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> Bombing of Tokyo, Bombing of Tokyo
Curioso
Posted: March 17, 2005 10:48 am
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QUOTE (mabadesc @ Mar 14 2005, 06:50 PM)
If the psychological argument disappears, then there is no excuse for the destruction of Dresden and part of Tokyo, IMO.

In the first two weeks of February 1945, an average of 28 troop trains passed through the Dresden rail system, heading East - _per day_.
After the bombing, no troop train crossed the Elbe at the Dresden bridges any more.

Similarly, the Japanese industrial infrastructure employed thousands of small backyard workshop, to which the larger industries farmed out the supply of parts. These were scattered all over urban cities. I heard a survivor of Hiroshima once talk about his experience. He was a child then. He mentioned that on that day, they did not have school lessons - they had to "work". I did not dare ask him what he and the other children were producing, but I think we can all guess it wasn't consumer goods.

There is no need of psychological motivations.
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Imperialist
Posted: March 22, 2005 06:00 pm
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QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 17 2005, 10:48 AM)

In the first two weeks of February 1945, an average of 28 troop trains passed through the Dresden rail system, heading East - _per day_.
After the bombing, no troop train crossed the Elbe at the Dresden bridges any more.

Similarly, the Japanese industrial infrastructure employed thousands of small backyard workshop, to which the larger industries farmed out the supply of parts. These were scattered all over urban cities. I heard a survivor of Hiroshima once talk about his experience. He was a child then. He mentioned that on that day, they did not have school lessons - they had to "work". I did not dare ask him what he and the other children were producing, but I think we can all guess it wasn't consumer goods.

There is no need of psychological motivations.

I doubt railways were the target. What, those railways passed through the center of the city?
Historians say 75% of the city was destroyed. I doubt the railways were the main target. Its known that the strategy at that time for the strategic bombers was city-busting, not railway-busting.
As for Japan, the A-bomb was a test. There were other options, from increased strategic bombings to tightly blockading the island and starving it out. After Germany's defeat all the bombers in Europe could have wrecked havoc in Japan after being moved to the Pacific.
The fact is, it was a test, as horrible as it sounds.

take care

This post has been edited by Imperialist on March 22, 2005 06:02 pm
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Curioso
Posted: March 22, 2005 06:41 pm
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QUOTE (Imperialist @ Mar 22 2005, 06:00 PM)

I doubt railways were the target. What, those railways passed through the center of the city?
Historians say 75% of the city was destroyed. I doubt the railways were the main target. Its known that the strategy at that time for the strategic bombers was city-busting, not railway-busting.
As for Japan, the A-bomb was a test. There were other options, from increased strategic bombings to tightly blockading the island and starving it out. After Germany's defeat all the bombers in Europe could have wrecked havoc in Japan after being moved to the Pacific.
The fact is, it was a test, as horrible as it sounds.

take care

Yes, the railways passed through the center of the city. Have you considered the possibility of basing your doubts upon some actual knowledge, say, by casting a glance on a city map?

And yes, part of the strategy was city busting. Cities happen to contain industries, marshalling yards, and such things. It was only part of the bombing campaign strategy, which included targets such as the refineries, etc.

I'm glad to see that, anyway, you do not question that the rail traffic was hamstrung. I recommend you to read Frederick Taylor's book about Dresden.
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Imperialist
Posted: March 22, 2005 08:06 pm
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QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 22 2005, 06:41 PM)

Yes, the railways passed through the center of the city. Have you considered the possibility of basing your doubts upon some actual knowledge, say, by casting a glance on a city map?

And yes, part of the strategy was city busting. Cities happen to contain industries, marshalling yards, and such things. It was only part of the bombing campaign strategy, which included targets such as the refineries, etc.

I'm glad to see that, anyway, you do not question that the rail traffic was hamstrung. I recommend you to read Frederick Taylor's book about Dresden.

What I said was that the target was the city as a whole, with all its roads, industry, railways and people, it was not the railway and the city just happened to be there along its way.

I dont have a map of Dresden, but I doubt a city has a railway in its center or in the old districts.

Also, I think by 1945 air superiority was achieved, deep interdiction could have been achieved by fighter sorties, not strategic bombers blowing to smithereens railway knots along with the adjacent cities.
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 22, 2005 11:02 pm
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QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 17 2005, 10:48 AM)
In the first two weeks of February 1945, an average of 28 troop trains passed through the Dresden rail system, heading East - _per day_.

