Churchill & Harris - Terror raids

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
User avatar
Englander
Member
Posts: 677
Joined: 12 Aug 2003 20:55
Location: Blighty

Post by Englander » 18 Aug 2003 19:09

"Ok, I apologize you Englander "

Dam it, you just got in your apology,just before i could respond.
I was going to asked you why you wanted to side with a Nazi?
Germany and the Soviets stiched up your country :D
Silly me i forgot ,your country fought with the Nazis :oops:
So Britain declares war on Finland :wink:
Then Germany starts to lose the war,So you join the Soviets :?
Had to pay out loads on reperations :D

BTW, My mother was a young girl during the London Blitz.A German parachute mine wipe out half the Street,She was lucky,others weren`t.
(Dont lecture me about indiscriminate bombing)...Oh yeah,then there was the V1 that just missed the house.

Guess i`m sorry for insulting you to.

User avatar
Englander
Member
Posts: 677
Joined: 12 Aug 2003 20:55
Location: Blighty

Post by Englander » 18 Aug 2003 19:16

"Hitler should have let his Generals have their way in France by the coast and that "victory" at Dunkirk would have never happened."

Sound like that would make you a happy man.Are you a Irish American?

To the moderators, I`m done on this subject.

User avatar
KalaVelka
Member
Posts: 1087
Joined: 26 Dec 2002 16:12
Location: Suomi Finland Perkele

Post by KalaVelka » 18 Aug 2003 19:21

Done with the subject. I dont share Englanders opinions but this kind "you are wrong" "NO! you are wrong" "No you *ucker it is you, who are wrong!" makes me sick.

Edit. i dont say that this discussion is like my example, but i have noticed that this kind of discussions will turn like my example. :) no hard feelings palls.

Kasper

User avatar
Tonyny44
Member
Posts: 118
Joined: 01 Jun 2003 20:23
Location: Florida

Post by Tonyny44 » 18 Aug 2003 22:02

Englander wrote:"Hitler should have let his Generals have their way in France by the coast and that "victory" at Dunkirk would have never happened."

Sound like that would make you a happy man.Are you a Irish American?

No.........but you sound like a smuck (ny term for idiot)

To the moderators, I`m done on this subject.


Promises, promises...

User avatar
Matt H.
Member
Posts: 554
Joined: 15 Aug 2003 18:34
Location: Keele, Staffs, UK

Post by Matt H. » 19 Aug 2003 23:23

Andy rightly states that this subject is an area of great emotion and thoughtless, senseless accusations...both of which only obscure one's search for the truth.

Sir Arthur Harris is a much maligned and condemned character, and RAF Bomber Command has had to live with the most unfortunate notion that their efforts to serve their beloved island nation, and the liberties and freedoms that they so cherished, are subject only to condemnation and criticism by the leftist "intelligentsia". Contrary to the classic portrayal of an aloof office boy, Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris earned the respect and reverence of his crews. Harris enjoyed extremely close relations with his subordinates (unlike his German counterpart, Hermann Göring), from the ranks of Group Captain and Wing Commander, to the NCOs...from the Air Commodores to the Corporals/Sergeants of the ground crews. "Bomber" Harris was an airman's airman:

The following are personal extracts from the men who flew under his command, cited from http://www.rafbombercommand.com:

'I went to No 44 Squadron at the beginning of August 1939, and Harris became our AOC on 1 September 1939, two days before the war started. I got to know him very rapidly because he was a man who insisted on knowing his people. He was always coming down to the station even before the hot war started to see how we were doing and to meet the aircrews - to lead from the front as much as he could.
Slowly we came to know him and to like him. I admired his attitude, the whole business of trying to do everything for us that would improve our operating capability. He did that, certainly while he was our AOC, and I think he did that as long as he was C-in-C, Bomber Command. He was an airman's airman. Fortunately I was able to get to know him a little better. Through some kindness on his part, he invited me to his home for Christmas 1939, and I spent Christmas with him and Mrs Harris as their guest. Harris had a bit of a brusque manner but this didn't detract from his personality. You liked the personality - there was warmth there. When he left in September 1940 there was certainly a drop in that personal contact with the new AOC, and it was a noticeable drop.'


I think Harris came along at a fortunate time. The Air Force was just beginning to grow, just beginning to receive the better equipment and we felt, with Harris, that we were going to get somewhere, we were beginning to hit targets.

