Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
mirekw
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby mirekw » 04 Jan 2016 18:25

"do we know how many planes Luftwaffe lost over Warsaw?"


During attack on Warsaw Brygada Pościgowa had destroyed 17-20 LW planes (1-6.09.39), in so called defence of Warsaw.

After 6.09.39, the city A/A artilery from 6 to 27.09.39 had destroyed next 8 (only eight) LW's plans. So in total fighters (PZL P.11ac and P7a) plus A/A guns had destroyed 25-28 German planes (damage > 60 %).

You may see all this in my article "Obrona przeciwlotnicza czynna Warszawy w 1939 roku), edited in X 2015, very long material in: Historia Wojsk i Technika no./ 1/2015, pp. 32-47. This is the first such a study but 100 % Polish, no English.

Regards
mw

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby Reichskriegsgericht » 04 Jan 2016 19:00

To summarize the thread we can safely say, the Luftwaffe acted according to its training and the prewar planings: Gain the air superiority, disrupt the enemy mobilization, communications (especially the Polish rail net), headquarters and fly CAS.

Corum's article 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, gives a pretty good picture. By the way, large parts of the article, especially on the Warsaw attacks, are taken from his Richthofen biography.

Furthermore it can be said that the Luftwaffe acted according to the international law of aerial warfare, even and especially during the attacks on Warsaw. Richthofens 'terror attack' as a means to force a fast capitulation was legal and military valid. This is exactly what Corum writes (page 174, first passage: On the other hand, by the rules of war in 1939 Warsaw was a defended city under siege – and therefore a lawful target of war). 4thskorpion should not only quote the part of Corum's article which fit his opinion. Since the article is freely available (and the Richtofen biography not), those interested should give it try. A solid scholarly work, excellent and easy to understand like all of Corum's books.

Regarding the casualties, I never wrote he was an expert on those in Warsaw, but that he wrote a lecture on inflated casualties of air attacks. He also refers to the average casualty rate of 1 fatality per ton of bombs. Anyone can check page 174ff of his article.

20.000 casualties may include all dead and wounded of air attacks, shelling and fighting, but so far nobody has posted any reliable sources for any casualty numbers. All we really have is a statistical number of average casualties by air attacks of USAAF, BC and Luftwaffe and the statistics for Dresden and Hamburg. The Warsaw number fits in nowhere.

What remains open to discussion are the technics and standards of bombing in the 30s and 40s, the vastly exaggerated expectations regarding precision bombing all airforces had at the beginning and during the war, the means of the different belligerent countries to solve this problem and how effective they were. But that is no Warsaw specific problem.

GregSingh
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby GregSingh » 04 Jan 2016 22:28

Surely somebody will be appealing decision of this court! :D

It's interesting concept of defense for somebody who shot a bystander instead of a person he intended to - inaccuracy of a gun.
Even more bizarre is to ask a dead bystander to try to prove that he was not an intended target.
We are all lucky it's only a Forum...

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 05 Jan 2016 00:16

I am reluctant to carry on this thread after Reichskriegsgericht 's summary - but if i don't then I am sure someone else will!!

GregSingh: In answer to your question, I don,t think that sufficient records survived to provide anything other than a general picture of targeting for anything other than maybe the days 1 to 6 September. It would be interesting to know the location of the air attacks recorded for 13 September 1939.
Speidel quotes an order that states: "The Fourth Air Fleet will commit of the Special Purposes Air Command to attack the North Western parts of Warsaw with incendiary bombs. Prior reconnaissance is essential to establish location of forward elements of German II Corps advancing on Warsaw from Modlin, and avoid engaging own troops". For information II AK on that day had gained bridgeheads across the Narew river at Debe and Serok [William Russ referencing the Korps KTB].
Do the recorded air attacks tie in with this?

The quote from the Introduction to Speidel's report is by Speidel himself on the reliability of the source material available to him.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby GregSingh » 05 Jan 2016 02:51

Thanks John for your contribution!

Unfortunately sources I have access to, do not explain much what happened and why on the 13th.
I posted only relevant info.

14 Sept - morning reports
After a two-day break in the bombing, German airmen once again appeared. Air raids started at 5 pm. This time northern suburbs of the city were attacked. Number of damaged civilian houses increased again. A few incendiary bombs fell on workers' housing blocks.
Several fires started.
[..]
At 4pm a reconnaissance plane appeared.
[..]
Dangerous fire broke out in the northern district and lasted the whole night.
[..]