Ok, let's put this idea to rest. The trains - if any - were going mostly west, not east, and they were certainly more loaded with civilians than tanks or ammo for the fleeing army group er... "center" (or was it ex-Vistula ?). The city has become a choke point for refugees. It was literally full of them.

And that's where some asshole general thought it would be usefull to melt the whole city with incendiaries (no doubt the best way to destroy rail lines).
After the first day a Martian could have detected that whole urban center was ablaze but it didn't prevent the second day bombing from going in. Must have been an attempt to turn asphalt into plasma.

The military effect was a big zero : during a few days not a rat could cross the Venusian landscape. Then traffic resumed.

The terror effect was better than guernica and Warsaw but like all it's sorry predecessors it didn't come close to reach the expected result.

Of all military actions of the US during WWII this is the one I do not venture to defend. Stupid, useless and horrible. The guy who ordered that should have been in the docks at Nurenberg, next to his compadres.


I don't buy Taylor's post-fact self white washing assessments at all.

This post has been edited by Chandernagore on March 22, 2005 11:16 pm
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Curioso
Posted: March 23, 2005 09:27 am
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QUOTE (Chandernagore @ Mar 22 2005, 11:02 PM)
QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 17 2005, 10:48 AM)
In the first two weeks of February 1945, an average of 28 troop trains passed through the Dresden rail system, heading East - _per day_.

Ok, let's put this idea to rest. The trains - if any - were going mostly west, not east, and they were certainly more loaded with civilians than tanks or ammo for the fleeing army group er... "center" (or was it ex-Vistula ?). The city has become a choke point for refugees. It was literally full of them.

And that's where some asshole general thought it would be usefull to melt the whole city with incendiaries (no doubt the best way to destroy rail lines).
After the first day a Martian could have detected that whole urban center was ablaze but it didn't prevent the second day bombing from going in. Must have been an attempt to turn asphalt into plasma.

The military effect was a big zero : during a few days not a rat could cross the Venusian landscape. Then traffic resumed.

The terror effect was better than guernica and Warsaw but like all it's sorry predecessors it didn't come close to reach the expected result.

Of all military actions of the US during WWII this is the one I do not venture to defend. Stupid, useless and horrible. The guy who ordered that should have been in the docks at Nurenberg, next to his compadres.


I don't buy Taylor's post-fact self white washing assessments at all.

Why exactly we should put to rest the topic of Dresden as a key railway node? Because you dislike it?

So the trains were mostly going West. You say, because you don't quote a source. I will, instead, quote Frederick Taylor's "Dresden", and remind you that the Wehrmacht was sending its troops East. Besides, even assuming the trains were partially employed to transport refugees, I have bad news for you: a train transporting refugees is a legitimate military target. That's quite obvious, for the simple reason that after unloading refugees it could pretty well load soldiers.
I will also directly quote the HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE 14-15 FEBRUARY 1945 BOMBINGS OF DRESDEN, prepared by the USAF Historical Division Research Studies Institute Air University. This document is available on line, and you'd do good to read it.

QUOTE

6. Situated 71 miles E.S.E. from Leipzig and 111 miles S. of Berlin, by rail, Dresden was one of the greatest commercial and transportation centers of Germany and the historic capital of the important and populous state of Saxony.4 It was, however, because of its geographical location and topography and as a primary communications center that Dresden assumed major significance as a military target in February 1945, as the Allied ground forces moved eastward and the Russian armies moved westward in the great combined operations designed to entrap and crush the Germans into final defeat.
7. Geographically and topographically, Dresden commanded two great and historic traffic routes of primary military significance: north-south between Germany and Czechoslovakia through the valley and gorge of the Elbe river, and east-west along the foot of the central European uplands.5 The geographical and topographical importance of Dresden as the lower bastion in the vast Allied-Russian war of movement against the Germans in the closing months of the war in Europe.
8. As a primary communications center, Dresden was the junction of three great trunk routes in the German railway system: (1) Berlin-Prague-Vienna, (2) Munich-Breslau, and (3) Hamburg-Leipzig. As a key center in the dense Berlin-Leipzig railway complex, Dresden was connected to both cities by two main lines.6 The density, volume, and importance of the Dresden-Saxony railway system within the German geography and e economy is seen in the facts that in 1939 Saxony was seventh in area among the major German states, ranked seventh in its railway mileage, but ranked third in the total tonnage carried by rail.7


