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-   -   Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe? (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=2585)

Nick Beale 23rd September 2005 15:56

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
The discussion gets pointless when you consider that a road or a railway could be called a "military target" and most inhabited places in Europe probably had one or the other.

One early case was the "friendly fire" incident when the Luftwaffe bombed Freiburg-im-Breisgau through a navigation error. I don't have the date to hand though.

Marius 23rd September 2005 16:31

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Nick,


[The discussion gets pointless when you consider that a road or a railway could be called a "military target" and most inhabited places in Europe probably had one or the other.]

I don`t agree. It is very important to show where such an German attack was intended against a purely civilian target (no ground fighting in the city or nearby, frontline far away and so on... (see for example Dresden 1945)). I am sure you can well differ such a target from a road filled with troops or railway station.

If you will say it happened in Poland, so I can tell you what Luftwaffe unit did. But you can not say a bombing attack was made on civilians and by the way the damage to the railway station was collateral or accidental. It is clear that it was the other way round, as we shortly saw in Iraq for example.

For example the Germans documented all they did, also the very bad things. So there must exist a document describing such an "experimental" attack or something similar. Right?
If nobody will find such a German document so we will have a big problem with the seemingly "German way of extermination civilian targets".


[One early case was the "friendly fire" incident when the Luftwaffe bombed Freiburg-im-Breisgau through a navigation error. I don't have the date to hand though.]

Freiburg was bombed on 10.5.1940 by 3 Ju 88 of KG 51. The crews thought they bombed a French airfield. Of course the German propaganda used it as an "enemy" act of brutality and recklessness. But who wouldn`t do it? Some people from many different countries, even Germans themselves, do the same until day.

Marius

Franek Grabowski 23rd September 2005 18:06

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Marius

Quote:

Nobody says German airmen are innocent. And this is the question of the thread: when German aircrews bombed a purely civilian target for the first time and where?
Go on. Wieluń 1.09.1939, Warsaw 1.09.1939 and on.

Quote:

The "Butcher" Bomber Harris, yes why not.
And all those war criminals from RAF & USAAF.

Quote:

I doubt it. There were two attacks in the early morning by I./StG 76 and I./StG 77. All other bombings were carried out in the bright area of Wielun, even reaching 12 km away, not on the city itself.
Well, your doubts are not my problem.

Quote:

Who estimated this 75%?
1200 persons... compare other bombing attacks - for example the night bombing raids by RAF bombers - and how many tons of bombs were dropped. For example in Rotterdam appr. 100 tons killed 600 - 900 people.
The bombing was researched by a Main Commission of Research of Hitlerite Crimes in Poland. Their files are currently at IPN, so you may get an access there. Also, as you noted, Rotterdam was in the combat zone. Wieluń was not and the people were surprised.

Quote:

Also in Dresden 1945 the streets were strafed by US fighters, but until day nobody could bring the evidence for the story.
Because no streets at Dresden were straffed. It was the roads around Dresden.

Quote:

6 bombings? What is the source? What German units did it?
It is really not my problem what German units did it.

Quote:

I mean ca. 20 tons dropped by I./StG 76 and ca. 10 tons by I./StG 77. The first attack (I./StG 76) was at ca. 5.30 hours, the second (I./StG 77) at ca. 6.05 - 6.10 hours.
Look to the war diaries of both units.
Three attacks starting 4:40, then three raids at about 7:00, 10:00 and 14:00.

Quote:

Fact? Fact is they did not. At first on 25th September Luftwaffe started bombing of Warsaw which also caused considerable damage to civilian districts. All earlier attacks were made against purely military targets.
BS. Already on 1 September purely civilian districts of Koło and Rakowiec were hit. Villages surrounding Warsaw were bombed on 3 September. On the very next day civilian districts of Praga and Grochów were badly hit. 5 September - main railway station filled with civilian evacuees was hit (remember Dresden?). All this well before combat zone moved to Warsaw.

