Bombing of Germany during World War II
The Bombing of Germany during World War II almost entirely by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) was argued by them to be strategic and considered by some as legitimate warfare against an enemy. But by the summer of 1943 the arbitrary "terror from above" was mostly an inhumane war crime, because the blanket bombings had become militarily unnecessary and had degenerated to a deliberate barbaric massacre of non-combatant civilians and the wanton destruction of Europe's architectural heritage.
- 1 Illegality
- 2 Timeline of terror
- 3 1938
- 4 1939
- 5 1940
- 6 1941
- 7 1942
- 8 1943
- 9 1944
- 10 1945
- 11 1946
- 12 Heligoland
- 13 See also
- 14 Documentaries
- 15 External links
- 16 Further reading
- 17 References
Indiscriminate bombing was internationally outlawed: the Washington Treaty (1922) expressly forbade the bombing of civilian populations. Although not included in the later Geneva Conventions, it was still universally agreed that terror bombing (of civilians) would not be employed. Nonetheless, between 1940 and 1945, sixty-one German cities with a total population of 25 million souls were destroyed or devastated in a bombing campaign that was unquestionably initiated by the British Royal Air Force hierarchy. Frederick John Partington Veale (1897-1976) British author and jurist, wrote in his book "Advance to Barbarism": They, the British Air Chiefs....argued that the desired result of reducing German industrial production, would be more readily achieved if the homes of the workers in the factories were destroyed. If the workers were kept busy arranging for the burial of their wives and children, output might reasonably be expected to fall.
Timeline of terror
James M. Spaight (1877-1968), CB, CBE, Principal Secretary to the Air Ministry in his book Bombing Vindicated:
- "Hitler only undertook the bombing of British civilian targets reluctantly three months after the RAF had commenced bombing German civilian targets. Hitler would have been willing at any time to stop the slaughter. Hitler was genuinely anxious to reach with Britain an agreement confining the action of aircraft to battle zones... Retaliation was certain if we carried the war into Germany... there was a reasonable possibility that our capital and industrial centres would not have been attacked if we had continued to refrain from attacking those of Germany... We began to bomb objectives on the German mainland before the Germans began to bomb objectives on the British mainland... Because we were doubtful about the psychological effect of propagandist distortion of the truth that it was we who started the strategic bombing offensive, we have shrunk from giving our great decision of May 11th, 1940, the publicity it deserves."
A 40-year-old survivor of the Operation Gomorrha gave the following account, which without a doubt contributed to some of the awful smell that the RAF bomber crews took note of high above:
- "The stretch of road upon which we now traveled brought ever worsening scenes of horror. I saw many women with their children held in their arms running, burning and then falling and not getting back up. We passed masses of people made up of four or five corpses, each probably a family, visible only as a pile of burned substance no larger than a small child. Many men and women fell over suddenly without having caught fire.... Silently and with the last of their force, women tried to save their children. They carried them pressed close. Many of these children were already dead, without their mothers knowing."
Roy Akehurst, a wireless operator in a RAF bomber crew, was struck by the destruction that he had help caused. His horrific words are symbolic for the feelings of some soldiers after the World War II, but sadly not for all:
- "It struck me at the time, the thought of the women and children down there. We seemed to fly for hours over a sheet of fire, a terrific red glow with thin haze over it. I found myself making comments to the crew 'Oh God, those poor people'. It was completely uncalled for. You can't justify it."
In a memorandum sent to Bomber Harris, Winston Churchill noted:
- "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing terror, should be reviewed.... I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives..., rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction."
21 Jun 1938
- "The only way to prevent atrocities from the air is to abolish air warfare and national air forces altogether."
4 Sep 1939
30 RAF bombers attacked the German Navy (German: Kriegsmarine) at Wilhelmshaven, Cuxhaven, and Shillig Roads in Germany. Seven of thirty aircraft were shot down and the handful of bombs that hit their targets failed to explode. No. 107 Squadron from Wattisham lost four out of five Blenheim bombers, which was the RAF's first fatalities.
5 Apr 1940
British RAF aircraft attacked German shipping at Wilhelmshaven.
15 May 1940
The British War Cabinet decided to attack the German oil industry, communications centers, and forests and crops; attacks on industrial areas were to focus on the Ruhr region. Also, due to the costly daylight bombings, attacks were to be launched at nights. On the same day these directives were issued, the RAF began attacking industrial targets in the Ruhr, with 99 bombers flying the first mission.
17 May 1940
German oil storage facilities in Bremen and Hamburg were destroyed by the RAF.
7 Jun 1940
The French Air Force bombed Berlin, Germany.
5 Jul 1940
RAF launched night bombing raids on Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
14 Jul 1940
British RAF Bomber Command launched raids against two Luftwaffe bases in Germany, with 9 Whitley bombers of No. 102 Squadron hitting Paderborn and 12 Whitley bombers of No. 10 Squadron and No. 51 Squadron hitting Diepholz.
18 Jul 1940
British bombers attacked the Dortmund-Ems Canal in Germany.
19 Jul 1940
British bombers attacked Bremen, Gelsenkirchen, Kassel in Germany.
20 Jul 1940
21 Jul 1940
3 bombers of No. 51 Squadron RAF attacked Hamm, Germany; the rail marshalling yard was the primary target. 10 bombers of No. 77 Squadron RAF and 10 bombers of No. 102 Squadron RAF attacked Kassel, Germany; the aircraft factory was the primary target. Finally, 5 bombers of No. 78 Squadron RAF attacked Soest, Germany; the rail marshalling yard was the primary target.
1 Aug 1940
RAF bombers attacked the Krupp factory in Essen, Germany.
23 Aug 1940
The British RAF flew a retaliation strike against Berlin, Germany.
25 Aug 1940
81 British Hampden bombers of No. 49 and No. 50 Squadrons attacked Berlin, Germany in the first retaliation attack for the raid on London, England. Clouds led to bombs falling largely in suburban lawns and gardens, killing only 6. Nevertheles, Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring was shocked and embarrassed that the British bombers were able to get through in such great numbers.
28 Aug 1940
Overnight, British bombers attacked Berlin, Germany, damaging Görlitzer railway station, killing 8 and wounding 21.
30 Aug 1940
RAF Bomber Command aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany.
23 Sep 1940
The British RAF Bomber Command sent 129 bombers for a night raid against Berlin, Germany, causing minimal damage.
25 Oct 1940
British bombers attacked Hamburg and Berlin in Germany, causing heavy casualties.
29 Oct 1940
The British RAF conducted the 25th raid on Berlin, Germany.
8 Nov 1940
15 Nov 1940
A heavy British air raid on Hamburg, Germany caused extensive damage.
16 Nov 1940
RAF bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany again for the second day in a row.
17 Nov 1940
Overnight, RAF bombers raided Hamburg, Germany for the second consecutive night.
18 Nov 1940
Overnight, RAF bombers raided Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr region of Germany, bombing the Scholven/Buer hydrogenation plant, which made aviation fuel, and Gelsenberg-Benzin-AG plant, which converted bituminous coal to synthetic oil.
16 Dec 1940
134 RAF bombers attacked Mannheim, Germany; 34 civilians were killed, 81 were injured, and 1,266 homes destroyed by 100 tons of high explosive bombs and 14,000 incendiary bombs. This was the first Allied area bombing raid of the war against a populated target, as opposed to targets of military or industrial value.
21 Dec 1940
Berlin, Germany suffered minor damage from a British RAF bombing raid.
31 Dec 1940
RAF bombers attacked the bridge over the Rhine River at Emmerich, Germany and Köln, Germany.
3 Jan 1941
RAF bombers attacked Bremen and the Kiel Canal in Germany. The Kiel Canal Bridge suffered a direct hit and collapsed on the Finnish ship Yrsa.
15 Jan 1941
Overnight, Wellington bombers of No. 57 Squadron RAF attacked Emden, Germany while 76 RAF bombers attacked Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
4 Feb 1941
British bombers attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
10 Feb 1941
222 British aircraft attacked Hannover, Germany.
11 Feb 1941
British RAF bombed Hannover, Germany.
24 Mar 1941
The RAF conducted its first bombing raid on Berlin, Germany for the year.