In February 1945, the Soviet offensive was in full swing, and pursuant to the Yalta agreements, the Soviet requests, and Operation Thunderclap, Dresden was a totally sensible military target as a key junction of the German logistical system feeding their faltering Eastern Front.
It's interesting to note what happened the main rail and road bridges over the Elbe, close to the city centre, and I quote again from the document cited above instead of relying on myth,

QUOTE

The city’s passenger terminals and major freight stations, warehouses, and storage sheds were, when not totally destroyed, so severely damaged that they were unusable. Roundhouses, railway repair and work shops, coal stations, and other operating facilities, were destroyed, gutted, or severely damaged. The railway bridges over the Elbe river--vital to incoming and outgoing traffic--were rendered unusable and remained closed to traffic for many weeks after the raids.


As to your ridiculous claims about the overkill value of the second raid, that only shows you don't know what you are talking about. The subsequent attacks, the daylight ones, carried out by the US 8th Air Force, weren't an attempt to "melt asphalt". They were exactly the higher-precision bombing of marshalling yards, and all of the specific targets listed above. But then again, maybe you are not just misguided and misinformed in good faith. If you want to put to rest the topic of the bombing of railways, you must choose to ignore the specific attacks against them, right?
As to your insistence on incendiaries, you probably don't know, or don't want to know, that the RAF Bomber Command employed 772 heavy bombers, 1477.7 tons of high explosive and 1181.6 tons of incendiary bombs, and American Eighth Air Force employed a total of 527 heavy bombers, 953.3 tons of high explosive and 294.3 tons of incendiary bombs, in the 14-15 February bombings of Dresden. In other words, more HE bombs were used than incendiaries.

The military result was what was listed above, not a big zero. The rail bridges were unusable for weeks, that is, effectively, to the end of the war. This does not include the effect on the war industries. The official German reports list 199 damaged industries, 136 of them with heavy damage, 28 medium damage, 35 light damage. Of these, 41 were considered key elements of military production. Of course, both the damaged and undamaged war industries were largely unable to reach the same production levels as before the bombings, because they lacked the workforce.

As to your claim that the top Allied air commanders should have been tried for war crimes - not one Axis commander was charged, prosecuted or sentenced for bombing a city, so claiming the Allied ones should is ludicrous.

Finally, you don't like Taylor. Fine. Show your sources, then.
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Curioso
Posted: March 23, 2005 09:31 am
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QUOTE (Imperialist @ Mar 22 2005, 08:06 PM)
QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 22 2005, 06:41 PM)

Yes, the railways passed through the center of the city. Have you considered the possibility of basing your doubts upon some actual knowledge, say, by casting a glance on a city map?

And yes, part of the strategy was city busting. Cities happen to contain industries, marshalling yards, and such things. It was only part of the bombing campaign strategy, which included targets such as the refineries, etc.

I'm glad to see that, anyway, you do not question that the rail traffic was hamstrung. I recommend you to read Frederick Taylor's book about Dresden.

What I said was that the target was the city as a whole, with all its roads, industry, railways and people, it was not the railway and the city just happened to be there along its way.

I dont have a map of Dresden, but I doubt a city has a railway in its center or in the old districts.

Also, I think by 1945 air superiority was achieved, deep interdiction could have been achieved by fighter sorties, not strategic bombers blowing to smithereens railway knots along with the adjacent cities.

First thing, I'm impressed by the way in which you want to discuss things you don't know enough about, and rather than relying on information you could easily acquire, you prefer to rely on your suspects and impressions. Weird.

Of course the rail lines and the main station and the marshalling yards were not contained in the actual old medieval city centre. But then we'd need to define what the "city centre" is. The area which was indeed destroyed for about a 75%, that is, the percentage you incorrectly referred to the whole city? If we look at the area that according to Götz Bergander, was indeed destroyed for about a 75%, it includes the Hauptbanhof.
Would you prefer to look at the targeting area employed by the British? OK, the Hauptbanhof isn't included. But look, the three main bridges over the Elbe curve are. Interesting, isn't it?

