THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II

OPERATION GOMORRAH

I’ve written about the Blitz several times on my site.  On July 24, 1943, the British turned the tables on the Germans.  It was the British in Operation Gomorrah by night and the Americans by day.

In the month of July 1943, the deaths of British civilians by German bombing raids was 167 so on the evening of July 24, British aircraft dropped 2,300 tons of incendiary bombs on Hamburg, Germany.  To compare, add together the five most destructive raids during the Blitz and you would have the equivalent of this one night.  More than 1,500 German civilians were killed.

Hamburg after the 1943 bombing

Hamburg after the 1943 bombing

The British had a new radar-jamming device called “Window.”  With strips of aluminum foil dropped by the bombers as they headed to their target, German radar was confused and diverted from the actual bombers.  The British only lost 12 out 791 aircraft in the raid.

While the British launched Operation G0morrah, the U.S. Eighth Air Force began bombing northern Germany which included two raids on Hamburg during daylight hours.

"The first big raid by the 8th Air Force was on a Focke Wulf plant at Marienburg.  Coming back, the Germans were up in full force and we lost at least 80 ships - 800 men, many of them pals."  1943. Army Air Forces.  (OWI) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #:  208-YE-7 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #:  1087

“The first big raid by the 8th Air Force was on a Focke Wulf plant at Marienburg. Coming back, the Germans were up in full force and we lost at least 80 ships – 800 men, many of them pals.” 1943. Army Air Forces. (OWI) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 208-YE-7 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1087

The British raids continued until November 1943.  While Germans could more easily distinguish the “Window” over time, it was not enough to prevent the devastation of Hamburg and German morale.  Here are some statistics:

  • 17,000 British bomber sorties
  • 9,000 tons of explosives
  • 30,000 people killed
  • 280,000 buildings destroyed (including industrial and munition plants)

Hitler would not visit the burned-out cities as they were a symbol of  the end of the war and Germany’s loss.  History would reveal from diary entries that high German officials were in despair from the defeat.

Video published on Jul 9, 2013:  Copyright Disclaimer: Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal
Advertisements

3 responses

  1. Hitler’s absence was in stark contrast to the supportive efforts of King George VI and his Queen

    Like

  2. Birgit says:

    It always saddens me to see this famous picture of hamburg. I am at work so i will watch the video this eve. As I might have told you before, my mom was 15 and was in Hamburg when it was bombed. She ended up being in a basement of a burnt out building with some other survivors. There was a “fake” wall between the homes which were all connected. Picks and shovels were left in the basements in case of bombings. They dug through about 5 homes before they came to one that was left standing and could escape. She remembered seeing blackened corpses and feeling the extreme heat. She got on some bus or tram and went to the city outskirts. On this bus, there was a lady humming a lullaby and holding a suitcase. She looked at my mom and asked my mom if she wanted to see her children. She opened the suitcase to reveal the burnt remains. My mom was just in shock and another lady came up, closed the suitcase and told the women she was crazy(poor lady). My mom got off the bus and waited until dark. There was a quarantine in the city and if anyone left they would be shot. My mom tore the bottom part of her dress and held it to her mouth and nose and waded into the Elbe river which was packed with dead bodies and she floated with them until she was beyond the city and then she escaped. To be only 15 and have to go through something like this just boggles my mind at how strong so many people are. Once my mom was back in Wittenberg, she has no idea the time elapse, Hitler came to her school and shook hands with all the Hitler youth who were in hamburg including my mom. My mom always wished she had a bomb with her then to take him out.

    Like