10 Apr 1941
Overnight, RAF aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany, destroying the historical Opera House. It would be restored by 1943, but would again be bombed in Feb 1945.
28 Apr 1941
British Stirling bombers of No. 7 Squadron RAF attacked Emden, Germany during the day.
8 May 1941
359 British RAF bombers attacked Hamburg and Bremen in Germany.
10 May 1941
RAF bombers conducted a raid on Hamburg, Germany.
11 May 1941
RAF bombers attacked Hamburg and Bremen in Germany.
15 May 1941
RAF aircraft conducted raids on Berlin, Cuxhaven, and Hannover in Germany.
16 May 1941
RAF aircraft conducted raids on Köln (Cologne) and Bramsfield in Germany; at the latter target the Atlantik rubber works was damaged.
17 May 1941
British bombers attacked Bramsfeld, 12 kilometers northwest of Köln, Germany; the Atlantik rubber plant was hit with 2 high explosive and 44 incendiary bombs.
11 Jun 1941
After dark, British bombers conducted the first of 20 consecutive nightly raids on the Ruhr and Rhineland industrial areas in Germany. Several German port cities such as Hamburg and Bremen were also hit.
24 Jun 1941
British bombers attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
27 Jun 1941
British bombers attacked Bremen, Germany.
3 Jul 1941
British bombers attacked Essen, Germany.
5 Jul 1941
63 British Wellington bombers attacked Münster, Germany at between about 0050 hours and 0250 hours local time with 396 500-pound bombs, 50 250-pound bombs, and almost 6,000 4-pound incendiary bombs. The railway station was the intended main target. German authorities at Münster estimated 240 high explosive bombs and 3,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. 21 were killed and several fires were started. It was the first time Münster was subjected to large scale bombing.
7 Jul 1941
British bombers attacked Münster, Germany.
8 Jul 1941
Before dawn, British bombers attacked Münster, Germany. During the day, German anti-aircraft guns began arriving at the city in response to the recent successive night bombings.
9 Jul 1941
The British Air Ministry instructed Bomber Command to concentrate its efforts against the German transportation system and breaking the morale of the civilian population. At about 0130 hours, British bombers attacked Münster, Germany; the reading room of the state archive, warehouse of the state theater, the post office at the Domplatz, and the eastern wall of the cathedral were destroyed.
25 Jul 1941
British bombers took off at 2230 hours on the previous day, reaching Kiel, Germany at about 0145 hours on this date; bombs were dropped on the Deutsche Werke shipyard facilities; surviving attacks landed at their bases in Britain at about 0600 hours. On the same day, Bombers of British No. 102 Squadron RAF attacked Hanover, Germany after sundown.
7 Aug 1941
After dark, 84 British aircraft were launched to attack Essen, Germany (108 tons of high explosive bombs and 5,720 incendiary bombs were dropped, damaging the Krupp coke oven batteries), 31 launched against Hamm (damaging rail marshalling yard), 32 launched against Dortmund, 88 launched against Kiel (104 tons of high explosive bombs and 4,836 incendiary bombs were dropped, damaging Deutsche Werke Shipyards), and a number of bombers were launched against Hamburg (poor visibility and results were not observed).
8 Aug 1941
During the night, the first Soviet air attack was made on Berlin, Germany by naval Ilyushin Il-4 twin-engine bombers. Zero results.
12 Aug 1941
Before dawn, British bombers attacked railway yards at Hanover, Germany. After sundown, 78 British bombers, escorted by 485 fighters, conducted the heaviest daylight attack against Germany to date, targeting the powerplants near Köln (Fortuna Power Station in Knapsack and Goldenburg Power Station in Quadrath) and other targets in a wide area. The Germans were only able to scramble few fighters, but anti-aircraft fire was heavy. The Germans suffered four fighters shot down (plus five likely shot down) and heavy damage to both powerplants; the British suffered 12 British Blenheim bombers shot down and 10 British fighters shot down.
14 Aug 1941
Overnight, British bombers attacked railway yards at Hanover, Germany.
17 Aug 1941
Overnight, British bombers attacked the rail station at Duisburg, Germany. Air crews reported poor visibility due to bad weather.
18 Aug 1941
British War Cabinet member Mr. Butt wrote a report to the RAF Bomber Command, noting "[o]f those aircraft recorded as attacking their target, only one in three got within five miles" of the intended targets. The conclusion was reached after studying post-bombing reconnaissance photos taken between 2 Jun and 25 Jul 1941.
5 Sep 1941
British bombers attacked chemical works at Hüls, Germany.
15 Sep 1941
British bombers attacked the rail station at Hamburg, Germany.
29 Sep 1941
After sundown, 10 bombers of British No. 102 Squadron were launched from RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom for an attack on Stettin, Germany; the anti-aircraft fire was reported to be heavy. Another group of bombers took off to attack Hamburg, Germany.
30 Sep 1941
British bombers attacked Stettin and Hamburg in Germany after sundown for the second consecutive night.
12 Oct 1941
After dark, 118 British bombers took off to attack Hüls and Bremen, Germany.
7 Nov 1941
After dark, 160 British RAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany. 20 bombers were shot down. The Germans reported minimal damage.
10 Jan 1942
Wilhelmshaven, Germany was bombed for the first time by main force aircraft of British RAF Bomber Command; the raid would last through the early hours of the next date. Wilhelmshaven would ultimately be bombed on nine occasions, destroying 13% of the city.
14 Jan 1942
Hamburg, Germany was bombed for the first time by mainforce aircraft of RAF Bomber Command; this raid conducted by aircraft of No. 207 Squadron would last until the early hours of the next date. Altona railway station and other targets were hit. Hamburg would ultimately be bombed on seventeen occasions, destroying 75% of the city.
28 Jan 1942
Münster, Germany was bombed for the first time during the night of 28-29 Jan 1942 by mainforce aircraft of RAF Bomber Command. It would ultimately be bombed on six occasions, destroying 65% of the city.
14 Feb 1942
British Deputy Chief of Air Staff informed the RAF Bomber Command that "the primary object of your operations should be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population."
25 Feb 1942
A two-day debate in British House of Commons ended with many being critical of the policy of bombing German cities.
8 Mar 1942
The British Royal Air Force dispatched 211 bombers to attack Essen, Germany, some equipped with the new GEE navigational system. The results were less than hoped for as only a few homes and a church were destroyed, killing 29 civilians, while the industrial centers, the primary targets, were untouched.
9 Mar 1942
A second British air raid to Essen, Germany, again using the new GEE navigational system, had similar dismal results as the first raid on the previous day, as the haze made the target difficult to spot.
10 Mar 1942
Overnight, 62 RAF bombers attacked Essen, Germany, damaging railways leading to Krupp factories, killing 6 civilians and wounding 12.
13 Mar 1942
Overnight, 135 RAF bombers attacked Köln, Germany, killing 62 and wounding 84.
24 Mar 1942
The British House of Commons began a two-day debate on the conduct of the war in Germany; bombing of German cities was to be a focal point.
25 Mar 1942
254 RAF Bomber Command aircraft (192 Wellington, 26 Stirling, 20 Manchester, 9 Hampden, and 7 Lancaster aircraft) attacked Krupp iron works and factories at Essen, Germany; 5 civilians were killed, 11 were wounded. The British lost 5 Manchester, 3 Wellington, and 1 Hampden aircraft.
26 Mar 1942
British bombers (104 Wellington and 11 Stirling) attacked Essen, Germany, destroying two homes and killing six civilians; 11 bombers were lost in this attack.
29 Mar 1942
Between 2318 hours on the previous date until about 0300 hours on this date, 234 RAF bombers attacked Lübeck, Germany, killing 320, injuring 784, and destroying 30% of the city. The Lübeck Cathedral (German: Dom zu Lübeck, or colloquially Lübecker Dom), among other buildings, were destroyed in the city's historical center. The new "Gee" navigation systems were used by the British bombers on this attack. 12 bombers were shot down by German anti-aircraft defenses.
