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Jan 19, 2006
I was just reading a review of the book Dresden by Frederick Taylor. Has anyone read this book and if so what did you think?

According to the review of the book there is a certain mythology has grown around the destruction of Dresden.

I myself never realized or gave it much thought that it happened just 3 months before the German surrender. To some it was an act of vengeance, and then there are those who say it was a city that contained many installations of military value (Factories, rail junctions).

From what you know about the air war do you think the mission to destroy Dresden was justified? Or could it have been avoided. I can't seem to find a reason why they would (the allies) think that it would shorten the war by bombing a city like Dresden at that point in the war.

I hope this is not too controversial for just my second post but it happened. And if a books written about it then there must be some interest out there.

What's your opinion?

S! Clipper
might be best to go through old archival threads please.........Dresden is always a heated debate and I have my own opinions as I had German relatives strafed by US P-51's on the day of Dresdens plastering by the 8th US AF. Dresden was a main crossing point sector for the refugees though it had been thought during the RAF/US bombing that many military personell were retreating from the Soviets and broadcasting out into the countryside. also the belief that high tech industries were still able to produce while the bombing was taking place. Truth to the matter that over 3/4rs of the industry had been pulled due to the fear of the overwhelming steam roller effect coming from the east and did not want it to fall into Soviet capture.......

there will always be other opinions of course as to should have Dresden been popped, was it a revenge mission by Harris aided by the US army Air Forces; on it goes ......

Im sorry, you are correct I am a new member to this forum. I did look back, just not far enough I guess.

Wow 25 pages..I guess so.

johnbr said:
I you st to work with man that was a fireman in Dresden he said the meddle of the city got to 1200c they best gauss is 500'000 died.

Wow I had no idea so many died. Isn't that more than died at Hiroshima? War is terrible.
The number of dead at Dresden is around 25,000.

In the months after the raid, the official German police figures said that just over 20,000 bodies had been recovered, and estimated the final death toll would be 25,000. Goebbels released a doctored version of that report that said just over 200,000 bodies had been recovered, and the final death toll was estimated at 250,000, but all he had done was add a zero to the true figures.

The city of Dresden established a committe of historians to establish the true figure, they released an interim report last year that said they believed the final figure would be around 25,000.

No serious historian puts the figure much above 50,000, and the more modern ones broadly agree on 25 - 30,000. Figures above 100,000 are only really suggested by revisionists and neo nazi propagandists, like Irving (not suggesting anyone on this thread is a neo nazi, just that they might have inadvertentley picked up the figures bandied about by such people)
Hey Hop

Agreed Irving says some "wondaful things".

Do a search for David Irving online and have a check of page 281 from Apocolypse, apparently the unabridged report from Herr Grose the Commander of Civil Police.

Directly states that 68,650 bodies were cremated.

This point aside and the conditions in the city at the time, I find it hard to believe that the attack that caused more square meters of damage than London sustained in the whole war only caused 25,000 dead.

Worth checking out anyway.
Here is some more info on it:

Out of 28,410 houses in the inner city of Dresden, 24,866 were destroyed. An area of 15 square kilometres was totally destroyed, among that: 14,000 homes, 72 schools, 22 hospitals, 18 churches, 5 theatres, 50 banks and insurance companies, 31 department stores, 31 large hotels, 62 administration buildings as well as factories such as the Ihagee camera works. In total there were 222,000 apartments in the city. 75,000 of them were totally destroyed, 11,000 severely damaged, 7,000 damaged, 81,000 slightly damaged. The city was around 300 square kilometres in area in those days. Although the main railway station was destroyed completely, the railway was working again within a few days.

The precise number of dead is difficult to ascertain and is not known. Estimates are made difficult by the fact that the city and surrounding suburbs which had a population of 642,000 in 1939[20] was crowded at that time with up to 200,000 refugees[21], and some thousands of wounded soldiers. The fate of some of the refugees is not known as they may have been killed and incinerated beyond recognition in the fire-storm, or they may have left Dresden for other places without informing the authorities. Earlier reputable estimates varied from 25,000 to more than 60,000, but historians now view around 25,000–35,000 as the likely range[22][23] with the latest (1994) research by the Dresden historian Friedrich Reichert pointing toward the lower part of this range[24]. It would appear from such estimates that the casualties suffered in the Dresden bombings were not out of proportion to those suffered in other German cities which were subject to firebombing attacks during area bombardment[25].

Contemporary official German records give a number of 21,271 registered burials, including 6,865 who were cremated on the Altmarkt.[26] There were around 25,000 officially buried dead by March 22, 1945, war related or not, according to official German report Tagesbefehl (Order of the Day) no. 47 ("TB47"). There was no registration of burials between May and September 1945.[27] War-related dead found in later years, from October 1945 to September 1957, are given as 1,557; from May 1945 until 1966, 1,858 bodies were recovered. None were found during the period 1990–1994, even though there was a lot of construction and excavation during that period. The number of people registered with the authorities as missing was 35,000; around 10,000 of those were later found to be alive[28]. In recent years, the estimates have become a little higher in Germany and lower in Britain; earlier it was the opposite.
Do a search for David Irving online and have a check of page 281 from Apocolypse, apparently the unabridged report from Herr Grose the Commander of Civil Police.

