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

Marius 23rd September 2005 00:35

Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Hi all,
I start this thread to hear your opinion about who at first started the war against purely civilian targets.

I don`t mean "collateral" victims when bombing military targets, but intended bombing attacks with a view to demoralize or kill civilian people.

As we know Churchill decided in May 1940 to bomb German targets far beyond the frontline in France and additionally by night. It is clear that such attacks would mainly hit the civilians. But nevertheless, later Churchill and "Bomber" Harris officially declared war against German civilians with the hope to bring the war to a faster end.

Was there ever has been a target bombed by the Luftwaffe where we can say it was purely civilian? I don`t mean the attacks started in 1944 by V1 and V2, but the period between 1940-1942.

Many regards,
Marius

Laurent Rizzotti 23rd September 2005 01:41

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
You can find claims on the Net that in September 1939 the Luftwaffe bombed a Polish city (don't remember the name) as an experiment, killing hundred of civilians. I don't know enough to say if it is true or false.

For sure, the bombing of Varwaw in September 1939, targetting the Jewish ghetto more than the rest of the city, was clearly not searching to hit military targets.

George Hopp 23rd September 2005 05:55

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
I suggest that this thread go to "WW2 in General" where it won't interfere with serious discussions, because it is already degenerating into a blame game.

Marius 23rd September 2005 10:16

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Laurent,
you surely mean Wielun, bombed in the morning of 1.9.1939. But this was not an experiment. Two Stuka units - I./StG 76 and I./StG 77 - tried to hit a Polish military unit (according to German documents a "cavalry brigade") reported as based in the city or marching through it. And in the end in fact there died many civilians living there. But surely not hundreds. Polish sources mention about 1200 killed people, but I doubt it. This exaggerated figure was never corrected.

What is the source for bombing Jewish ghetto in Warsaw more than the rest of the city?


George,
this thread is also concerning the Luftwaffe action. If somebody in Germany gave the order for bombing civilian targets I would like to know who did, when and what German Luftwaffe units made it real. Perhaps somebody here could mention a German document to bring the evidence for this.

Marius

Laurent Rizzotti 23rd September 2005 10:34

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
What for the bombing on Rotterdam on May 1940 ? Or the bombing on the City on 29 Dec 1940 ?

The first indiscrimate bombing by RAF was on Lübeck, in early 1942. Every raid before was given a military or industrial target.

Marius 23rd September 2005 10:49

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Laurent,
in Rotterdam there was fighting between German and Netherland military units. I would say it was a "ground battle area", therefore a military target. As you surely know Netherland tropps surrendered in the meantime, but it was too late to break off the bombing mission. Nevertheless about the half of KG 54 He 111`s did not bomb the city.

29.12.1940? Do you mean Coventry? Wasn`t there any military target?

Marius

Grzesio 23rd September 2005 12:12

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marius
Laurent,
you surely mean Wielun, bombed in the morning of 1.9.1939. But this was not an experiment. Two Stuka units - I./StG 76 and I./StG 77 - tried to hit a Polish military unit (according to German documents a "cavalry brigade") reported as based in the city or marching through it. And in the end in fact there died many civilians living there. But surely not hundreds. Polish sources mention about 1200 killed people, but I doubt it. This exaggerated figure was never corrected.

Geeez, Marius, I thought the problem of a 'cavalry brigade' in Wielun had been painfully explained (maybe directly to you?) on one of Polish forums some time ago, wasn't it?

OK, and now, please, can you explain your doubts in the official number of victims in Wielun? Why do you think it's exaggerated? You have strong PROOFS for sure, because if you only think/believe/dream so, it only proves your pityful research methods.

Regards

Grzesio

Marius 23rd September 2005 12:29

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Hello Grzesio,
if the problem of the "cavalry brigade" in Wielun has been painfully explained so please give us the results of the discussion.

Concerning the 1200 killed people you should compare other bombing attacks as for example Rotterdam in May 1940 (as mentioned above) or the first 1000 bomber raid against Cologne or other. Compare how many tons of bombs fell on the cities and how many people were killed. In Wielun fell "only" 30 tons.

The question is who counted the victims of Wielun and when appear the figure " 1200 " at first. Can you give an answer?

In Rotterdam should has been killed 30 000 people. Long after the war`s end the figure was corrected to 600 - 900 victims.

