Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

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histan
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 03 Jan 2016 12:23

In order to understand the bombing of Warsaw you have to understand the German plan to force the city to surrender. To do this you must consult German sources. From these, it is clear that the Army had the responsibility of ensuring the surrender of Warsaw and that the Army undertook the analysis and planning to achieve this objective. The activities of the Luftwaffe would be just one of the "ways and means" which the Army would use.

Analysis of the operations of 4 Panzer Division when it tried to enter Warsaw suggested that an assault by land forces would result in street by street fighting. The resulting German casualties and also civilian casualties were assessed to be too large. Instead, the plan consisted of two strands:
The first was to deny Warsaw water, gas, and electricity. Essentially to starve the city into surrender. The threat, or actuality of disease, etc would force the military and civilian authorities to surrender the city. Artillery and bombing were used against the public utilities. The evidence is that this strand was in fact successful and was the reason why the city was surrendered.
The second strand was the physical destruction of the city. The continuing physical destruction of the city would force the military and civilian authorities to surrender the city. This would be achieved by artillery and bombing.
In fact, the need to capture the city quickly forced the Army to include an element of ground force attacks by 8 Armee.

Both these strands, however distasteful they may seem to our current sensibilities, were perfectly legal and well recognised methods of forcing a city to surrender.

"Terrorising" the civilian population does not feature in any of the contemporary documentation that I can find In fact, what does "terrorise the civilian population into surrendering." actually mean. It cannot mean for individual civilians to surrender - since the Germans needed them in Warsaw for the "starve" strand to work. So it must mean that the civilian population would rise up against the military and civilian government in Warsaw and force them to surrender the city. Why would the Germans chose an illegal and unproven method that would surely take some time to achieve, when speed was of the essence and they had three legal and proven methods available to them?

No one is disputing that Warsaw was bombed. No one is disputing that there was a great deal of physical damage to the city and a great many civilian casualties. The analysis I have been able to undertake concludes that these were the side effects of the application of perfectly legal means of warfare.
It is up to those who think otherwise to produce evidence from contemporary German sources that show otherwise and that there was a deliberate "terror bombing" campaign.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby GregSingh » 03 Jan 2016 13:00

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems electricity and water utilities were disabled on the 25th. Why has attacking side waited so long?

Not sure about the exact date when gas utilities were damaged, but I read somewhere that Poles emptied large gas tanks even before 1st of September, so gas was not available anyway. Mostly coal was used for cooking and heating, not gas.
What Luftwaffe bombed were the grain elevators, they thought were gas tanks. Wrongly labelled photos of burning grain elevators signed as gas tanks have been appearing for years to come.

There are some photos of water treatment plant and pump station right after the capitulation, it appears on a film as well, damage is minimal - one or two small hits, most likely caused by artillery fire, not bombs. Poles turn the whole system off because of too many burst pipes caused by damage to residential areas, not because attacking side actually caused damage to water plant.
Last edited by GregSingh on 03 Jan 2016 13:30, edited 1 time in total.

histan
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 03 Jan 2016 13:26

With regard to Hooton. He wasn't there at the time so you have to look at his sources for making this statement. One of my big gripes about Wikipedia is its insistence on using secondary sources - it continues to perpetuate many mistakes by its authors continuing to use secondary sources that contain information that has been proven to be wrong.
One of the first things I do is to check the sources used.

For example I could have used this:
"What shocked even the most hardened soldier was how at the instigation of their military leaders a misguided population completely ignorant of the effects of modern weapons, could contribute to the destruction of their own capital" attributed to Generoberst Blaskowitz and quoted in his biography by Richard Giziowski.
However, when checking his source it is David Irving Hitler's War. When checking that, I found that Irving had no source for that quotation. So I do not use it.

Let's check Hooton's sources before we agree or disagree with his analysis - which by the way was mine, as you can see by my posts earlier in this thread until more information suggested another possibility.

You can find and download Speidel and Deichman from the USAF site with just 15 mins work on google.

GregSingh: if you check my earlier posts the attacks on the water supplies began on 19.09.1939 with artillery and bombing raids. It was the Polish surrender delegation that informed the Germans that lack of water and fear of disease was the reason for the surrender.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby GregSingh » 03 Jan 2016 13:33

Sorry, I edited my earlier post - photographic evidence shows that there was no serious damage to water plant.

histan
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 03 Jan 2016 14:02

Thanks for this information Greg - we are building up a picture of what actually happened.

The German's had a plan that worked but not by the ways and means intended! Once again it looks like air power was not effective at hitting planned and clearly identifiable targets.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby mirekw » 03 Jan 2016 14:27

Warsaw - 25 September 1939 - 632t - using above ratios expect around 700 to 1,300 killed


This is ver strange statistic? I can expalin this? According Luftwaffe data on 25 there were droppted 486t of explosive and 72t of incendentary bombs (all 558 t bombs). Next there were next several hundreds tons of explosives from artillery fire, By such presenting and interepration data it shows absolutly nothing value and make more mass the true!

