The bombing of Dresde

Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#31
The use of the term 'terror bombing' indicates a lack of objectivity. An interesting appraisal of the Dresden bombing can be found here: The WWII Bombing of Dresden: Propaganda and Mythology. By: Michael W. Kramer
Terror bombing is a technique of strategic bombing. By late war it chiefly involved area bombing of residential neighborhoods of heavily populated urban areas using a mix of high explosive fragmentary bomb and incendiary munitions in the purposeful attempt to cause massive firestorms as a way of more effectively destroying structures (and the people inside them) then purely HE fragmentary bomb raids. This categorized RAF doctrine since 1941-42 and USAAF since late 1944 into 1945, especially into the Pacific, where limitations on daylight precision bombing forced the same situation to justify nighttime area terror bombing with incendiary munitions with various justifications about going after cottage industry, workers homes, etc, where the real justification, according to countless quotes of the men in charge, was to terrorize the enemy into surrendering by targeting their morale. Its no different then the nuclear theory of countervalue strikes against population centers holding no military value to force an enemy surrender or better yet prevent war through deterrence of massive casualties, the only difference being (as MacCurdy demonstrates in his book on morale) that atomic bombs work at breaking morale, while conventional bombing, even with incendiaries, does not.

I already stated that the Feb 45 Dresden raid (the one the OP is asking about) was operational level bombing, it wasn't designed to get the Germans to surrender, not designed to do anything more than cause mass damage to impede movement of troops and logistics, cause traffic buildup, cause a major regional emergency requiring aid to be delivered to the city, all while in conjunction with a massive Soviet offensive aimed at crossing into the eastern German border. In that, I actually think it would have been worthwhile if it had been conducted about 2-3 weeks earlier, while the Soviets were still launching their offensive in the area, which by the time the raid was actually conducted, was already over with, making the raid kind of superfluous.
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#32
In 1976,the professor Wolfgang Baumfelder,survivor of the bombing operation of Dresden, has told his 400 french students that Dresden was a town without DCA (artillery anti planes).There were there only some batallions of reservists (Landsturm) waiting for their march in the direction of the broken front.
"Colonel Harold E. Cook, a US POW held in the Friedrichstadt marshaling yard the night before the attacks, later said that "I saw with my own eyes that Dresden was an armed camp: thousands of German troops, tanks and artillery and miles of freight cars loaded with supplies supporting and transporting German logistics towards the east to meet the Russians"

Source: What Have We Done

Wolfgang Baumfelder is trying to revise history.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,756
#33
Hello everybody and thank you very much.Please,can we know if there were military objectives in Dresden ?

SHAEF air ordered the raid to support Patton's planned advance, he was to pivot on Dresden and encircle the National Redoubt where they thought the last stand would take place. The 8th Airforce requested an area raid from Bomber command, Churchill's only part was to get Harris to agree, Dresden was at extreme range of the Lancs based in England.
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#34
In my post I pointed out the purpose of area bombing, which was to disrupt German industrial production, not just break their morale.
There is little doubt the advocates of this policy oversold the effects of this campaign, but to claim it was a failure is also wrong, Albert Speer and his advisors calculated in the last months of the war that in 1944 the air campaign had reduced production by around a quarter of the planned amount.
Harris, Spaatz, Lemay, etc. all gave numerous and conflicting purposes and justifications for area bombing targeting civilians, it really came down what day and the mood they were in as for their answers. For every one time they admitted it was to disrupt industrial production, another day they'd go on a rant about killing Germans, and every German killed by bombers was one less Tommy or Dough that needed to fight on the ground.

