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As I was warned when I commenced this project in i, my task was not as straightforward as if the attacks on Dresden had taken place in the early years of the war. Many of the papers relating to the execution of the attacks were quite properly removed by British and American officers — including the R. E's own Master Bomber for this raid — as souvenirs at the end of the war, and never found their way into the archives of the Air His- torical Branch or the Public Records Office now unattractively re- christened The National Archives.
Again, although for the early part of the war there are series of captured Luftwaffe documents in Washington and London, with the exception of the Luftwaffe High Command's war diary many of the principal German records from those months were destroyed dur- ing the days of the final collapse. Part of my work therefore consisted of tracing the main personali- ties and airmen involved in the three raids on Dresden, and retrieving if only temporarily their 'souvenirs' for abstracting in this more per- manent form. My thanks were, and are, due to the two hundred British airmen who provided me with the fragments of information which I required.
Similarly, about one hundred American bomber and fighter-escort crews provided me with details without which the chapter on the American attacks would have been impossible. The narrative of the Luftwaffe side of the raids presented greater difficulties. The number of fighter pilots who both took part in the defensive actions on the night that Dresden was the Main Force tar- get, and survived until i, was indeed not great.
I relied upon west German newspapers including the Deutsche Soldatenzeitung and on the Deutsches Fernsehen to assist me in tracing the Luftwaffe person- nel on whose statements I was able to base the narrative description of the paralysis of the defences on the night of February , The material for the description of the target, and of the raid's effect on its inhabitants, comes from a wide variety of sources, not least from about two hundred former Dresden citizens who provided me with statements on Dresden and answered a questionnaire on the city's in- dustrial and military significance.
At the time of writing the book, I decided, at the risk of limiting the volume and scope of eye-witness evidence, to accept only evidence from those then living in western Germany or elsewhere outside the Soviet Zone of Germany; I felt that years of Marxist- Leninist propaganda, especially on the Dresden trag- edy, would probably not have taught those still living in the city any respect for objectivity in their accounts, although I did of course con- sider it proper to consult publications which had appeared in East Germany.
An American researcher, Elizabeth Corwin, came in to the same conclusion after studying forty years of propaganda generated on both sides of the Iron Curtain by the raids. Like Auschwitz, she suggested in a research paper, Dresden captured the imagination of the post-war generation. As such, the destruction of Dresden surely belongs in the propaganda hall of fame.
It can be used to vilify or to vindicate. In latter years, revising this work, I relaxed this rule. I travelled three times to Dresden, meeting the photographer Walter Hahn, whose horrific photographs, provided to me exclusively for this project, have often since been pirated and have gone around the world; I also met the city's archivist Walter Lange, who provided great assistance, which I endeavoured to repay by donating to him after the entire re- search files which I had collected for this work.
A historian has no duty to be popular. It is difficult sometimes to be true to the historical record and popular at the same time. The narrative of the attack would have been incomplete without the detailed statistics of the composition of the attacking forces which were supplied to me at the time by the Air Ministry's Historical Branch, and which I have since confirmed from air force records in the Public Records Office. I would also acknowledge here the aid given by the Wiener Library, London, with their extensive files of literature of Na- tional Socialist and allied countries, particularly for the chapter The Reaction of the World where the violent propaganda which countries sympathetic to Germany were able to generate is examined, particular reference being made to the wireless transmissions picked up by the B.
Monitoring Posts throughout the world. Among senior air force officers who assisted me from i to when writing this history, I was fortunate to obtain the frank co-op- eration of Sir Arthur Harris, former commander-in-chief of Royal Air Force Bomber Command, and of Air Marshal Sir Robert Saundby, who exercised his copious memory in recollecting the story behind the execution of the R.
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Wing Commander Maurice A Smith and Squadron Leader C P C de Wesselow, were among those officers who willingly provided their time as well as access to their personal records of the operation and who also checked the finished manuscripts for flaws or incorrect emphasis in detail.
Of course, all opinions expressed are my own alone. The current version of this book benefits from the passage of time. Not only are we now able to research almost at will in the surviving papers of R. Bomber Command housed in the British Public Records Office, but among the papers which first the United States air force authorities and then, belatedly, the British Government Com- munications Headquarters, have finally been able to release are the wartime Ultra intercepts of the frantic, almost hysterical radio mes- sages sent by the Dresden police chief to his superiors after the raids.