14 Sept - evening reports
[..]
In yesterday's raid on the city center and the northern district of Warsaw , there were approximately 50 aircraft that dropped mostly incendiary bombs. Military facilities were not affected. A few incendiary bombs fell on workers' housing blocks.
[..]
-----------
They mentioned several apartment buildings being hit, but no location.
Workers' housing - there were around 50 large timber barracks near Danziger Bahnhof. But aerial photos from late September show only several of them destroyed.

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby Reichskriegsgericht » 05 Jan 2016 09:22

GregSingh wrote:It's interesting concept of defense for somebody who shot a bystander instead of a person he intended to - inaccuracy of a gun.Even more bizarre is to ask a dead bystander to try to prove that he was not an intended target.
We are all lucky it's only a Forum...


Lucky, yes. If you were a lawyer, with those arguments, your poor client would be doomed :D

First, while it is not allowed to shoot anyone in civilian life (few exceptions), it is in war time when the attacker follows certain rules. And it is also accepted that innocent bystanders are killed during that attack.

Second, the dead bystander is not asked to prove anything. That would be the job of a court or of a prosecutor of war crimes. And he has or should have (ideally) access to the attack orders issued to the crews, the general doctrine of the air force etcpp., he can gather information about wind, visibity etcpp and then come to a conclosion. Then the court would apply the international law of warfare and decide whether we have a war crime or not.

Third, if the rules are followed and the casualties are the result of the underdeveloped target finding techniques of the day, you can't blame those who use them.

Fourth. Like it or not, but regarding the attacks on Warsaw, the legal situation I explained in this thread is undisputed among experts of the internatonal law of aerial warfare.

By the way, you are aware that - using your srguments - all allied bomber crews of the strategic air forces could be prosecuted as war criminals.

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby 4thskorpion » 05 Jan 2016 10:19

GregSingh wrote:Thanks John for your contribution!

Unfortunately sources I have access to, do not explain much what happened and why on the 13th.
I posted only relevant info.

14 Sept - morning reports
After a two-day break in the bombing, German airmen once again appeared. Air raids started at 5 pm. This time northern suburbs of the city were attacked. Number of damaged civilian houses increased again. A few incendiary bombs fell on workers' housing blocks.
Several fires started.
[..]
At 4pm a reconnaissance plane appeared.
[..]
Dangerous fire broke out in the northern district and lasted the whole night.
[..]


14 Sept - evening reports
[..]
In yesterday's raid on the city center and the northern district of Warsaw , there were approximately 50 aircraft that dropped mostly incendiary bombs. Military facilities were not affected. A few incendiary bombs fell on workers' housing blocks.
[..]
-----------
They mentioned several apartment buildings being hit, but no location.
Workers' housing - there were around 50 large timber barracks near Danziger Bahnhof. But aerial photos from late September show only several of them destroyed.


Further confirmation of the Jewish and Polish diarists reports that Warsaw's "Jewish Quarter" (Northern District) was bombed on the 13th September.

mirekw
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby mirekw » 05 Jan 2016 11:20

In the case studies on the battle for Warsaw in 1939, appeared in my material in Polish language abut "Defense of Warsaw/capital in September 1939 (Obrona Warszawy we wrześniu 1939 roku), in: Poligon No. 4 (39/2013, pp. 20-35, with 20 black and white photos, 3 maps).

Next, in 2015 I have released a continuation of this study in Polish but focused on active air defense of Warsaw in 1939 (already mentioned above: next 25 black and white photos, 3 maps). This is first study base on documents of both sides (claims, real losses, effectivnes, etc).

Both materials are published in Polish, which means they have a very limited range due to the language barrier. I do not provide their translation into English.

regrads,
mw

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 06 Jan 2016 00:08

Here is (yet another) map that covers the area of the "Jewish Quarter"

Warsaw.jpg


An air commander tasked with interdicting lines of communications sees a "target rich" environment - that is a civilian area in the middle with railway infrastructure at its northern and south western edges and bridges along its eastern edge. He would subject the bridges and railway infrastructure to repeated attacks. Given the accuracy of bombing at the time, it could be expected that the civilian area in the centre would have significant "collateral damage" inflicted on it.