I can only describe it as long-range magnetism. People used to say "Oh, Berlin tonight, trust old Butch" but affectionately. They weren't complaining that he was sending us to Berlin or Essen or wherever it was. They realised that at last Bomber Command was making itself felt and I think that disseminates itself amongst the lower ranks. I felt this strange confidence in him. I felt that he wouldn't risk us just for the sake of it, as the SS were by Hitler. He was the right man for the job, he wouldn't be deflected from what he thought was right, either in the choice of target or in the way he attacked them. You see you can have too popular a man, a man who's too eager to be liked and he doesn't always make the right Commander, especially when the chips are down.


I think Harris came along at a fortunate time. The Air Force was just beginning to grow, just beginning to receive the better equipment and we felt, with Harris, that we were going to get somewhere, we were beginning to hit targets.


The actions of a war criminal? A callous, heartless savage? Somehow I think not.

Another much misunderstood point is the involvement of Sir Arthur Harris in the decision to attack the East German city of Dresden, the subject of the highest controversy surrounding RAF Bomber Command. First of all, the Dresden raid was proposed by Churchill, not Harris. Churchill, with the support of General Eisenhower, handed his proposal to the Air Ministry, through which the orders of the British premier were relayed to Harris and RAF Bomber Command. Thus, Harris and his crews were obliged to follow the premier's orders. Dresden was not, to my knowledge, declared an open city, which raises a key issue in the entire "war crime" debate.

I'll refer you to the following quote, also from http://www.rafbombercommand.com:

The eastern cities of Chemnitz, Leipzig and Dresden were identified as targets. Bomber Command had not bombed Dresden before, despite the fact that Harris had been authorised to attack the city several months previously. He had become reluctant about the idea as he felt the long distance to Dresden, particularly in winter, would put his crews at unnecessary risk. There was also little information available about the target and its defences. However, when the specific order to bomb Dresden came through via the Air Ministry from the headquarters of General Eisenhower, the overall Allied commander, Harris was obliged to carry it out, although the fact he requested the order in writing reveals his true feelings about the operation.

Both the RAF and USAAF bombed Dresden causing a very high level of destruction and casualties. Later, Churchill issued a memo criticising ‘acts of terror and wanton destruction’ in reference to the attack. This stunned the Air Ministry and Harris, as it had been Churchill himself who instigated the raid. Churchill withdrew the memo but it was a sign of things to come.

During the war Harris had become a household name as one of the Allies’ greatest military leaders and the determined commander who was hitting back at Germany. Once the war was over and the level of destruction in Germany’s cities became apparent, Churchill and other politicians were careful to distance themselves from what had been inflicted on the enemy.


So, it seems that Sir Arthur Harris, and RAF Bomber Command, became the victims of politically-orientated bureaucracy and hypocrisy...

Neither was the Dresden raid kept secret from the British public, as some claims would have you believe...

Image

Thus endeth the rant on my part...

User avatar
KalaVelka
Member
Posts: 1087
Joined: 26 Dec 2002 16:12
Location: Suomi Finland Perkele

Post by KalaVelka » 20 Aug 2003 05:23

Lainaus:
'I went to No 44 Squadron at the beginning of August 1939, and Harris became our AOC on 1 September 1939, two days before the war started. I got to know him very rapidly because he was a man who insisted on knowing his people. He was always coming down to the station even before the hot war started to see how we were doing and to meet the aircrews - to lead from the front as much as he could.
Slowly we came to know him and to like him. I admired his attitude, the whole business of trying to do everything for us that would improve our operating capability. He did that, certainly while he was our AOC, and I think he did that as long as he was C-in-C, Bomber Command. He was an airman's airman. Fortunately I was able to get to know him a little better. Through some kindness on his part, he invited me to his home for Christmas 1939, and I spent Christmas with him and Mrs Harris as their guest. Harris had a bit of a brusque manner but this didn't detract from his personality. You liked the personality - there was warmth there. When he left in September 1940 there was certainly a drop in that personal contact with the new AOC, and it was a noticeable drop.'


Lainaus:
I think Harris came along at a fortunate time. The Air Force was just beginning to grow, just beginning to receive the better equipment and we felt, with Harris, that we were going to get somewhere, we were beginning to hit targets.

I can only describe it as long-range magnetism. People used to say "Oh, Berlin tonight, trust old Butch" but affectionately. They weren't complaining that he was sending us to Berlin or Essen or wherever it was. They realised that at last Bomber Command was making itself felt and I think that disseminates itself amongst the lower ranks. I felt this strange confidence in him. I felt that he wouldn't risk us just for the sake of it, as the SS were by Hitler. He was the right man for the job, he wouldn't be deflected from what he thought was right, either in the choice of target or in the way he attacked them. You see you can have too popular a man, a man who's too eager to be liked and he doesn't always make the right Commander, especially when the chips are down.