Of course the whole city was targeted. With all its contents. That's the way things went. That doesn't mean the "psychological" or "morale" effect was the only result sought, as it is obvious by reading the actual results.

Or, are you really suggesting that in 1945 the Allies should have not employed all of their might to defeat an enemy that was still fighting? That would be childish.
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 23, 2005 11:23 am
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QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 23 2005, 09:27 AM)
So the trains were mostly going West. You say, because you don't quote a source.

Why should I need a source to give my own view of these events ? I can use my brain and make my own analysis just like Taylor (minus the spin).

QUOTE
I will, instead, quote Frederick Taylor's "Dresden"


Spare me that. Tell me what you think, not what Taylor says.

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I have bad news for you: a train transporting refugees is a legitimate military target.


I’m sure Göring would have agreed with you. Hell, I can even justify the death camps. All I need is to win the war and write the story.

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That's quite obvious, for the simple reason that after unloading refugees it could pretty well load soldiers.


The manpower (replacement/ reinforcement) situation of the Wehrmacht in Silesia/Saxony by that time did not require a rail node like Dresden to function. There wasn’t that much to transport anymore. Even if there was, the weakest element in the transportation system has already become the rolling material, not the status of the railroad net. But it probably ended up hindering the Russians and the refugees far more than an army soon in full retreat.

QUOTE
I will also directly quote the HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE 14-15 FEBRUARY 1945 BOMBINGS OF DRESDEN, prepared by the USAF Historical Division Research Studies Institute Air University. This document is available on line, and you'd do good to read it.


Oh yes. That would be the airforce self-justification for it’s own questionable actions ? I'm sure if you would have let Speer judge himself instead of the allied comission he would have reached very different conclusions.

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As to your ridiculous claims about the overkill value of the second raid, that only shows you don't know what you are talking about.


You impress me.

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They were exactly the higher-precision bombing of marshalling yards, and all of the specific targets listed above.


High precision bombing in the Dresden raid ? I guess that I am supposed to laugh here.

QUOTE
But then again, maybe you are not just misguided and misinformed in good faith.


Well, go, on. Make some ad hominem attacks. Makes up for the lack of arguments.

QUOTE
As to your insistence on incendiaries, you probably don't know, or don't want to know, that the RAF Bomber Command employed 772 heavy bombers, 1477.7 tons of high explosive and 1181.6 tons of incendiary bombs, and American Eighth Air Force employed a total of 527 heavy bombers, 953.3 tons of high explosive and 294.3 tons of incendiary bombs, in the 14-15 February bombings of Dresden. In other words, more HE bombs were used than incendiaries.


What has it to do with the price of the fish ? It was a joint operation. That A or B carries more or less incendiary bombs doesn’t matter. These things were agreed upon in beforehand. Don’t tell me they didn’t knew what the other was supposed to do.

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The military result was what was listed above, not a big zero. The rail bridges were unusable for weeks, that is, effectively, to the end of the war.


You mean the Soviets could not longer use them to drive on Berlin ?

QUOTE
Finally, you don't like Taylor. Fine. Show your sources, then.


If I needed to I could show almost everything else, common sense included. Taylor is the alien fish in the pond. He makes himself the apologist of mass murder from the sky. Not even a convincing one. But I understand he is necessary to ease some people's conscience or shove away a guilt feeling.

This post has been edited by Chandernagore on March 23, 2005 01:15 pm
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 23, 2005 11:46 am
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QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 23 2005, 09:31 AM)
First thing, I'm impressed by the way in which you want to discuss things you don't know enough about, and rather than relying on information you could easily acquire, you prefer to rely on your suspects and impressions. Weird.

Second, I'm impressed with your debating skills which requires to mock anyone who happens to disagree with your views (thats is : the views of Taylor).

Weird.
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Curioso
Posted: March 23, 2005 01:31 pm
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QUOTE (Chandernagore @ Mar 23 2005, 11:23 AM)
QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 23 2005, 09:27 AM)
So the trains were mostly going West. You say, because you don't quote a source.

Why should I need a source to give my own view of these events ? I can use my brain and make my own analysis just like Taylor (minus the spin).

QUOTE
I will, instead, quote Frederick Taylor's "Dresden"


Spare me that. Tell me what you think, not what Taylor says.

QUOTE
I have bad news for you: a train transporting refugees is a legitimate military target.