To give some idea of how inaccurate bombing was at this time, this was the conclusion of an analysis of 100 separate raids, encompassing 28 separate targets.: "of the bombs dropped on Germany by night only five percent had hit genuine objectives." Basically, 95% of the bombs dropped by the Bomber Command had missed the intended target.

The Lufwaffe was no better than Bomber Command when attacking military targets in British cities, as shown by the raids on Liverpool in May 1941 - "Although the docks and city centre were the main targets of the May Blitz, residential areas also suffered enormous damage. Nearly one third of the houses in Liverpool were damaged or destroyed. Worst hit was Bootle, a small town outside the city boundaries but next to the port's biggest docks. Already heavily bombed in earlier raids, Bootle only had about 15% of its houses left after the May Blitz."

During the period 1939 to 1942 if you lived in an area of a city next to a military target (railway infrastructure, bridge, port) that was going to be bombed then you could expect significant physical damage and loss of life, all as a result of perfectly legal military activities.

Regards

John
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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby 4thskorpion » 06 Jan 2016 09:18

histan wrote:Here is (yet another) map that covers the area of the "Jewish Quarter"
RegardsJohn


This map is not the so-called "Jewish Quarter" of Warsaw 1939, it would be post 1940 with the establishment of the „Jüdischer Wohnbezirk in Warschau“ (Jewish residential district in Warsaw) which included the "Little ghetto" not recognised as being in the prewar Jewish quarter. The "Little Ghetto" was previously a mainly non-Jewish area in which non-Jews were forced out by the German occupation authorities initially to make way for Jews from other parts of Warsaw such as from Praga.

Was there not a difference in the bombing accuracy of night raids such as RAF over Germany, the Luftwaffe bombing raids during the Blitz and daylight bombing raids over cities such as Warsaw? Was accuracy also not affected by the altitude at which bombers might have to had to fly due to the effective height of AA flak defences and by fighter defences and even environmental conditions?

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby mirekw » 06 Jan 2016 17:28

Here is (yet another) map that covers the area of the "Jewish Quarter"


This is not fair info and not true info. German had deliberatly established the „Jüdischer Wohnbezirk in Warschau“ (Jewish residential district in Warsaw) in 1940 to 1943. There were placed all Jews from Warsaw and around small towns and villages (Pruszków, Otwock, ect.). All Polish citizens were uder German order and force moved out from this selected area. Such info are manipulation of true, semi-true, flasyfication.

Between 2.10.1940 to 15.11.40 were sent to this getto 138.000 Warsaw Jews and from this areas were forced to leave 113.000 Poles and their apartments and houses under German administrative decisions.

Publishing this information demonstrates a total ignorance of the person it writes multiple plugs do not know the basic facts from the history of Warsaw. This is a total ignorance and stupidity. Therefore, please do not publish such nonsense, and have a cup of tea!

regrads
mw

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 06 Jan 2016 19:37

mirkew

My apologies if I have offended you and others. It was not my intention to do so. You have misinterpreted my intention and responded with a series of insults, rather that the a simple statement correcting a mistake that you thought. I had made. 4thskorpion pointed this out in a very civilized way and I had not had time to make a post clarifying my intention.

I don't know whether English is your second language but the phrase "a map that covers the area" means that the area is on the map somewhere. If I had wanted to say that the area was that that with the lines, I would have said "the area is designated by the lines. My mistake was not to say "the Jewish quarter is covered by the map but is not the area contained within the lines which shows the Jewish Ghetto established by the Germans later in the war" I am well aware of the facts surrounding the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto

I am well aware what the designated area on the map shows and that it does not define designate the "Jewish Quarter" that existed in September 1939. It was not my intention to claim that it did.

I was looking for a map that showed more clearly the railway infrastructure and bridges that border the "Jewish Quarter" as depicted on the other maps. Can you confirm that the "Jewish Quarter that existed in September 1939 is contained some where within the area bounded by the railway infrastructure and Vistula bridges shown in the map?

If so then all my points are valid.

As an aside, I am a serious researcher who, in my professional capacity, has been contracted to produce reports on various aspects of the development of air power.

I would like these forums to be regarded as a "community of inquiry". Where facts are posted, hypothesis made and these further supported or disproved as other facts are established, all the time the participants treat each other with respect (not insults) and mistakes and misunderstandings are both admitted and are gently corrected. I guess that is too much to hope for!