5 Apr 1942
263 British bombers (179 Wellington, 44 Hampden, 29 Stirling, and 11 Manchester aircraft) attacked the Humboldt Engineering Works Company at Kalk near Köln, Germany; most of the bombs fell far from the Humboldt factories. The British lost 5 aircraft; one of the aircraft shot down crashed in Köln, killing 16 and wounding 30.
6 Apr 1942
157 British bombers (110 Wellington, 19 Stirling, 18 Hampden, and 10 Manchester aircraft) attacked Essen, Germany; most of them were turned back by a storm. 5 aircraft were lost in this mission.
8 Apr 1942
272 RAF bombers (177 Wellington, 41 Hampden, 22 Stirling, 13 Manchester, 12 Halifax, and 7 Lancaster aircraft) conducted a raid on Hamburg, Germany; 4 Wellington and 1 Manchester aircraft were lost in this attack.
10 Apr 1942
254 British bombers (167 Wellington, 43 Hampden, 18 Stirling, 10 Manchester, 8 Halifax, and 8 Lancaster) attacked Essen, Germany; most bombs fell on the nearby residential areas instead, destroying 12 houses, killing 7 civilians, and wounding a further 30. During this attack, an 8,000-pound bomb was used for the first time, dropped by a Halifax bomber of No. 76 Squadron. 7 Wellington, 5 Hampden, 1 Halifax, and 1 Manchester aircraft were lost.
12 Apr 1942
251 British bombers (171 Wellington, 31 Hampden, 27 Stirling, 13 Halifax, and 9 Manchester) attacked Essen, Germany, damaging the Krupp factory and destroying 28 homes; 36 civilians were killed, 36 were injured. The British lost 10 bombers on this attack.
14 Apr 1942
208 British bombers (142 Wellington, 34 Hampden, 20 Stirling, 8 Halifax, and 4 Manchester) attacked Dortmund, Germany, damaging 6 buildings and killing 4 civilians. 9 bombers were lost in this attack.
15 Apr 1942
152 British bombers (111 Wellington, 19 Hampden, 15 Stirling, and 7 Manchester) attacked Dortmund, Germany for a second night in a row, destroying 1 home and killing 1 civilian. 4 bombers were lost on this attack.
17 Apr 1942
12 Lancaster bombers from No. 44 Squadron RAF and No. 76 Squadron RAF attempted a low level daylight attack on the MAN diesel engine factory in Augsburg, Germany. 7 of the 12 aircraft were shot down by German fighters, while the remaining 5 accurately dropped the bombs on the target, though the damage caused was smaller than desired. This costly raid reinforced British Air Marshal Arthur Harris' feelings that daylight missions should be avoided. Elsewhere, 173 British bombers (134 Wellington, 23 Stirling, 11 Halifax, and 5 Manchester) attacked Hamburg, Germany; 23 civilians were killed, 66 were wounded; 8 bombers were lost during this attack.
22 Apr 1942
64 British Wellington bombers and 5 Stirling bombers attacked Köln (Cologne), Germany using the new Gee radio transmitter system for blind navigation and bombing. About 15 aircraft were able to bomb accurately, killing 4 civilians and wounding 8, while a few bombers released their bombs as far as 10 miles from Köln. Two Wellington bombers were lost during this raid.
23 Apr 1942
161 RAF aircraft (93 Wellington, 31 Stirling, 19 Whitley, 11 Hampden, 6 Manchester, and 1 Lancaster bombers) conducted a raid on Rostock, Germany; 143 of them attacked the town while 18 attacked the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory, both with extremely poor results. Four bombers were lost during this attack.
24 Apr 1942
91 British bombers attacked Rostock, Germany for the second night in a row, causing damage in the town, but the aircraft attacking the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory again failed to do much damage. One Hampden bomber was lost during this attack.
25 Apr 1942
110 British bombers attacked Rostock, Germany for the third night in a row, causing damage in the town and the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory.
26 Apr 1942
106 British bombers attacked Rostock, Germany for the fourth and final night in a row, causing damage in the town and the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory. 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington, and 1 Whitley bombers were lost during this attack. At the end of the four-day attack, Rostock suffered 1,765 buildings destroyed, 204 civilians killed, and 89 civilians injured.
27 Apr 1942
RAF conducted a 100-bomber raid on Rostock, Germany; it was the fourth consecutive nightly raid on Rostock. Over Köln (Cologne), 97 British bombers (76 Wellington, 19 Stirling, 2 Halifax) dropped bombs and damaged 1,520 homes and killed 11; 7 bombers were lost.
28 Apr 1942
88 British bombers (62 Wellington, 15 Stirling, 10 Hampden, 1 Halifax) attacked Kiel, Germany, destroying all three main shipyard facilities and killing 15; 6 bombers were destroyed in his mission.
3 May 1942
81 British bombers (43 Wellington, 20 Halifax, 13 Stirling, 5 Hampden) attacked Hamburg, Germany. The attack killed 77 civilians and wounded 243 at the cost of 5 bombers destroyed.
4 May 1942
121 British bombers (69 Wellington, 19 Hampden, 14 Lancaster, 12 Stirling, 7 Halifax) attacked Stuttgart, Germany, targeting the Bosch factory. All bombs missed the factory buildings but killed 13 civilians and wounded 37. One Stirling bomber was lost during the attack.
5 May 1942
British bombers attacked Stuttgart, Germany for the second consecutive night.
6 May 1942
British bombers attacked Stuttgart, Germany for the third consecutive night.
8 May 1942
193 British bombers (98 Wellington, 27 Stirling, 21 Lancaster, 19 Halifax, 19 Hampden, 9 Manchester) attacked Warnemünde, Rostock, Germany; the primary target was the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory; 19 British bombers were destroyed during this attack.
18 May 1942
RAF bombers conducted a raid on Mannheim, Germany.
19 May 1942
198 British bombers (105 Wellington, 31 Stirling, 29 Halifax, 15 Hampden, 13 Lancaster, and 4 Manchester aircraft) attacked Mannheim, Germany; most bombs would miss the target. 11 bombers were lost on this attack.
30 May 1942
By adding 367 training aircraft, British Air Marshal Harris managed to mount the first thousand-plane raid against Germany (the actual count was 1,046), Operation Millennium. Originally targeted for Hamburg, it was switched to Köln due to weather. Over 1,400 tons of explosives were dropped on that city during the night of 30-31 May 1942, killing 500, injuring 5,000, and making nearly 60,000 homeless. 40 British bombers failed to return. The German government estimated that Köln received 900 tons of high explosive and 110,000 incendiary bombs, and about 400 were killed.
1 Jun 1942
956 British bombers (545 Wellington, 127 Halifax, 77 Stirling, 74 Lancaster, 71 Hampden, 33 Manchester, 29 Whitley) attacked Essen, Germany, causing little damage; 31 bombers were lost on this attack. This attack was billed as a 1,000-bomber raid.
2 Jun 1942
195 British bombers (97 Wellington, 38 Halifax, 27 Lancaster, 21 Stirling, 12 Hampden) attacked Essen, Germany, causig little damage; 14 bombers were lost on this attack.
3 Jun 1942
170 British bombers attacked Bremen, Germany, killing 83 at the cost of 11 bombers lost.
6 Jun 1942
233 British bombers (124 Wellington, 40 Stirling, 27 Halifax, 20 Lancaster, 15 Hampden, 7 Manchester) attacked Emden, Germany, destroying 300 houses, killing 17 civilians, and wounding 49; 9 bombers were lost on this mission.
8 Jun 1942
170 British bombers (92 Wellington, 42 Halifax, 14 Stirling, 13 Lancaster, 9 Hampden) attacked Essen, Germany, killing 13 and wounding 42; 19 bombers were lost on this mission.
16 Jun 1942
106 British bombers (40 Wellington, 39 Halifax, 15 Lancaster, and 12 Stirling) were launched to bomb Germany; 16 attacked Essen, 45 attacked Bonn, and others attacked other targets; 8 British bombers were lost on this night.
19 Jun 1942
194 British bombers (112 Wel1ington, 37 Halifax, 25 Stirling, 11 Hampden, and 9 Lancaster) attacked Emden and Osnabrück in Germany; 9 bombers were lost.