I’m sure Göring would have agreed with you. Hell, I can even justify the death camps. All I need is to win the war and write the story.

QUOTE
That's quite obvious, for the simple reason that after unloading refugees it could pretty well load soldiers.


The manpower (replacement/ reinforcement) situation of the Wehrmacht in Silesia/Saxony by that time did not require a rail node like Dresden to function. There wasn’t that much to transport anymore. Even if there was, the weakest element in the transportation system has already become the rolling material, not the status of the railroad net. But it probably ended up hindering the Russians and the refugees far more than an army soon in full retreat.

QUOTE
I will also directly quote the HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE 14-15 FEBRUARY 1945 BOMBINGS OF DRESDEN, prepared by the USAF Historical Division Research Studies Institute Air University. This document is available on line, and you'd do good to read it.


Oh yes. That would be the airforce self-justification for it’s own questionable actions ? I'm sure if you would have let Speer judge himself instead of the allied comission he would have reached very different conclusions.

QUOTE
As to your ridiculous claims about the overkill value of the second raid, that only shows you don't know what you are talking about.


You impress me.

QUOTE
They were exactly the higher-precision bombing of marshalling yards, and all of the specific targets listed above.


High precision bombing in the Dresden raid ? I guess that I am supposed to laugh here.

QUOTE
But then again, maybe you are not just misguided and misinformed in good faith.


Well, go, on. Make some ad hominem attacks. Makes up for the lack of arguments.

QUOTE
As to your insistence on incendiaries, you probably don't know, or don't want to know, that the RAF Bomber Command employed 772 heavy bombers, 1477.7 tons of high explosive and 1181.6 tons of incendiary bombs, and American Eighth Air Force employed a total of 527 heavy bombers, 953.3 tons of high explosive and 294.3 tons of incendiary bombs, in the 14-15 February bombings of Dresden. In other words, more HE bombs were used than incendiaries.


What has it to do with the price of the fish ? It was a joint operation. That A or B carries more or less incendiary bombs doesn’t matter. These things were agreed upon in beforehand. Don’t tell me they didn’t knew what the other was supposed to do.

QUOTE
The military result was what was listed above, not a big zero. The rail bridges were unusable for weeks, that is, effectively, to the end of the war.


You mean the Soviets could not longer use them to drive on Berlin ?

QUOTE
Finally, you don't like Taylor. Fine. Show your sources, then.


If I needed to I could show almost everything else, common sense included. Taylor is the alien fish in the pond. He makes himself the apologist of mass murder from the sky. Not even a convincing one. But I understand he is necessary to ease some people's conscience or shove away a guilt feeling.

So, to sum up.

You have no source to quote. I suppose you rely on the general Dresden myth, then.

Related to this, you criticize the historical analysis by the USAF historical office, but then again, you have nothing to compare to it.

You don't seem to know the applicable laws and customs of war.

Either you actually did not know the purposes, aiming areas, targeting maps etc. of the daylight raids, or you preferred to ignore them because they don't suit you.

You impressively state I lack arguments; it's impressive for someone who can't quote a source, a fact, a piece of hard data, anything but his general impressions.

It seems you don't know that the Soviets did indeed not use those bridges. The list of what you don't know is growing by the minute.

And finally, I notice you snipped the part about no Axis commander ever being sentenced just for bombing a city. I assume it means you at least have acknowledged that. Or maybe you have learned it right now.

But thank you for filling several lines with so little to use.
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Imperialist
Posted: March 23, 2005 02:14 pm
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Curioso, allow me to quote and comment some things you've said on the other posts:

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In February 1945, the Soviet offensive was in full swing, and pursuant to the Yalta agreements, the Soviet requests, and Operation Thunderclap, Dresden was a totally sensible military target as a key junction of the German logistical system feeding their faltering Eastern Front.


All major cities are key junctions, yet that doesnt make them targets for complete destruction from above. There are other ways to hamper railway transports to the front, and logistical lines. Like I said -- fighter sorties.

QUOTE
Of course the whole city was targeted. With all its contents. That's the way things went. That doesn't mean the "psychological" or "morale" effect was the only result sought, as it is obvious by reading the actual results.


