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MB_Avro_UK
08-26-2005, 02:30 PM
I thought that this link maybe of interest. 72 RAF bombers shot down in one night over Germany. Not unusual.

Possibly more RAF crew lost in this one night than in the whole Battle of Britain in 1940??

It's perhaps unfortunate that the sacrifices of RAF Bomber Command have never been recognised due to politcal considerations. The sacrifices of the US Bomber crews have been justifiably recognised but both countries were doing the same job.

http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1839482005

(I hope the link works!)

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

MB_Avro_UK
08-26-2005, 02:30 PM
I thought that this link maybe of interest. 72 RAF bombers shot down in one night over Germany. Not unusual.

Possibly more RAF crew lost in this one night than in the whole Battle of Britain in 1940??

It's perhaps unfortunate that the sacrifices of RAF Bomber Command have never been recognised due to politcal considerations. The sacrifices of the US Bomber crews have been justifiably recognised but both countries were doing the same job.

http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1839482005

(I hope the link works!)

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

Low_Flyer_MkII
08-26-2005, 02:36 PM
Not exactly a dream posting. Just been reading Armageddon by Max Hastings - Bomber Command crews were more likely to be killed than to survive a tour of duty.

Saunders1953
08-26-2005, 02:57 PM
IRRC, 51,000 KILLED of just over 100,000 men total in Bomber Command. To me, that's an absolutely astounding figure. To have that percentage total casualties would have been bad enough, but that number dead?

Btw, why have they always called them casualties--doesn't seem that there is anything casual about it at all!

MB_Avro_UK
08-26-2005, 03:15 PM
Maybe my post is OT but perhaps it helps to illustrate the carnage and sacrifice that aircrews endured.

Interesting but depressing post by Saunders above that over 50% of RAF bomber crews were killed in WW2.This must make it the highest casualty group of British forces in WW2?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

ploughman
08-26-2005, 03:27 PM
Them and merchant marine crews on Atlantic Convoys. Pertinently one of my Grandads was a Halifax pilot, the other a crewman on a merchantman. Both survived.

Low_Flyer_MkII
08-26-2005, 03:40 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
Maybe my post is OT but perhaps it helps to illustrate the carnage and sacrifice that aircrews endured.

Interesting but depressing post by Saunders above that over 50% of RAF bomber crews were killed in WW2.This must make it the highest casualty group of British forces in WW2?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's correct.

'Among every 100 RAF Bomber Command aircrew in the course of the war, 51 died on operations, 9 were lost in crashes in England, 3 seriously injured, 12 were taken prisoner, 1 was shot down and avoided capture, and just 24 completed a tour of operations.'

Armageddon - Max Hastings. Macmillan Publishing, 2004.

Achilles_NZ
08-26-2005, 04:15 PM
Those casualty figures are certainly horrific.
Really makes you think about the futility of it all and quite a reality check after potting around in sims.
These men are long overdue for their own proper memorial.
Have any petitions been put forward to the government to have one established?
If not, then perhaps one could be organised.

Surely its the very least that could be done for them.

p1ngu666
08-26-2005, 04:32 PM
they didnt even get a campaign medal http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

flying bombers was very dangerous, a german who was captured in norway, everyone in his squadron died in the war.

many men also cracked under the pressure, entirely unstandable

Low_Flyer_MkII
08-27-2005, 03:32 AM
Their average was 22.

A few links that may be of interest.

http://www.rafbombercommand.com/


http://www.lancastermuseum.ca/memorialgranite.html

http://www.cwgc.org/cwgcinternet/cemetery_details.aspx?cemetery=109600&mode=1 (http://www.cwgc.org/cwgcinternet/cemetery_details.aspx?cemetery=109600&amp;mode=1)

This thread has so far proved respectful to an emotive issue. Please, let's keep it that way and treat the story of these young men as a symbol of what can happen when the lunatics take over the asylum.

MrBlueSky1960
08-27-2005, 05:40 AM
I've posted this before, but I think it is worth reading again to bring it home...