20 Jun 1942
185 British bombers attacked Emden, Germany, causing little damage; 7 bombers were lost.
22 Jun 1942
227 British RAF aircraft (144 Wellington, 38 Stirling, 26 Halifax, 11 Lancaster, and 8 Hampden) attacked Emden, Germany, destroying 50 houses, damaging harbor facilities, and killing 6 civilians (further 40 were injured); 6 bombers were lost on this mission.
25 Jun 1942
Sir Arthur Harris of the RAF Bomber Command launched the third Thousand Bomber Raid, this time sending 1,067 aircraft (including some aircraft from Coastal Command and Army Cooperation Command) to attack Bremen, Germany; only 696 reported successfully reaching the city. The RAF Bomber Command lost 48 aircraft, half of which had inexperienced crews recruited from training squadrons flying worn out aircraft; the RAF Coastal Command lost 5 aircraft. 572 houses were destroyed, 6,108 were damaged. 85 were killed, while 497 were wounded and 2,378 were made homeless. An assembly shop at the Focke-Wulf factory was destroyed, while the Bremer Vulkan shipyard and nearby docks and warehouses were also damaged.
27 Jun 1942
144 British bombers (55 Wellington, 39 Halifax, 26 Stirling, 24 Lancaster) attacked Bremen, Germany, damaging the Atlas Werke and the Korff refinery, killing 7, and wounding 80; 9 bombers were lost on this mission.
29 Jun 1942
253 British bombers (108 Wellington, 64 Lancaster, 47 Stirling, and 34 Halifax) attacked Bremen, Germany, damaging the Focke-Wulf aircraft factory and the A. G. Weser submarine shipyard; 11 bombers were lost on this mission.
2 Jul 1942
325 British bombers (175 Wellington, 53 Lancaster, 35 Halifax, 34 Stirling, and 28 Hampden) attacked Bremen, Germany, damaging 1,000 houses and 4 small industrial facilities, damaging 3 cranes in the port area, damaging 7 ships, and sinking transport ship Marieborg. The Germans suffered 5 deaths and 4 wounded while the British lost 13 bombers.
4 Jul 1942
British RAF's third 1,000-plane raid targeted Bremen, Germany, causing considerable damage to the city and the Focke-Wulf plant.
8 Jul 1942
285 British bombers (137 Wellington, 52 Lancaster, 38 Halifax, 34 Stirling, 24 Hampden) attacked the docks at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, causing no damage to the docks, killing 25 civilians, and wounding 170; 5 bombers were lost on this mission.
11 Jul 1942
24 British Lancaster bombers (of 44 launched for this mission) bombed the German submarine yards at Danzig, Germany, losing two aircraft in the attack; this was the longest mission by British bombers to date.
13 Jul 1942
194 British bombers (139 Wellington, 33 Halifax, 13 Lancaster, and 9 Stirling aircraft) attacked Duisburg, Germany, destroying 11 houses and killing 17 without causing damage to the intended industrial targets; 6 bombers were lost on this mission.
16 Jul 1942
8 (of 21 launched) British Stirling bombers attacked Lübeck, Germany at dusk; 2 were lost on this mission. Elsewhere, small groups of bombers attacked various targets in the Ruhr region in Germany.
19 Jul 1942
99 British bombers (40 Halifax, 31 Stirling, and 28 Lancaster) were launched to attack the Vulkan submarine yard at Vegesack district of Bremen, Germany; most bombs missed the shipyard; 3 bombers were lost on this mission.
26 Jul 1942
403 British bombers (181 Wellington, 77 Lancaster, 73 Halifax, 39 Stirling, and 33 Hampden) attacked Hamburg, Germany, destroying 823 houses, damaging 5,000 houses, killing 337, wounding 1,027, and making 14,000 homeless; 14 bombers were lost on this mission.
28 Jul 1942
256 British bombers (161 Wellington, 71 Stirling, and 24 Whitley) were launched to attack Hamburg, Germany, but bad weather forced most of them to turn back before reaching the city; the 68 aircraft that reached Hamburg killed 13 and wounded 48 at the cost of about 30 bombers shot down.
29 Jul 1942
291 British bombers attacked Saarbrücken, Germany, destroying 396 buildings, damaging 324 buildings, and killing 155 civilians; 9 bombers were lost on this attack.
31 Jul 1942
630 British bombers (308 Wellington, 113 Lancaster, 70 Halifax, 61 Stirling, 54 Hampden, and 24 Whitley) attacked Düsseldorf, Germany with 900 tons of bombs, destroying 453 buildings, damaging 15,000 buildings, killing 276 civilians, and wounding 1,018 civilians; 29 bombers were lost on this attack.
6 Aug 1942
216 British bombers attacked Duisburg, Germany, destroying 18 buildings and killing 24 civilians; 5 bombers were lost on this mission.
9 Aug 1942
192 British bombers (91 Wellington, 42 Lancaster, 40 Stirling, and 19 Halifax) attacked Osnabrück, Germany, destroying 206 houses, killing 62, and wounding 107; 6 bombers were lost on this mission.
11 Aug 1942
154 British bombers (68 Wellington, 33 Lancaster, 28 Stirling, and 25 Halifax) attacked Mainz, Germany, killing 162 and destroying many buildings in the city center; 6 bombers were lost on this mission. 12 Aug 1942
138 British bombers attacked Mainz, Germany, hitting the rail station, industrial areas (at least 40 were killed), and the nearby villages of Kempten (130 houses were damaged) and Gaulsheim (97 houses were damaged); 5 bombers were lost on this mission.
15 Aug 1942
131 British bombers attacked Düsseldorf, Germany in poor weather; one stray 4,000-pound bomb hit the town of Neuss, killing 1 civilian and wounding 13; 4 bombers were lost on this mission.
17 Aug 1942
139 British bombers attacked Osnabrück, Germany, destroying 77 houses and 4 military buildings, killing 7 people, and wounding 15 people; 5 bombers were lost on this mission.
18 Aug 1942
31 bombers of the British Path Finder Force conducted their first combat operation since the unit's formation on 15 August, dropping flares over Flensburg in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany for the 87 bombers following behind them; most of the bombers targeting Flensburg missed and hit the towns of Sønderborg and Abenra to the north, destroying 26 houses, damaging 660 houses, and wounding 4 Danish civilians; 4 bombers were lost on this mission.
24 Aug 1942
226 British bombers (104 Wellington, 61 Lancaster, 53 Stirling, and 8 Halifax) attacked Frankfurt, Germany; most bombs missed their targets and fell on the villages of Schwalbach and Eschborn; 16 bombers were lost on this mission.
27 Aug 1942
306 British bombers attacked Kassel, Germany, destroying 144 buildings, damaging 3 Henschel aircraft factories, killing 28 military personnel and 15 civilians, and wounding 64 military personnel and 187 civilians; 31 bombers were lost on this mission. On the same day, Soviet bombers attacked Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany.
28 Aug 1942
159 British RAF bombers attacked Nürnberg, Germany; another group of 113 bombers attacked Saarbrücken, Germany.
29 Aug 1942
In Germany, 100 Soviet Pe-8, Il-4, and Yer-2 bombers attacked Berlin while 7 Pe-8 bombers attacked Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). The raid was a complete failure. Most of the Russian airplanes were shot down.
1 Sep 1942
231 British bombers launched to attack Saarbrücken, Germany but instead hit Saarlouis 13 miles to the northwest by mistake, killing 52 civilians; 4 bombers were lost on this mission.
2 Sep 1942
200 British bombers attacked Karlsruhe, Germany, destroying many buildings and killing 73 civilians; 8 bombers were lost on this mission.
4 Sep 1942
251 British bombers (98 Wellington, 76 Lancaster, 41 Halifax, and 36 Stirling) attacked Bremen, Germany, damaging or destroying 71 industrial buildings and 1,821 houses; 12 bombers were lost on this mission.
8 Sep 1942
249 British bombers attacked Frankfurt, Germany; most bombs missed and fell in Rüsselsheim 15 miles southwest of the city; 7 bombers were lost on this mission.
11 Sep 1942
479 British bombers (242 Wellington, 89 Lancaster, 59 Halifax, 47 Stirling, 28 Hampden, and 14 Whitley) attacked Düsseldorf and Neuss in Germany, damaging or destroying 52 industrial targets and 2,417 houses; 148 civilians were killed; 33 bombers were lost on this mission.
