75th anniversary of Dresden bombing....

I think our modern day perception of CAS and the 1940's version are slightly different.
Given the intelligence and capability of the day, bombing a bridge 5 miles from the advancing enemy was considered the bees knees in CAS terms.
The Blenheims would likely have missed, since the planes had no bombsight.

There was, in 1940, no valid, remotely survivable, bombing role for the Blenheim, which had been designed to do things that (as it turned out) had no place on any modern field of battle.

Meanwhile, Stukas were doing a sterling job for their side.

Well Done Us.
 

Helm

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The Blenheims would likely have missed, since the planes had no bombsight.

There was, in 1940, no valid, remotely survivable, bombing role for the Blenheim, which had been designed to do things that (as it turned out) had no place on any modern field of battle.

Meanwhile, Stukas were doing a sterling job for their side.

Well Done Us.
Yes, the Stuka, did really well right up to the point we unsportingly sent fighters against it.
 
Also IIRC the fire storm was not expected.
But Harris tried his best to re create it afterwards.
The 'firestorm' was a much earlier creation - see Rostock, Lubeck and, especially Hamburg. The Swiss cheese holes had to be in alignment for a firestorm (target type, met conditions, bomb loads etc). It was managed again for Dresden - and rightly so.

'Moderation in war is imbecility' - it was a bloody sailor that said that.
 

ancienturion

LE
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But Harris tried his best to re create it afterwards.
And why not in what was a total war?

The major problem I see in this thread is the number of "hindsight" experts who inform us of what should have been done regardless of the fact that there was a war on.

My first real indication of the war (apart from the old man clearing off to Germany most nights) was the fun of being a lad and watching dog fights, a city burning, and picking up all sorts of unusual bits of ordnance on the street. However, it was not until many years after that I cleared the house after the last one had died and found my mother's original diaries scribbled from the beginning of the war until when the old man came back in '47. That lady must have been terrified even though I know her sense of duty had her carrying a .455 Webley (almost bigger than her actually) in case of German paratroops!
It is one thing to debate in order to improve our response but another to be clever at the expense of people who did, and died, for them to have the opportunity of pretending to be the experts they deem themselves to be.

As can be seen I do get annoyed at the attitude of some people sometimes.
 
had the German advance been halted by the RAF committing all of bomber command
In that setting, the Boche fighters would have had the home advantage that gave us the decisive edge in the BoB. If I were inclined to be counterfactual, I'd wonder what prospects a proper wargaming algorithm would project for it as a gambit.
 
Yes, the Stuka, did really well right up to the point we unsportingly sent fighters against it.
Every piece of military kit meets its Nemesis sooner or later.

The Stuka weapon system did the job for which it was designed built and its crews trained, very well up to that point.

Our bombers? Same Nemesis: fighters with 100mph speed advantage, the difference being that as at 1940, they delivered nothing like the same weapons effect, because they were ill-conceived in the first place: I think @Wordsmith posted upthread about a lack of interwar thought about practicalities.
 

Helm

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Every piece of military kit meets its Nemesis sooner or later.

The Stuka weapon system did the job for which it was designed built and its crews trained, very well up to that point.

Our bombers? Same Nemesis: fighters with 100mph speed advantage, the difference being that as at 1940, they delivered nothing like the same weapons effect, because they were ill-conceived in the first place: I think @Wordsmith posted upthread about a lack of interwar thought about practicalities.
You miss my point, the reason the Stuka was so effective was there was no effective opposition, once there was it became very ineffective.
 
We were at war, we won, historians seem to think that is shameful to have won. I wonder if they consider what they would have been writing had Hitler prevailed?
Interesting documentary on You Tube that has some saying that Britain (and France) should have stayed out of the war and let Hitler get on with it malleting the Soviet Union after digesting Poland (or his half of it, anyway)

 
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You miss my point, the reason the Stuka was so effective was there was no effective opposition, once there was it became very ineffective.
No - you miss mine: that our own bombers of 1940 were built to be ineffective even before the fighter threat materialised, because they couldn't even hit the kind of target that needed to be hit in 1940, much less do it in a timely manner.
 
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Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Interesting documentary on You Tube that has some saying that Britain (and France) should have stayed out of the war and let Hitler get on with it malleting the Soviet Union after digesting Poland (or his half of it, anyway)
Adolf led a major regional power without the land, population or resources to become a global power. Had he defeated Russia while France and the UK stood aside, he would have had the agricultural land, raw materials (oil, iron ore, chromium, nickel, manganese) and population ('Aryans') to make him damn near impossible to kick out of Europe. The US would not have picked a fight across 3,000 miles of ocean and the UK and France would have effectively been dominated by the Greater Reich.

Wordsmith
 
Why was Dresden different to Hamburg or Cologne?.........
..........Beacause it was packed with refugees from the east, fleeing from the Russians who were advancing at a rapid rate. If there were no refugees, the city would have not been any different from Koln or Hamburg, all were legitimate targets, the difference was the fleeing non combatants......allegedly.
 