It also turns out that the American bombers had the city centre as- signed to them as their aiming point, and not the railroad yards. The author of this Paper, who was in the s one of the Division's senior historians, had access to a file of correspondence between Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill and their operational commanders which no other historian had examined. Writing the first edition of this book I pressed Dr. Albert F Simpson, the legendary director of the U.
Historical Division, to obtain the progressive declassification of this Paper from its original Top Secret grading; but it never made the final grade in time. I conducted an extensive correspondence with the American authorities between i and in an endeavour to persuade them to release it to me, without success. It is now however finally available. More recently my New Zealand colleague Stuart Hayward succeeded in surfacing from the USAF archives internal correspondence which testifies to the embarrassment caused by my s application.
The air force advised General William F McKee, Vice Chief of Staff, in a memo dated September 11, , to fob me off with a letter indicating that the study would not be released soon enough for my purposes. Justifying the need for this evasive reply, the air force stated explicitly: 'Mr Irving is uncommonly persistent and may continue to plague us for release of the USAF study' The authorities suggested that I be told that General Carl A Spaatz, the wartime commander of the U. Stra- tegic Air Forces, intended to prepare his own account of the Dresden bombings and that he should have first call on the study.
To my knowledge Spaatz never pub- lished such an article. In fact the U. Air Force secretly released the Angell study on December 12, , but it was still not provided to me. He replied however, in a letter drafted by the USAF Historical Division, that he felt that I had seemed at times to be judging men's actions in by the Author's Preface standards and the intellectual and emotional climate of — a fair criticism; it is reasonable to add that Spaatz commented that my casu- alty figure for Dresden was twice as high as any other estimate that he had seen, and that he felt that I had under-estimated the city's military importance.
I have since benefited from a fuller analysis of one crucial docu- ment which surfaced after my book's publication, the Dresden police chief's March report on the raids. The police official stated an estimated death roll, but I am still reluctant to adopt it without ques- tion. Photos of the ruins long after the raids showed inscriptions chalked on walls: 'Clara Singer: here beneath the rubble. Nobody could, or can, be precise about the final figure. Countless people who were in Dresden that night had vanished from the human race as surely as the man of whom only a shadow remained etched into the wall against which he had been leaning at Hiroshima.
Anybody who visited Dresden afterwards will have seen how even years later both its centre and the suburbs like Striesen were still acres of unexcavated ruins, crudely bulldozed flat, and in some cases already built over. Each All Saints' Day since then these desolate wastelands are strewn with flowers and wreaths marking the resting place of families still buried beneath them, and hence not included in the police chief's March statistics.
Association's Air Mail magazine, and the U. Air Force magazine all rendered indispensable assistance. William Kimber, a gentleman publisher in London, was one of the people who answered one of my advertisements in The Times.
He asked if he could publish the book; we soon agreed terms and thus began a long friendship. I had the slight misfortune of getting to know him at a time when he was otherwise totally immersed in defending, and even- tually losing, the High Court action brought against him by an Auschwitz doctor for libels contained in Leon Uris' historical novel Exodus. For months he and his staff waded through reams of eye-wit- ness statements from the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.
All this inevitably rubbed off on his firm's editing of my original Dresden manuscript: some passages were spiked for fear of inviting libel actions from Sir Winston or even Sir Arthur Harris; some of my more harrowing descriptions of the horrors of Dresden were erased from the proofs; and without my knowledge some of my chapter-end- ings were excised and chapter headings inserted like 'They Shall Reap the Whirlwind,' testifying to Mr Kimber's sincerely held belief that perhaps, after all, the Germans had merely been repaid, with interest, in their own coin.
These raids too killed hundreds thousands of innocents. Readers of the original edition'" will have little difficulty in identi- fying these modest literary excursions by my publisher. I offer one mi- nor example: to a sentence in my chapter, 'Dresden the Virgin Target,' referring to the mass expulsion of six million Germans from their east- ern territories in which led to the deaths of two million of them, Mr Kimber appended his own commentary 'though dwarfed by the Nazis' genocidal treatment of the Jews'.
He even allowed himself the little conceit of attaching three clunky, ill-fitting lines to the closing paragraph of my book. They have now gone. It was several years before I noticed these little modifications; I have restored these passages to how they were in most, though not all, of the cases. Having said this, let me make clear that I was proud when The Daily Tele- graph invited me to write an obituary for William Kimber.
I never regretted our long association. Halfway through those thirty years I was thrilled to see his little firm, which has long since been engulfed by others, earn the unique accolade of com- ing out on top in a nationwide poll by the British Society of Authors, when it asked their members which firm had treated them with the greatest honesty. When the author of this book invited me to write a fore- word to it, my first reaction was that I had been too closely concerned with the story. But though closely concerned I was not in any way responsible for the de- cision to make a full-scale air attack on Dresden.