Marius

Franek Grabowski 23rd September 2005 14:05

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Oh, another discussion about innocent German airmen and bad butcher Bomber Harris?
A detailed study of US attacks on military and industrial targets in Silesia during 1944 shows that bombings were highly accurate and that civilian losses were quite limited. All this achieved by B-17s and B-24s, much less accurate than Stukas.
Wielun was hit in a multiwave attack that lasted from the morning until early afternoon. It is estimated 75% of buildings were destroyed by both high explosive and incendeniary bombs. Comparingto this, loss of 1200 persons - ~8% of population - seems quite a reasonable figure. Supposedly, many of those died of wounds, half a day bombing caused impossible to give any help. Additionally streets were straffed by the German aircraft.
By the way, 30 tons seem a little bit small bombload for about 6 bombings by two Geschwadern.
Concerning Warsaw, Ghetto could not have been bombed simply because there was no one. It was created only by the German administration. It is a fact, however, that Luftwaffe bombed purely civilian districts as well as straffed people seeking for vegetables in fields surounding the city.
The practice target was not Wieluń but a small city of Frampol, mostly inhabitated by Jewish population. The story was published in Germany during 1970s, so it is no way a Polish propaganda. Interestingly, photos taken during the raid clearly show markers made either by '5th collumn' or diversion groups.
Additionally, current issue of Lotnictwo journal has a one page article describing German attack on another city (name escapes me now) as well as all the military targets there - about 5 AA guns and a railway station on suburbs of the city. I suppose military targets were quite a good excuse.
PS Marius, I am surprised you have not heard about this.

Marius 23rd September 2005 14:42

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Hello Franek,


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Oh, another discussion about innocent German airmen and bad butcher Bomber Harris?
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?
The "Butcher" Bomber Harris, yes why not.


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Wielun was hit in a multiwave attack that lasted from the morning until early afternoon.
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.


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It is estimated 75% of buildings were destroyed by both high explosive and incendeniary bombs. Comparingto this, loss of 1200 persons - ~8% of population - seems quite a reasonable figure. Supposedly, many of those died of wounds, half a day bombing caused impossible to give any help. Additionally streets were straffed by the German aircraft.
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.
Also in Dresden 1945 the streets were strafed by US fighters, but until day nobody could bring the evidence for the story.


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By the way, 30 tons seem a little bit small bombload for about 6 bombings by two Geschwadern.
6 bombings? What is the source? What German units did it?
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.


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It is a fact, however, that Luftwaffe bombed purely civilian districts as well as straffed people seeking for vegetables in fields surounding the city.
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. 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.


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The practice target was not Wieluń but a small city of Frampol, mostly inhabitated by Jewish population. The story was published in Germany during 1970s, so it is no way a Polish propaganda. Interestingly, photos taken during the raid clearly show markers made either by '5th collumn' or diversion groups.

Many silly things were published in Germany. Compare the stories written by Jochen Trenkner about Wielun. Many nonsenses and lies and manipulations as well.
What is the evidence Frampol was a practice target?
5th column and diversion groups, not bad. Do you really believe this?

Marius

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.

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

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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.

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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

Franek Grabowski 24th September 2005 03:45

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Marius

Quote:

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.
Why, it shows how the system worked. Of course you can deny 5th column or holocaust because documents are lacking or that because there are not clear orders but it does not mean those things did not happen.

Quote:

Sorry, but I don`t have the latest issue of Lotnictwo. What for?
Because there is described such an attack in details.

Quote:

So you agree the investigation was made long after the war with the intention to declare the attack on Wielun was a "war crime".
The only intention was to investigate all the German crimes. Investigation took some time because it is always a lenghty process including interviewing all the available witnesses.

Quote:

But why didn`t it happen earlier, for example in Nuremberg?
Because investigation takes time and there was a whole lot of German crimes.

Quote:

And how did the investigators count the persons killed on 1 September?
I do not know but I suppose in a typical way. By counting the graves and by checking death certificates for example.

Quote:

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.
Many German crimes are not known outside of Poland. Is this a proof they have never occured? There were investigations made against Hermann Schapper, a leader of Einsatzkommando responsible for numerous crimes against Jewes in the summer 1941 but all of them were turned down by German justice.

Quote:

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.
Pardon, do you consider whiping out a city because of suspected military presence a perfectly justified move? Clearly marked hospital was also a target of military importance? We talk here about Stukas, which were a rather precision weapon. At least they were intended to.

Quote:

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.
But how and where if there were no places to accomodate the soldiers in the city? Do you think there were no spec ops in the area, who would report about the movements? It is ridiculous.

Quote:

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.
Why do not you ask Mr Trenkner directly?

Quote:

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.
I find this claim weird in mouth of a person believed to be born in communistic Poland. German documents were not dishonourable but simply not accessible. We may talk about free research only since 1990s. Before that time researchers had very limited possibilities to travel outside Poland.

Quote:

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?
Yes, there were no Polish troops in the city. It is known exactly where they were.

Quote:

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?
I do not know but it was done.

Quote:

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.
If such attacks are repeated, it is hard to call them incidental. Especially if they were done at daylight.

Quote:

Unwritten orders? In bureaucratic German Army?
Why not? Have ever seen any order concerning shooting at bailing out airmen?

Quote:

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?
Frampol. Discussed before.

Quote:

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.
So I allow to talk the Polish documents. So simple. Why you cannot see this point of view?

Quote:

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.
That is entirely your opinion.

Quote:

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.
Nope, because Wieluń was a forgotten place. Westerplatte took the honour of being the first place at war. Attack was done without any declaration of war. It was just enough. And there was just enough other German crimes.

Quote:

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.
Nope, because Poles had nothing to the later bomber offensive. This was quite often criticised by commies by the way.

