THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II
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.
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 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.