Regarding Speer, if the argument is if strategic bombing positively affected the defeat of Germany, I'd definitely agree. Butterfly Effect alone suggests that's true, but there were definitely proof in the post war Strategic Bombing Surveys that they helped. But that wasn't part of their promise. The promises from the bomber marshals, RAF and USAAC/F made before the war, when the "Bombers will always get through" mantra was seen as gospel, when the fledgling RAF and USAAC heavy bomber commands were being heavily funded the same time cavalry still used horses. And then during the war itself, Bombers will always get through" proved true (though what they would do afterwards was less spectacular). But did they ever acknowledge that? Nope. According to the bomber brass, they would be responsible for victory. They'd end it. Win it. Not that they would help contribute to victory through indirect and untangible ways, but that the Germans would be defeated not because of ground forces invading their country and taking the capital, but because of the their heavy bombers. Strategic bombing=bombing to win the war. This is what they sold their respective leaders on, FDR and Churchill (both also big believers in the strategic bombers winning the war), who were willing to throw money and manpower at them in the expectation that they'd end the war on the cheap (which is what Interwar bomber doctrine was framed on).

There is a ton of evidence to support this, read R. Overy's book, any unbiased story about WW2 strategic bombing will have to showcase their major shortcomings, not so much what they did as what they promised to deliver and failed utterly (until atomic bombs, which changed everything).
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#35
SHAEF air ordered the raid to support Patton's planned advance, he was to pivot on Dresden and encircle the National Redoubt where they thought the last stand would take place. The 8th Airforce requested an area raid from Bomber command, Churchill's only part was to get Harris to agree, Dresden was at extreme range of the Lancs based in England.
You're not talking about the Feb '45 raid. Patton and the rest of Third Army, inside 12th Army Group, hadn't even gotten into Germany itself yet. Ludendorff Bridge on the Rhine was crossed in early March 1945, the first serious foothold inside Germany itself, weeks after Dresden firebomb raids.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,756
#36
You're not talking about the Feb '45 raid. Patton and the rest of Third Army, inside 12th Army Group, hadn't even gotten into Germany itself yet. Ludendorff Bridge on the Rhine was crossed in early March 1945, the first serious foothold inside Germany itself, weeks after Dresden firebomb raids.
The raid was planned in January during the Battle of the Bulge, Dresden was a major rail terminal for withdrawing troops from the east and Italy to the National Redoubt.
100 divisions including the bulk of the German armour was thought likely to retreat to the National Redoubt.

https://media.defense.gov/2013/May/23/2001329959/-1/-1/0/Dresden again.pdf
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#37
The raid was planned in January during the Battle of the Bulge, Dresden was a major rail terminal for withdrawing troops from the east and Italy to the National Redoubt.
100 divisions including the bulk of the German armour was thought likely to retreat to the National Redoubt.

https://media.defense.gov/2013/May/23/2001329959/-1/-1/0/Dresden again.pdf
Operation Thunderclap took place mid February. Patton was only a field army commander, under Bradley, who was under Ike. They weren't worrying about Germany retreating to a possible retreat to the National Redoubt, they were worrying about the two army groups of OB West who were tenaciously holding the West stellung defensive line built on the Rhine. They didn't get inside Germany until two weeks AFTER the Dresden raid ended, they weren't concerned with supporting future operations on the far east of Germany, well inside the designated sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, on the far side of Germany and still nowhere near the Alps. Go look at any map of Europe and you'll find an entire country between Dresden and Austria, Czechoslovakia. Dresden is the southern German gateway to Poland, and has absolutely nothing at all to do with Austrian alps and neither Patton nor any other American general who had access to a single map would think they needed to neutralize Dresden to prevent anyone from reaching the Alps. Further, there was no formal plan for any German forces to retreat to the National Redoubt until April '45, two months AFTER the Dresden raid.

You are in desperate need of a map. Go to google, type in Dresden. Expand the map until you can see most of central Europe. Look at where the Austria Alps start. Look at where the Rhine River is on the borders of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Netherlands, where the Western Allies were located, trying to get into Germany. Dresden would have aboslutely nothing to do with any plan to cut off forces sent to the Redoubt, even in late war when the Brits and Americans were deep inside Germany.

The reasons for the raid were never a secret. The RAF and USAAF were already looking to expand bombing into eastern Germany, that followed by a direct request from the Soviets for heavy bombers to support a massive Red Army offensive east of Dresden, advancing from mid Poland to the German border itself, the center of which started at Warsaw and ended next to Frankfurt on Oder.

