went by, allowing Bomber Command to at least find the cities that military targets were located in, but 'Bomber Harris' still chose to conduct a policy of area bombing in order to hopefully demoralize the enemy (of course it did not work, look at Londoners!), and to make the population homeless and generally make life as miserable as possible for the enemy.

This was total war, and rightly or wrongly, civilians were part of it, they worked the land, and the munitions factories etc.that were mostly located in cities and so were legitimate targets.

Nasty thing war, I am thankful that I have not had to fight one. My father did, in Bomber Command as a navigator over Germany, and some of his tales were pretty gruesome.

I suppose the upshot of all this rambling is that at the time area bombing was seen as a neccessary evil, a way to hit back at the enemy, and a moral booster for the folks back home.

Unfortunately, with regards to the defacing of statues etc. the PC brigade have taken what happened during the Second World War and tried to twist things around. Most of us were not there, did not witness the things that went on, and so cannot be too judgemental. Of course what happened in the war was deplorable. What happened happened though, so we have to live with it.

One thing for sure, I am proud of what my father and his comrades achieved, and despise anyone who tries to belittle their achievements.

With regard to other countries views on the bombing, my father went to Germany after the war (was posted), met and married my mother, who was born in Munich. She was of course terrified by the bombing, but she and others more or less accepted that it was a part of life, no less! Of course she and her friends would rather it had not happened, but having lived through the war and then learning of some of the things the allies found (Ravensbruck etc.), she accepts that it was a part of the whole, that the bombing of cities etc. was perhaps justifiable.

She has told me that there was often quite a large percentage of military in Munich at any one time (scattered around of course, troop movements, leave and so on), so it was quite possible for the same to have been the case in other cities. She concluded that in her opinion ALL of Germany was a target, not just cities.

IL2-chuter
10-07-2005, 09:21 AM
My turn.

I think it's odd that one group could use the experience of being indescriminately bombed as a rallying point and motivational tool and then to expect that they could turn that around and likewise bomb the other side into submission. Instead, for all the destruction and suffering the other side rallied and was motivated.

I don't think we can decide here and now whether things were done right or wrong then as we don't have the perspective of that time. In hindsight, it makes interesting speculation what might have happened if things were done differently, but I'm not sure I would risk history by changing anything. (You can all rest easy.)

(Off to work.) http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

p1ngu666
10-07-2005, 09:28 AM
well, bombing of civilians did work in some places. italy, spain, africa and mesoptania, in china, plus over europe...

One13
10-07-2005, 11:20 AM
One of the things about the british area bombing was it was designed to destroy the housing of the German population, not to kill them. During the Blitz it was found the main effect on morale was caused by damaged and destroyed housing. This gave support to the idea of area bombing.

falling-bird
10-07-2005, 12:35 PM
The hoo-ha over Harris€ statue being abused could easily have been avoided by dedicating the piece to the aircrew, i.e. having an image of generic bomber crew. I think that most people would agree that they were the blokes who deserve to be remembered and I think that that€s what the monument initially started out to do. By depicting €˜Butcher€ Harris, the body that set up the statue sent a very confusing mixed message to the general public. Harris will always be a controversial figure; as he was during his tenure at Bomber Command. He seemed to have a morbid fixation with area bombing and was even very reluctant to allow his squadrons to support the Allied invasion in Normandy. Basically he only had one idea and was unable to develop any other strategy, even when it was obvious that the reconstruction and clearing up the damage his raids was doing was going to have to be done and paid for by the Allies. He was in a way, a collector; he was just crossing off a list of cities one by one. He actually had a book with photos of German cities and he would colour in areas as they were destroyed. In blue. Whenever possible, he proudly showed this off to those visiting dignitaries who had a strong enough stomach and little imagination. Unfortunately, he had manoeuvred himself into a position where it would have been difficult, politically, to replace him at that time.

Personally, I€m not convinced that the scale of the area bombing raids from 1944 onwards was justified. American procedures of targeting the oil and chemical industry directly, and a willingness to use heavy bombers tactically, were much more effective in crippling the Nazi war machine. British bombers, especially towards the end of the war were just producing a huge big mess, and paying for it with aircrews€ lives.

As I say, Harris was, and still, is a controversial man, and it is a shame that the RAF Bomber Crews occasionally get tarred with a brush meant for him personally.

ARCHIE_CALVERT
10-07-2005, 01:59 PM
Let€s not forget that by the end of the war, the Americans had abandoned precision bombing and switched to area bombing. Under General Curtis LeMay, the Eighth Air Force started using low-level incendiary attacks against the Japanese with devastating effects, some causing cataclysmic firestorms to rival Dresden€¦

Aaron_GT
10-07-2005, 02:13 PM
I think it's odd that one group could use the experience of being indescriminately bombed as a rallying point and motivational tool

Actually the UK Government was very worried about the negative effect of the Blitz on civilian morale, which was one of the justifications for using area bombing.

Harris has become symbolic of the odious side of the campaign when the strategy had arguably outlived its usefulness, particularly Dresden. I agree that a statue to the crew would not have attracted the controvery that a monument to Harris did.