Ruy Horta 24th September 2005 10:54

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Since there is so much accumulated knowledge on this forum I had hoped for some hard fact of data, as in mission so and so on date so and so had civilian morale as its primary target, based on strategy, operational planning, bomb load etc.

Area bombing is a good example, I could probably pick up a book like The Right of the Line, by John Terraine, and find this kind of exact data for the RAF. This is outside the Terror bombing debate and not meant as an accusation against the British bombing campaign.

Why is it so hard to find such a similar mission for the Luftwaffe.

Some here are so hard pressed to find that mission in Poland, but lets start with a mission that is clearly defined by Luftwaffe sources.

Afterwards we can argue about the finer points of secondary strategic objectives (like Rotterdam for example), as opposed to primary tactical ones.

One point that casts doubt on Franek's thesis is choice of weapon, why Stukas when level bombers would be far more effective in causing as many civilians casualties as possible - the utlimate aim of terror bombing: civilian morale.

Weren't the Baedecker Raids clearly defined in that way, just to start with?

ironrat 24th September 2005 11:40

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
"Since there is so much accumulated knowledge on this forum I had hoped for some hard fact of data, as in mission so and so on date so and so had civilian morale as its primary target, based on strategy, operational planning, bomb load etc."

From what I understan, you would like to see explicite orders of bombing or strafing civilians/civilan targets. You will hardly find any. Exactly the same way it would be difficult to find written orders about executing civilians or POWs. That Doesn't change the facts that many of this killings have taken place.

Regarding Frampol. That town had no military value, no troops or even any AA. With around 3000 inhabitants, mostly Jews it was a perfect practice target, as almost all buildings were 1 or 2 floor buidings with a very good orientation point, the town hall exactly in the middle of the town. If you look at the aerial pictures of Frampol from before 1939, it is almost a perfect square, very, very characteristic from an aerial view and difficult to be mistaken with any other town in the surroundings. So, if not as a target practice of low level bombing (made a perfect target for that purpose), why it was attacked, especially when there were still others, more interesting targets?

Martin

Marius 24th September 2005 11:59

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Martin


[Regarding Frampol...
So, if not as a target practice of low level bombing (made a perfect target for that purpose), why it was attacked, especially when there were still others, more interesting targets?]


Indeed a very interesting question. But see, Frampol was bombed on the 13th September. German troops (the frontline) were nearby and the city was taken a few hours later. I am sure the attack was made to support ground troops. Similar to the attack on Wielun on 1.9.
The question is why somebody should make an experiment - destroying a town which a few hours later fell in German hands? Completely unlogical. The same questions concerning Wielun and Warsaw.
Could somebody show a German document describing such experimental attacks?

Could somebody mention a Polish town which was a civilian target without any doubt?

Marius

David Ransome 24th September 2005 12:40

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Hi,

I don't normally get involved in these types of discussion but I find it quite depressing reading some of the vitriolic comment / statements, from at least one direction. This thread is going the same way as another recent one on aircraft specs / performance / production etc etc which got very silly, didn't take anyone anywhere, and was eventually stopped.

I feel that we all have the benefit of hindsight, weren't actually there, not everything said at meetings or briefings would be recorded (as now) so we may never have full documentary proof anyway. There does come a time when we have to agree to differ until some new evidence comes to light, or until we have time to calmly sit back and re-assess that currently available.

It is unfortunate in time of war that civilians on the other side are still considered as ' the enemy ' and that somewhere along the line they have an input to the war economy / production and could very easily be seen as an indirect militarily justifiable target, however flimsy that connection could be.

Just my thoughts and not a comment on individuals perceptions, or views!
(I've donned my flak jacket just in case!)

Regards

David

ironrat 24th September 2005 13:08

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
"I am sure the attack was made to support ground troops."

Basically, from what I know, a target of a ground support attack are troops or other military value targets. As we all agree, there were no troops at Frampol and the town had no strategic value, especially that German troops were soon to enter it without any resistance. I will not say - because it was a town mainly inhabited by Jews....
Anyway, the question remains, why? No matter what is or will be the answer to that question, it was a purely civilian target and a war crime.


"I feel that we all have the benefit of hindsight, weren't actually there, not everything said at meetings or briefings would be recorded (as now) so we may never have full documentary proof anyway. "

David. As have demonstrated lately some events in Aghanistan, the case of bombing Canadian troops by US aviators, even today not everything is offcially signed or recorded.

Martin

Ruy Horta 24th September 2005 14:52

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ironrat
From what I understan, you would like to see explicite orders of bombing or strafing civilians/civilan targets. You will hardly find any.

I have to disagree most strongly.

The RAF bomber campaign is a good example.

At one point there came a strategic shift in thinking where maximizing civilians casualties and the destruction of housing became a primary military objective and German civilian morale a strategic target (judging by the collapse of 1918 not an altogether silly concept). When military and science worked hard to maximize the effect of bombs on civilian housing etc etc etc.