So you say that the A-bomb and the raid on Dresden had legitimate targets, but it wasnt the human "infrastructure" and its morale, but industrial sites and logistical lines.
I did not disagree, but I said that the industrial and logistical destruction was a "bonus", the main blow was against the human "infrastructure", to create chaos, confusion and demoralisation.
If, god forbid somebody was to nuke New York today, I'd say the target were the new yorkers. You'd probably give me a list of inherently destroyed factories, railways and airports and say it was a legit attack in war... :(

QUOTE
Or, are you really suggesting that in 1945 the Allies should have not employed all of their might to defeat an enemy that was still fighting? That would be childish.


No, but why not do it on their frontline, against the german army and do it way on the eastern part. The Soviets had plenty of aircraft to conduct their own missions.
And secondly, why do it against civilians. Today thats called terrorism -- avoiding armed confrontation with the opposing army (usually out of inferiority) and attacking unarmed soft targets to achieve political goals.
I understand the strategic bombing theory and I tend to agree with it (it was a savage war from the start 'till the end afterall), but all I'm saying is that in 1945 Dresden was no longer necessary.

QUOTE
You have no source to quote. I suppose you rely on the general Dresden myth, then.


My strongest source are the 50,000 people killed. I guess they're already myth. (saying that about the holocaust would be getting into deep s*, but I guess german victims are different)

QUOTE
You don't seem to know the applicable laws and customs of war.


What laws/customs? When, during WWII? What are you saying?
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Chandernagore
Posted: March 23, 2005 02:42 pm
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QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 23 2005, 01:31 PM)
So, to sum up.
You have no source to quote. I suppose you rely on the general Dresden myth, then.


So to sum it up you quote Taylor and the US Air force and challenge others to prove them wrong. Haha.

Don,'t work that way. There is no "Dresden myth".

You can't prove,and neither does Taylor or the US air force whitewashing services that the bombing of Dresden had any measurable impact on the German war effort or shortened the war by a single day or saved allied lives in any quantity.

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You impressively state I lack arguments; it's impressive for someone who can't quote a source, a fact, a piece of hard data, anything but his general impressions.


I give my own arguments, to which you did not answer anyway, and will come with specific data if and when I need it. I will not call upon the airforce to save the airforce.

A duel of quotes is not a debate.

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It seems you don't know that the Soviets did indeed not use those bridges


No, because Dresden was a sideshow in the final push over the Oder. The city never had any strategic significance to the Soviets. Just look at a map with the final Soviet offensives, pinpoint Dresden and you will see why nobody lost his sleep over it.

Of course it's easier to repeat "you don't know", "you don't know", like a robot than to actually discuss the thing without calling Taylor to the rescue.

QUOTE
I notice you snipped the part about no Axis commander ever being sentenced just for bombing a city. I assume it means you at least have acknowledged that.


Well Göring did not wait the end of the trial and Hitler was not available.

Do you need a source for that ?


This post has been edited by Chandernagore on March 23, 2005 03:28 pm
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Curioso
Posted: March 23, 2005 04:01 pm
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Imperialist,

sure one can use fighter sorties to destroy marshalling yards. One could also drop paratroopers to do the same, with pitiable results and a waste of good troopers. I'm suggesting that your proposal is
a) not the best way to accomplish the result needed, and
B) assuming it was, that would still leave a sizable force, the strategic bomber force, unused.
The fact is that a comprehensive attack on transportation targets was going on, and yes, it included fighters and fighter-bombers, and yes, it included medium and heavy bombers. Fighters go after moving rolling stock and strafe it (regardless of whether it is at the time transporting refugees). Fighter-bombers and medium bombers go after chokepoints: bridges, rail viaducts, tunnels, and minor infrastructure. Heavy bombers go after area targets: marshalling yards, with their "Roundhouses, railway repair and work shops, coal stations, and other operating facilities". Heavy bombers, with their capability to cause extensive destruction to relatively large surface areas, were the ideal way to deal with marshalling yards.
To say that one should only use fighters against all of these targets is like saying that one should land on a defended coast without naval shore bombardment.

Definitely you are right that the British Bomber Command's overall goal included demoralizing the enemy population by destroying their housing and infrastructure. A case could be made that some leaders in the RAF saw that as the primary goal - but that opinion was not shared by those who had the final say on dictating policy. "Morale bombing" is not a nice way to make war, but, as you have already agreed, no way of making war is nice. It wasn't, however, against the laws of war at the time, as long as the cities were defended. We could discuss whether the priority target was morale or the priority target were industries and transportation. But I'm not interested in that; the reason why I intervened is that a position was taken that the bombing of Dresden, Tokyo etc. was carried out for morale or psychological reasons. Which is untrue; there were actual industrial, military and transportation targets in the target area.