Quote:

And don`t forget Warsaw was declared as a "fortress". Fact is it was a battle zone since 8th September as first German tanks tried to come in.
See above. Bombing of civilan targets happenned before that date. Of course you will explain that those were military targets - those people could carry weapons.

Quote:

Many silly things were published in Germany. Compare the stories written by Jochen Trenkner about Wielun. Many nonsenses and lies and manipulations as well.
Yes, your research is a perfect example. If you cannot find anything in your documents it is a clear proof that it never happenned.

Quote:

What is the evidence Frampol was a practice target?
Find the original article on the subject, it should be not a problem for you.

Quote:

5th column and diversion groups, not bad. Do you really believe this?
I do not need to. It was proven by a German researcher that eg. German diversion groups were engaged in Bydgoszcz/Bromberg attacks and he was even able to find their names.

Laurent Rizzotti 23rd September 2005 19:59

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
I will let Poles talk about September 1939.

On the night of 29-30 Dec 1940 or 30-31 Dec 1940, the Luftwaffe bombed London and targetted especially the City district. No factory, docks, railway station or barracks.

As for the Rotterdam and probably the Varsaw bombings, bombing a big city like that because enemy troops are defending the surrounding area can be considered as bombing civilian targets.

Marius 23rd September 2005 20:20

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Franek,


Quote:
Nobody says German airmen are innocent. And this is the question of the thread: when German aircrews bombed a purely civilian target for the first time and where?
[Go on. Wieluń 1.09.1939, Warsaw 1.09.1939 and on.]


Wielun - the target was a cavalry brigade,
Warsaw - Okecie airport, Goclaw airport, Rembertow ammunition camp, staff of Polish High Command (LG 1 and KG 27).


Quote:
Who estimated this 75%?
1200 persons... compare other bombing attacks - for example the night bombing raids by RAF bombers - and how many tons of bombs were dropped. For example in Rotterdam appr. 100 tons killed 600 - 900 people.
[The bombing was researched by a Main Commission of Research of Hitlerite Crimes in Poland. Their files are currently at IPN, so you may get an access there. Also, as you noted, Rotterdam was in the combat zone. Wieluń was not and the people were surprised.]


In what year was it researched by the commission?
The only truth is that in the morning people were surprised, surely. But Wielun was reached by German troops day later, on 2 September, so of course the city was in the combat zone. Only appr. 30 km`s away from the Polish-German border.


Quote:
Also in Dresden 1945 the streets were strafed by US fighters, but until day nobody could bring the evidence for the story.
[Because no streets at Dresden were straffed. It was the roads around Dresden.]

No, I don`t mean strafing on roads outside the cities. In Dresden many people were fleeing to the meadows at the river and according to some of them, later the day (as USAAF B-17`s attacked) there appeared US fighters and strafed them.
I repeat, until now no evidence for that.


Quote:
I mean ca. 20 tons dropped by I./StG 76 and ca. 10 tons by I./StG 77. The first attack (I./StG 76) was at ca. 5.30 hours, the second (I./StG 77) at ca. 6.05 - 6.10 hours.
Look to the war diaries of both units.
[Three attacks starting 4:40, then three raids at about 7:00, 10:00 and 14:00.]

Starting 4.40..., great! As I mentioned earlier look to the German war diaries. I./StG 76 started at 5.02 hours, so it couldn`t had bombed Wielun at 4.40. It is nonsensless.
But I see the mistake, done by many "historians" and journalists. At appr. 4.40 I./StG 1 bombed the targets at the bridge of Dirschau (Tczew). But this is a whole another story.
So if you are sure of attacks at 7.00 and 10.00 hours, please tell us what German units bombed the city.

I can tell you the following according to German documents. The reconnaissance Do 17 aircrews detected following Polish troops:
- Wood area 12 km south-east of Wielun
(bombed by I./StG 2 at appr. 14.00 hours)
- Wood area 5 km north-east of Wielun
(bombed by I./StG 76 at appr. 14.00 hours)
- 15 km east of Wielun and area Krzeczow-Mokra-Chorzyna-Walkow
(bombed by I./KG 77 at appr. 15.40 hours)

See war diaries of all three units. There was no bombing at 7.00 or 10.00 hours.