Nevertheless, I will not be deterred and will continue to post. Myths and false narratives must be exposed and countered - the reason I started to post was to counter the false narritve contained in the very first post of this thread.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby histan » 06 Jan 2016 20:07

Hi 4thsporpion

I am sure there were differences in accuracy for day and night bombing. Based on the evidence, I think posted by you, of the inhabitants of the "Jewish Quarter" the Germans bombed both by night and by day. I can not give an estimate of how much more accurate or how this would change the proportion of bombs hitting their targets. The Butt report was based on empirical evidence and I do not know of a comparable study for day bombing. My maths is not up to attempting to have a go at along track and across track errors, bomb ballistics and CEP tonight (if ever!)

These comments about bombing accuracy are intended mainly to apply to attacks carried out up 12 September and between 14 and maybe 24 September. The attacks on 13 September appear to have been deliberately intended to cause fires in both the "Jewish Quarter" and the suburb of Praga and were not as a result of failure to hit any specific target. The bombing on 25 September was a shambles with it appears a complete lack of specific targets.

The evidence of the residents is that they were shelled by artillery during the day. It would be interesting to know what they were targeting.

There seems to have been in the past a desire to downplay the very major role that the German Army played in the devastation inflicted on Warsaw and to shift all the blame onto the Luftwaffe - which is not to say the the Lufwaffe did not play a significant part (in case anyone misunderstands what I am trying to say.

Regards

John

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby Reichskriegsgericht » 06 Jan 2016 22:57

A good start for research on precision bombing and its results would be the British 'Butt Report', which has its own english Wiki page and can be downloaded free of copyright:

"Any examination of night photographs taken during night bombing in June and July points to the following conclusions:
Of those aircraft recorded as attacking their target, only one in three got within 5 miles [(8 kilometres)].
Over the French ports, the proportion was two in three; over Germany as a whole, the proportion was one in four; over the Ruhr it was only one in ten.
In the full moon, the proportion was two in five; in the new moon it was only one in fifteen. ...
All these figures relate only to aircraft recorded as attacking the target; the proportion of the total sorties which reached within 5 miles is less than one-third. ...

The conclusion seems to follow that only about one-third of aircraft claiming to reach their target actually reached it."

The BC War Diary, an excellent and exhaustive work about the bombing attacks, also give the reader quite a good picture of the diffulties for the crews even to find the town the were to bomb, yet alone a target.


The USSBS Summary Report has some passages about daylight bombing by the USAAF over Europe (Chapter 'The First Daylight Operations'), also freely downloadable:

"Conventionally the air forces designated as "the target area" a circle having a radius of 1000 feet around the aiming point of attack. While accuracy improved during the war, Survey studies show that, in the over-all, only about 20% of the bombs aimed at precision targets fell within this target area. A peak accuracy of 70% was reached for the month of February 1945. These are important facts for the reader to keep in mind, especially when considering the tonnages of bombs delivered by the air forces. Of necessity a far larger tonnage was carried than hit German installations."

The Wiki page *Precision bombing* also has a few passages useful for a general overview. Even in the 1991 Gulf War precision bombing still wasn't achieved, despite laser-guided ordnance and electronic measures.

Taking this into consideration, it is not surprising the Luftwaffe hit civilians targets in September. The approach of 'proving' a deliberate bombing of civilians (especially Jews) with all kinds of photos showing damaged or destroyed buildings, but ignoring everything connected with the state of the targeting techniques in the 30s and their problems (as shown above) is failed. The photos only prove the building was hit, not if it was targeted, but nobody denies civilian buildings were hit, so this particular point is IMO a waste of time.

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Re: Luftwaffe Bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam

Postby GregSingh » 06 Jan 2016 23:14

The attacks on 13 September appear to have been deliberately intended to cause fires in both the "Jewish Quarter" and the suburb of Praga and were not as a result of failure to hit any specific target.


I think I already pointed it out, there is some confusion about dates, Speidel also got them wrong.

Attack on Praga railroad facilities and major exit roads in the east of Warsaw happened on the 10th of September (Sunday).
Attack on "northern suburbs" where some areas had a large number of Jewish population happened on the 13th of September (Wednesday).
That why Polish reports for 13th mentioned a two-day break in Luftwaffe activities.

In both cases mostly incendiary bombs were used. It is possible that on the 13th Luftwaffe supposed to target railroads in the north of the town (near Dworzec Gdanski - Danziger Bahnfof), but instead bombs fallen on densely populated Jewish houses and businesses, where large quantities of flammable goods were stored.


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