13 Sep 1942
446 British bombers attacked Bremen, Germany, damaging Lloyd dynamo works, Focke-Wulf factory, 7 historical buildings, 6 schools, and 2 hospitals; 70 civilians were killed; 21 bombers were lost on this mission.
14 Sep 1942
202 British bombers attacked Wilhelmshaven, Germany; 77 civilians were killed.
16 Sep 1942
369 British bombers attacked the Ruhr industrial region of Germany, damaging buildings in Essen (damaging a Krupp factory in Essen; 47 civilians killed), Bochum, Wuppertal, Heme, and Cochem; 39 bombers were lost during this night.
19 Sep 1942
118 British bombers (72 Wellington, 41 Halifax, 5 Stirling) attacked Saarbrücken, Germany, generally missing military targets and instead destroying 13 houses and killing 1 civilian; 5 bombers were lost on this mission. 68 Lancaster bombers and 21 Stirling bombers attacked München, Germany; 6 bombers were lost on this mission.
21 Sep 1942
RAF bombers conducted a raid on München, Germany.
23 Sep 1942
16 Jan 1943
British bombers attacked Berlin, Germany.
17 Jan 1943
Journalist Richard Dimbleby flew in a British No. 106 Squadron Lancaster bomber over Berlin, Germany during a raid to record a live report, which was broadcast by the BBC on the following day.
21 Jan 1943
Allied leadership issued the directive to RAF and USAAF commanders "[y]our primary objective will be the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally wounded."
27 Jan 1943
The USAAF struck Germany proper for the first time as B-17 and B-24 bombers attacked Emden and Wilhelmshaven.
30 Jan 1943
The British RAF's first daylight raid on Berlin, Germany was completed by No. 105 and No. 139 Squadrons' Mosquito aircraft.
26 Feb 1943
USAAF heavy bombers made a daylight attack on Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
28 Feb 1943
712 RAF aircraft (457 Lancaster, 252 Halifax, and 3 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 20 aircraft were lost.
5 Mar 1943
British bombers attacked Krupp works at Essen, Germany; this was the Allies' first attack on this industrial region, which started what the Allies called the [Battle of the Ruhr]]. This attack also saw the first successful use of Oboe, an aerial blind bombing targeting system.
11 Mar 1943
British Secretary of State for Air Sir Archibald Sinclair spoke at the House of Commons, noting that "[t]he past 12 months have been marked by striking changes in the conduct and effectiveness of... the pulverising offensive of Bomber Command.... The monster raids saturating the enemy's active and passive systems of defence is one example. A second example is the success achieved in finding, marking and illuminating targets which has contributed enormously to the recent triumphs of Bomber Command.... Praise the men who are striking these hammer blows at German might... fearless young men flying through storm and cold and darkness higher than Mont Blanc, through the flak, hunted by the night fighters, but coolly and skillfully identifying and bombing these targets." Some Members of Parliament, such as Mr. Montague, representing West Islington, voiced concerns for the "wanton destruction" delivered by the Bomber Command.
12 Mar 1943
RAF bombers attacked Krupp steel plants in Essen, Germany, causing heavy damage.
14 Mar 1943
Aircraft of the US 8th Air Force bombed Kiel, Germany.
18 Mar 1943
USAAF aircraft bombed the Vegesack district of Bremen, Germany.
23 Mar 1943
In its heaviest bombing raid to date, the British RAF Bomber Command attacked Dortmund, Germany with 2,000 tons of explosives.
24 Mar 1943
The British RAF Bomber Command had by this date dropped 100,000 tons of explosives on Germany.
31 Mar 1943
Replying to a question from Member of Parliament Richard Stokes, the Air Minister, Sir Archibald Sinclair, told the British House of Commons the lie that Bomber Command's targets were always of a military nature, but that bombing of military targets would necessarily involve bombing areas in which they were situated.
1 Apr 1943
12 British Mosquito aircraft destroyed a power station and a railways yard at Trier, Germany without any losses; local reports recorded 21 deaths. On the same date, RAF Squadron Leader C. O'Donoghue of 103 Squadron commanded a lone Lancaster bomber on a bombing attack on Emmerich, Germany; the aircraft was shot down, killing the entire crew.
4 Apr 1943
RAF bombers conducted a raid on Kiel, Germany during the night.
12 Apr 1943
26 Apr 1943
RAF bombers conducted a raid against Duisburg, Germany.
2 May 1943
The RAF Bomber Command reported to the British Air Ministry that it currently had 725 ready crews for operations; the number included 129 crews of Wellington bombers and 250 crews for Lancaster bombers.
4 May 1943
RAF bombers conducted a raid on Dortmund, Germany late in the night and into the next day, killing almost 700. Log book of pilot J. H. Searby noted there were "considerable flak" and that he "took ciné (35mm) film hoping to get pictures to convince the 'public' that we do bomb Germany."
16 May 1943
Joseph Goebbels noted in his diary that Kiel, Germany was heavily damaged in an Allied bombing.
24 May 1943
British bombers attacked East Frisian Islands (Ostfriesische Inseln) in northwestern Germany.
25 May 1943
Joseph Goebbels noted in his diary that the industrial and residential districts in Dortmund, Germany were heavily damaged by Allied bombing.
26 May 1943
759 British heavy bombers attacked Düsseldurf, Germany starting at about 0200 hours.
29 May 1943
RAF bombers attacked Wuppertal, Germany with 1,900 tons of explosives. The Ruhr region city housed an I. G. Farben chemical plant and a G. & J. Jaeger ball-bearing factory.
10 Jun 1943
USAAF and RAF began a coordinated air offensive with the RAF over Europe, conducting area bombing at night and the USAAF flying precision bombing raids by day. The British Assistant Chief of the Air Staff noted that the primary objective of bombing campaign was "the destruction of German air-frame, engine and component factories and the ball-bearing industry on which the strength of the German fighter force depend" and the secondary objective was "the general disorganization of those industrial areas associated with the above industries".
11 Jun 1943
In Germany, 200 B-17 bombers of US 8th Air Force bomb Wilhelmshaven, while RAF aircraft bombed Münster and Düsseldorf.
12 Jun 1943
RAF aircraft bombed Bochum, Germany.
20 Jun 1943
The RAF initiated shuttle bombing, where planes departed home fields to bomb Germany, re-armed in Africa, then bomb Italian Targets en route back to Britain. The first of these raids targeted Friedrichshafen, Germany.
21 Jun 1943
RAF bombers attacked Krefeld in the Ruhr region of Germany.
24 Jun 1943
RAF bombers attacked Elberfeld in the Ruhr region of Germany.
28 Jun 1943
Köln, Germany was bombed by British aircraft, heavily damaging the cathedral. About 4,000 were killed and 1,500 were wounded.
3 Jul 1943
Köln, Germany suffered a heavy air raid.
24 Jul 1943
The first operational use of "Window" radar jamming took place during Operation Gomorrah when 746 RAF planes drop 2,300 tons of explosive on Hamburg, Germany, losing 12 aircraft. Hamburg burned in a major firestorm that killed a significant number (masses) of civilians.
25 Jul 1943
109 USAAF bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany in the afternoon as a follow up to the night raid by British bombers on the previous day; 15 bombers were lost. Elsewhere, Essen was also targeted with 2,000 tons of bombs.
27 Jul 1943
After nightfall, a repeated bombing of Hamburg, Germany by 787 RAF aircraft created a fire storm in which an estimated 42,000 people perished, most of them by carbon monoxide poisoning when all the air was drawn out of their basement shelters. The fire storm, in which the heat and humidity of the summer night was a contributory factor, raged for three hours until there was nothing left to burn.
29 Jul 1943
Joseph Goebbels' diary entry of this date noted that Hamburg, Germany had been devastated and about 800,000 were made homeless.
30 Jul 1943
Hamburg, Germany was bombed again before dawn by 777 RAF bombers.
2 Aug 1943
Overnight, Hamburg, Germany suffered its ninth and final raid in eight days as 740 RAF bombers attacked; 30 of the bombers were shot down. By this time Hamburg had lost as many civilians as Britain had in the entire air war.