Quote:
Fact? Fact is they did not. At first on 25th September Luftwaffe started bombing of Warsaw which also caused considerable damage to civilian districts. All earlier attacks were made against purely military targets.
[BS. Already on 1 September purely civilian districts of Koło and Rakowiec were hit. Villages surrounding Warsaw were bombed on 3 September. On the very next day civilian districts of Praga and Grochów were badly hit. 5 September - main railway station filled with civilian evacuees was hit (remember Dresden?). All this well before combat zone moved to Warsaw.]


All this collateral damage to bombs dropped on military targets.


Quote:
And don`t forget Warsaw was declared as a "fortress". Fact is it was a battle zone since 8th September as first German tanks tried to come in.
[See above. Bombing of civilan targets happenned before that date. Of course you will explain that those were military targets - those people could carry weapons.]

Yes, only military targets. But indeed the bombs killed civilians also. There is no war you could avoid civilian victims. Look to Iraq, where US used high technologies and nevertheless killed civilians without intention.


Quote:
Many silly things were published in Germany. Compare the stories written by Jochen Trenkner about Wielun. Many nonsenses and lies and manipulations as well.
[Yes, your research is a perfect example. If you cannot find anything in your documents it is a clear proof that it never happenned.]

The problem is you can find many things in documents which are contradicted to your "very easy made" statements. You will not solve the problem with existing documents by just closing your eyes.


Quote:
What is the evidence Frampol was a practice target?
[Find the original article on the subject, it should be not a problem for you.]

Just a simple article? Much too less. Look to the articles of Mr. Trenkner. He wrote I./StG 76 started at 4.02 hours and that he saw it in the German documents (!!!). But in the German documents you will find 5.02 hours, I proved these documents. How will you explain this manipulation done by the author?


Quote:
5th column and diversion groups, not bad. Do you really believe this?
[I do not need to. It was proven by a German researcher that eg. German diversion groups were engaged in Bydgoszcz/Bromberg attacks and he was even able to find their names. September 23rd, 2005 02:31 PM]

Oh, very interesting. What is the name of the researcher?


I am looking for hard facts, for the intention of such bombing attacks and not for collateral victims, people who were killed by a accidents or due to some single "crazy" aircrews shooting at people working in the field. These are individual cases only, not the general behaviour of all aircrews.

Marius

Ruy Horta 23rd September 2005 20:25

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Lets not complicate matters.

It should be possible to clearly define when the first RAF raid was conducted with German morale (residential areas etc) was the prime target, certainly at a strategic level.

Should it not be equally possible to point at a similar case when it comes to the Luftwaffe?

Rotterdam does not easily fit the picture, since the primary target was military (Dutch Royal Marines defiantly holding an important river crossing) and most damage was caused by secondary effects of fire (IIRC a combination of damaged water mains and a burning margarine factory).

Perhaps it should be fair to make a distinction between clear strategy and an ad hoc occurance, however dreadfull.

Juha 23rd September 2005 20:27

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Laurent
one motive of Rotterdam bombing was that the German Paras (only some 50 soldiers) in the bridgehead over Maas in the inner city were under hard pressure from Dutch troops and the German battaillon at the southern end of the bridge could not get over the bridge to reinforce them. And the target area for the KG 54 He 111s was just north of the paras position. So in that sense it was a tactical mission. But it had also a strategic funtion, I think. Dutch resistance had been more intensive than the Germans had predicted and the other purpose of the bombing was to terrorize the Dutch to surrender. IIRC Germans made treats to bomb also some other Dutch towns if Dutch would not surrender. So in that sense it had same goal than British "area bombing" or the atomic bombs but the big difference was that both Germany and Japan were aggressors and "big powers" but Holland was a small state and a victim of unprovocated aggression by an aggressive "big power".

Juha

Dénes Bernád 23rd September 2005 21:17

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
Lets not complicate matters.

It should be possible to clearly define when the first RAF raid was conducted with German morale (residential areas etc) was the prime target, certainly at a strategic level.