Again, before people get offended, this is not an attack on the virtue of RAF Bomber Command or its brave men, nor is it an attempt to accuse them of war crimes.

This case is just helpful to define a clear framework - civilians as primary target - supported by theory, planning and execution.

I am certain that you can find such defined examples in German operations, from the Blitz to Jabo raids over Britain.

Franek Grabowski 24th September 2005 16:12

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Ruy
Quote:

Since there is so much accumulated knowledge on this forum I had hoped for some hard fact of data, as in mission so and so on date so and so had civilian morale as its primary target, based on strategy, operational planning, bomb load etc.
Well, I cannot provide you with this. All I can do is to gather as detailed Polish info on German attacks as possible.

Quote:

Why is it so hard to find such a similar mission for the Luftwaffe.
It is generally hard to find anything about Luftwaffe.

Quote:

One point that casts doubt on Franek's thesis is choice of weapon, why Stukas when level bombers would be far more effective in causing as many civilians casualties as possible - the utlimate aim of terror bombing: civilian morale.
I agree but it raises another question, why bombing of 'military' targets was so inaccurate. I think explanation is quite different - the raid had to cause panic among civilians and to block movements on roads. Stuka's choice would not be a coincidence then. The aircraft had a siren, description of it may be found in a virtually every account from Polish Campaign.

Quote:

At one point there came a strategic shift in thinking where maximizing civilians casualties and the destruction of housing became a primary military objective and German civilian morale a strategic target (judging by the collapse of 1918 not an altogether silly concept). When military and science worked hard to maximize the effect of bombs on civilian housing etc etc etc.
This case is just helpful to define a clear framework - civilians as primary target - supported by theory, planning and execution.
I am certain that you can find such defined examples in German operations, from the Blitz to Jabo raids over Britain.
The question is if the paperwork still exists. Anyway, I think first civilian target hit by aerial bombing was London attacked by Zeppelins during WWI.

David
Quote:

I feel that we all have the benefit of hindsight, weren't actually there, not everything said at meetings or briefings would be recorded (as now) so we may never have full documentary proof anyway. There does come a time when we have to agree to differ until some new evidence comes to light, or until we have time to calmly sit back and re-assess that currently available.
You are absolutelly right, not everything is recorded and not everyrecord survived up until today.

Quote:

It is unfortunate in time of war that civilians on the other side are still considered as ' the enemy ' and that somewhere along the line they have an input to the war economy / production and could very easily be seen as an indirect militarily justifiable target, however flimsy that connection could be.
Well, in a modern war industry became major military factor. The war was won not on battlefield but in factories.

By the way, I see there is plenty of room for research for our British colleagues. I would love to see any study on German attacks on British civilian population, straffing, as well as shootingn at bailing out airman.

Marius
Quote:

Indeed a very interesting question. But see, Frampol was bombed on the 13th September. German troops (the frontline) were nearby and the city was taken a few hours later.
There was not even a road through the city, not to mention a railway station. Bombing was done from 1000m at 200 km/h. It does not look like an attack on a target of any military value.

http://historie-asow.elk.com.pl/foto1/frampol.jpg

Quote:

I am sure the attack was made to support ground troops. Similar to the attack on Wielun on 1.9.
This is your belief and let's it stay this way.

Quote:

The question is why somebody should make an experiment - destroying a town which a few hours later fell in German hands? Completely unlogical. The same questions concerning Wielun and Warsaw.
To test new weapons or new tactics. Completely logical.

Quote:

Could somebody show a German document describing such experimental attacks?
The photos were published by Harry Hahnewald, who was an photo analytic in 4 Lfl. It was his claim the attack was an experiment. Interestingly, von Loehr, commander of Lfl 4 was hanged in Yugoslavia for war crimes including attack on Belgrade.

Quote:

Could somebody mention a Polish town which was a civilian target without any doubt?
In your understanding - no.

Marius 24th September 2005 16:31

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Ironrat,


[As we all agree, there were no troops at Frampol and the town had no strategic value, especially that German troops were soon to enter it without any resistance. I will not say - because it was a town mainly inhabited by Jews....
Anyway, the question remains, why? No matter what is or will be the answer to that question, it was a purely civilian target and a war crime.]


The question is if we all in fact agree? As I wrote on 13th September German troops were nearby. What makes you so sure there were no Polish troops in the area? What makes you so sure the town would be entered without any resistance?

The most decisive question is, if there in fact were no Polish troops, could it be that these troops left the city before it was bombed?
And how could the Germans know there were no (or no more) troops in the city?

We know the city was bombed by I./KG 77, but according to war diaries of the unit the operational area was described as: Bilgoraj - Janow - Frampol. And there were masses of Polish troops. This area was attacked on this 13th by I./KG 55 as well. The area was also bombed on the 12th and on the 14th. So why an experimental flight against Frampol on the 13th? I am sure it wasn`t.

Marius

Marius 24th September 2005 17:09

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Ruy and all others,

I will start with a very important German document. Perhaps someone will translate it into English.
Wasserkante means here Warsaw.