It was special air and land fire storm to destroy/break the defence's will to fight. And it was 100 % succesfull.

regards,
mw

histan
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 03 Jan 2016 15:47

Hi mw

We are, I think, in agreement here.

The aim of my statistics was to give an indication of the likely casualties resulting from the air attacks on 25 September. As I understand it, the Luftwaffe was to attack targets beyond the range of artillery fire. If there were around 20,000 civilians killed in Warsaw, then I suggest that on the basis of the known kill ratios achieved by the Luftwaffe in attacks on other cities the bulk of these would not have been as a result of air attacks.

Most of the discussion has ignored the massive artillery bombardment that took place and the likely casualties that would have been inflicted by this.

As I said before, one strand of the German plan was to use artillery fire and air attacks to inflict physical damage on the city. The pressure of continued physical destruction of the city was intended to make the military and civilian authorities surrender the city rather than see it destroyed. The will that was targeted was not that of the individual civilian or soldier but that of the military and civilian authorities.

Does anyone have any source material on the reasons given by the Polish authorities for surrendering the city, other that that told to the Germans by the surrender delegation at the time that it was lack of water and fear of disease?

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby 4thskorpion » 03 Jan 2016 16:03

histan wrote:With regard to Hooton. He wasn't there at the time so you have to look at his sources for making this statement. One of my big gripes about Wikipedia is its insistence on using secondary sources - it continues to perpetuate many mistakes by its authors continuing to use secondary sources that contain information that has been proven to be wrong.
One of the first things I do is to check the sources used.

For example I could have used this:
"What shocked even the most hardened soldier was how at the instigation of their military leaders a misguided population completely ignorant of the effects of modern weapons, could contribute to the destruction of their own capital" attributed to Generoberst Blaskowitz and quoted in his biography by Richard Giziowski.
However, when checking his source it is David Irving Hitler's War. When checking that, I found that Irving had no source for that quotation. So I do not use it.

Let's check Hooton's sources before we agree or disagree with his analysis - which by the way was mine, as you can see by my posts earlier in this thread until more information suggested another possibility.

You can find and download Speidel and Deichman from the USAF site with just 15 mins work on google.

GregSingh: if you check my earlier posts the attacks on the water supplies began on 19.09.1939 with artillery and bombing raids. It was the Polish surrender delegation that informed the Germans that lack of water and fear of disease was the reason for the surrender.

Regards

John


I have the downloads you mention - although they are dated in the 1950's. I recall that there was some discussion in one of the Wikipedia "talk" sections regarding the accuracy surrounding statements by Speidel on when incendiary bombs were first used, he apparently gave two contradictory dates for this?

One of the first sections of what presumably is an English translation of Speidel's text the author(?) uses the proviso "relatively reliable" with regard to the Luftwaffe documents used in the document facsimile I downloaded. How reliable "relatively reliable" is must mean it is open to question. Relatively reliable is not the same as definitively or absolutely reliable.

I believe it was the number of civilian casualties rather than lack of water or threat of disease that caused the cease fire and capitulation...the Warsaw Rising lasted almost 40 days longer than the siege of Warsaw even though the city suffered greater devastation, lack of water, food and even arms and ammunition than in 1939.

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby GregSingh » 04 Jan 2016 00:21

I have a bit more on public utilities in Warsaw.
Most of daily newspapers (some of them had morning and evening editions) had been issued regularly during the siege until 23rd of September.
There is a 24th of September edition of Morning Express, which on the first page has a information that power plant stopped working at 4pm on the 23rd. They also claim there was heavy artillery bombardment during the whole of 23rd September and night of 23/24, which was basically a repeat of daily communique of Warsaw's Defense Command.

One of the papers - Warsaw Courier - reopened in short form on the 28th (Thursday). It gave the reason for an interruption - "lack of electricity".
Another newspaper on the 30th had a short interview with a deputy mayor - Engineer Pohoski - who stated that water delivery will start in the next 24 hours, but still low pressure is expected, so water won't reach higher than second floors for a couple of days.
When asked about electricity, his response was that damage to electricity plant is "of such kind" that he was not able to say when electricity is going to be restored.

Sounds to me like electricity plant was "properly" disabled.

In the video footage taken right after capitulation, called "Wirkung der Luftwaffe in Polen", in the section labelled "Das Wasserwerk (Filterwerk) mit mehreren Volltreffern", all we can see are one smaller and one larger hole in the ground which expose water flowing beneath and two German officers inspecting a damage to a sewage collector.
Section "Elektrizitätswerk Warschau (Dampfkraftwerk)" shows collapsed roof of what appears to be a turbine hall with a close shot of seriously damaged turbine.

Although in this footage Luftwaffe took a credit, I am not so sure. Damage seen could well be done by artillery shelling in my opinion.

Does anyone have any source material on the reasons given by the Polish authorities for surrendering the city, other that that told to the Germans by the surrender delegation at the time that it was lack of water and fear of disease?