Our part was to carry out, to the best of our ability, the instructions we received from the Air Ministry. And, in this case, the Air Ministry was merely passing on instructions received from those responsible for the higher direction of the war. This book is an impressive piece of work. The story is a highly dramatic and complex one, which still holds an element of mystery.
I am still not satis- fied that I fully understand why it hap- pened. The author has, with immense industry and patience, gathered together all the evidence, separated fact from fiction, and given us a detailed account as near to the truth, perhaps, as we shall ever get. That the bombing of Dresden was a great tragedy none can deny. That it was really a military necessity few, after reading this book, will believe. It was one of those terrible things that sometimes happen in wartime, brought about by an unfortunate combination of circum- stances. Those who approved it were neither wicked nor cruel, though it may well be that they were too remote from the harsh realities of war to understand fully the appalling destructive power of air bom- bardment in the spring of The advocates of nuclear disarmament seem to believe that, if they could achieve their aim, war would become tolerable and decent.
They would do well to read this book and ponder the fate of Dresden, where , people died as the result of an air attack with conventional weapons. On the night of March , , an air attack on Tokyo by American heavy bombers, using incendiary and high explosive bombs, caused the death of 83, people.
The atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 71, people. Nuclear weapons are, of course, far more powerful nowadays, but it is a mistake to suppose that, if they were abolished, great cities could not be reduced to dust and ashes, and frightful massacres brought about, by aircraft using conventional weapons.
And the removal of the fear of nuclear retaliation — which makes modern full-scale war amount to mutual annihilation — might once again make resort to war attractive to an aggressor. It is not so much this or the other means of making war that is immoral or inhumane. What is immoral is war itself. Once full-scale war has broken out it can never be humanized or civilized, and if one side attempted to do so it would be most likely to be defeated. So long as we resort to war to settle differences between nations, so long will we have to endure the horrors, barbarities and excesses that war brings with it.
That, to me, is the lesson of Dresden. Nuclear power has at last brought us within sight of the end of full-scale war. It is now too violent to be a practicable means of solv- ing anything. No war aim, no conceivable gain that war could bring, would be worth a straw when balanced against the fearful destruction and loss of life that would be suffered by both sides.
There has never been the slightest hope of abolishing war by agree- ment or disarmament, or for reasons of morality and humanity. If it disappears it will be because it has become so appallingly destructive that it can no longer serve any useful purpose. This book tells, dispassionately and honestly, the story of a deeply tragic example, in time of war, of man's inhumanity to man.jeannieralston.com/nyrax-zithromax-and-plaquenil.php
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Let us hope that the horrors of Dresden and Tokyo, Hiroshima and Ham- burg, may drive home to the whole human race the futility, savagery, and utter uselessness of modern warfare. We must not make the fatal mistake, however, of believing that war can be avoided by unilateral disarmament, by resort to pacifism, or by striving for an unattainable neutrality. It is the balance of nuclear power that will keep the peace until mankind, as some day it must, comes to its senses.
Prior to this date, aerial attacks had been dehvered by the Royal Air Force only against capital ships, bridges, or gun installations, more from respect of the superiority of the German Luftwaffe than from considerations of international law. Warships in the Kiel Canal had been attacked as early as September 4, but it was not until the night of March , that the R. Just before four p. Two of the bombs fell on a children's playground, in Kolmar-Strasse.
The Polizei-Prasident — the official responsible for civil defence in every German city — reported fifty-seven fatal casualties, comprising twenty-two children, thirteen women, eleven men, and eleven soldiers. The official D. The French, accused of having executed the attack, insisted that they were innocent, although a Potez 63 aircraft had been seen in the area; satisfied by this plea, the British Foreign Office published a clear warning that they regarded the German allegation as 'menda- cious'; they suspected an attempt at prefabricating a justification for a Luftwaffe German air force assault on allied towns: while recalling that on September 1, they had given an assurance to the President of the still, nominally, neutral United States that the Royal Air Force had been given orders prohibiting the bombing of civilian popula- tions — an assurance which it must be stated the British prime minis- ter up to May 10, had scrupulously observed — the British government now publicly proclaimed that it reserved the right to take whatever action it considered appropriate in the event of German air raids on civilian populations.
