75th anniversary of Dresden bombing....

Auld-Yin

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Has anyone of any note actually done that?
Max Hastings many times, he even wrote a book about it.

Indeed his latest book, CHASTISE, spends a lot of time saying that the Brits were bad and Germans not so! He is very quick to use the mores of today to judge the actions of yore. Revisionist rather than historian IMHO.
 

Helm

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Max Hastings many times, he even wrote a book about it.

Indeed his latest book, CHASTISE, spends a lot of time saying that the Brits were bad and Germans not so! He is very quick to use the mores of today to judge the actions of yore. Revisionist rather than historian IMHO.
In every book the Allies/West are bad according to Hastings, I also read his Korean book, utterly biased tripe
 
First define military 'effectiveness'.
To go back to the Middlebrook(?) passage quoted earlier, "effective" is something that achieves the effect that it was created for.

In this case, that effect would be related to substantially diminishing, or destroying German industrial output.

Pretty simple.

Leaves aside the thorny issue of cost-effectiveness, however.
 
But you might argue it was militarily ineffective. Harris targeted city centres because they were inflammable. German industry tended to be located on the outskirts of the cities.

The most measurable effect appears to have been Harris's 'Battle of the Ruhr', where Speer's steady increase in armament production was checked while Harris hammered that area. But as soon as Harris shifted his focus, armaments production started to climb again.

Bomber Command adopted the tactics they did because they could only operate at night without an unacceptably high loss rate. And the smallest target they could hit at night was a city. So they found out what they could do - Area Attack - and then came up a rationalistion for doing it; attacks on industrial workers/morale. To do otherwise would be to admit the RAF's strategic bombing campaign was not a good use of resources.

Wordsmith



I can't find the ref. now, but I remember watching a vid of Albert Speer talking about the effectiveness of allied bombing. Several interesting points were made.
1) The defences needed kept huge numbers of aircraft away from the various fronts and needed 100,000 AA guns to be manned & kept away from the fronts equivalent to numerous divisions of artillery that could have been used on the fronts.
2) if several more raids like the Hamburg "firestorm" had been carried out on other major cities in quick order it could possibly have forced the German high command to oust Hitler & call a truce.
3) if the raids had continued on Schweinfurt & destroyed the ball bearing production Germany's armament production would have stopped!
 
Yep. When armour and self sealing tanks were fitted (in storage in the UK at the start of the Battle of France) and Hurricane's flew close escort in the latter states of the Battle of France, losses dropped to 4 - 5%. Another factor in the much reduced losses was the crews working out effective tactics for ground attack. They had no training for it and took heavy losses while they learned on the job. Eventually they learned to attack a target once from a shallow dive the instant they spotted it. Most of the early losses were down to circling the target first and then making several passes at it.



The RAF studiously ignored CAS until 1942 and Crete. Show me any evidence that the RAF did anything about CAS between the Battle of France and then. The papers Baughen has unearthed conclusively show they actively resisted any involvement in CAS. It was only when Churchill inquired into the loss of Crete that he found out the RAF didn't do CAS. Then the fur flew.

Wordsmith
Some thougts on the air war in 1940.


The onset of the harshest winter for 50 years severely curtailed the operations of both sides over the frontier in the months of December, January and February.

This unacceptable rate of loss, on top of other costly raids earlier in the month, finally convinced the RAF High Command that in future its strategic bomber offensive over Germany would need to be conducted by night.

The long-expected German offensive commenced in the early hours of the 10th May with the invasion of neutral Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. The ground offensive was combined with heavy air attacks on airfields and communication centres in these countries and also in France, where 45 airfields were hit in the initial onslaught. Much of the Dutch and Belgian air forces were destroyed on the ground in these early raids and those that did get airborne were overwhelmed by the numerical and technical superiority of the Luftwaffe fighters.

By the 14th May, German forces had broken through the French front at Sedan. With the situation desperate, all remaining RAF Battles and Blenheims were ordered to attack pontoon bridges and troops in the area. Out of 71 aircraft, 39 were shot down; the highest loss in an operation of this size ever sustained by the RAF.