Not sure about reasons given to German delegation, but official address "To the residents of the capital" has this:

"Due to overall military situation on Polish territory, giving no hope for any help or relief from the outside and in connection with the inability to continue to defend the capital due to lack of water, food and ammunition - I decided to start negotiations with the leadership of the German army[..]"
Signed by General Rómmel.

histan
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 04 Jan 2016 11:29

Thanks for this information GregSingh. You never cease to amaze me with the material you have.

The official address and the surrender delegation information are consistent - Halder's "starve" strategy had been successful.

Rómmel's addresss is interesting, for what it does not say as much as for what it does say. No mention at all of civilian casualties. As you might expect for a soldier of his generation, the number of civilians already killed and the destruction of the city don't seem to feature in his list of reasons.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby mirekw » 04 Jan 2016 11:32

As I understand it, the Luftwaffe was to attack targets beyond the range of artillery fire.


This is wrong asumption, the artilery fire had covered whole city, the LW's attack had make a lot of smoke on 25.09.39, which had made more difficoult artillery fire. All targets were under range of heavy German artillery, Warsaw was and still is not a wide and big area city.

regards
mw

histan
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 04 Jan 2016 12:10

Thanks for that information mirekw. I admit my mistake

It makes it even clearer that artillery, more than air attacks, was most likely to be responsible for the bulk of the destruction and civilian casualties suffered in Warsaw.

It also makes it clearer why the Army complained that the bombing was interfering with the artillery fire and the Luftwaffe complained that the artillery fire was interfering with the bombing.

A myth seems to have developed that Warsaw was surrounded and the Luftwaffe tasked with terrorising the civilian population into surrendering the city.

The reality was more that the Army was given the task of capturing Warsaw. The Army formulated the plan - based on a "starve" and "destruction" strategy with some ground force attacks. The plan was largely carried out by the Army, using artillery fire. The Army believed it could achieve the surrender of Warsaw without the assistance of the Luftwaffe. Hitler listened to the arguments put forward by the Luftwaffe that it could make a contribution and allowed them a share of the "glory". The "starve" strand of the plan was successful and resulted in the surrender of the city. All of this was perfectly legal.

As a result of the implementation of this plan, there was a great deal of physical damage caused to the city and a large number of civilian casualties inflicted.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby 4thskorpion » 04 Jan 2016 12:49

histan wrote:With regard to Hooton. He wasn't there at the time so you have to look at his sources for making this statement.



It is interesting to note that James S. Corum, Ph.D. - who seems to be someone cited in this thread as a Luftwaffe expert and also a reliable source for information on casualties etc - uses Hooton as one of his qualified references in:

THE LUFTWAFFE’S CAMPAIGNS IN POLAND AND THE WEST 1939–1940: A CASE STUDY OF HANDLING INNOVATION IN WARTIME
James S. Corum, Ph.D. Baltic Defence College, Warsaw 2013.

From the above Corum writes about Von Richthofen’s "terror" attack, his words not mine.

Von Richthofen’s terror attack lowered the little morale the Poles still possessed. Yet, ironically, the massive air raid, the largest that had been seen to that time, was not the cause of Warsaw’s surrender. The Polish commander in chief, then interned in Romania, was already aware that the situation in Warsaw was hopeless and he issued the order for Warsaw to capitulate on September 26 while he also initiated negotiations to surrender the last major pockets of Polish forces. The Polish government, already in exile, was not terrorized into surrendering Warsaw, but simply saw that nothing could be gained by further resistance. By 29 September, the city of Warsaw and all the remaining organized Polish military forces had surrendered to the Germans.


Because I have a penchant for posting random images of Warsaw I did actually find a military target from the siege - a cavalry officer who lies buried in the pavement verge with his sabre resting atop his grave. The cemeteries were bombed so Varsovians buried their dead in any ground where they could dig graves. Graves were littered around the city in every conceivable space (Mogily is Polish for graves) :

IMG_2464.JPG


IMG_2465.JPG


IMG_2466.JPG
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Last edited by 4thskorpion on 04 Jan 2016 15:09, edited 1 time in total.

GregSingh
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby GregSingh » 04 Jan 2016 13:08

Thanks John, do we know how many planes Luftwaffe lost over Warsaw? I saw photos of what seemed to be 2-3 different planes. There are also photos of several Luftwaffe pilots as prisoners taken in Warsaw.
Daily communiques of Warsaw's Defense Command provided number of shot planes, I would like to compare those with German numbers/days.
There is a separate topic started by mirekw, but no responses....

Another thing I find interesting is actually to establish times and dates of German air attacks. Warsaw's Defense Command daily communiques usually have these, sometimes with a target mentioned (actual one, not intended). Will be good to see if there is a match with German sources.

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby 4thskorpion » 04 Jan 2016 14:23

A series of 1:10,000 aerial views of Warsaw by the Luftwaffe dated 24 IX (September) 1939 can be found on this Polish government website:

https://www.warszawa.ap.gov.pl/1939/

06-01.jpg


06-07.jpg
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