Lainaus:
I think Harris came along at a fortunate time. The Air Force was just beginning to grow, just beginning to receive the better equipment and we felt, with Harris, that we were going to get somewhere, we were beginning to hit targets.


The actions of a war criminal? A callous, heartless savage? Somehow I think not.


How does this all exclude warcrimes?

User avatar
Matt H.
Member
Posts: 554
Joined: 15 Aug 2003 18:34
Location: Keele, Staffs, UK

Post by Matt H. » 20 Aug 2003 12:20

Those personal accounts downplay the argument of Sir Arthur Harris being an aloof, office boy. They are also not the actions of a callous, savage and heartless man. He was a respected and reveared commander who cared deeply for the welfare and morale of his crews. Never did he seek to distance himself from the battle above the skies of Germany, unlike the bureaucrats of Whitehall...he was an airman, a soldier for the British Crown and a reveared commander...

Kasper, before this argument delves deep into the realms of a classic "forum fist-fight", what charges of criminality would you place against Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris? The raids of Dresden? Hamburg? Rostock? Leipzig? Chemnitz? Was not area bombing practiced previously by the Luftwaffe against British cities? London? Birmingham? Coventry? Was not devastation wreaked upon these targets?

Whether a nation plans for it or not, aerial bombing is an essential element of total war between industrialised nations, a category into which both Germany and Great Britain fall.

User avatar
Tonyny44
Member
Posts: 118
Joined: 01 Jun 2003 20:23
Location: Florida

Post by Tonyny44 » 20 Aug 2003 14:08

"Kasper, before this argument delves deep into the realms of a classic "forum fist-fight", what charges of criminality would you place against Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris? The raids of Dresden? Hamburg? Rostock? Leipzig? Chemnitz? Was not area bombing practiced previously by the Luftwaffe against British cities? London? Birmingham? Coventry? Was not devastation wreaked upon these targets? :"


Previously? Eh one area you conveniently LEAVE out here is which side INITIATED bombing CIVILIAN targets. Just stay with the summer of 1940 for purposes of focus. Answer?

User avatar
Matt H.
Member
Posts: 554
Joined: 15 Aug 2003 18:34
Location: Keele, Staffs, UK

Post by Matt H. » 20 Aug 2003 14:51

The Summer of 1940 - okay, I'll stay with that. In June and July 1940, German forces off the coasts of France, Belgium and the Netherlands were amassing an invasion force that was preparing to strike the shores of our island nation. The role of RAF Bomber Command during this period was to attack targets vital to the preparation of the German invasion force, such as fuel supplies, airfields, aircraft manufacturing plants as well as ports in Northern France and the Low Countries in which the works of "Operation Seelöw" were being undertaken...

See the interpretation below:

During July 1940, the Germans began assembling hundreds of barges in the French and Dutch coastal ports, including Calais, Rotterdam, Le Havre and Antwerp, in preparation for the invasion of Britain. As RAF Fighter Command fought off the Luftwaffe’s attempts to dominate the skies over the Channel and Southern England, Bomber Command repeatedly attacked the invasion barges and also attacked enemy air bases, fuel supplies and aircraft factories to try to undermine the Luftwaffe. This combined effort forced the Germans to postpone their attack, but the cost was heavy: Although their role is largely unrecognised, even more RAF bomber crews than fighter pilots had been killed during the Battle of Britain


From: http://www.rafbombercommand.com/master_overview.html

Bomber Command's role in the defence of our beloved nation is often sidelined for the more eccentric role of Fighter Command (not to say that their role was any less important, mind)...however, as you can see, an invaluable contribution was made by the men of Sir Charles Portal (the predecessor to Sir Arthur Harris)...

However, Bomber Command did fly a mission against a German land target in the Spring of 1940:

"March 19th, we discovered that we were going to take part in the first bombing raid against a German land target, namely the seaplane base at Hornum on the Friesian Islands. The change in bombing policy was a retaliation for the raid by the Luftwaffe on Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands on March 16th, during which a civilian was killed. The retaliatory raid was to be a "one off"; we would attack no further land targets until the Germans invaded Scandinavia and the Low Countries."


From: http://www.rafbombercommand.com/master_overview.html
Last edited by Matt H. on 28 Aug 2003 17:02, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Andy H
Forum Staff
Posts: 15115
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 20:51
Location: UK and USA

Post by Andy H » 20 Aug 2003 14:57

No 4 Group flew several sorties during 1940 into Germany flying the outdated Whitely bombers.

It always amazes me that this arguement never involves the actions of the USAAF, which carried out de-facto area bombing during the war. We all know about the weaknesses of the Norden bombsight when faced with European weather systems, thus the USAAF knew that when it undertook some missions that a large % of it's bombload would hit civilain targets, yet this isn't classed as a warcrime?