Extract from the book €˜Tail End Charlies€

Between 1939 and 1945 the bombing war launched from Britain against Germany claimed the lives of just over 55,000 airmen from the RAF€s Bomber Command, around half its entire force. Its casualty rate was higher than any other section of the British armed services. The United States Army Air Force had that same grim distinction among the US forces. After its Eighth Air Force joined the battle in 1941, 26,000 of its officers and enlisted men died in combat. In all, more than 15,000 Allied Bombers never returned, shot down by flak or by fighters or crashing as a result of mechanical failure or human error. The sacrifice was enormous. On one terrible night 670 Bomber Command aircrew died in a matter of hours on one single raid. This was more than the RAF casualties in the whole of the months - long Battle of Britain. If a bomber went down, the odds were that every one of its seven-man crew would die, unable to bale out in time. And even when there were survivors, in the vast majority of cases, fewer than half escaped with their lives. The attrition was frightening. In January 1944 the death rate averaged 5 per cent per mission €" 1,700 men lost their lives in that one month. For the bomber crews of the second World War, with a fifty €" fifty chance of survival, every day was a €˜D-Day€ landing, every time they took off they were €˜going over the top€. And with most needing thirty operations to complete a tour of duty, it didn€t need a maths degree for a man to work out that, if he was going to live through this war, he would have to be very lucky indeed.
The extent of the slaughter is barely recognised. In a private room of the RAF archive at Bentley Priory in north London are kept the official documents of all the men who died and the missions that claimed their lives. The filing cabinets line two walls of a room in sad, silent testimony. To stand there and try to grasp the individual lives €" and deaths €" recorded in front of your eyes is devastating. It takes one€s breath away and gives pause for thought in the same way as does the Menim Gate monument at Ypres or the Vietnam War wall in Washington. But those are public cenotaphs; Bomber Commands€s dead have no such memorial.

They are filed away, as if they had done nothing to be proud of€¦

Banger2004
08-27-2005, 06:34 AM
Seems incredible that even after all these years, in densely populated countries, lost crews are still being found, may they rest in peace.

My father flew with Bomber command as a navigator, had a few near misses but obviously survived the war. Used to tell me tales when I was younger, and I particularly remember some of the more gruesome bits (you did'nt want to be in an aircraft with 20-30mm cannon shells flying around!). He lost many colleagues, sometimes in accidents (takeoffs etc), but mostly because of enemy action.

All aircrews, whether allied or axis must have gone through terribly tense times, often seeing sudden death at close quarters, but still the majority managed to do the job to their best ability in awful circumstances.

I know that my father was really quite bitter about the lack of recognition bomber crews received, despite the hardships they operated under, and I often think it is never too late for the British Government to put this right, even after all this time and with aircrew numbers diminishing day by day.

However, by the end of the war Bomber Commands tactics were being (rightly or wrongly) questioned, and even Churchill, previously an ardent supporter of Harris's area bombing, withdrew support. Sadly, I do not think that those brave men of Bomber Command will ever get the recognition they deserve (without being political), with the current Government it would not be 'PC', even now.

Freycinet
08-27-2005, 01:52 PM
I can recommend Arthur "Bomber" Harris' book on the war fought by Bomber Command: It's called "Bomber Offensive", was written in 1947, and has been published in a new paperback edition in 2005 by Pen & Sword Military Classics, isbn 1 84415 210 3. A very good read, very frank indeed, and a very interesting account by the man behind the RAF night bomber offensive.

MB_Avro_UK
08-27-2005, 01:57 PM
Thanks for your responses and as said earlier this is a well balanced thread.

I've often wondered what the views of the Nazi occupied countries were to the bombing of Germany? Were the people of France,Holland,Belgium,Denmark,Norway,Poland,Greec e,Czechs etc and those in Death Camps protesting at the time about RAF bombing missions?? Where are their voices now?

It's very sad that the RAF guys who were doing their duty in the defence of democratic freedom have been shunned by politicians and to a degree also the media.

I suspect that if France and other occupied countries had had the ability to bomb Germany they would have done the same as the RAF.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

Low_Flyer_MkII
08-27-2005, 02:13 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
Thanks for your responses and as said earlier this is a well balanced thread.

I've often wondered what the views of the Nazi occupied countries were to the bombing of Germany? Were the people of France,Holland,Belgium,Denmark,Norway,Poland,Greec e,Czechs etc and those in Death Camps protesting at the time about RAF bombing missions?? Where are their voices now?

It's very sad that the RAF guys who were doing their duty in the defence of democratic freedom have been shunned by politicians and to a degree also the media.

I suspect that if France and other occupied countries had had the ability to bomb Germany they would have done the same as the RAF.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Max Hastings again (I'm on the last couple of chapters, so it's fresh in my mind) - The people of occupied Western Europe saw the bombers as a visible sign that the Nazi's days were numbered.

And from one of the links I posted earlier:-


Remembering those
who didn€t come back

All Bomber Command aircrews were volunteers. Around 10,000 airmen were made prisoners of war. They were relatively lucky, for the chances of getting out of a crashing bomber were slim - the g-forces caused by aircraft spinning earthwards out of control trapped many airmen inside. Laden with bombs and fuel, bombers were also likely to explode instantly when hit by anti-aircraft fire.

In total, 55,000 members of Bomber Command lost their lives. Most were very young - the average age of aircrew was 22 years old. They are remembered at the memorial at Runnymede and by the statue of Bomber Harris outside the RAF church of St Clement Dane€s in the Strand, London. They sacrificed their futures to help free Europe from Nazism.