Why did you even post that source you didn't read? It completely validates everything I've been writing in this thread and mentions not a single thing you wrote. Weird...
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,756
#38
Operation Thunderclap took place mid February. Patton was only a field army commander, under Bradley, who was under Ike. They weren't worrying about Germany retreating to a possible retreat to the National Redoubt, they were worrying about the two army groups of OB West who were tenaciously holding the West stellung defensive line built on the Rhine. They didn't get inside Germany until two weeks AFTER the Dresden raid ended, they weren't concerned with supporting future operations on the far east of Germany, well inside the designated sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, on the far side of Germany and still nowhere near the Alps. Go look at any map of Europe and you'll find an entire country between Dresden and Austria, Czechoslovakia. Dresden is the southern German gateway to Poland, and has absolutely nothing at all to do with Austrian alps and neither Patton nor any other American general who had access to a single map would think they needed to neutralize Dresden to prevent anyone from reaching the Alps. Further, there was no formal plan for any German forces to retreat to the National Redoubt until April '45, two months AFTER the Dresden raid.

You are in desperate need of a map. Go to google, type in Dresden. Expand the map until you can see most of central Europe. Look at where the Austria Alps start. Look at where the Rhine River is on the borders of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Netherlands, where the Western Allies were located, trying to get into Germany. Dresden would have aboslutely nothing to do with any plan to cut off forces sent to the Redoubt, even in late war when the Brits and Americans were deep inside Germany.

The reasons for the raid were never a secret. The RAF and USAAF were already looking to expand bombing into eastern Germany, that followed by a direct request from the Soviets for heavy bombers to support a massive Red Army offensive east of Dresden, advancing from mid Poland to the German border itself, the center of which started at Warsaw and ended next to Frankfurt on Oder.

Why did you even post that source you didn't read? It completely validates everything I've been writing in this thread and mentions not a single thing you wrote. Weird...
Page 3 The Final Phase.

8th Airforce papers released after 30 years contain what I told you, SHAEF air planned the raid in January before Churchill met Stalin at Yalta.
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#39
Page 3 The Final Phase.

8th Airforce papers released after 30 years contain what I told you, SHAEF air planned the raid in January before Churchill met Stalin at Yalta.
First, nothing in that entire document confirms your theory of Dresden, which is in eastern Germany, being a transportation lynchpin for German retreat to the Alps. A simple look at any map of Germany discounts this. Second, I've been saying for numerous pages back that the RAF and USAAF were both expanding their target locations to Eastern Germany. Third, I never claimed that Stalin directly asked Churchill at Yalta, I have no clue where you are getting that from. The Soviet Union and UK and USA communicated outside of those annual and semi-annual conferences, and in January the Soviet Union, about to start the Vistula Oder Offensive, asked the Western Allies to support their offensive by hitting transportation cities in Eastern Germany, including Dresden. They didn't specifically ask Dresden to be fire bombed, they just wanted a bunch of Eastern Germany cities that served as major hubs to be bombed. The paper you listed supports this, I've supported this since I started posting multiple pages back. READ YOUR SOURCE. Entirely.

Let's be frank. You don't even know where Dresden is located if you claim it was a "major rail terminal for withdrawing troops from the east and Italy to the National Redoubt." There was no troops in the East when the Germans were supposed to fall back into the National Redoubt. In April 1945, the Soviet Union was inside Germany and Berlin was under siege at the time. On the western side Allied troops had been inside Germany for over a month. German troops in Italy were never going to be routed through Dresden. For that to happen they'd need to be moved around the Alps, through Austia (which is where the redoubt was), then into Czechoslavokia, then turn west to go back into Germany, then be rerouted south through southern Germany into Austria, again, and then finally into southern Austria to the Alps. Does that even make any sense at all? No. Is that in any part of that document you linked? No.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,756
#40
Patton's orders in Jan/Feb were to advance on Dresden and pivot into Czechoslovakia, Ike changed his orders in March to advance directly on Bavaria. Patton was advancing from the Saarland after stemming the Bulge.
You might want to look at the mountain range that runs up to Dresden from the National Redoubt.

Ore Mountains - Wikipedia
 

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