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Which cities were bombed the worst during ww2?

Discussions on WW2 covering more than one theatre of the war.

Which cities were bombed the worst during ww2?

Postby gatordh7 on 12 Jan 2007 08:39

I know this question has been dealt with most likely many times on these forums, in many ways.
But no one has created a thread dedicated to it yet (at least I could not find any)

Could anyone here give me a list of say the top 10 most badly bombed cities during WW2, and it doesent have to be measured by deaths more so by the amount of bombes actually dropped

I know Dresden, Berlin, Manilla, Tokyo, London, Warsaw, Stalingrad, Hiroshima, Nagasaki etc.. all come to mind however it's hard to try and determine which city had endured the most quantity of bombs by just observing the death tolls.

I tried using google but couldn't find any thing

anyway thanks in advance
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Postby Gothard on 12 Jan 2007 10:22

Tokya is Definetely #1. Basically the scale for Bombings needs to be:
1. Was there a firestorm or Nuclear explosion . Tokyo applies.
2. A points scale based on 10% increments of residential units destroyed as opposed to pre war. A city losing over 80% prewar of housing would apply.
3. Human Suffering. Nanking, Leniningrad, Stalingrad, Berlin all qualify and for different reasons. Each was bombarded heavily and each lost massive amounts of housing but Nanking and Berlin had organised, state directed rape, murder and brutal occupation. Stalingrad and leningrad had starvation and freezing as well.

Add the 3 factors and come up with the list of 10 top cities. Asian cities like japan were of predominantely wooden construction and more vulnerable to firestorms. So they meet the criteria much faster despite being hit by less tonnage.
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Postby Gothard on 12 Jan 2007 10:31

Tokyo, warsaw, manila,berlin,dresden, nanking,leningrad,stalingrad,hiroshima,nagasaki make my top 10
Manila was unique in that it was occupied by an army resolved to die that intended to take the entire population with them. Human suffering was intense.
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Postby Potsdamerplatz on 12 Jan 2007 14:01

These 2 English cities suffered heavily during the Blitz. Although they probably wouldn't make a Top 10 list I still think Coventry and Plymouth are both worth a mention:

Coventry suffered severe bomb damage during World War II, most notoriously from a massive German air raid (the "Coventry Blitz") on 14 November 1940. This destroyed most of the historic city centre and Coventry's historic Cathedral. Aside from London and Plymouth, Coventry suffered more damage than any other British city during the Luftwaffe attacks, with huge firestorms devastating most of the city centre. The city was targeted due to its high concentration of armaments, munitions and engine plants which contributed greatly to the British war effort. Following the raids, the majority of Coventry's historic buildings could not be saved as they were in ruinous states or were deemed unsafe for any future use.

Plymouth was one of the two most important Royal Navy bases in the United Kingdom, a factor that made the city a prime target of the Luftwaffe during the war. The dockyards and city centre were almost completely destroyed during the blitz of 1941. The two main shopping centres and nearly every civic building were destroyed, along with 20 schools and 40 churches. 3,754 houses were destroyed with a further 18,398 seriously damaged. Nearly 1,800 civilians were killed during the raids.

Best regards.
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Postby RFPB on 13 Jan 2007 03:29

Maybe Dresden? Numbers are pretty high their.
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Postby ManfredV on 14 Jan 2007 19:24

Its very difficult to answer. Gothard mentioned some factors that must be considered.
In Germany, fe. Hamburg, Dresden, Nuremberg and Berlin very heavily bombed, but when you look at the percentage of houses being destroyed, f.e. Wuerzburg and Pforzheim suffered more. There is a german statistic, but I didn´t found it yet in the net. But I think it was mentioned here. Does anyone know the link?
Another example: London had more deads than Dresden. When I visited our partner congregation in London for the first time they told me that the city of Bromley (a south eastern part of Greater London) was nearly compleatly destroyed by german air raids.
And don´t forget many towns in Russia. Especially in USSR and China there are a lot of "forgotten" victims of WW II.
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Postby Gothard on 15 Jan 2007 01:22

ManfredV wrote:Its very difficult to answer. Gothard mentioned some factors that must be considered.
In Germany, fe. Hamburg, Dresden, Nuremberg and Berlin very heavily bombed, but when you look at the percentage of houses being destroyed, f.e. Wuerzburg and Pforzheim suffered more. There is a german statistic, but I didn´t found it yet in the net. But I think it was mentioned here. Does anyone know the link?
Another example: London had more deads than Dresden. When I visited our partner congregation in London for the first time they told me that the city of Bromley (a south eastern part of Greater London) was nearly compleatly destroyed by german air raids.
And don´t forget many towns in Russia. Especially in USSR and China there are a lot of "forgotten" victims of WW II.


Yes Manfred Ive forgotten the 10 million chinese killed in the flooding. Those cities definetely qualify loss of life was near 100% and the entire cities leveled. The link youre talking about is very graphic. It has onsite photos of thousands of firebombing victims and excellent statistical information. Europe was lucky - especially germany in the high proportion of brick dwellings - they greatly reduced casualties. In asia - manila, tokyo and most japanese cities the wooden structures became tombs and casualties were much higher in proportion to tonnage dropped. Going on a straight tonnage basis is one thing.. but thats rarely accurate. Suffering is the key - long term exposure to death , starvation and illness by residents of the stricken cities and the degree to which basic human services were lost. In Europe there was a very efficient emergency service - technische Nothilfe run by col. Siebert of the SS. And there were many civilian agencies from todt to the hitler youth, convalescing servicemen and prisoners of war as well as foreign labour that got into the cities rapidly , thre were programs to relocate and house victims rapidly, You didnt have foreign troops killing at random , blockades with no food or month after month of snipers and artillery. Although horrific in terms of human loss the citizens were able to get back on their feet and carry on within a short period.
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Postby Ju88G1 on 26 Mar 2007 06:29

Kiel and Essen followed by Hamburg
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Postby JonS on 26 Mar 2007 07:39

Altgarten, definitely. Completely wiped off the map.
Last edited by JonS on 26 Mar 2007 22:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kristian S. on 26 Mar 2007 12:14

Würzburg maybe. Over 90% of the city destroyed.
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Postby Auseklis on 26 Mar 2007 13:41

for Austria it was Wiener Neustadt with 88%

Magdeburg and Hannover are also ont 90%+ list.
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Postby Pips on 26 Mar 2007 22:24

If the main criteria is the actual number of bombing raids on one location, then Malta heads the list.
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Postby Jon G. on 26 Mar 2007 23:00

JonS wrote:Altgarten, definitely. Completely wiped off the map.


Yes, but that was in 1970 :)

Anyhow, we need a definition of 'most badly bombed'. If it's for loss of life then Tokyo 1945 probably qualifies. If it's for loss of life as a percentage of population, then Pforzheim may have been the most badly hit. If it's for duration of bombardment then it might be Leningrad. Or, if it's for tonnage of bombs divided by the surface of the area hit, it might be Malta.
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Postby amateur on 27 Mar 2007 16:29

If its the percentage of buildings hit, then maybe Narva, once a picturesque town on the border of Estonia an Russia that was completely destroyed in bombardments by the Soviet artillery and air force in winter 1944. Literally, total destruction. Most of the population had prior been evacuated.
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Postby Lornito Uriarte Mahinay Jr. on 28 Mar 2007 09:12

For me, these are the top 10 cities which were bombed severely and got the whole debris of the falling bombs:

Warsaw
Manila
Tokyo
Berlin
Stalingrad
London
Dresden
Leningrad
Hiroshima
Nagasaki
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