Carpet bombing

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by P15, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. P15

    P15 New Member

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    Hello there!
    I have read from Clostermann's book about the carpet bombing, which consisted in a drop of a large amount of bombs on the target. According to Clostermann, it killed a lot of civilian people, during the war, especially in Dresde and in Normandy. Is it a true strategic operation or is it a myth?
    Is there nayone else who have heard about this?
     
  2. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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  3. P15

    P15 New Member

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    I have already read that. I was talking of that:

    All in all, the raids almost killed 600 000 persons and injuried 800 000 among the civilian german during the war. Thousand aged cities are fully destroyed. The bomber command leader, Arthur Harris, said: "We always have worked with the idea that bombing anything in Germany was better than not bombing". The carpet bombing technique comes from this time.

    According to the general instruction R8, the Americans, during 1944 spring, calculated that the carpet bombing which was necessary in France to prepare the D-Day would kill 160 000 civilian!


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjo6EDDe7B0
     
  4. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    in normandy the allies tried using heavy bombers in support of the bridgehead to help the front line troops break out into open country and also help take Caen, which Mongomery was having trouble doing ( though he tried to convince all it was part of his grand plan to tie down German forces so a break out could happen elswhere !)

    it was not a great idea and civilians and allied troops were killed, in Caen it probably held up the advance by blocking the streets with rubble from destroyed buildings !

    and google Dresden and you will find enough info about that
     
  5. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    #5 pbehn, Jan 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
    As a Brit to a Frenchman I suggest you visit Caen and Aulnoye, as I have, also Hamburg Dresden and Berlin. Also read about bombing of London, Hamburg, Tokyo. In historical terms also read about sacking of cities, Jericho was a Biblical city with a wall around it for a reason. I worked for a while in Semur en Auxois a city walled for its defence against sacking (burning and looting) Maybe do some research into Napoleons conduct before and after his capture of Moscow. Destroying towns and cities by fire is an age old tactic, technology allowed it to be done from the air in WW2.
     
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  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #6 stona, Feb 1, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
    Carpet bombing, more correctly area bombing, was the system devised by RAF Bomber Command to enable it to operate by night and to compensate for the technological limitations of 1940s bombing accuracy, whilst still inflicting damage on Germany's capacity to wage war.

    Even during the war the British government was economical with the truth regarding what this actually meant. Archibald Sinclair (Secretary of State for Air) consistently either evaded questions or denied that a policy of area bombing existed, even to Parliament.
    In reply to a letter from Lord Salisbury, in which the eminent Lord questioned the bombing policy and concluded "Of course the Germans began it, but we do not take the devil as an example", Sinclair wrote that the government had always "adhered firmly to the principle that we would attack none but military targets." which was palpable nonsense at the time, late 1943.

    Arthur Harris, commanding Bomber Command, thought that these denials would undermine the morale of his men and have serious post war consequences. He was correct about the latter. On 25th October 1943 he wrote with typical honesty and displaying the ruthlessness that made him the commander he was, to Portal and Sinclair:

    "The aim of Bomber Command should be unambiguously and publicly stated. The aim is the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers and the disruption of civilised community life throughout Germany. It should be emphasised that the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives; the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale and the breakdown of morale at home and at the battlefronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories...It should be made clear that the destruction of factory installations is only part and by no means the most important part of the plan. Acreages of housing devastation are infinitely more important."

    There you have it from the horse's mouth (as we say in England).

    There may have been disquiet in the political and religious classes but not among the general public. A mass observation survey of Londoners showed that only one in ten had any reservations about the bombing of Berlin.
    When Richard Stokes, Labour Member of Parliament for Ipswich condemned the attacks on civilian centres as "morally wrong and strategic lunacy" The Sunday Dispatch (later Sunday Express) newspaper reflected the public mood. It's editorial stated "Those MPs who appear to regard the German civilians as their constituents can be assured that the British public is not shedding any tears over the suffering of German cities."
    Nor should they today.

    It is important to understand that the daylight raids in and around Caen in support of the invasion were not area bombing raids. In daylight the RAF achieved similar (actually slightly better) accuracy than their American colleagues and a higher concentration of bombs at the aiming point then the USAAF. Bomber Command had been used by night as a mighty cudgel, a blunt tool, but operations in support of the invasion, notably the 'Transport Plan' proved that in daylight it could perform a different task.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  7. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    I thought this was a.puppy related thing. Silly me.
     
  8. P15

    P15 New Member

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    Ok, is it related to what have called the blitzkrieg?