Should it not be equally possible to point at a similar case when it comes to the Luftwaffe?

Ruy is correct. There should be a way to find out the historical facts, without implying politics and personal issues.

I, and probably others, am following this thread with great interest. I hope it will bring us facts and not flame.

Franek Grabowski 23rd September 2005 23:14

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Marius

Quote:

Wielun - the target was a cavalry brigade,
Warsaw - Okecie airport, Goclaw airport, Rembertow ammunition camp, staff of Polish High Command (LG 1 and KG 27).
Oh, we know that. See below. And check the latest issue of Lotnictwo.

Quote:

In what year was it researched by the commission?
Commission was established just post-war and continued their research up until 1990s. I cannot say when in particular this investigation took place but I suppose it was just post-war. Anyway, in the late 1970s documents were handed over to Germany with request of legal action against people responsible for the attack. Germany refused any investigation twice, in 1978 and 1983. It was a quite common decision of German justice, they were doing such a job only when directly forced to do so. Many criminals escaped any responsibility because of that.

Quote:

The only truth is that in the morning people were surprised, surely. But Wielun was reached by German troops day later, on 2 September, so of course the city was in the combat zone. Only appr. 30 km`s away from the Polish-German border.
So, it could have been bombed because it was too close to the border?

Quote:

No, I don`t mean strafing on roads outside the cities. In Dresden many people were fleeing to the meadows at the river and according to some of them, later the day (as USAAF B-17`s attacked) there appeared US fighters and strafed them.
I repeat, until now no evidence for that.
From what I remember, accounts about straffing in the city were quite confused and possibly mixed up with what had happenned at suburbs. Also, it seems the researchers tended to prove their thesis. Anyway, the only related document I have seen, was to not to strafe German civilians and was dated mid 1944.

Quote:

Starting 4.40..., great! As I mentioned earlier look to the German war diaries. I./StG 76 started at 5.02 hours, so it couldn`t had bombed Wielun at 4.40. It is nonsensless.
But I see the mistake, done by many "historians" and journalists. At appr. 4.40 I./StG 1 bombed the targets at the bridge of Dirschau (Tczew). But this is a whole another story.
Nope, this was not related to Tczew bridge bombing. Why an assumption the time in the KTB is correct? The time of the bombing was certainly established before 1975, I suppose it comes from Polish sources.

Quote:

So if you are sure of attacks at 7.00 and 10.00 hours, please tell us what German units bombed the city.
It is you, who is researching the Luftwaffe. Do you think someone invented the bombing? What for?

Quote:

I can tell you the following according to German documents. The reconnaissance Do 17 aircrews detected following Polish troops:
- Wood area 12 km south-east of Wielun
(bombed by I./StG 2 at appr. 14.00 hours)
- Wood area 5 km north-east of Wielun
(bombed by I./StG 76 at appr. 14.00 hours)
- 15 km east of Wielun and area Krzeczow-Mokra-Chorzyna-Walkow
(bombed by I./KG 77 at appr. 15.40 hours)
So they were unable to hit their objectives? It just spot on recalls the case described in the last Lotnictwo. Targets of any military value were at outskirts of a city, nonetheless centre of the city was wiped out.

Quote:

See war diaries of all three units. There was no bombing at 7.00 or 10.00 hours.
So, because of that it did not happen?

Quote:

All this collateral damage to bombs dropped on military targets.
Yes, I expected you will explain it this way. Please explain what military targets were at Koło and Rakowiec area?

Quote:

Yes, only military targets. But indeed the bombs killed civilians also. There is no war you could avoid civilian victims. Look to Iraq, where US used high technologies and nevertheless killed civilians without intention.
Those 'errors' happenned just too often. Intention of Luftwaffe was clear - by bombing and straffing civilian targets, they wanted to cause panic and to block any movements. Of course, at the time such attacks would be considered war crimes. Have not you heard about unwritten orders???