Issi

War Hero
It was full of refugees fleeing westwards but also full of troops and kit heading eastwards, as the Russians were approaching rapidly. There were also factories, rail heads etc surrounding the city.
 

Yokel

LE
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.
Max Hastings is an opinionated idiot. Does he criticise the actions of the Army during the war in the same way?

He really is a bell end. Surely without the combined bomber offensive the Germans would have been able to supply their forces on both fronts with thousands of heavy guns and hundreds of thousands of men?
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
No - you miss mine: that our own bombers of 1940 were built to be ineffective even before the fighter threat materialised, because they couldn't hit the simplest target.
Nor had bombs that worked properly. Unbelievably, the RAF did not test its bombs under realistic conditions until August 1939. Then Patrick Huskinson was appointed Air Member of the Ordnance Board. And being a genuine expert in bombs did decide on practical trials. He found a disused power station at Gretna Green and had live bombs lobbed at it. The results were catastrophic.

"I used every type and size of bomb then available, and the majority failed entirely to function. Almost invariably, on impact with the roof of the building, the fusing component was ripped out of the bomb and the weapon made as useless as a bag of cement... The performance of the incendiaries was, if anything, worse than that of the general purpose bombs. More often than not, in their passage through the roof, they broke into fragments and so failed to ignite".

Huskinson goes on to say that the bombs had been designed in 1925, and only tested under ideal conditions then and then with minimal testing since. It took just a few days of testing from Huskinson on the eve of war to show the majority of the RAF's weapons were effectively useless.

Wordsmith
 
Nor had bombs that worked properly. Unbelievably, the RAF did not test its bombs under realistic conditions until August 1939. Then Patrick Huskinson was appointed Air Member of the Ordnance Board. And being a genuine expert in bombs did decide on practical trials. He found a disused power station at Gretna Green and had live bombs lobbed at it. The results were catastrophic.

"I used every type and size of bomb then available, and the majority failed entirely to function. Almost invariably, on impact with the roof of the building, the fusing component was ripped out of the bomb and the weapon made as useless as a bag of cement... The performance of the incendiaries was, if anything, worse than that of the general purpose bombs. More often than not, in their passage through the roof, they broke into fragments and so failed to ignite".

Huskinson goes on to say that the bombs had been designed in 1925, and only tested under ideal conditions then and then with minimal testing since. It took just a few days of testing from Huskinson on the eve of war to show the majority of the RAF's weapons were effectively useless.

Wordsmith
That's frankly jaw-dropping.

Yet this was the substance, gawdelpus, underpinning the messianic belief at the time that aerial bombing could win our wars.

Come the day, cometh the man.

Portal, in this instance, I think.
 

Helm

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Well, it's clear then we lost the war due to the Germans being just the most awesome and best at everything, oh wait.
 
Adolf led a major regional power without the land, population or resources to become a global power. Had he defeated Russia while France and the UK stood aside, he would have had the agricultural land, raw materials (oil, iron ore, chromium, nickel, manganese) and population ('Aryans') to make him damn near impossible to kick out of Europe. The US would not have picked a fight across 3,000 miles of ocean and the UK and France would have effectively been dominated by the Greater Reich.

Wordsmith
Yes, that is what some of the other talking heads mentioned in the documentary. Some thought Hitler would win and dominate the European land mass, and others said Uncle Joe would come out on top. Neither one was good news for the rest of western Europe though and would have made it impossible for Britain to shift all by itself, even with the rest of the Empire backing them.That would have made the task of the US to free Europe simply herculean as we would have been busy with our Japanese friends for the foreseeable future.I don't know if we could have done it. All I'm saying was that my father was mighty glad the atomic bombs were available and dropped ending the war. He lost 6 chums from his ROTC class that were killed in Europe and he was certain that he was going to be the 7th man lost in the Pacific fighting the Nips in Operation Downfall.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Max Hastings is an opinionated idiot. Does he criticise the actions of the Army during the war in the same way?

He really is a bell end. Surely without the combined bomber offensive the Germans would have been able to supply their forces on both fronts with thousands of heavy guns and hundreds of thousands of men?
Up to the advent of Harris it probably cost the RAF more in lost bombers and aircrew training than Bomber Command did damage to Germany.

Wordsmith
 
Well, it's clear then we lost the war due to the Germans being just the most awesome and best at everything, oh wait.
I gave you a funny ('cause it was) but the valid point you are making (I hope) is that we and our allies were totally unprepaired for the blitzkrieg that hit western Europe in 1939/40. Our kit was wrong and out tactics were wromg and we got .....well, err, blitzed.
However we adapted and overcame and by 1944 we were hitting the Germans hard on their own territory. the whole should we, shouldn't we have bombed the big cities is quite frankly irrelivant today. the powers that be of the day decided that is what should happen. Those in uniform (including Harris) caried out their duties as directed from above to the best of their abilities. At the end of the day the German threat was nullified and eventually ceased to exist.
We have an awful lot of memorials that are testament to their bravery and sacrifice.
 

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