Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

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Bart150
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Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by Bart150 » 21 Jul 2010 17:36

I'm just back from sightseeing in Wismar. Two of the town's three great churches were seriously damaged in a British air raid in April 1945, less than three weeks before the war ended.
According to German-language Wikipedia this raid was carried out by ten British Mosquitoes dropping explosive bombs, not firebombs.
Can anyone confirm whether that is correct? If so, I am curious: What could be the rationale for such a raid?
Thanks
Bart

phogdog
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by phogdog » 18 Aug 2010 03:32

I too visited Wismar a few years ago, and was struck by the destruction of the churches.

Later I was sorry I did not note the date, because the dates of the bombing interested me.

So thank you for your info about the April 1945 date which you found on German language Wikipedia.

I have also found online mentions of bombings in Wismar area on August 4, 1944, and August 25, 1944 by the US 453rd bomb group and 489th bomb group respectively. The first date was listed as associated with a FW 190 (Focke-Wulf 190 A-9 plant of Norddeutsche Dorner?) in or near Wismar.

Relative to the late date in the church destruction in Wismar, I can only point you to the now generally well accepted history of the philosophical differences between RAF and USA bombing strategies, which were considerable. It is clear that Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, of the RAF was a strong advocate of generalized bombing for morale purposes, up to the very end of the war. That being said, Harris' position was generally not fully shared with the general UK public, nor agreed to by his immediate superior.

The bombing of Dresden was an event that is widely remembered, but it is only demonstrative of a wider practice which occurred both before and after. But, as anything in war time, there are many nuances of this general dichotomy of policies.

I recently finished a wonderful softback book, not too big or academic, which was helpful for me to understand these differences, as well as for the differences of opinions within the US .....and RAF leadership regarding these strategies. I recommend to you:

Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany 1942-1945, by Randall Hansen. (2008) http://www.fireandfury.info


All this being said, I am going to continue to learn about the April '45 bombings including Wismar to make sure my understandings are correct.

Phogdog

JonS
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by JonS » 18 Aug 2010 05:58

Hmm. I smell socks and puppets.

phogdog
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by phogdog » 18 Aug 2010 17:09

JonS, what are you trying to say?

phogdog

Bart150
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by Bart150 » 19 Aug 2010 09:49

Yes, JonS,that is just about the most unintelligible comment I've ever seen on an internet forum

phogdog
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by phogdog » 21 Aug 2010 23:28

Bart, obviously JonS thinks one of us is not real. Sockpuppets are those who are proxies using assumed identities, salting internet discussions as 3rd parties. I am just not sure which issue "lit his fuse." Perhaps he is reacting to my characterization of the Harris/UK bombing practices. I don't think this an easy issue for Brits to face, nor is it a black-and-white issue to understand or characterize.

I live in Lawrence, Kansas, and because of Sister Cities ties in Germany, I came upon Wismar. A couple of friends of mine from my city actually had the same question about Wismar bombing as we did (why, and why so late). If you run into anything at your end that sheds some revelation, make sure and send it my way.

phogdog

Bart150
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by Bart150 » 25 Aug 2010 21:07

Oh, I see (I suppose).
I've sent you a private message, Phogdog.

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Ostkatze
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by Ostkatze » 26 Aug 2010 01:40

JonS. - You were obviously unaware that ten Mossies were frequently used to conduct indescriminate area carpet bombing.
Although they apparently could have also been used for other purposes, since they seem to have been rather furking effective when targeting churches......
Must have been that nasty guy Bomber Harris' fault. Regards, Neilly Puppet.
P.S. One of my "sister cities", Plymouth, where my dear old Gma and Gdad retired with a B&B, must have deliberately confused the Luftwaffe, since they mistakenly demolished the retail and residential area miles away from the docks...

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bf109 emil
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by bf109 emil » 25 Sep 2010 01:51

Although they apparently could have also been used for other purposes, since they seem to have been rather furking effective when targeting churches......
Must have been that nasty guy Bomber Harris' fault. Regards, Neilly Puppet.
wouldn't be Harris fault then as he specialized in area bombing...perhaps an order by an atheists RAF air Marshall?
JonS. - You were obviously unaware that ten Mossies were frequently used to conduct indescriminate area carpet bombing.
ten mossies :lol: :lol: hardly an area bombing force...old Harris should have sent heavier bombers in high numbers as was his nature...then again if the Nazi's wanted to save churches, perhaps not building an aircraft factory might have been the trip...

but it was amazing how Harris was able to flatten Cologne and not it's ancient church...must have had an off day that April. :wink:

MyPitBullLovesEveryone
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by MyPitBullLovesEveryone » 26 Nov 2018 06:24

I just talked for two hours with a man who worked at the Dornier plant in Wismer. He said he worked there from the age of 14 to 16 testing and then installing controls into FW-190's. He said he loved the camaraderie and no one would ever steal from one another.

He said the town was liberated by Canadians, without a defense by the Germans and they were glad they beat the Russians there. But the Russians were close, close enough he could see their tanks, and when the Canadians pulled out he went with them to avoid the Russians.

He said British Mosquitos fire bombed the city a couple of weeks before the war ended.....but bombed it after dropping thousands of leaflets warning people the bombing was coming.......he left the city before the bombing. He is 89.

Bart150
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Re: Bombing of Wismar, April 1945

Post by Bart150 » 26 Nov 2018 10:12

Thanks very much for that contribution.
Interesting about the leaflets.
Since this was a spoof raid whose purpose was to distract attention from the main raid at Potsdam, one wonders if the RAF dropped leaflets at Potsdam too.
If they only only dropped leaflets for spoof raids, as at Wismar, then it would soon become obvious to the Germans when a raid was a spoof, and so it wouldn't distract attention from a main raid, and so the spoof raid wouldn't serve its purpose.
Another question is when the leaflets were dropped on Wismar: two hours before the first bombs fell? 12 hours? 24 hours?

The chronology given by your informant seems odd.
He says that: (A) he left the town before the bombing, and (B) he left the town after the Canadians had occupied it.
But that seems impossible.
The sequence of events was: (1) Wismar, still in German hands, is bombed. (2) Canadians occupy Wismar. (3) Canadians pull out.
I'd be interested if you can get your informant to clarify this.

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