Directly states that 68,650 bodies were cremated.

That's the forged version, with a zero added at the end.

Even Irving admits to this, now, if you read the text of Apocalypse, he says of the report (p239):

"I.e., precisely ten times the '6,865' cremated according to the March 15, 1945 document
found in east Germany in 1965. This seems the more probable figure, since each
pyre contained hundreds, rather than thousands of bodies."

It is typical of Irving that he includes the forged document in his book, rather than the original, even when he admits the forged document is wrong.

The document Irving has reproduced is known as "TB 47". The figures it gives are exactly 10 times the figures in the police reports found in the German archives, which are dated the same day.

There's extensive treatment of Irving's use of the forged TB47 at
(google cache so TB 47 is highlighted)

Again, all the real evidence on Dresden points to about 25,000 dead. The police reports, the records of burials and cremations, post war research. The only evidence for substantially higher figures comes from dubious sources, to say the least.

This point aside and the conditions in the city at the time, I find it hard to believe that the attack that caused more square meters of damage than London sustained in the whole war only caused 25,000 dead.

London was hit by about 24,000 tons of bombs during the 1940/41 blitz, a few thousand tons in the succeeding years, an equivalent of about 5,000 tons during the V weapon attacks. About 30,000 tons in total.

Dresden was hit by about 3,500 tons.

There was considerably more damage in London. More than 2 millions houses were destroyed or seriously damaged, for example, a figure far greater than the total number of houses in Dresden.
The horror of war dead or even megalithic natural disasters becomes nothing more than numbers after some quanitity that everyone can relate to is surpassed. While hearing that a family of 5 were murdered in their suburban home brings forth many emotions in people hearing that 250,000 died in a tsunami on the other side of the world doesn't have the same impact. It's to hard to get your head around a figure like 250,000- a quarter of a million.
On this topic I can only repeat myself on a post made in an old thread about strategic bombing:

"About Dresden, I don't even want to hear neo-fascist-revisionist historians like D. Irving, but certain facts are proved:

the raid took place on February 13/14 1945 when
-Russian Army was only 50 Km from Berlin
-The City was virtually undefended, almost all AA guns were removed
-Dresden was full with refugees from East, running away from Red Army, there was no concentration of troops there.
- All this was very well known in Allied HQ, the photo recon were perfect.

The number of casualties ranges from 1650 (first German assessment) to 135.000, but since the city was full of refugees who had no home address and nobody looking for them it is simply impossible to come to the right number. I said 100.000, but it could be 50.000 or 70.000, surely the 'official' assessment of those who had all interest to minimize and justify the fact can not be taken by granted.

The attack was deliberately aimed to produce a firestorm in the centre of the City, all tactical targets (railroad, barracks) were far outside that area, moreover military targets were not included in the bombing plan (like the railroad bridge) this is a quote from the British Historian A. Mc Kee

'Targets of genuine military significance were not hit, and had not even been included on the official list of targets. Among the neglected military targets was the railway bridge spanning the Elbe River, the destruction of which could have halted rail traffic for months. The railway marshalling yards in Dresden were also outside the RAF target area. The important autobahn bridge to the west of the city was not attacked. Rubble from damaged buildings did interrupt the flow of traffic within the city, "but in terms of the Eastern Front communications network, road transport was virtually unimpaired." '

The official argument the the city was flattened 'to avoid the concentration of 500.000 soldiers coming from Italy' is against any common sense: even assuming that this army was existing in combat conditions, how in Feb 45 could the Germans had organized such a massive transfer, in the operative environment? And if you want to block troops movements, why focus the attack on the historical center of a city hunderds of miles away?
Sorry, this makes no sense when you have total air control and you can attack directly the marching army."

Ergo, my opinion : Dresden was much more a deliberate criminal act of terrorism and murder than a military justified action.
One of the many that happens in every war, like the destruction of Carthage or the murder of the Hugonots, and as always not punished because was made by the winners.
I said 100.000, but it could be 50.000 or 70.000, surely the 'official' assessment of those who had all interest to minimize and justify the fact can not be taken by granted.

Neither the German police at the time (in their secret official reports), nor modern historians like Reichert, nor the committe appointed by the Dresden council have any interest in minimising the death toll at Dresden.