And as many have said, post D-Day certainly, area bombing perhaps wasn't very useful. Precision had improved, and area bombing had not delivered the promised blow to German industry. Harris' argument was that it hadn't been used enough. US strategists suggested that the synthetic oil industry and transport infrastructure needed to be made more of a target. Gradually it was, but various 'what ifs' suggest that LW air support for the Battle of the Bulge could have been much reduced if oil and transport had been more targeted.

hop2002
10-07-2005, 02:49 PM
Basically he only had one idea and was unable to develop any other strategy, even when it was obvious that the reconstruction and clearing up the damage his raids was doing was going to have to be done and paid for by the Allies.

Yes, he only had one strategy. Bomb Germany.

But the idea his only method was area bombing is completely wrong.


Personally, I€m not convinced that the scale of the area bombing raids from 1944 onwards was justified. American procedures of targeting the oil and chemical industry directly, and a willingness to use heavy bombers tactically, were much more effective in crippling the Nazi war machine.

This is buying into the myth that the RAF did nothing but area bombing, the USAAF everything but area bombing. The truth is, both forces carried out a mix of area and precision attacks.

The 8th AF, for example, dropped 61,000 tons on oil targets, BC dropped 98,000 tons. It's only when you add in the contribution of the US Mediteranean bomber forces that the USAAF exceeds BC's tonnage on oil, the USAAF in total dropped 112,000 tons.

In terms of tactical co-operation, the USAAF dropped 114,000 tons on military installations and troops and defences, BC dropped 187,000 tons.

(total tonnage on Europe for BC was 955,000 tons, for the USAAF heavies 980,000 tons (all the figures for the USAAF are for heavy bombers only))

And when it comes to area attacks on cities, the USAAF did their share as well. They admit to close to 50,000 tons on "city areas", but the usual cover for a USAAF area attack was "marshalling yard", and the USAAF dropped no less than 280,000 tons on "marshalling yards" (as well as another 65,000+ on "roads, railroads and bridges")

The truth is, in 1944 and 1945 BC dropped about a third of their total bomb load on German cities, the rest went on more precise targets. It's only in 1943, when it didn't have any other real options, that BC was a one trick pony, dropping 131,000 out of 157,000 tons on German cities.

p1ngu666
10-07-2005, 03:39 PM
hop, shouldnt the figure for BC be higher? BC had more bombers than the 8th until mid 44, and even then, lancs and hallifaxes would carry 2x as much, plus BC had been at it longer

if u include the med, then the americans maybe higher, i know little of the heavy bomber ops in the med http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

anyways, the acuracy of bomber operations was pretty poor whatever, cos of various reasons

Friendly_flyer
10-07-2005, 04:45 PM
OWhat was the view of occupied countries with regard to the bombing of German Cities?? Nothing is heard from them now in the media? Poland,Russia,France,Belgium,Norway,Denmark etc


From Norway:

During the war, what little news reaching the general public was German propaganda of "terror bombing", I guess the general impression was €œsuits them right€ or €œwell, it€s war€. The scale of the destruction wrought by area bombing was not revealed until after the war.

I can rally only speak for my own generation (I was born in '67), but as far as I have experienced it bout the German bombing of London and the Allied bombing of Dresden (and naturally, Hiroshima and Nagasaki) is considered more or less criminal acts. Of the Allied bombing in Europe, Dresden is the only one well known. The general consensus seem to be that by 44-45, the war had come to a phase where everyone had committed, if not crimes, at least questionable acts of war, and while the bombing of Dresden may not have had any military significance (thus really bombing it being a war-crime), it was just another bloody mindless act of war.

Nowadays, the curriculum in schools has changed a lot. It seems history is all about women€s status in 17th century rural Norway. You shouldn€t be surprised to find teenagers who don't know there was a war at all, and may just discover it should they ever wish to find out why they can't find any charming old Bierstube in Kiel or Dresden.

hop2002
10-07-2005, 06:19 PM
BC had more bombers than the 8th until mid 44,

The figures for the USAAF include all USAAF heavies flying missions against Europe, so it's not just limited to the 8th. The USAAF heavies passed the monthly sortie rate for BC in late 1943.


and even then, lancs and hallifaxes would carry 2x as much,

BC flew about 330,000 sorties, this includes lighter bombers like Mosquitos, Wellingtons etc. Sorties by heavy bombers made up about 260,000 of this total.

The USAAF heavies flew something over 510,000 sorties.


plus BC had been at it longer

Certainly, but the bomber campaign was very end-weighted. BC dropped half it's wartime tonnage after September 1944, the USAAF after Oct 44, iirc.

Tonnage on early BC operations was very low, despite the idea that Britain had planned for a campaign of heavy bombing and embarked on it straight away. In reality the bomber campaign got off to a very slow start.

BC tonnage by year:

1939 31 (thirty one tons)
1940 13,033
1941 31,704
1942 45,561
1943 157,457
1944 525,518
1945 181,740


if u include the med, then the americans maybe higher, i know little of the heavy bomber ops in the med

Yes, they don't recieve anything like the publicity of 8th AF operations, but they were very extensive, something over 180,000 heavy bomber sorties in the Med theatre alone.