X- X- X- x- x- Four days after the Freiburg affair, the Luftwaffe launched one of its most ill-famed air raids of the Second World War, during the critical land battle for Rotterdam. While, like the mysterious attack on Freiburg, this raid does not fall within the concept of an area attack, any account of the prelude to the bombing war would be grossly 1 r They Have Sown the Wind 5 incomplete without a sober description of the Nazis' Rotterdam raid, given the role it played in forming British public opinion towards the later overwhelming attacks of the Royal Air Force on German towns.
His statistics were less than exact, as historical research has proven. Although many of the most important Luftwaffe records were destroyed in an accidental fire at Potsdam on the night of Feb- ruary , , the origins and nature of the Rotterdam attack of May 14, can be clearly reconstructed. By May 13, , three days into Hitler's invasion of Holland, his 22nd Airborne Division with four hundred troops were encountering severe difficulties at the position where they had landed on the tenth, to the north-west of Rotterdam; reinforcements from the 9th Panzer Division and the 16th Infantry Regiment had penetrated the city as far as the Maas bridge — captured on the very first day of the offensive by Nazi paratroops in the face of Dutch attempts to de- molish it; the bridge was a Dutch defence keystone.
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The latter. Colonel Scharroo, refiised to negotiate, and every indication was that during the night the Dutch would shell the German positions. The 22nd Airborne Division, beleaguered on the other side of Rotterdam, appealed for an air strike against the Dutch artillery before this bombardment could occur. In spite of the urgent need for such a tactical air strike, the eventual orders actually issued for the air operations against Rotterdam expressed a decidedly different intent: 'Resistance in Rotterdam is to be crushed with all means,' General von Kiichler, 18th Army Commander, ordered XXXIX Korps at p.
Colonel Lackner, was dispatched to the Seventh Air Division operations room to collect the target map, 'on which the Dutch defensive zones which had to be destroyed by satu- ration bombing were drawn in. I request you, as a man of responsibility, to use your influence to avoid this. As a sign of good faith, I request you to see an intermediary. If within two hours I receive no answer, then I will be forced to employ the severest means of destruction. Signed schmidt. The Dutch commander however saw no reason for such precipitate action.
His communications with his commander-in-chief were intact and northern Rotterdam was still securely in Dutch hands. X- X- X- x- x- Not until p. May 14, did the German inter- mediary return, the Dutch having detained him in an attempt to win time; they had been hoping for a British airborne landing with reinforcements but this did not materialise. Since Scharroo had however mentioned that he would send a plenipotentiary at two p. General Schmidt had no alternative but to postpone the air strike planned for three p.
Their flying-time to Rotterdam would be about ninety-five to one hundred minutes; with the German intermediary's return long overdue the coded signal to attack had been given as early as noon; in the meantime the 22nd Air- borne Division continued to radio desperately for air support. At p. At the same time, the Dutch, still playing for time, indicated that as General Schmidt's message was not signed and did not indicate his rank they were not prepared to accept it; the Dutch messenger, a Captain 1 r They Have Sown the Wind 7 Backer, was however instructed to ascertain the German surrender con- ditions.
Forty precious minutes passed while the paratroop general Student formulated the conditions with Generals Schmidt and Hibicki, commander of the 9th Panzer Division. By then it was five minutes to the zero hour set for the postponed air strike against Rotterdam, and it was found to be no longer possible to relay the recall- signal to the Heinkel bombers as they had reeled in their trailing aerials on crossing the Dutch frontier. General Wilhelm Speidel dis- patched a swift fighter aircraft, piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Rieckhoff, to overtake and head off the bomber formations, but without success.
As soon as he heard the approaching bombers, Schmidt ordered the firing of red signal cartridges as pre-arranged to signal that the attack was 'scrubbed'. When he reported that he would have to release the bombs if we were not to overshoot the target — very important with German troops so close — I gave the order for their release, dead on three o'clock. Just then I saw two pitiful little red signal-cartridges arching up, instead of the expected red signal-lamp.
We could not hold back the bombs because the bomb release was fully automatic, nor could the two other aircraft in my leading flight: They dropped their bombs as soon as they saw mine go down. But my radio operator's signal got through just in time for the other aircraft. Right at the start of the raid, the main water supply was smashed, and as earlier tactical air raids had largely drained the canal system, the weak local fire-service proved unable to cope with the spreading fires, especially as one of the buildings most severely damaged was a margarine factory, from which streams of burning oil emerged.