    I've been in Normandy, and I've already seen the huge holes made by the bombs. Do not worry, I've seen it!
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Not really.

    I was in Caen a few days ago ( Monday,the day before the Le Memorial de Caen Museum re-opened!) and have seen the bomb craters myself :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the massive craters in and around the Normandy area: Allied battleships also shelled the area extensively.

    The USS Texas fired over 250 14" shells, for example, saturating the Pointe Du Hoc area.
     
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  11. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    Carpet bombing in France occurred during the post D-Day campaign. The bombers were still under Eisenhower’s command and were primarily massive tactical close air support. The Caen bombing didn’t dislodge the Germans. However, Operation Cobra at St. Lo was massive and successful. American ground troops were killed during the bombing but they had been purposefully positioned within the bombing error area (800 yards rather than 3000 yards) to counter recovery by the Germans as happened at Caen. Operation Cobra was masterfully successful and led directly to the destruction of the German Seventh Army and opened much of France to advances limited only by logistics.

    There was great reluctance to carpet bomb strategically in France but “precision” bombing of rail yards located in cities often resulted in collateral damage and casualties.
     
  12. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Bombing of France during World War II

    Between the time of the German victory in the Battle of France and the liberation of the country, the Western Allies bombed many locations in France. In all 1,570 French cities and towns were bombed by Anglo-American forces between June 1940 and May 1945. The total number of civilians killed was 68,778 men, women and children (including the 1,700 civilians killed in Royan).[1]

    The total number of injured was more than 100,000. The total number of houses completely destroyed by the bombings was 432,000, and the number of partly destroyed houses was 890,000. The cities that saw the most destruction were the following:[2]

    Saint-Nazaire (Loire Atlantique): 100%
    Tilly-la-Campagne (Calvados): 96%
    Vire (Calvados): 95%
    Villers-Bocage (Calvados): 88%
    Le Havre (Seine-Maritime): 82%
    Saint-Lô (Manche): 77%
    Falaise (Calvados): 76%
    Lisieux (Calvados): 75%
    The bombings in Normandy before and after D-Day were especially devastating. The French historian Henri Amouroux in La Grande histoire des Français sous l’Occupation, says that 20,000 civilians were killed in Calvados department, 10,000 in Seine-Maritime, 14,800 in the Manche, 4,200 in the Orne, around 3,000 in the Eure. All together, that makes more than 50,000 killed. During the year 1943 alone, 7,458 French civilians died under Allied bombs.





    The deadliest Allied bombings during the German occupation were: Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris (2–3 March 1942, more than 600 people killed), Saint-Nazaire (9, 14, 17 and 18 November 1942, 228 dead), Rennes (8 March 1943, 299 dead), Boulogne-Billancourt again (4 April 1943, 403 dead), Le Portel (8 September 1943, 510 dead), Paris western suburbs (9 and 15 September 1943, 395 dead), Nantes (16 and 23 September 1943, 1,247 dead), Toulon (24 November 1943, 450 dead), Lille (9–10 April 1944, 450 dead), Rouen (18–19 April 1944, 900 dead), Noisy-le-Sec (18–19 April 1944, 464 dead), Paris-La Chapelle (20–21 April 1944, 670 dead), Sartrouville (27–28 May 1944, 400 dead), Orléans (19 and 23 May 1944, 300 dead), Saint-Etienne (26 May 1944, more than 1,000 dead), Lyon (26 May 1944, 717 dead), Marseille (27 May 1944, 1,752 dead), Avignon (27 May 1944, 525 dead), Lisieux (6–7 June 1944, 700 dead), Vire (6–7 June 1944, 400 dead), Caen (6–7 June 1944, more than 1,000 dead), Le Havre (5–11 September 1944, more than 5,000 dead), Royan (5 January 1945, 1,700 dead), etc. During the day of May 27 alone, 1944, 3,012 French civilians were killed by Anglo-American bombings on Marseille, Avignon, Nîmes, Amiens, Sartrouville, Maisons-Laffitte and Eauplet.[3][4]
     
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  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #13 stona, Feb 3, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
    There were also precision raids, even by night in 1944.
    Patrick Moyna of the RAF film unit flew in Cheshire's Lancaster for the raid on the Gnome-Rhone aero engine works at Limoges. He later wrote:

    "We went in very low. I heard Cheshire say that he had time in hand to warn the 500 women workers on the night shift. We could see the moon behind the cathedral on the banks of the river. The clouds were breaking up at the right moment. Twice the Lancaster swooped in a shallow dive over the factory, seeming almost to scrape over the roof at 50 feet. 'Keep a look out for the girls, tell me when they clear out' called Cheshire. On a third low warning run, someone said, 'There they go skipper, hundreds of them.'