Quote:

The problem is you can find many things in documents which are contradicted to your "very easy made" statements. You will not solve the problem with existing documents by just closing your eyes.
I am not closing my eyes. Just to the contrary, it is you, who deny anything recorded in Polish documents that is not 'confirmed' by your papers.

Quote:

Just a simple article? Much too less. Look to the articles of Mr. Trenkner. He wrote I./StG 76 started at 4.02 hours and that he saw it in the German documents (!!!). But in the German documents you will find 5.02 hours, I proved these documents. How will you explain this manipulation done by the author?
There are two possibilities. Either he saw a different document or he did a simple typo.

Quote:

Oh, very interesting. What is the name of the researcher?
I do not have it at hand but doubtless Mirek can you provide with it.
Otherwise I am surprised. It became a standard that before every major operation, spec ops entered a battle field. They were droped eg. in Normandy.

Quote:

I am looking for hard facts, for the intention of such bombing attacks and not for collateral victims, people who were killed by a accidents or due to some single "crazy" aircrews shooting at people working in the field. These are individual cases only, not the general behaviour of all aircrews.
Frequency of such attacks deny those were individual cases. It just happenned too often, just like crimes of 4 Pz.Div. Such things happenned in France and England but I cannot comment how frequent it was. Shooting to RAF aircrew must have been quite common as it was mentiond by Dowding in his report.
One important note - the fact that documents confirming a happening do not exist, does not mean the happening never occured. I understand that there are major gaps in documents concerning holocaust but does it mean it never occured?

Marius 24th September 2005 01:42

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Franek,
we are discussing about intended bombing of civilian targets, not about holocaust or 5th column activities. Please stay at the topic and don`t lump all together. It would make the discussion very difficult.

Quote:
Wielun - the target was a cavalry brigade,
Warsaw - Okecie airport, Goclaw airport, Rembertow ammunition camp, staff of Polish High Command (LG 1 and KG 27).
[Oh, we know that. See below. And check the latest issue of Lotnictwo.]


Sorry, but I don`t have the latest issue of Lotnictwo. What for?



Quote:
In what year was it researched by the commission?
[Commission was established just post-war and continued their research up until 1990s. I cannot say when in particular this investigation took place but I suppose it was just post-war. Anyway, in the late 1970s documents were handed over to Germany with request of legal action against people responsible for the attack. Germany refused any investigation twice, in 1978 and 1983. It was a quite common decision of German justice, they were doing such a job only when directly forced to do so. Many criminals escaped any responsibility because of that.]


So you agree the investigation was made long after the war with the intention to declare the attack on Wielun was a "war crime". But why didn`t it happen earlier, for example in Nuremberg?
And how did the investigators count the persons killed on 1 September?

Indeed later there was an investigation against Hptm. Sigel (commanding in Poland I./StG 76), but it brought nothing. And it is clear why not. Despite of many killed persons in Wielun this "war crime" is only made in Poland.
The decisive thing is the following: the bombing was done without the intention to kill civilians. The target was much clear, a Polish "cavalry unit". Surely with the silent acceptance (or certainty) there also would die civilian people. But for every military rank it will always be more important to beat the enemy troops and win the war than to take into consideration the lives of civilians.




Quote:
The only truth is that in the morning people were surprised, surely. But Wielun was reached by German troops day later, on 2 September, so of course the city was in the combat zone. Only appr. 30 km`s away from the Polish-German border.
[So, it could have been bombed because it was too close to the border?]


No, because there were many Polish troops marching through it at the last days of August. Even cavalry units. Wielun was important traffic junction. Therefore the German high commands could expect many Polish troops massed there in the city also on 1 September.




Quote:
Starting 4.40..., great! As I mentioned earlier look to the German war diaries. I./StG 76 started at 5.02 hours, so it couldn`t had bombed Wielun at 4.40. It is nonsensless.
But I see the mistake, done by many "historians" and journalists. At appr. 4.40 I./StG 1 bombed the targets at the bridge of Dirschau (Tczew). But this is a whole another story.
[Nope, this was not related to Tczew bridge bombing. Why an assumption the time in the KTB is correct? The time of the bombing was certainly established before 1975, I suppose it comes from Polish sources.]