It is worth com- menting that the Germans, in keeping with the nature of an air raid on gvm positions, had used no incendiaries. Ninety-four tons of bombs had been dropped — 1, hundred-pound and one hundred and fifty- eight pound bombs — a figure which compares unfavourably with the close to nine thousand tons of high explosive and incendiaries dropped on the inland Ruhr port of Duisburg during the triple blow of October 14, , for example. Rotterdam capitulated, the commandant protesting bit- terly that the surrender negotiations were in hand before the air strike had begun.
Four hours later General Winkelmann, the Dutch commander-in-chief, broadcast that 'Rotterdam, bombed this after- noon, suffered the fate of total war. Utrecht and other towns would soon have shared its fate. We have ceased to struggle. The German military leaders protested until the end that the raid had been purely tactical in its aims. At the Nuremberg tribunal in there was this brief exchange on the subject: Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: 'Was not your purpose to secure a strategic advantage by terrorising the people of Rotterdam?
The fires had destroyed twenty thousand homes making 78, people homeless. With the fall of the rest of Holland it remained to Britain and her allies only to reap what profit they could fi-om the ruins of Rotterdam. On July 16 the first shots were fired in what was to become a virulent propaganda war in the air: the Royal Netherlands Legation in Washington issued a colourful statement, on which Mr Churchill appears to have relied in his memoirs: 'When Rotterdam was bombed,' the statement protested, 'the Dutch Army's capitulation had already been handed to the German High Command.
The crime against Rotterdam was a deliberate, fiendish assault on 1 r They Have Sown the Wind 9 unarmed, undefended civilians. In the seven-and-a-half minutes that the planes were over the city, 30, people died — 4, unof- fending men, women and children per minute. E Fighter Command was con- vinced that the Luftwaffe could not be defeated over the Continent; the enemy bomber and fighter formations should, he felt, somehow be enticed or provoked into daylight battle over the British Isles, within reach of Britain's superior short-range fighter defences.
With this requirement in mind, the R. E launched its first attacks on targets east of the Rhine on the evening that the Rotterdam raid was announced to the world; less than twenty-five of the ninety-six bombers despatched even claimed to have found their targets. Hermann Goring did not divert one fighter from operations supporting the Battle for France. Only after France had fallen, and after the R.
E had repeatedly attacked the German mainland, did the Fiihrer direct the Luftwaffe's attention to industrial targets in and around London. As the nights drew longer, on the night of August a Blenheim bomber was actually shot down over Berlin.
Maritime incidents in September 1942
Damage was minimal. Six nights later Mr Churchill sent a large force of bombers to attack Berlin, ostensibly as a reprisal for a Luftwaffe raid on London on the night before. In Dresden the sirens sounded for the first time in a year of war as the eighty-one British bombers ap- proached central Germany.
In spite of the failure of the R. Speaking on September 4 at the Palace of Sports in Berlin he declared, 'If they threaten to attack our cities, then we shall rub out theirs. E launched more raids on Berlin. On the fifth they killed fifteen people. After lunching with Hitler on the sixth Goebbels recorded in his diary: 'The Fiihrer is fed up. He clears London for bombing. It is to begin tonight. X- X- X- x- x- The dubious evaluations of the R. Sir Charles Portal; these foreign news reports were available to him, even if not to the general public in the United Kingdom, and they were couched unanimously in the clear and unmistakable terminology of failure.
The Air Ministry itself was, however, apparently undismayed by these warning signs, even when the enemy Propaganda Ministry developed the most effective ploy of conducting American corre- spondents round all the areas 'destroyed' in the British commu- niques. Thus when the Air Ministry's news service intemperately claimed that Hamburg was 'practically in ruins' in August , Goebbels sent two planeloads of neutral journalists to see for them- 1 r They Have Sown the Wind ii selves that Hamburg was undamaged.
The month ended with the R. Peirse on the contrary had the utmost confidence in the efficiency of R. Bomber Command, as he wrote to the Prime Minister on September 5: 'I think there is little doubt that the reason for the effectiveness of our night bombing is that it is planned and relentless untU the particular target is knocked out or dislocated,' he suggested, 'whereas German night bombing is sporadic and mainly harassing.
At the head- quarters of Bomber Command, he has described, there was a map covered with red and black squares, the former being known oil plants in existence, the latter, black squares being those that the R. On an inquiry from Saundby, the officer in charge of the map explained that as statistics had demonstrated that one hundred tons of bombs would destroy half an oil plant, each of these plants marked in black, having received two hundred tons, must have been destroyed; the officer knew that they had been hit, he added, 'because those were the orders of the aircrews'.