13 Aug 1943
US 9th Air Force bombed the Messerschmitt factory at Wiener Neustadt in the German state of Austria. Planners of the attack thought they were conducting a strike on a factory producing fighter aircraft, but in actuality it was manufacturing parts for V-2 rockets.
17 Aug 1943
The US 8th Army Air Force lost 59 heavy bombers during daylight raids upon Regenburg and Schweinfurt, Germany, which was about 25% of the attacking force. Meanwhile, British bombers took off to bomb German rocket research site at Peenemünde at 2100 hours London time. At 2230 hours London time or 2330 hours Berlin time, air raid sirens went off at Peenemünde, but many ignored it, thinking it was to be yet another false warning as Allied bombers flew over the region to bomb German cities further inland. At 2317 hours London time or 0017 hours Berlin time on the next day, the first of the British bombers struck Peenemünde.
18 Aug 1943
Between 0017 and 0043 hours, three waves of British bombers (227, 113, and 180 bombers, respectively) struck the German rocket research site at Peenemünde, dropping a total of 1,600 tons of high explosive bombs and 250 tons of incendiary bombs. Initially the damage appeared to be extensive, but the site returned to operation within four to six weeks. Many buildings would remain unrepaired and craters unfilled in order to trick the British into thinking that the site was abandoned after the raid.
23 Aug 1943
727 RAF bombers dropped 1,700 tons of explosives on Berlin, Germany.
31 Aug 1943
British RAF aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany.
15 Sep 1943
To combat the growing strength of Allied bombing attacks the Luftwaffe reorganised its air defences into two territorial fighter commands; one in then Reich and the other in western occupied territories.
22 Sep 1943
To outwit the German Luftwaffe's fighter reaction, British RAF Bomber Command launched its first "spoof raid"; the main force attacked Hannover, while a feint heads for Osnabrück.
2 Oct 1943
RAF aircraft bombed München, Germany.
7 Oct 1943
RAF aircraft bombed Stuttgart, Germany.
8 Oct 1943
17 US bombers attacked Vegesack, Bremen, Germany. Two B-24 bombers were lost, with pilot William Clifford's crew lost entirely and pilot John Buschman's crew mostly captured.
9 Oct 1943
US bombers attacked Mariensburg, Germany.
14 Oct 1943
US 8th Air Force launched 291 B-17 bombers and 60 B-24 bombers to attack the Schweinfurt ball bearing plants in Germany; the 60 B-24 bombers were diverted to another target. 77 American bombers and 1 escorting fighter were lost, while 38 Luftwaffe fighters were shot down during their defense. 122 American bombers returned to base in bad condition but they were able to be repaired.
22 Oct 1943
26 Oct 1943
2 Nov 1943
The US 15th Air Force made its operational debut when 139 B-17 and B-24 bombers operating from Tunisian bases (and escorted on part of the route by P-38 Lightning aircraft) attacked the Messerschmitt subsidiary at Wiener-Neustadt in Austria. The attack caused heavy damage to the plant and deprived the Luftwaffe of an estimated 250 Bf 109G-6 deliveries over the next two months.
3 Nov 1943
Overnight, 400 US bombers, escorted by 600 fighters, bombed Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Later in the same night, the RAF bombed Düsseldorf, Germany.
7 Nov 1943
Alfred Jodl met with Nazi party Gauleiters in Munich, Germany; he noted that the Allied terror raids on German cities must be stopped, otherwise morale of the German people would be overly damaged, and it would be fertile grounds for subversive activities.
18 Nov 1943
RAF Bomber Command launched a concerted series of attacks on the Berlin, Germany dubbed "Operation Berlin". During the first attack, more than 700 tons of bombs were dropped. Over a five-month period, Berlin is attacked 32 times and hit by 25,000 tons of bombs, killing more than 6,000 and leaving 1.5 million homeless; RAF lost 1,047 aircraft during the five-month bombing campaign.
22 Nov 1943
Berlin, Germany was heavily bombed by 764 RAF aircraft (469 Lancaster, 234 Halifax, 50 Stirling, and 11 Mosquito), dropping over 2,300 tons of explosives; 26 bombers were lost. 175,000 Germans were made homeless and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was destroyed.
23 Nov 1943
383 RAF aircraft (365 Lancaster, 10 Halifax, and 8 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany.
24 Nov 1943
6 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany; one aircraft was lost.
25 Nov 1943
RAF bombers attacked Frankfurt, Germany; 3 Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany as diversion.
26 Nov 1943
USAAF launched its heaviest raid on Bremen, Germany, while the RAF hit Berlin, Germany for the fifth night in a row with 443 Lancaster and 7 Mosquito aircraft. Stuttgart, Germany was attacked in diversion by 84 aircraft. 34 RAF aircraft were lost during this night.
28 Nov 1943
10 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Germany.
29 Nov 1943
21 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Bochum, Cologne, and Düsseldorf in Germany.
30 Nov 1943
4 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Germany.
2 Dec 1943
458 RAF aircraft (425 Lancaster, 15 Halifax, and 18 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany, dropping 1,500 tons of bombs; 40 bombers were lost (37 Lancaster, 2 Halifax, and 1 Mosquito). Two Siemens factories, a ball-bearing factory, and several railway installations were damaged.
3 Dec 1943
527 RAF aircraft (307 Lancaster and 220 Halifax) attacked Leipzig, Germany.
4 Dec 1943
9 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Duisburg, Germany.
10 Dec 1943
25 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Leverkusen, Germany.
11 Dec 1943
The USAAF bombed Emden, Germany, while 18 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Duisburg, Germany.
12 Dec 1943
18 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Germany while 9 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
15 Dec 1943
16 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
16 Dec 1943
498 RAF aircraft (483 Lancaster and 15 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 25 Lancaster bombers were lost in combat and 29 more were lost while landing in bad weather. Berlin rail system was disrupted heavily, while the National Theater and the national archives buildings were destroyed.
20 Dec 1943
RAF made the heaviest raid of the war on Frankfurt, Germany, with 650 aircraft (390 Lancaster, 257 Halifax, and 3 Mosquito) dropping over 2,000 tons of explosives; less than an hour later, RAF Mosquito aircraft followed up in order to hamper firefighting efforts. 14 Lancaster and 27 Halifax bombers were lost.
21 Dec 1943
9 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked the Mannesmann factory at Düsseldorf, Germany.
22 Dec 1943
23 Dec 1943
379 RAF aircraft (364 Lancaster, 7 Halifax, and 8 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 16 Lancaster bombers were lost.
29 Dec 1943
British RAF dropped 2,000 tons of bombs on Berlin, Germany.
1 Jan 1944
421 RAF Lancaster bombers attacked Berlin, Germany; 28 aircraft were lost. 15 Mosquito aircraft attacked Hamburg in diversion.
2 Jan 1944
383 RAF aircraft (362 Lancaster, 9 Halifax, and 12 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 27 aircraft were lost.
3 Jan 1944
8 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Solingen and Essen in Germany.
4 Jan 1944
13 British Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany.
5 Jan 1944
358 RAF aircraft (348 Lancaster and 10 Halifax) attacked Stettin, Germany, while 28 Mosquito aircraft attacked five other cities (13 against Berlin) in diversion; 16 aircraft were lost.
6 Jan 1944
19 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Duisburg, Bristillerie, Dortmund, and Solingen in Germany.
7 Jan 1944
11 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Krefeld and Duisburg in Germany.
8 Jan 1944
23 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Frankfurt, Solingen, Aachen, and Dortmund in Germany; 2 aircraft were lost.
10 Jan 1944
20 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Berlin, Solingen, Koblenz, and Krefeld in Germany.
11 Jan 1944
US 8th Air Force launched over 600 bombers against Ascherleben, Braunschweig, and Magdeburg in Germany.
13 Jan 1944
25 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Essen, Duisburg, Aachen, and Koblenz in Germany; 1 aircraft was lost.
14 Jan 1944
498 RAF aircraft (496 Lancaster and 2 Halifax) attacked Braunschweig, Germany, with 49 aircraft lost; German reports noted only 10 homes destroyed and 14 killed. As a diversion, 17 RAF Mosquito aircraft attacked Magdeburg and Berlin.