Do not compare a modern situation of today with what happened in WWII. The laws of war have changed. A nuclear attack against any target today is against the currently applicable laws of war. A nuclear attack against a defended city in 1945 was not.
Similarly, to apply the modern concept of terrorism to 1945 is wrong.
Similarly, an attack on civilians, today, is subject to numerous limitations. In 1945, the limitations were much thinner. So far as the city was defended, it was not considered a "civilian" area; it was a legitimate military target.

That also replies to your proposal to conduct war only along the front lines. The air over Germany during WWII was a front line, because the Germans had an integrated defense network in place, radars, searchlights, AA batteries, fighters. The same goes for most other air spaces, of course.

I don't know what you mean about your "strongest" source. The most reliable, or the one offering the biggest number? And what is the source? How come nobody in this thread but me is willing to name names?
In any case, the number of victims makes, unfortunately, no difference. I would object to the figure of 50,000 on a sound historical basis, but the fact of the matter is that even if so many civilians had been killed, and even if 100% of the whole city had been razed, "morale" wasn't the one and only objective of the raid.

I object to your saying that it wasn't necessary. First thing, you should support that argument. But even if you did, it would be in hindsight. In order to judge the decision to bomb, one has to consider what the decision makers knew at the time, not what we know today. The decision makers had no way to know when the war would end.

Finally, with regard to the customs and laws of war. Chandernagore tried to purport that the idea of trains full of civilians as legitimate targets was "something Goering would have agreed upon", comparable with "justifying the death camps", and basically something one can say if he wins the war. The possible reasons to take these stances are either ignorance or bad faith.
The laws of war applicable to the 1939-45 conflict were the Hague Conventions of 1907, and some elements of previous conventions, and of customary law. The Hague Convention IV, specifically dealing with the laws and customs of war on land, do not forbid to attack a city that is defended, and do not forbid to destroy enemy property, if this is demanded by the necessities of war. A train was a critical logistical element of the supply system of an army in 1939-45, so it's a target whose destruction is demanded by the necessities of war.
But the civilians aboard? Well, those laws also do not include concepts like "civilian targets", "protected civilians", "collateral damage", "attacks on civilians", "indiscriminate attacks" and so on; all concepts we are familiar with, and which are indeed part of international law - today. They weren't, in 1939-45.
It goes without saying that the death camps were a violation of international laws, already accepted and signed by Germany among others, in 1939.
Finally, Germany had accepted the standards of the laws of war. It had had no problem with city bombing before, when the "Terrorflieger" were Germans. No Axis commander was charged, prosecuted or sentenced solely for bombing a defended city. So the remark about who won the war etc. is the usual meaningless blather; the same standards were applied to both sides.

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Curioso
Posted: March 23, 2005 04:05 pm
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QUOTE (Chandernagore @ Mar 23 2005, 02:42 PM)
QUOTE (Curioso @ Mar 23 2005, 01:31 PM)
So, to sum up.
You have no source to quote. I suppose you rely on the general Dresden myth, then.


So to sum it up you quote Taylor and the US Air force and challenge others to prove them wrong. Haha.

Don,'t work that way. There is no "Dresden myth".

You can't prove,and neither does Taylor or the US air force whitewashing services that the bombing of Dresden had any measurable impact on the German war effort or shortened the war by a single day or saved allied lives in any quantity.

QUOTE
You impressively state I lack arguments; it's impressive for someone who can't quote a source, a fact, a piece of hard data, anything but his general impressions.


I give my own arguments, to which you did not answer anyway, and will come with specific data if and when I need it. I will not call upon the airforce to save the airforce.

A duel of quotes is not a debate.

QUOTE
It seems you don't know that the Soviets did indeed not use those bridges


No, because Dresden was a sideshow in the final push over the Oder. The city never had any strategic significance to the Soviets. Just look at a map with the final Soviet offensives, pinpoint Dresden and you will see why nobody lost his sleep over it.

Of course it's easier to repeat "you don't know", "you don't know", like a robot than to actually discuss the thing without calling Taylor to the rescue.