To this. Sir Robert Saundby replied caustically, 'You have not dropped two hundred tons of bombs on these oil plants; you have exported two hundred tons of bombs, and you must hope that some of them went down in Germany'. Direct hits with high-explosive bombs were scored among the refinery buildings, and across the base of the chimney stacks, causing violent explosions, the force of which could be felt in the aircraft thousands of feet above.
At the end of an hour's attack, great fires giving off dense clouds of black smoke were blazing in the refinery area, and could be seen by the last of the raiders for twenty minutes after they turned on their miles' flight back to England. As early as March documents captured from crashed German bombers had shown that the aircraft had been relying on a device code named Knickebein, radio-beams for accurate navigation by night; when the R. The final development by the Germans in the early radio-beam war was the introduction in February of Y-Gerat: A radio signal beamed out from a German ground station was picked up by the bomber's equipment and transmitted back to the ground station; the time- lapse provided an accurate measure of the aircraft's exact location over England.
Introduced as Oboe in R. R Bomber Command squadrons two years later, this technique was to provide one of the 1 r They Have Sown the Wind 13 most powerful target finding weapons in its arsenal fi-om the Battle of the Ruhr onwards. The deployment and technical equipment of the German pathfinder squadron known as Kampfgruppe was in every way an object lesson for Bomber Command.
By the light of the fires started by the Heinkels of K. Out of German aircraft despatched, arrived over Coventry and dropped tons of high explosive and incendiary canisters.
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The raid cost three hundred and eighty lives among the city's population, far fewer than in Rotterdam. But there was a second object lesson which R. E Bomber Command learned from Coven- try — that by far the greatest long-term damage to industrial pro- duction was occasioned by the destruction of water and gas mains and electric power supplies. True, the raids had severely damaged twenty-one important factories, of which twelve were directly con- nected with the aircraft industry; but it was the paralysis of public ser- vices caused by incidental bomb damage elsewhere which resulted in the total stoppage of nine other vital factories which would oth- erwise have been operating very soon after the raid.
This unexpected phenomenon was to become the fundament of R. Bomber Command's future area offensive. The equivalent of thirty-nine days' industrial production had been lost in Coventry, not so much by direct damage to factories as by the collateral damage to the city centre.
Moreover, experts advised the British government that if the Luftwaffe had repeated its attacks on two or three consecutive nights, the city would have been more easily identified with the fires from the previous attack still burning, and it might have been put out of action permanently. Like the British the Germans were however still finding their wings in the air war; thus they deliberately extenuated the Coventry attack from p.
Only once, recalled Sir Arthur Harris later, did a Luftwaffe raid ever approach fire-storm conditions: during an unusually heavy fire-raid on London, when the Thames was running a neap tide, the hoses of the London fire brigades had been unable to reach down to the river surface. For the time being the air ministry, faced with catastrophes like Coventry, when the ground defences could claim only one bomber and the fighters none at all, could only hope for better times, and publish comforting reports for the British population like that which appeared as the main story in all leading London newspapers five days later: 'Krupps Smashed by R.
Bombs,' the headlines ran; and the year of was still not at an end. Medmenham's collection of bombing photographs and as a direct consequence of his report to the Professor he received the commission of analysing them statistically. The Butt Report presented in melancholy detail the evidence that what the neutral press had been proclaiming for a year about the impotence of the British bomber force was true. Of all aircraft recorded as having attacked their targets, only one-third had in fact bombed within five miles; on well-defended inland targets like the Ruhr industrial complex, the success rate sagged to below one-tenth within five miles.
It was clearly unrealistic to require Bomber Command to attempt precision night attacks until elec- tronic equipment like that used by the Luftwaffe bomber squadrons was available at least to a part of the Command's aircraft. Mr Churchill was however anxious in these months to support the now beleaguered Soviet Armies in the only way open to him, and on July 9, Air Vice-Marshal Sir Norman Bottomley, the deputy Chief of the Air Staff, had issued the first of his many directives to the commander-in-chief of Bomber Command, at that time still Air Marshal Sir Richard Peirse.
The main effort of the bomber force, until further instructions, was to be directed towards dislocating the German transportation system and to destroying the morale of the civil population as a whole. Peirse was left in no doubt as to how he was to achieve this. As primary targets for attack he was allocated Cologne, Duisburg, Diisseldorf and Duisburg- Ruhrort, 'all suitable for attack on moonless nights, as they lie in the congested industrial towns, where the psy- chological effect will be the greatest. The above extract from the Chiefs of Staff memo, July 31, , heralded the approach of what became known as the Area Bombing Offensive.
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