20 Jan 1944
The heaviest RAF raid on Berlin to date was launched, with 769 aircraft (495 Lancaster, 264 Halifax, 10 Mosquito) dropping over 2,300 tons of explosives on the German capital. 13 Lancaster and 22 Halifax bombers were lost. Damage on Berlin was thought to be extensive, but this could not be confirmed due to bad weather on the next day.
21 Jan 1944
648 RAF aircraft attacked Magdeburg, Germany; 55 British aircraft and 4 German fighters were destroyed during the engagement. It was the first time Magdeburg was raided by the Allies.
27 Jan 1944
515 Lancaster and 15 Mosquito aircraft of the RAF attacked Berlin, Germany; 33 Lancaster bombers were lost.
28 Jan 1944
677 RAF aircraft (432 Lancaster, 241 Halifax, and 4 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 46 aircraft were lost.
29 Jan 1944
In Germany, the Duisburg and Herbouville flying bomb site were bombed by 22 Mosquito aircraft of the RAF. Meanwhile, RAF bombers attacked Berlin and USAAF bombers attacked Frankfurt am Main and Ludwigshafen.
30 Jan 1944
534 RAF aircraft (440 Lancaster, 82 Halifax, and 12 Mosquito) attacked Berlin, Germany; 33 aircraft were lost.
15 - 16 Feb 1944
Berlin main target. 561 Lancasters, 314 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos (891 aircraft), despatched to Berlin. Despite cloud cover most important war industries were hit, including the large Siemensstadt area, with the centre and south-western districts substaining most of the damage. This was the largest raid by the RAF on Berlin, killing over 6,000 civilians. A diversionary raid by 24 Lancasters of No. 8 Group on Frankfurt-on-the-Oder failed to confuse the Germans. RAF lost 43 aircraft – 26 Lancasters, 17 Halifaxes, which was 4.8 per cent of the force. A further 155 sorties were flown against other targets.
19 Feb 1944
RAF bombers attacked Leipzig, Germany.
20 Feb 1944
USAAF launched the "Big Week", sending 970 bombers against Braunschweig, Hamburg, and Leipzig in Germany. The RAF followed through by hitting Stuttgart.
24 Feb 1944
USAAF (day) and RAF (night) bombings were conducted on the ball bearing plant at Schweinfurt, Germany.
3 Mar 1944
29 USAAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany; the attack was "accidental", as it was actually called off, but the aircraft failed to receive the order.
4 Mar 1944
USAAF launched its first major bombing raid on Berlin, Germany.
6 Mar 1944
730 USAAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany; 69 aircraft were lost.
8 Mar 1944
USAAF bombers attacked Berlin, Germany.
15 Mar 1944
RAF bombers attacked Stuttgart, Germany, dropping over 3,000 tons of bombs from 863 bombers, of which 36 were lost.
18 Mar 1944
RAF bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany with approximately 3,000 tons of bombs.
22 Mar 1944
RAF bombers attacked Frankfurt, Germany, killing 948 and leaving 120,000 homeless.
24 Mar 1944
810 RAF aircraft attacked Berlin, Germany; 72 aircraft were lost. After sundown, Frankfurt was bombed by the RAF for the third time in four nights.
25 Mar 1944
811 RAF bombers raided Berlin, Germany; 122 Allied aircraft were lost.
30 Mar 1944
A 795-plane air raid (572 Lancaster, 214 Halifax, and 9 Mosquito) against Nürnberg, Germany; 82 aircraft were lost on the way to the attack, and a further 12 were lost on the return flight; nearly 700 lives were lost by the RAF. This was Bomber Command's heaviest single loss of the war. German casualties included 69 civilians and 59 foreign laborers.
1 Apr 1944
US bombers unintentionally hit Schaffhausen, Switzerland, leading to official protests and reparation payments.
8 Apr 1944
USAAF bombers attacked a Volkswagen factory near Hannover, Germany.
18 Apr 1944
Aircraft of No. 466 Squadron RAAF conducted bombing operations against Helgoland, Germany.
21 Apr 1944
Operation Chattanooga: Allied aircraft destroyed German rail and other transportation targets.
22 Apr 1944
The RAF used of the new liquid incendiary device, J-Bomb, for the first time against Brunswick, Germany.
24 Apr 1944
British bombers attacked München, Germany. During this attack, the Spinosaurus fossil specimen BSP 1912 VIII 19 was destroyed at the Paläontologische Staatssammlung München (Bavarian State Collection of Paleontology).
7 May 1944
1,500 bombers of the US 8th Air Force attacked Berlin, Germany.
12 May 1944
The German synthetic fuel plants at Brüx in southern Germany (post-war Most, Czechoslovakia) and Lüna-Merseburg, Lützkendorf, and Zeitz in eastern Germany were hit by 800 US bombers.
28 May 1944
USAAF again bombed the synthetic oil plant at Lüne-Merseburg in eastern Germany.
29 May 1944
Taking advantage of their range, US bombers began hitting Marienburg and Posen in eastern Germany.
21 Jun 1944
US 8th Air Force bombers conducted shuttle raids on Berlin and Lüne-Merseburg in Germany, landing at Russian airfields.
16 Jul 1944
A total of 1,087 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers USAAF Eighth Air Force attacked Germany in three waves (407, 238, and 407 bombers, respectively), escorted by 240, 214, and 169 fighters, respectively, with most of the bombers targeting Munich, Stuggart, Augsburg, and Saarbrucken; a total of 11 bombers and 3 fighters were lost.
18 Jul 1944
In Germany, 291 American B-17 bombers, escorted by 48 P-38 and 84 P-51 fighters, attacked the port facilities at Kiel and oil refineries at Cuxhaven. To the east, 377 American B-17 bombers, escorted by 294 fighters, attacked Peenemünde, Zinnowitz, and Stralsund. In southern Germany, B-17 and B-24 bombers of US Fifteenth Air Force attacked Memmingen Airfield and the Dornier factories at Manzell; 20 aircraft were lost.
19 Jul 1944
1,082 B-17 and B-24 bombers, escorted by 670 P-38, P-47, and P-51 fighters attacked factories (hydrogen peroxide, chemical, aircraft, and ball bearing), six rail marshalling yards, a dam, and four airfields in western and southwestern Germany; 17 bombers and 7 fighters were lost. From Italy, US 15th Air Force launched 400 B-17 and B-24 bombers attacked an ordnance depot, an aircraft factory, an automobile factory, and an airfield in the München (Munich) area; 16 US aircraft were lost.
20 Jul 1944
Bombers of US 8th Air Force in Britain and US 15th Air Force in Italy attacked Dessau, Kothen, Leipzig, Nordhuasen, Rudolstadt, Merseburg, Bad Nauheim, Koblenz, and many other targets across Germany.
21 Jul 1944
1,110 bombers of US 8th Air Force were launched from England, United Kingdom against Germany, hitting München (Munich), Saarbrücken (targeting rail marshalling yards), Oberpfeffenhofen, Walldrun (targeting rail marshalling yards), Regensburg, Stuttgart, Schweinfurt, and other locations; a total of 31 bombers and 8 escorting fighters were lost.
23 Jul 1944
After dark, a large group of British bombers attacked Kiel, Germany; the attack lasted through midnight into the next date. The German fighters summoned to intercept went after the decoy force rather than the main force.
24 Jul 1944
The British bombing of Kiel, Germany that began on the previous date ended before dawn. The damage was extensive, causing the city to have no running water for 3 days, the trains and buses were out of commission for 8 days, and gas service was out for nearly 3 weeks.
In August 1944 plans were drawn for an operation code named Thunderclap but it was shelved and never implemented. The plan envisaged a massive attack on Berlin that would cause 220,000 casualties with 110,000 killed, many of them key German personnel, which would shatter German morale. But on consideration it was decided that it was unlikely to work, so it was shelved. The plan was reconsidered in early 1945, to be implemented in coordination with a Soviet advance, but again was rejected again as impractical, and instead a number of coordinated smaller attacks against cities in the communications zone of the Eastern Front, through which key routes to the east converged, were chosen. The cities designated as choke points where the bombing would be most effective were Berlin, Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig. Intensive bombing of these targets was carried out with the intention of disrupting the rear areas of the German Eastern Front lines, to aid the Soviets advance as had been requested by the Soviets at the Yalta Conference. These raids were large ones, but were not the massive raids envisaged in the original Thunderclap plan.