    Cheshire then dropped his markers on the centre of the factory, they were so bright that Moyna thought the Lancaster had caught fire, before climbing to 5,000 feet and calling in the main force. So accurate was the bombing that according to Cheshire only one load fell outside the factory (150 yards west) in the next eight minutes. The factory was devastated.

    Not all raids were area raids, though Harris was obsessed with the devastation of German cities and carried them out until the end of the war. 617 squadron carried out numerous precision raids on French targets in the run up to D-Day.

    Bomber Command's night time raids on France in the run up to D-Day were not area raids. They targeted specific targets like those of the Transport Plan. Area raids targeted the centre of a conurbation and delivered ordnance designed to burn it down.
    The French railway system was wrecked by raids like that on the marshalling yards at Juvisy on 18-19 April or on La Chapelle the following night which are of a different type.

    In the final days before D-Day Bomber Command flew 1,700 sorties against German coastal defences.

    After D-Day Bomber Command flew sorties against road and rail targets, troop concentrations, barracks, radar installations and fuel depots. Most were against transport targets (over 2,000 sorties). None of this was area bombing.

    Harris did not see the heavies of Bomber Command as tactical aircraft, nor did he expect them to be deployed over the battlefield in support of ground forces, not least because he feared the bombing might not be accurate enough. It was SHAEF that required Bomber Command to perform this tactical role when German resistance stiffened.
    Leigh-Mallory wrote, "We must use air power to get the Army forward if they can't do it on their own, and I repeat it looks to me, unfortunately, as though they can't."
    This is what led to the bombing in Normandy. They were tactical raids and should not be confused with the strategic city busting raids which Harris preferred. The attack on Caen came as a result of a request from Montgomery. Tedder, an airman, had grave doubts about the raid writing that "the army didn't seem prepared to fight its own battles" but he was over ruled by Eisenhower and Caen was flattened by 2,276 tons of bombs.

    Montgomery sent a generous telegram to Harris:

    "We know well that your main work lies further afield and we applaud your continuous and sustained bombing of German war industries and the effect this has on the German war effort. But we also know well that you are always ready to bring your mighty effort closer in when such action is needed and to cooperate in our tactical battle."

    Others disagreed, Zuckerman wrote that it was "idle to expect the best the air can provide by calling in heavy bombers as a frill to a ground plan already made."

    Tedder thought that the failure to capitalise on the bombing showed a worrying hesitancy in the British Army which caused an over reliance on backing from the air (a view expressed in 1940 by various RAF officers when the issue of what we would now call close air support initially became a topic for debate).

    Nonetheless a second series of raids in and around Caen, 7,000 tons falling on the city, were authorised. On 20th July, two days after the bombing, GOODWOOD finally ended. The Allies had advanced just seven miles for the loss of 4,011 men. Harris commented that he had dropped a thousand tons of bombs for every mile of the advance. At that rate he would have to drop 600,000 tons to get the Army to Berlin.

    In September 1944, when SHAEF relinquished its control of Bomber Command to Harris he went back to area raids on German cities, culminating in the casualties at places like Pforzheim (where nearly one third of the population was killed) in early 1945.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  14. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    some insights into allied bombing on this site....

    THE REICH'S EX-LEADERS EXPLAIN WHY THEY WERE BEATEN

    Nazis Explain Defeat
     
  15. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Some interesting stuff there, was it another Reich that was at war with Russia? Even in defeat they seem incapable of recognising the USSRs contribution.
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The interrogated tend to tell their interrogators what they think they want to hear! I haven't read them all but I bet none were being asked the questions by Soviet interrogators.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Thats what I thought, I doubt they would say the same to a Russian. Goering especially shows he had lost the plot long before.
     
  18. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    those are merely blurbs from lengthy interrogations. like anything else you would have to read the entire transcript to see the quotes in context and see what was the question they were answering. i thought they were interesting nonetheless...
     
  19. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Me too, not knocking them just amazed at some quotes, another 5 months for Goering to get his jets in operation would just see his tunnels over run by T34s IMO.
     
  20. redcoat

    redcoat Active Member

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    Credit where credit is due.
    The Luftwaffe were the first air force to devise the tactic of area bombing, they introduced it during the 1940-1 Blitz on Britain. The attack of 14 November 1940 on Coventry was a textbook example of the tactic, unfortunately for the German population Bomber Command was paying attention.
     
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