The time in the German KTB is right. For example you can compare the starts of reconnaissance Do 17 of the Stuka units. The first 2 Do 17 started at 4.50 and 5.02 respectively.
Also the escorting Bf 109`s of 3./ZG 2 (escort for I./StG 76) started at 4.57.
Mr. Trenkner clearly manipulated his articles about Wielun.


Quote:
So if you are sure of attacks at 7.00 and 10.00 hours, please tell us what German units bombed the city.
[It is you, who is researching the Luftwaffe. Do you think someone invented the bombing? What for?]


I think these are inaccuracies in Polish researching which was only based on Polish witness reports. Nobody looked to the German documents at that time because this was dishonourable.



Quote:
I can tell you the following according to German documents. The reconnaissance Do 17 aircrews detected following Polish troops:
- Wood area 12 km south-east of Wielun
(bombed by I./StG 2 at appr. 14.00 hours)
- Wood area 5 km north-east of Wielun
(bombed by I./StG 76 at appr. 14.00 hours)
- 15 km east of Wielun and area Krzeczow-Mokra-Chorzyna-Walkow
(bombed by I./KG 77 at appr. 15.40 hours)
[So they were unable to hit their objectives? It just spot on recalls the case described in the last Lotnictwo. Targets of any military value were at outskirts of a city, nonetheless centre of the city was wiped out.]


Sorry? It shows to us that in fact many Polish troops were in the area of Wielun, perhaps even in the city itself in the morning. Can you refute this?
And the centre of the city was wiped out in the morning attack, not later. Why somebody should bomb the destroyed centre of the city for 5 times?




Quote:
All this collateral damage to bombs dropped on military targets.
[Yes, I expected you will explain it this way. Please explain what military targets were at Koło and Rakowiec area?]


Perhaps some bombs fell on a civilian house or elsewhere, but it wasn`t intended. And that is the point. Nobody says it did not happen, but it was not intended.



Quote:
Yes, only military targets. But indeed the bombs killed civilians also. There is no war you could avoid civilian victims. Look to Iraq, where US used high technologies and nevertheless killed civilians without intention.
[Those 'errors' happenned just too often. Intention of Luftwaffe was clear - by bombing and straffing civilian targets, they wanted to cause panic and to block any movements. Of course, at the time such attacks would be considered war crimes. Have not you heard about unwritten orders???]


Unwritten orders? In bureaucratic German Army?

You mean the intention of the Luftwaffe was clear?! Where is the evidence? A document? Or even the name of your bombed purely civilian target?




Quote:
The problem is you can find many things in documents which are contradicted to your "very easy made" statements. You will not solve the problem with existing documents by just closing your eyes.
[I am not closing my eyes. Just to the contrary, it is you, who deny anything recorded in Polish documents that is not 'confirmed' by your papers.]


What Polish documents do you mean, Franek?
So if a Polish journalist or historian is writing about killed civilians and that this was a "war crime" done by the Luftwaffe you are uncritically accepting this point of view? What about other points of view? Not acceptable for you even when without logic? Is the Polish point of view the only one?
Let`s better speak the documents.



Quote:
Just a simple article? Much too less. Look to the articles of Mr. Trenkner. He wrote I./StG 76 started at 4.02 hours and that he saw it in the German documents (!!!). But in the German documents you will find 5.02 hours, I proved these documents. How will you explain this manipulation done by the author?
[There are two possibilities. Either he saw a different document or he did a simple typo.]


There is no different document and not a simple typo. I show you that there is a third possibility, even if you won`t accept this one.
I think there was the intention to place this "war crime" before the official attack on Poland at 4.45 on 1 September 1939. It should have happen on "4.40", therefore before 4.45, and get the weight of an especially brutal German crime. If someone would later ask for example for other done "war crimes" on Germans, everybody outside Germany could say - you Germans did it in Wielun before the war even started, so shut up.
This third possibility is very sad one, but to my opinion also mostly likely. A very simple definition to what Germans did and therefore what they earned.

Marius


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