Andy H

User avatar
KalaVelka
Member
Posts: 1087
Joined: 26 Dec 2002 16:12
Location: Suomi Finland Perkele

Post by KalaVelka » 20 Aug 2003 16:04

I am not excluding USAAF, but i dont have so much information about it and i dont want to say things that i do not know :) .

And about Harris. There is numerous Waffen SS leaders which were loved by their troops. Examples like PanzerMeyer, Peiper, Sepp Dietrich and Eicke. Some of these leaders were doomed to death in nurnberg, some not. But still they were loved by troops. Does this make nurnberg trial unfair or can good leader be also warcriminal? Something common with these WSS commanders are that most of peoples are thinking that they are nothing more than scum.

Ans about Harris, Luftwaffe and warcrimes. Luftwaffes bombings were nothing to compare what RAF and USAAF (yes i do not exclude USA, but as i typed before, i don know names) did to germans cities.

ps. I didnt have much time to wright this, so there can (is) be many errors in text. I apologize my english.

Kasper

User avatar
KalaVelka
Member
Posts: 1087
Joined: 26 Dec 2002 16:12
Location: Suomi Finland Perkele

Post by KalaVelka » 20 Aug 2003 16:07

I am not excluding USAAF, but i dont have so much information about it and i dont want to say things that i do not know :) .

And about Harris. There is numerous Waffen SS leaders which were loved by their troops. Examples like PanzerMeyer, Peiper, Sepp Dietrich and Eicke. Some of these leaders were doomed to death in nurnberg, some not. But still they were loved by troops. Does this make nurnberg trial unfair or can good leader be also warcriminal? Something common with these WSS commanders are that most of peoples are thinking that they are nothing more than scum.

Ans about Harris, Luftwaffe and warcrimes. Luftwaffes bombings were nothing to compare what RAF and USAAF (yes i do not exclude USA, but as i typed before, i don know names) did to germans cities.

ps. I didnt have much time to wright this, so there can (is) be many errors in text. I apologize my english.

Kasper

User avatar
Tonyny44
Member
Posts: 118
Joined: 01 Jun 2003 20:23
Location: Florida

Post by Tonyny44 » 20 Aug 2003 16:34

Matt H. wrote:The Summer of 1940 - okay, I'll stay with that. In June


"
strike the shores of our island nation. The role of RAF Bomber Command during this period was to attack targets vital to the preperation of the German invasion force, such as fuel supplies, airfields, aircraft"



Note your term "vital" above


SNIP SNIP SNIP

I'm sure someone here can provide the SPECIFICS as its been a while since I've read about it. During the so-called "Battle of Britain" what CIVILIAN areas of England were INITIALLY bombed ACCIDENTALLY by the Germans which led to the Brits PURPOSELY bombing NON-MILITARY targets in Germany?

My friend here danceth a bit too much for my taste...

User avatar
Englander
Member
Posts: 677
Joined: 12 Aug 2003 20:55
Location: Blighty

Post by Englander » 20 Aug 2003 18:50

"Previously? Eh one area you conveniently LEAVE out here is which side INITIATED bombing CIVILIAN targets. Just stay with the summer of 1940 for purposes of focus. Answer?"

So i`m the Idiot?...You have made this point twice.So what`s your beef?
Your argument is very weak to say the least.
Re-read your quote, and think about the German bombing of Poland, Holland,and every other country he bomb.


"Victory, speedy and complete, awaits the side which first employs air power as it should be employed. Germany, entangled in the meshes of vast land campaigns, cannot now disengage her air power for a strategically proper application. She missed victory through air power by a hair's breadth in 1940. . . . We ourselves are now at the crossroads."

— Air Marshal Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, opening of letter to Winston Churchill, 17 June 1942

"Promises, promises... "
I Had my toes crossed :wink:

User avatar
Matt H.
Member
Posts: 554
Joined: 15 Aug 2003 18:34
Location: Keele, Staffs, UK

Post by Matt H. » 20 Aug 2003 20:39

Tony, how do I "danceth a bit too much for your taste"? I have provided accurate and credible sources clearly outlining the role of RAF Bomber Command in the Summer of 1940 - information which you requested. Furthermore, the same source also happens to point out the circumstances surrounding the first ever raid on the German homeland by RAF Bomber Command. It was not an attack on a residential area, nor an attack on a major industrial centre - it was an attack on a seaplane base...to my mind, that is a military target...and therefore, a legitimate target - thus, such a raid cannot be classed a "deliberate instigation of terror".

Kasper, once again I shall ask you, what charges of criminality would you place upon Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, given the information I have presented regarding his role in the controversial Dresden raid?

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”