Entwurf: Angriffsbefehl "Wasserkante"
(Dieses Dokument trägt den Vermerk: nicht befohlen CH.
Op 1 aufheben v.W.)

1. Lfl.1 und 4 bereiten für 11.9. einen zusammengefassten Angriff gegen "Wasserkante" vor.
2. Der Angriff ist als Vergeltung der an den deutschen Soldaten verübten Verbrechen anzusehen und hat die Zerstörung "Wasserkante" zum Ziel.
...
6. Einzelheiten der Durchführung:
a. Es kommt darauf an, bei dem 1.Angriff weitgehendst Zerstörungen in den Stadtteilen zu erreichen.
b. Daneben ist die Zerstörung der militärisch wichtigsten Ziele unter allen Umständen durch den Einsatz von Stuka-Verbänden sicherzustellen.
c. Beim 1.Angriff sind keine Brandbomben mitzuführen.
....
Weisungen des Ob.d.L. Fuehrungsstabes Ia fuer den Feldzug in Polen an Luftflotte 1 und 4 mit Ergaenzungen und Vorbefehlen
BA/MA Freiburg, ZA 3/418, page 34-35.



What is so important here? This document was published by some authors (also in my book "Kampfflieger" on page VII) and is known to many people visiting war expositions about German war crimes. It was until now presented as an original order to German Luftwaffe units and as evidence for Luftwaffe "war crimes" started in Poland. For example Olaf Gröhler wrote in his book about this document.
It makes me really sad that Gröhler (like many others) manipulated this document. The latter cut out the first two sentences! So we cannot read the following words: Entwurf (draft/plan) and nicht befohlen (not ordered).

I think I was the first one who published this document without a manipulation. And I will ask another question: why some people have manipulated original German Luftwaffe documents to bring the evidence for German war crimes?

Marius

Ruy Horta 24th September 2005 21:18

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Thanks Marius, important document indeed, for even without the first crucial sentence it still provides for smoking gun type of evidence which people assume is so impossible to find.

It provides the framework which defines "Terror" bombing.

If one can find such a document for an early target like Warsaw, there will be more such documents on other targets or campaigns.

Again Marius, for the sake of argument I am dropping the significance of the opening sentence.

I love it when this sort of material pops up, similar to that He-59 SAR document which popped up covering possible recon actions from an official Luftwaffe point of view.

ironrat 24th September 2005 21:56

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
"The question is if we all in fact agree? As I wrote on 13th September German troops were nearby. What makes you so sure there were no Polish troops in the area? What makes you so sure the town would be entered without any resistance?"

Frampol, just like other towns in the area had mainly 1,2 floor buildings, mainly woodden. This explains in part the disastrous results of the bombardment. For that reason, unless being an idiot, no commander (Pole, German, Russian or any other) would lead his troops into such town. It would be a mouse trap. This is why, there was no AA, troops or any military installation and this is why that town, like many small towns alike in the region were entered without any resistance or shot.


"The most decisive question is, if there in fact were no Polish troops, could it be that these troops left the city before it was bombed?"

The answer is given above.


"And how could the Germans know there were no (or no more) troops in the city?"

Lame excuse that one. Basically, we call it intelligence, and Germany had in September 1939, partially thanks to the V colum a very good one.

So,
a civilian town, without troops or strategic importance was targeted and destroyed. We can look for any excuses we would like, but it will remain a war crime.
There is also one misaing point to the picture. Frampol was, according to Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, part of the Russian zone. The German troops had very soon to quit it remains. This is maybe (just maybe) one of the reasons why Frampol was choosen as a target.


Franek:
if you want to look for targeted towns back before WWII, maybe you should mention for example Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Martin

Marius 24th September 2005 23:00

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Martin,

"And how could the Germans know there were no (or no more) troops in the city?"

[Lame excuse that one. Basically, we call it intelligence, and Germany had in September 1939, partially thanks to the V colum a very good one.]



The abilities of Vth column here are much to more exaggerated. If this is all you can provide as an evidence for experimental bombing so I have to retire... A serious discussion is going to an end now.


[So,
a civilian town, without troops or strategic importance was targeted and destroyed. We can look for any excuses we would like, but it will remain a war crime.]


Sorry, but I do not understand. Can you prove what you are talking about?
What is your source giving you the certainty that a civilian town, without troops or strategic importance was targeted?
Could you quote a document please? If you can not so I think this is your personal opinion only, perhaps even a soap-bubble, no more no less.
What about the frontline nearby the town?
What about the bombing missions between the 12-14th September in this area?
What about the important road Janow - Frampol - Bilgoraj?
(by the way, Franek, not even a road through the city, great joke!)


Marius

Franek Grabowski 24th September 2005 23:38

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Marius

Quote:

The abilities of Vth column here are much to more exaggerated. If this is all you can provide as an evidence for experimental bombing so I have to retire... A serious discussion is going to an end now.
There was enough of them to attack Polish troops at Bydgoszcz/Bromberg. Also, how would you explain target markers visible on the original photos?
The claim that this was an experiment is by a Luftwaffe serviceman. Whom should I trust more, you or him?
No Marius, there is no serious discussion with you, there is simply no discussion with you.