The attack was deliberately aimed to produce a firestorm in the centre of the City, all tactical targets (railroad, barracks) were far outside that area, moreover military targets were not included in the bombing plan (like the railroad bridge)

Actually the central railway station was heavily damaged. Irving goes into some detail on it:

"The carnage at the central station was the worst that General
Hampe had ever seen. The building itself was a large, nineteenthcentury
structure, its platforms covered by a single glass-and-iron
arch extending the length of the station.
On the night of the attack there had been a train standing at
every platform of the ground-level Dresden terminus beneath this
arched roof; on either side of the terminus station, supported by
concrete piers, there were two high-level express tracks that conveyed
the through traffic between Czechoslovakia and Berlin"

<snip bit about refugees>

"'What we noticed when we escaped,' recalled one Panzergrenadier
office, 'were not so much dead bodies as people who had
apparently fallen asleep, slumped against the station walls.' He had had
to change trains at Dresden en route to Berlin, and had had the
foresight to leave the baggage tunnel in which he and his men were
sheltering as son as it started to fill with smoke. Of his eighty-six
men less than thirty survived the night to arrive in the Reich capital, yet
another illustration of the colossal weight of the attack; but also an
indication that at least at the central station the victims of the terrible
triple blow were not all the elderly civilians, women, and children that
post-war writers would have us believe."

"The police chief 's report stated that the central station was completely
knocked out, with the destruction of all its platforms, buildings,
signalling and tracking equipment; ten trains had been caught in
the station by the raid and completely burnt out. At the city's
Neustadt station a refugee train and a hospital train had burned out
completely, and another refugee train had been badly damaged. At the
nearby freight yard a munitions train had exploded, and  railway
carriages,  goods wagons, and thirty mail wagons had burned
out in the shunting yards at Dresden's minor Old Town station. The
postal buildings were also wrecked"

Whilst Irving makes much of the fact that "through traffic" was running again in 3 days (as if a 3 day disruption in supplies to the eastern front was nothing), the railway facilities in Dresden were badly damaged. It's one thing to have trains running through the hub, another to have the loading and shunting and passenger facilities working again.
dang I knew right off where this thread was going to turn just like the countless threads on other forums on Dresden...............nowhere. Irving is a stooge and should not be even read let alone consulted as an experten on the matter. I have dear freinds who retreated though this **** the day/night of the action, and I am lothe to say more except in reality the death is around 100,000 refugess and retreateing German military. The rail crossings were basically bombed out of commission, getting back in 3 days is crock as it just didn;t happen, the streets were plugged terribly and getting out of that firestorm was bad enough just running for your lives during the night during shellings, bombings and then in the day your prayed you would not get strafed by US fighters

why do I bother.........
Agreed Erich,

How long has it been since our last Dresden chat??? 3-6 months or so.

Very heated as always, but achieving nothing. One of those sad stories from war.
1 - That the dead were 25, 35 or 50.000 is of relative importance. The important thing is that those deaths were useless for the war effort.

Anyway, think about what happened with the recent Tsunami or (to a minor scale) with Kathrina in an incomparably more controlled environment: the real number of casualties was extremenly difficult to calculate, and it took months.
Now imagine the situation in Dresden in 1945, and figure out how it was:how many unregistered refugees escaped the official count?

2 - That in the destruction of the City the central station was damaged is only normal. Point is that the block of 3 days of railroad traffic could have been achieved with 6 Mosquito bombing the station.
The hypocrisy is to claim that Dresden operation was aimed to military targets

This is taken from this site 'http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWdresden.htm'
I don't know if the site is neutral or a neo-nazi thing, but the references are declared and could be verified

" 12) David Pedlow, letter to The Guardian (14th February, 2004)

My father was one of the "anonymous RAF meteorological officers (who) finally sealed Dresden's fate". A chronically short-sighted school teacher, he went into the Meteorological Office at the beginning of a war that he had hoped would not happen, but that he felt was utterly necessary. He knew he would be part of a process that sent young men out to risk their lives, and that inevitably - given the inadequacies of bomb-aiming and weather-forecasting techniques - would lead to a considerable number of civilian casualties.

The Dresden briefing was only one of many that he routinely attended, and even before the crews left the ground he was troubled because of one notable omission from the routine.

Normally, crews were given a strategic aiming point - anything from a major factory in the middle of nowhere to a small but significant railway junction within a built-up area. The smaller the aiming point and the heavier the concentration of housing around it, the greater would be the civilian casualties - but given that the strike was at a strategic aiming point those casualties could be justified.

Only at the Dresden briefing, my father told me, were the crews given no strategic aiming point. They were simply told that anywhere within the built-up area of the city would serve.

He felt that Dresden and its civilian population had been the prime target of the raid and that its destruction and their deaths served no strategic purpose, even in the widest terms; that this was a significant departure from accepting civilian deaths as a regrettable but inevitable consequence of the bomber war; and that he had been complicit in what was, at best, a very dubious operation"
I no the man that I you to work with was a fireman there.He said that the most of the death's there was no body because they were cremated from the heat.He said they would open a bomb shelter that they new there were people and all they found was ash's. Even the road's were burning.
Boo-Hoo. The Germans bombed London without a strategic aim except to bring the British civil population to it's knees and beg for mercy.

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