Following the fall of Calais and Boulogne, Dunkirk remained the only port available for the evacuation of Allied troops from the Continent and on the 26th May 1940, Operation Dynamo commenced. Fighter Command's No. 11 Group, under the command of Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park, assigned 16 squadrons to the protection of the port and beaches, although squadron rotation meant that in total, 32 squadrons participated in the violent battles in the skies above Dunkirk. Over the nine days of operations, the RAF carried out 171 reconnaissance, 651 bombing and 2,739 fighter sorties, losing 177 aircraft, including 106 fighters in the process. The losses over Dunkirk reduced the first-line strength of Fighter Command to a mere 331 Hurricanes and Spitfires, with only 36 fighters in reserve.

Finally, on the 18th June, the remaining RAF Hurricane squadrons in France evacuated their bases. The last to leave were Nos. 1 and 73 Sqns, which had been the first to arrive in September 1939. In the six weeks of Blitzkrieg, the losses in men and aircraft had been staggering. The RAF had lost approximately 1,000 aircraft over the Western Front. The French had lost 1,400 planes and the Dutch and Belgians between them, a further 300. Luftwaffe losses numbered around 1,800 aeroplanes of all types.


Contrary to popular belief the RAF and other allied air forces carried out reconnaissance, bombing and CAS missions right up to and even after the fall of France and the evacuation at Dunkirk. There were many reasons why these were largely unsuccsessful, but enough aircraft and more importantly aircrew survived to maintain the air defence of Britain and the rest as they say is history.
 
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I would not describe them of being of note, but CND types got all upset and protested when a statue of ACM Harris was unveiled - not sure when that was but it was a few years back. One of them was interviewed and said something about immoral tactics.

Why was Dresden different to Hamburg or Cologne?
I'm not questioning the validity of the attacks, as hideous as the result was; just asking if anyone of note had complained about it recently...
 

Helm

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I'm not questioning the validity of the attacks, as hideous as the result was; just asking if anyone of note had complained about it recently...
The AfD doesn't seem happy about it.
"AfD’s co-chairman, Tino Chrupalla, recently stated that the bombing of Dresden cost “about 100,000 lives.” While such claims are dismissed by experts and condemned as revisionism by centrist parties, they reflect Alternative for Germany’s tactic of gaining attention by breaking taboos. "
But I'm sure you'll seize that as an opportunity to get all outraged about Brexit again
 
Has anyone of any note actually done that?
Kurt Vonnegut did that in Slaughterhouse Five, and he used David Irving's erroneous figure of 135,000 dead Germans.

“The Dresden atrocity, tremendously expensive and meticulously planned, was so meaningless, finally, that only one person on the entire planet got any benefit from it. I am that person. I wrote this book, which earned a lot of money for me and made my reputation, such as it is. One way or another, I got two or three dollars for every person killed. Some business I'm in.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
 
To go back to the Middlebrook(?) passage quoted earlier, "effective" is something that achieves the effect that it was created for.

In this case, that effect would be related to substantially diminishing, or destroying German industrial output.

Pretty simple.

Leaves aside the thorny issue of cost-effectiveness, however.
.So if for example your enemy:

Never produced enough war material despite net increases in overall output.
Never got advanced submarines into operational service
Never finished the Atlantic Wall
Turned what was designed as an offensive tactical air force into a largely Metropolitan defence force
Was forced to expend massive resources of men and materiel in AA defence
Diverted money brains and time into revenge weapons that were never cost-effective

That would be a win?

Then from middle '44 to March '45 Bomber Command was able to operate by both night and day.. would you like to compare the state of German industry at the beginning and end of those dates?

 
Eventually they learned to attack a target once from a shallow dive the instant they spotted it. Most of the early losses were down to circling the target first and then making several passes at it.
Reminds me of a quote from a 1 (F) Sqn pilot during Corporate. "The word re-attack no longer exists in my dictionary, unless it's the next day". Pilots are or were reluctant to bring weapons back, after an FRA there was always the tempation to re-attack with remaining weapons, and that was when the losses occured.
 
The AfD doesn't seem happy about it.
Dad was a cold warrior and RAF through and through. Father in Law was a SBS Marine then a beat cop.. Grandfathers had been in 1 or both away fixtures Army and Navy.... The thought that a Hun hand-waver politician was feeling hard done by...

what would they say I wonder.....

Oh yes here it is...