Quote:

Sorry, but I do not understand. Can you prove what you are talking about?
What is your source giving you the certainty that a civilian town, without troops or strategic importance was targeted?
Just look at the photos courtesy of Luftwaffe. Please show me anything of strategic importance. Any trenches perhaps?

Quote:

Could you quote a document please? If you can not so I think this is your personal opinion only, perhaps even a soap-bubble, no more no less.
OK, prove there were Polish troops in Frampol. Stop your soap-buble.

Quote:

What about the frontline nearby the town?
Several toilets were near the frontline. Does it make them targets of military importance?

Quote:

What about the bombing missions between the 12-14th September in this area?
Nothing. Is it a proof of anything?

Quote:

What about the important road Janow - Frampol - Bilgoraj?
(by the way, Franek, not even a road through the city, great joke!)
Where it is on the photo and how it was affected in the result of attack?

Marius, you asked in this thread, why German authors manipulate and colourise. Why have you not asked them directly? I see another possible explanation, perhaps all the German authors are liars? Would you agree?

Martin
I am not sure of Guernica because it is much more controversial and unclear topic.

Pawel Burchard 24th September 2005 23:47

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Quote:

What is your source giving you the certainty that a civilian town, without troops or strategic importance was targeted?
To both sides...

Actually this should be fairly easy question to answer, having knowledge of ground troops activities in the area. I do not, but there are vast amounts of documentation from German ground units available on microfilm and/or in BAMA.

Regards,
Pawel

Marius 25th September 2005 01:36

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Pawel,

I am not an expert on German or Polish ground troops. But I remember that around the 13th September there was fighting in the Bilgoraj area.
I have no time to look for it in my books, but quickly I found on the net the following for the 13th:


Heeresgruppe Süd

14.Armee is advancing east and northwest.

Enemy forces in front of the Korps divided into two parts.

a) southern part: Polish 11.Div. around Lemberg with rest in Przemysl. All forces positioned along the hungarian, slowenian and russian border flee to Bulgaria. Several border crossings reported.

b) northern part: is withdrawing across the San into the woods around Zaklikow and Bilgoraj, last time spotted on the road Janow – Frampol.



This confirms what I wrote about a nearby frontline.
By the way Franek furtheron means there was no road in/through Frampol...?



Franek,
what is the source of the sentences written by the Luftwaffe serviceman? What is the exactly tenor? Please quote, if possible in German language.


I don`t know if all German authors are liars. But both, Joachim Trenkner and Olaf Gröhler as well manipulated the original German documents for their own purposes, for the proof of Luftwaffe "war crimes".
I know they did it, because I saw the original German documents used by both authors. Everybody can do it. Concerning Wielun on 1.9.1939 among others:
War diary of I./StG 76 - BA/MA Freiburg, RL 10/342...
War diary of I./StG 77 - BA/MA Freiburg, RL 10/345...
War diary of I./ZG 2 - BA/MA Freiburg, RL 10/248...

It is clear that both authors put the German original documents "in the right place".
Trenkner deliberately backwarded the time I./StG 76 started, from 5.02 hours to 4.02. His intention was to settle the time of the attack to 4.40, therefore before the official opening of the war (4.45). I suppose the Poles are truely loving him for this.
Gröhler deliberately falsified a document cutting out two sentences of it, at the same time changing the declaration of it, because he needed an "original German document", a "reliable order" to Luftwaffe crews clearly showing the intented German bombings on civilian targets. The conclusion is: he did not found any other document. I didn`t as well.
And what is the sad message here? Both authors deliberately lied to general public. I would call it a crime. I confess I was a little bit shocked as I found it out. Many people are using both authors as credible sources until day.

Marius

Nick Beale 25th September 2005 01:53

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marius
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.

My point was that almost every attack, whatever the true intention, can be justified on "military grounds" - as was done with Dresden (rail links supplying the Eastern Front). I would be quite surprised if many German operational orders were written explicitly in terms of attacking civilians.

Such objectives can be found in the policy documents for the RAF bombing campaign but I think you would find that the individual targets were always desribed as military/economic ones.

As for attempted genocide, the Einsatzgruppen routinely described those they murdered as partisans.

Franek Grabowski 25th September 2005 04:16

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Marius

Quote:

This confirms what I wrote about a nearby frontline.
At war every place may be at frontline but this is not necessarily a justification.

Quote:

By the way Franek furtheron means there was no road in/through Frampol...?
You have the photo. Show the road and show, how it was affected.

Quote:

what is the source of the sentences written by the Luftwaffe serviceman? What is the exactly tenor? Please quote, if possible in German language.
Find it yourself. You have the name of the man, who was the first source of published pictures of Frampol. I do not know if he is alive but certainly his comments were published in the German press of 1960s.

