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Friday, 31 January 2020


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London, Coventry and Clydebank were bombed along with other British cities. It was total war against a genocidal regime.

two of my uncle's were bomber pilots and flew that mission. They WOULD NOT talk of it. You could tell it bothered them a lot.

No military importance? Weren't the rail yards important? Did no supplies for the Eastern front pass through Dresden? I had a friend who survived the bombing when she was about twenty four, and wrote a book about it. She thought it was an unimportant city, too, although her Jewish mother was shipped through there, en route to a death camp. This looks to me like a case of propaganda overcoming reality.

Bombing was not at all accurate in WWII, so the Allies and the Germans used area bombing. Brutal, it was, but effective.

This fact stuck in people's minds so well and for so long that people believed in "Collateral damage" in the Iraq wars, when American and British ordnance could be targeted to street addresses. The hits were so accurate that, on the very rare occasions that missiles went astray, no one would believe that a lamentable accident had occurred.

The best way to avoid American and British bombs is, don't start any wars.

When the Luftwaffe bombed Clydebank they intended to bomb the Shipyards on the River Clyde. However they did follow the glare from the Forth and Clyde Canal on a moonlight night and bombed the local people in an adjacent working class area. There is a mass grave in Clydebank.

"They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind" [Hosea 8:7] springs to mind.

As someone who spent many nights sheltering from the Luftwaffe, first under the stairs and then in purpose built shelters ,I find I have little sympathy with the German population. I have no doubt that if Hitler had had the means we would have experienced the same or worse. Dresden was regrettable but necessary, you cannot ease off in a total war.

You could say the same about Hiroshima.

The Germans had been making total war on civilians since 1939, and even before that if you count their interventions in Spain.

With AussieD on this one.

There was a chance that Hitler's generals might have thrown in the towel on witnessing such destruction. As Jack the Dog says, it took a couple of goes against the Japs, but worked.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki prove one thing: terror does actually work, even against a fanatically resolute enemy.

It might not be the first card you play, but when the chips are down - and they don't get more down than WW2 - it's whatever comes to hand.


Harris's book "Bomber Command" is worth a read. He points out that bombing was inaccurate such that a radius of five miles was counted as a "hit" in 1939. Hitting cities was at least logical, in that they were communication hubs, and hitting roads and railways is easier when they converge on one place. Industries were temporarily disabled, but the "bonus" for Harris was that killing or dehousing the workers stopped production more permanently. It also demoralised front line troops to get the letter saying there was no point in going home.

I don't know much about it, but I can't help thinking that developing precision tactics using Mosquitoes etc. to hit road and rail would have been preferable. On the other hand, my mum (who actually worked on Mosquitoes) experienced Luftwaffe bombing and always grumbled that the establishment had unjustly disowned Harris after the war.

Dresden was going to be used as a substitute capital for Berlin. After today, Hitler will have to look for another substitute for a substitute ...

One wonders if the allies had made Hitler "look for another substitute for another substitute for a substitute for a capital" his generals might have Japped out?

By not diverting even more resources to bomber Harris and "atomising" two, or even more, cities, did the allies miss a trick and the war last longer with more loss of life?


Might it have stopped a million more events like this? ...

I couldn't have been more grateful.



What destroyed Dresden was not the bombing per se but the fire storm that resulted. During the war bombing produced three major fire storms, Hamburg 1943, Dresden 1945, and Tokyo 1945, the last being more destructive that the atomic bombings.

From RAF Bomber Command perspective it was intended to be just another dehousing attack. As former planers from Bomber Command stated, they had no idea how to start a fire storm, and commented that this is good because they would have started a lot more if they knew how.

I have a lot of disagreement with the rehousing campaign, but giving the destruction Dresden special status is not justified and distracts from the overall problems with he strategic bombing program and the dehousing campaign in general.

About the only good thing to come from the WWII firestorms is improvements in emergency response to prevent fire storms.

And this is does not detract from courage and dedication of the crews who followed the their leadership in good fath.

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