Assessment of the Campaign

Bomber Command airmen flew operations on almost every day or night of the war. Their task demanded sustained and repeated acts of courage from individual aircrews in lonely and dangerous situations.

The bombing campaign was the only way by which Britain could hit back at an aggressive enemy who had invaded most of Europe, had bombed British cities from Glasgow to Plymouth, had taken the first steps to invade the UK by an aerial assault in the Battle of Britain and who represented the greatest danger Britain had faced for centuries.

The RAF€s bombing campaign also had important political value. It helped Churchill convince the Americans that Britain could strike effectively at Germany and therefore it was worth investing a substantial amount of the USA€s own airforce effort in the European war. Having been bombed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbour, there were many Americans who wanted all the USA€s military strength targeted at the Pacific War. Had this happened, it would have been disastrous for Britain.

Bomber Command€s efforts also played a crucial role in Britain€s alliance with Russia. After Russia was attacked by the Germans, Stalin repeatedly demanded that Churchill open a second front to divert German forces. He wanted an invasion launched across the Channel as early as 1942 and accused Churchill of cowardice. Churchill knew it would up to two years before this was possible, but he argued that the RAF€s bombing of Germany already was a second front and this helped to convince Stalin that the British were committed to attacking Germany. Had he not believed this, Russia might have felt forced to agree a truce with Germany. This would have been extremely dangerous for Britain, for Hitler could then have turned all his military force towards a second attempt at invading Britain itself.

Statistics show that German industrial production was not affected as badly as might have been expected by sustained bombing. However, for much of the early part of WW2 German war industry was not operating at full capacity and many German factories continued to produce domestic goods.

Without the bombing campaign, German industry would have been able to increase war production capacity many times over if required. Bombing disrupted production and held the full potential of the German industrial machine in check. Equally importantly, bombing attacks on the German homeland forced the Nazis to divert over one million men and 55,000 artillery guns to anti-aircraft defence within Germany itself. German aircraft production had to focus on fighter production for defence against bomber attack, rather than, as Hitler desperately wanted, be able to produce more bombers for offensive use. These resources were urgently needed elsewhere, particularly on the eastern front fighting the Russians, who were finally able to overcome the Germans and force them into a retreat.

Historian Professor Richard Overy had studied the bombing campaign at length. He writes: €˜The critical question is not so much €œWhat did bombing do to Germany?€ but €œWhat could Germany have achieved if there had been no bombing?€€¦... Bombing was a blunt instrument. It was a strategy that had a long and painful learning curve. But for all its deficiencies the 125,000 men and women of Bomber Command made a larger contribution to victory in Europe than any other element of Britain€s armed services.€

Albert Speer, Hitler€s Armaments Minister, knew more than anyone else in Europe about the true effect of the bombing campaign. He summed it up thus: €˜It made every square metre of Germany a front. For us, it was the greatest lost battle of the war.€

(http://www.rafbombercommand.co.uk)

MB_Avro_UK
08-27-2005, 02:33 PM
Low_Flyer...

Excellent post. I must buy this book.

Also,the strategy of the RAF Air Ministry was to carry the maximum bombload at the expense of armament and armour.Their machine guns were hopeless beyond 200m whereas the night fighters could engage at 400m.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

MB_Avro_UK
08-27-2005, 02:48 PM
And let's not forget that the RAF bomber crews comprised a huge number of Canadians,Australians,New Zealananders and many more.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro

Low_Flyer_MkII
08-27-2005, 02:53 PM
ISBN 0-330-49062-1
Max Hastings
Armageddon the battle for Germany 1944-45.
9.99 pbk. Macmillan.

The book details the end of WWII in Europe from the point of view of participants of all rank, military and social, using many eyewitness accounts. Much is made of the methodical and seemingly cautious approach of the Allies on the Western front compared to the horrific and bitter advance of the Soviet armies. His conclusions are well thought out and deliberately non-sensationalist, perhaps most importantly, very well written. I thoroughly recommend it (and no, I'm not his agent!)

ploughman
08-27-2005, 03:27 PM
I thought his book on Korea very readable, much more so than the Anthony Beevor histories that have been much acclaimed in recent years. I read his Bomber Command and look forward to Armageddon.

Low_Flyer_MkII
08-27-2005, 04:13 PM
D'OH! I've been so engrosssed in his latest work that I overlooked Hastings has written a book devoted purely to Bomber Command. Thanks, Ploughman!

If you enjoy pottering about book shops as much as I do, keep an eye out for 2 excellent books by Martin Middlebrook - The Nuremburg Raid & The Battle Of Hamburg. Detailing the events of Bomber Command's greatest diaster & greatest success. Again, well written & non-partisan accounts - describing the horrors endured by both sides.