 

Helm

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Dad was a cold warrior and RAF through and through. Father in Law was a SBS Marine then a beat cop.. Grandfathers had been in 1 or both away fixtures Army and Navy.... The thought that a Hun hand-waver politician was feeling hard done by...

what would they say I wonder.....

Oh yes here it is...

Couldn't agree more, zero fucks from this locstat also
 
I had a tour of the best surviving air raid shelter in Berlin in 2017 and the guide pointed out that only German citizens were allowed inside, when the siren went off, so if you were, in his words, "a foreign forced labourer or a concentration camp worker on a work detail" in the city (any city), you were left outside and had to fend for yourself. Any foreign worker or camp slave who dared to enter a shelter would be immediately thrown out. I'd wonder how many of Dresden's 25,000 dead were foreign workers or camp slaves.
 

syrup

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The AfD doesn't seem happy about it.
"AfD’s co-chairman, Tino Chrupalla, recently stated that the bombing of Dresden cost “about 100,000 lives.” While such claims are dismissed by experts and condemned as revisionism by centrist parties, they reflect Alternative for Germany’s tactic of gaining attention by breaking taboos. "
But I'm sure you'll seize that as an opportunity to get all outraged about Brexit again

The Germans new exactly how many people had been killed.
They brought SS experts in from the local concentration camps who documented the names etc of the "victims" down to what they had in their wallets and whether they wore specs or not.
The much publicised pictures of the smoking bodies stacked in the town centre was so they could take flame throwers to them.

The raid was also planned on the day Dresden's last remaining Jews were due to report for deportation.
The Gestapo HQ got flattened and a number of the Jews adopted new names and escaped into other parts of Germany.
 
.So if for example your enemy:

Never produced enough war material despite net increases in overall output.
Never got advanced submarines into operational service
Never finished the Atlantic Wall
Turned what was designed as an offensive tactical air force into a largely Metropolitan defence force
Was forced to expend massive resources of men and materiel in AA defence
Diverted money brains and time into revenge weapons that were never cost-effective

That would be a win?

Then from middle '44 to March '45 Bomber Command was able to operate by both night and day.. would you like to compare the state of German industry at the beginning and end of those dates?

But the exam question, surely, is were those the effects that were promised from the outset by Harris?

If the only truthful answer is of the 'No', or 'Not really, or 'Not exactly' variety, then the effectiveness of his strategy has to be in question.

Harris appears almost to to have had a mindset that was "if those khaki clad bastards had only kept the war going for another 3/6/9 months, I could have won it for them", which as I've said twice now on this thread, he could not do uinder any circumstances, because the technologies available to him were not up to it, even if he had employed them to their very best effect each and every time they left the ground.
 

Helm

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But the exam question, surely, is were those the effects that were promised from the outset by Harris?

If the only truthful answer is of the 'No', or 'Not really, or 'Not exactly' variety, then the effectiveness of his strategy has to be in question.

Harris appears almost to to have had a mindset that was "if those khaki clad bastards had only kept the war going for another 3/6/9 months, I could have won it for them", which as I've said twice now on this thread, he could not do uinder any circumstances, because the technologies available to him were not up to it, even if he had employed them to their very best effect each and every time they left the ground.
Well apart from the tiny detail of the atom bomb, which may well have caused endex.
 
I
I have on my I pad a book written by a Russian chap documenting Jewish individuals as well as cities treatment at the hands of the Germans and einstatzgruppen in the east from 1940 to the wars end.
In two months I've only managed to stomach a couple of chapters. It's the most harrowing document I've ever read.
It gives me some quiet satisfaction to know that my grandad Alec delivered so thing over 300 tones of HE and incendaries to the bastards at home.
After reading A chapter on Ukraine I could have lived with them nukeing Berlin!.
 
I sometimes wonder why there wasn’t more thought given to wiping out entire capabilities. If you bombed the living shite out of every single bridge on the Rhein, you would cut their turf in half from a transport perspective on three fronts; rail, road and barge.

Why didn’t the allies bomb say every single power station in NRW? Or every coalmine? Oil refinery? Railway works? I know 617 under Cheshire did quite a few of these, like ball bearing factories, and the Bielefeld Viaduct, but if the Main Force had spanked every last power station over the course of say a month, the place would be completely dark. Or made the Rhein and Weser both unnavigable and uncrossable.
 

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