Quote:

I don`t know if all German authors are liars. But both, Joachim Trenkner and Olaf Gröhler as well manipulated the original German documents for their own purposes, for the proof of Luftwaffe "war crimes".
Really? So, why you do not ask them directly, why they did so?

Quote:

Trenkner deliberately backwarded the time I./StG 76 started, from 5.02 hours to 4.02. His intention was to settle the time of the attack to 4.40, therefore before the official opening of the war (4.45). I suppose the Poles are truely loving him for this.
What does it change from the Polish point of view? What does it change at all? The war was not declared, that is considered a war crime itself, I think. What does it change if Westerplatte, Tczew or Wieluń, one of them was hit the first? The fact is that a city was deliberately bombed by Luftwaffe and the only who suffered were civilians and the city almost completely whipped out. Trenkner cannot change anything either it happenned at 4.40, 5.40 or whatever hour you wish.

Quote:

Gröhler deliberately falsified a document cutting out two sentences of it, at the same time changing the declaration of it, because he needed an "original German document", a "reliable order" to Luftwaffe crews clearly showing the intented German bombings on civilian targets. The conclusion is: he did not found any other document. I didn`t as well.
Well, are there any other such orders for the other raids and is the order not a document?

Quote:

And what is the sad message here? Both authors deliberately lied to general public. I would call it a crime. I confess I was a little bit shocked as I found it out. Many people are using both authors as credible sources until day.
OK, you may feel free to accuse them publicly. You may explain that with them. Do whatever you want. You asked for civilian targets attacked by the Luftwaffe and you got them. If you consider them military targets, it is not my problem. I am afraid I cannot be of further help.

Hop 25th September 2005 05:52

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
I wont go in to Poland, becaue I know little about the air war there.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marius
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)).

This doesn't define a civilian target.

The first Luftwaffe raid on England was on the night of 10 May 940, when they bombed open ground near Cantebury. I've no idea what the target they were aiming for was.

The first RAF raid on the German mainland was on the 11 May, when the RAF conducted attacks on transport targets west of the Rhine.

The Luftwaffe conducted raids on targets in French, Belgian and Dutch cities from 10 May, often very far behind the lines.

The British began bombing military and industrial targets in Germany from 14 May.

All these raids were aimed at defined military and industrial targets. Most did not hit them, but neither side seemed to realise just how innacurate they were.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
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.

Can you do so?

The problem is that bombing targets were chosen to maximize damage, and something like "morale" was never the only target. Why just bomb "morale" when you can also bomb an industrial city and burn out factories, destory power stations, gas works, canals, train stations etc?

The same is true of the Luftwaffe. In the bombings of London, morale was one factor, along with food depots, docks etc.

And how do you define a food depot? As a civilian target? And if civilian food isn't a civilian target, then how is civilian housing?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Juha
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.

Exactly. One raid, multiple objectives.

At the same time as the raid on Rotterdam, the Luftwaffe dropped leaflets over Utrecht threatening that the same fate would befall Utrecht as had befallen Warsaw, if the Dutch did not surrender. See the thread on the Axis History Forum which discusses this subject, and has a link to the leaflet:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...r=asc&start=15

I believe that even Trenchard, the arch proponent of morale bombing, said the bombing should concentrat on military targets within cities for the maximum effect.

When the Luftwaffe bombed Coventry, briefing notes said that "wiping out the most densley populated workers settlements" would hinder the resumption of manufacturing.

Is attacking civilian housing to hinder manufacturing a civilian target?

Quote:

as in mission so and so on date so and so had civilian morale as its primary target, based on strategy, operational planning, bomb load etc.
If you are going to base it on method, rather than declared policy, then the Luftwaffe gradually switched to attacking civilian targets in Britain in September and October 1940.

To quote Richard Overy, The Battle:

"Though the German Air Force never formally adopted terror bombing, the tactic of widely scattered attacks, the use of a special incendiary squadron to start fires for other bombers to follow, the relaxation of rules of engagement over London on moonless nights, the deliberate decision to target the enemy psychologically by attacking intermittently round the clock (and for as long as possible at night), the use of aerial mines and the targetting of administrative areas of the capital, all reeal the gradual abandonment of any pretence that civilians and civilian morale would not become targets."

I think the use of parachute mines, and to a lesser extent the incendiary cannisters, over city centres means attacking civilians, as there is no hope of attacking a precise target with such weapons.

If you want to argue London is a military target, then so were all the German cities bombed.

For the RAF, the dates are clear. The first area attack was on th 16/17 December 1940, with the atack on Mannheim, which was lunched as a response to Coventry. Prior to that all RAF atacks had been aimed at precise military or industrial targets, even if, like the Luftwaffe up to September 1940, they didn't often hit them at night.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
The RAF bomber campaign is a good example.

At one point there came a strategic shift in thinking where maximizing civilians casualties and the destruction of housing became a primary military objective

Can you offer any evidence for civilian casualties becoming the objective?

Housing certainly ws, as the British experience of he Blitz was that damage to housing had a major effect on production.

