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Old 2nd October 2005, 15:20
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Questions on 8th AF Swinemünde raid on 12 March 1945

Hello
in his book Der Brand, in Finnish translation Suuri Palo pp. 149 -51, German Historian Jörg Friedrich claims that for the bombing of Swinemünde/ Świnoujście on 12.March 1945 many of the bombs had very sensitive fuses in order to cause maximum casualties among the fugitives from East-Prussia and Pommern who were then in Swinemünde. According to Freeman’s The Mighty Eight War Diary the target was the marshalling yard of Swinemünde. Helmut Schnatz in http://www.bombenkrieg.historicum.net/themen/swinemuende.html claims that the Soviets had asked Spaatz to bomb Swinemünde because of the number of German warships there. And also writes that the bomb loads were entirely 1000lb GP bombs.
Many of the bombs clearly hit on the seaside parks where there were many fugitives and also some military units. And also in the harbour some refuge ships were sank. But also the railway station was badly hit.
Friedrich claims that the Germans saw the USAAF planes which flew exceptionally low and that there was also strafing. Now according to Freeman’s book the bombing was by H2X, Fry´s and Ethel’s history of the4th Fighter Group, Escort to Berlin, tells that the bombing was through 10/10ths cloud and “B Group attempted to go under the cloud deck and take pictures, but by the time the P-51s were down to 500ft over the water north of Swinemünde they were still in the soup.” I didn’t found anything from Merle’s 357FG history other than that the group made no ground claims between 4th and 18th March. Helmut Schnatz claims that there could be no ground strafing because it was clearly forbidden (11. Im Original: "G(rou)ps will not repeat not strafe ", Field Order 1742A, AFHRA Microfilm B 5022; "Strafing was prohibited", Report of Eighth Air Force Operations, S. 4, AFHRA Microfilm B 5021A.) and there was no ground claims on that day. On the other hand Osprey’s Down to Earth shows that orders forbidding the strafing not always stop it.
I’m writing a review on Friedrich’s book and because I had not paid more than a passing notice to Swinemünde bombing before, I’d like to know.
1) the fusing for the attack?
2) is there any information on possible strafing during the attack?

I hope that this will not start a flame war, I’m only interesting in answers on Swinemünde attack and my supposition is that Friedrich has when he describe this particular attack too easily waived off US sources when they run against German recollections. The book seems generally not be too imbalanced, even if the translation is awful in technical parts. And it is in some parts too moralistic to my taste.

TiA
Juha

A later addition: I forgot this, one possible explanation which explains some of the differences is that the target was the marshalling yard but some of the bombers bombed short. So part of the loads hit the harbour and the seaside parks. But that does not explain the differences in descriptions of the tactics used.

Last edited by Juha; 3rd October 2005 at 01:47. Reason: an addition
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