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  #21  
Old 24th September 2005, 02:45
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Bombing civilian targets by the Luftwaffe?

Marius

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.
  #22  
Old 24th September 2005, 09:54
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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?
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  #23  
Old 24th September 2005, 10:40
ironrat ironrat is offline
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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
  #24  
Old 24th September 2005, 10:59
Marius Marius is offline
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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
  #25  
Old 24th September 2005, 11:40
David Ransome David Ransome is offline
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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
  #26  
Old 24th September 2005, 12:08
ironrat ironrat is offline
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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
  #27  
Old 24th September 2005, 13:52
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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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.
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  #28  
Old 24th September 2005, 15:12
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Franek Grabowski
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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.



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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.

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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.

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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.

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Could somebody mention a Polish town which was a civilian target without any doubt?
In your understanding - no.
  #29  
Old 24th September 2005, 15:31
Marius Marius is offline
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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
  #30  
Old 24th September 2005, 16:09
Marius Marius is offline
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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
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