On 26/27 and 29/30 the RAF bombed Königsberg causing the mass destruction of this ancient mediaeval city.
29 Aug 1944
11 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and 34 B-24 Liberator bombers attacked Helgoland, Germany, escorted by 169 P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang fighters; 3 Liberator bombers were damaged.
3 Sep 1944
A B-17 Flying Fortress bomber was mistakenly directed to Düne Island, Helgoland, Germany; its original target was a German submarine pen.
11 September 1944
The Bombing of Darmstadt in World War II with 226 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of the RAF on the night of 11/12 September 1944 killed 12,000 innocent civilians. 70,000 of the 110,000 inhabitants of Darmstadt at the time became homeless. 20% of the victims were children under the age of 16, and women comprised 64.5% of the victims. The once beautiful City was completely destroyed.
28 Sep 1944
RAF bombers dropped 909 tons of bombs on Kaiserslautern, Germany, destroying 36% of the town.
29 Oct 1944
The Köln, Germany archive noted that, overnight, British bombers dropped about 4,000 high explosive bombs and 200,000 incendiary bombs on the city.
2 Nov 1944
Bombers of the No. 550 Squadron RAF attacked Düsseldorf, Germany.
4 Nov 1944
Bombers of the No. 550 Squadron RAF attacked Bochum, Germany. Airman John Riley Bryne noted in his diary that "the target was a blazing inferno".
6 Nov 1944
Bombers of the No. 550 Squadron RAF attacked Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Airman John Riley Bryne noted in his diary that "[i]t was really wonderful experience to see hundreds of kite's [sic] attacking the hun".
17 Dec 1944
British bombers attacked Ulm, Germany.
31 Dec 1944
One B-17 Flying Fortress bomber of USAAF 8th Air Force attacked Helgoland, Germany.
2 Jan 1945
British bombers attacked Nürnberg, Germany.
16 Jan 1945
The RAF bombed and destroyed much of the city of Magdeburg, the official death toll was 16,000, but the "re-educated" government of the Federal Republic of Germany minimizes the number to 2.000 people.
13 Feb 1945
14 Feb 1945
The Bombing of Prague occurred towards the end of World War II on February 14, 1945, when the US Army Air Forces carried out an air raid over Prague. The city was the main city of the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. According to American pilots, it was the result of a navigation mistake: at the same time, a massive bombing of Dresden was under way, 120 km north from Prague. More than 2,000 people were killed or wounded, the Claim, the pilots made a "mistake" is strongly disputed.
23 Feb 1945
A raid of 379 British bombers attacked the German town of Pforzheim, killing 17,000 people and destroying 80% of the town's buildings.
2 Mar 1945
The RAF conducted its last major raid on Köln (Cologne), Germany with 858 aircraft; also on this date, one USAAF B-17 bomber attacked Köln as a target of opportunity.
8 Mar 1945
1,200 Allied heavy bombers struck 6 benzol plants in Germany.
12 Mar 1945
1,108 RAF bombers attacked Dortmund, Germany, dropping 4,851 tons of bombs.
14 Mar 1945
A British No. 617 Squadron RAF Lancaster bomber commanded by Squadron Leader C. C. Calder dropped a 22,000-lb Grand Slam bomb on the Bielefeld viaduct, breaking two spans. It was the first time the Grand Slam bomb was used in combat.
Zweibrücken was hit five times 1944 an 1945, for the last time on the evening of 14 March 1945. Hundreds of people were killed, 90 % of the then 800-year-old city was destroyed. Had more stayed in the city, many of them would have been killed or wounded, but many citizens had been living in deep mines for months. Most of the british and canadian bombs during the 30 minute attack fell on the core of the Altstadt. In addition to this hell, US-american artillery attacked the city from 1 a.m. until 4 a.m., making it immposible für rescue teams to save more people. Just like Kaiserslautern, Pirmasens and others, the attacks on Zweibrücken made "no military sense".
17 Mar 1945
1,260 Allied heavy bombers hit 2 synthetic oil plants in Germany while 650 medium bombers attacked the rail system.
30 Mar 1945
USAAF bombers once again bombed German ports of Hamburg, Bremen, and Wilhelmshaven.
14 Apr 1945
16 Apr 1945
The Allied Chiefs of Staff formally decreed the ending of the area bombing campaign against Germany. In one of British Bomber Command's last major operations of the war, 900 bombers were despatched to attack the German island fortress of Helgoland.
17 Apr 1945
Thirty three British Lancaster bombers of 5 Group, six carrying Grand Slam bombs and the remainder carrying Tall Boy bombs attacked Helgoland, Germany; they reported that the centre of the island was still ablaze from the previous day's attack.
19 Apr 1945
617 Lancaster, 332 Halifax, and 20 Mosquito aircraft attacked Helgoland, Germany; 3 Halifax bombers were lost. The attack prompted Germany to evacuate civilians from the island to the mainland.
23 Apr 1945
British bombers attacked Lübeck, Germany.
25 Apr 1945
British bombers attacked Berchtesgaden, Germany. The US 8th Air Force conducted its last heavy bomber raid on Germany.
12 Mar 1946
- "We want - that is, the people who served in Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force and their next-of-kin - a categorical assurance that the work we did was militarily and strategically justified."
The British RAF bombed the holy land of Heligoland (German: Helgoland; thought to be Atlantis or Hyperborea) from April 1945 until 1952, but the British were not able to destroy this island of strength and magic.
Bombings in Germany
- Bombing of Dresden in World War II
- Bombing of Königsberg in World War II
- Bombing of Pforzheim in World War II
- Operation Gomorrah
- Rotterdam Blitz
- The Blitz
- Bombing of Italy during World War II
- Bombing of Japan during World War II
Other argued mass killings by the Allies
- Churchill Wanted to "Drench" Germany With Poison Gas
- Defending Barbarism
- His Master’s Voice, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1892-1984
- How Britain Pioneered City Bombing
- Killing Noncombatants
- Terror Bombing: The Crime of the Twentieth Century
- Bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, and Other Cities
- German Heligoland islands still a minefield for Britons
- The Destruction of Dresden by David Irving, first published 1963; revised 1971 and again 1985 , Macmillan, London, 1985, ISBN 0-333-40483-1.
- Dresden 1945 by Alexander McKee, Granada Publishing, London, 1983, ISBN: 0-583-13686-9.
- Dresden - Tuesday 13 February 1945, by Frederick Taylor, Bloomsbury, London, 2004, ISBN 0-7475-7078-7.
- The Fire - The Bombings of Germany 1940-1945, by Jorg Friedrich, Columbia University Press, English-language edition, 2006, ISBN 0-231-13380-4
- The Home Front: Germany by Charles Whiting, Time-Life, Chicago, 1982. ISBN: 0-8094-3419-9.
- The German Home Front 1939-45 by Terry Charman, Barrie & Jenkins Ltd., London, 1989, ISBN: 0-7126-2183-0.
- Darmstadt - eine Stadt im Krieg
- A war crime is a serious violation of the laws applicable in armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law) giving rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include "murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camps," "the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war," the killing of prisoners, "the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity."
- David Crew: Bodies and Ruins: Imagining the Bombing of Germany, 1945 to the Present, University of Michigan Press, 2017, p. 23
- The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940–1945. Jörg Friedrich. Translated by Allison Brown. Columbia University Press, New York, 2006. ISBN 978-0-231-13380-7
- Allied forces conducted many air raids on Japan during World War II, causing extensive destruction to the country's cities and killing anywhere from 241,000 to 900,000 people. During the first years of the Pacific War, these attacks were limited to the Doolittle Raid in April 1942 and small-scale raids on military positions in the Kuril Islands from mid-1943. Strategic bombing raids on Japan began in June 1944 and continued until the end of the war in August 1945. Allied naval and land-based tactical air units also attacked Japan during 1945.