Here's part of a letter from Herschel Johnson to the US Secretary of State, January 1941:

"
At numerous industrial plants, in this part of England, where
hundreds of workmen are employed, only a neglible percent of
uch workpeople is not in one way or another adversely affected
i %n consequence of air raids. Loss of sleep is a factor even in
cases where the workmen remain at home and do not repair to shelters.
But, generally speaking, a more potent factor is worry induced
by the disintegration of family life. It requires little imagination
to comprehend what must be the state of mind of a workman who
begins his task in the morning knowing that his wife and children
are standing at some windswept bus stop both hungry and cold,
or what must be the state of mind of a workman who knows that
his wife and family must remain in a house which has been rendered
unfit for human habitation and which it is beyond his means to
repair.




The bombing of working-class residential districts in this
area has come to be accepted as an ingenious and effective move
on the part of Germany. Moreover, such bombing has come to be
viewed as even a greater menace than the damage actually done
to industrial plant. What happened at Coventry well illustrates
the devilish effectiveness of the bombing of districts inhabited
by working-class people. It seems to be pretty well established
that as many as 70,000 houses in the comparatively small city
of Coventry were affected by bombing and that of these 30,000
were made unfit for human habitation, and 7,000 demolished entirely.




The big raid on Coventry took place during the night of November
14-15, 1940. Since that time some weeks have elapsed and great
strides have been made in the direction of make-shift repairs
to damaged working-class residences. But there is not a sizeable
industrial enterprise in the whole of Coventry whose production
is not still being adversely affected by raiding has wrought
in the lives of Coventry working people. There hovers over that
city an apprehensiveness which has lingered since the raid took
place. This apprehensiveness is born of a realization that the
Germans can at will again do to Coventry what they did to it
during that one horrible night in November.




Intricate, costly, and heavy machine tools can be extricated
from the cellars of demolished manufacturing plants. Many of
them can be repaired and installed in new plant. But the workers
who man these machines, so long as they live as they do today,
can never attain the efficiency which, before the events in question
took place, they maintained as a mere matter of course."

Note that damage to housing, not civilian casualties, is cited as the main effect
of the raids.

Logic would suggest the same. If you look at Hamburg, the most destructive area raid
of all, about 3% of the population was killed, 50% or more made homeless, and
industrial production fell by about 50% in the month following the raid.

And Lord Cherwell certainly argued that was the policy:
"Investigation seems to show that having one's house demolished is most damaging
to morale. People seem to mind it more than having their friends or even relatives
killed"

Does anyone have any solid information on German boming in Norway?

JM Spaight wrote a book during the war. It's often misquoted to claim Britain started bombing civilians first. But Spaight says:

"
Even if Warsaw is left out of account on the ground - vide German
propaganda - that the city was invested and had refused to surrender,
it is still undeniable that the Germans bombed undefended towns in
Norway before we ever dropped a bomb in Germany.

'Kristiansund, an open and absolutely defenceless town where there have
never been any military establishments whatever, was bombed for three
days; only one house remained. . 15,000 inhabitants were left without
shelter. In the same way Molde was bombed, and
Reknes, the great sanatorium for tuberculosis, was bombed and set on
fire.' 'Where Elverum had been but a few hours before, only the church
and the Red Cross hospital were left standing. . . . Hardly a house but
had been razed to within four feet of the ground.'

Ruy Horta 25th September 2005 10:03

Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?
 
Hop,

It has been written several times in this thread that any civilian target can be linked to a military one, however insignificant. Yet your example of german air mines is good one, showing a clear intend in military planning to cause maximum (civilian) damage - just like cookies, blockbusters and incendiaries.

But as I feared you are taking my example of the RAF as a main argument, while it is only intended to give a more steady framework. We'll enter on well tread ground with the same old arguments. Sorry Hop, I'll skip that discussion if you don't mind (which will in part be based on semantics and my (lack) of english).

I am not trying to establish that the Luftwaffe did not attack civilian targets, or did not in fact deploy terror bombing tactics, but the RAF did.

That has never been my aim.

However for the sake of argument lets go back to Guernica.

Three theories, from left to right.
  1. Terror bombing to demoralize the Basque nation
  2. Tactical bombing to stop retreating Republican troops
  3. Mainly Republican sabotage action and Luftwaffe bombing actually causing relatively little damage
James Corum in The Luftwaffe - Creating the Operational Air War does provide an interesting note on p.199/200:

There is no evidence that Wolfram von Richthofen, who served as a senior Luftwaffe commander in Spain, Poland, the low countries, France, against Britain, and in Russia, ever carried out the policy of terror bombing or the deliberate targeting of civilians. On the other hand, Von Richthofen was a ruthless commander who never expressed any sympathy or concern for civilians who might be located in the vincinity of the military targets. Von Richthofen's actions at Guernica and throughout the Spanish War and World War II showed consistency in this attitude toward targeting.

This quote isn't hard evidence (although Corum seems to have based his writings on primary source material), but it does give us a framework where to put Guernica or Frampol.

I am afraid that much of this debate is fixed around moral guilt.


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