QUOTE
I notice you snipped the part about no Axis commander ever being sentenced just for bombing a city. I assume it means you at least have acknowledged that.


Well Göring did not wait the end of the trial and Hitler was not available.

Do you need a source for that ?


Chandernagore,

on the other hand, you have no way to support your opinions, because you have nothing to base those opinions upon. I'll reveal you a little fact of studying history: opinions are only as valuable as the facts they are based upon. So far, you have quoted no facts. You will come up with specific data "if and when you need" them? Well, and if you find them.

If however you don't like Taylor and the USAF, I'll tell you I base my opinions on Götz Bergander too, oh look, a German name; and on the paper by Peter Gray; and on other assorted sources. You say a duel of quotes is not a debate. But a debate in which one relies on data and the other on his own musings isn't either.

In any case, you rant that Taylor and the Historical Department of the USAF are "whitewashing". If it so, then you would certainly be able to point out to us some blatant lie of theirs? Some factual mistake? No, you aren't.

Of course I have replied to your so-called "arguments". For instance, I showed you how wrong you were with regard to the issue of war-crime trials. You want me to go on? You feebly replied to that by stating that Goering "did not wait for the end of the trial". But, you see, the charges were brought at the beginning of the trial. If the Allies had wanted to hang Goering for the Blitz, they would have stated it in the counts. They didn't. Apparently this is another thing you are learning now.

Which brings me to the issue of the things you don't know. Yes, I have repeated that a couple of times. Instead of blaming me for pointing out that you are talking about things you do not know, you might do well to go out, find a book or two, and study. In that way, there will come a day when nobody will tell you that "you don't know".

Obviously Dresden was not an objective in the Soviet land advance. What does this prove? Nothing. Malta was not the objective of a land advance, but the Axis found it a worthy target for sustained bombing. You might be interested to come to know that the Soviets did indeed cross the Elbe not far from Dresden, anyway.

As to the issue of shortening the war. Of course I can't prove the Dresden bombing shortened the war. Nor can you prove that it didn't, can you? However, where do you think the likelihood lies? With the average military industrial output of the city reduced to some 20%, with the East Front 80 miles away and the supply line severed, what do you think it is more likely, that it helped shorten the war or that it didn't?
In any case, even assuming it did not shorten the war, that's irrelevant. At the time, the attackers believed it would help. I will now point out something most people already know: that's the way wars are fought. Until the enemy surrenders, one tries to do the enemy harm, using the means at hand.

A final note: if you think there is no Dresden myth, you haven't read Irving on the topic. It makes for a long, long list of things you seem not to have read, for someone who wants to talk about the issue.
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Imperialist
Posted: March 23, 2005 05:57 pm
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Again, quoting Curioso:

QUOTE
It wasn't, however, against the laws of war at the time, as long as the cities were defended. We could discuss whether the priority target was morale or the priority target were industries and transportation. But I'm not interested in that; the reason why I intervened is that a position was taken that the bombing of Dresden, Tokyo etc. was carried out for morale or psychological reasons. Which is untrue; there were actual industrial, military and transportation targets in the target area.


Well, if the cities were left without air defense, would the enemy bombers refrain from attacking those targets? Highly unlikely. And the means of attacking them would have been the same. So?
The fact remains that in both cases (Japan, Dresden), the life of the Allied soldiers was valued higher than the life of the civilians inherently killed in those bombings.
Thats OK in 1942, 43, 44, when the Axis war machine was still pretty functional, attrition of forces against it was pretty risky and Germany still had resources to supply its home war industries, but by 1945, both Japan and Germany were clearly defeated.
Dont say thats hindsight, cause its not. At that time the strategic imbalance was as clear as it seems now, with hindsight. It was obvious.

I am not dismissing strategic bombing, I'm saying the 1945 missions were pretty irrelevant, as tactical sorties could already replace strategic bombings due to smaller distances and target value.

QUOTE
A nuclear attack against any target today is against the currently applicable laws of war. A nuclear attack against a defended city in 1945 was not.
Similarly, to apply the modern concept of terrorism to 1945 is wrong.
Similarly, an attack on civilians, today, is subject to numerous limitations. In 1945, the limitations were much thinner. So far as the city was defended, it was not considered a "civilian" area; it was a legitimate military target.


No. not in the least. Today nuclear attacks would find even easier justifications. Preemptive strikes against nuclear launching facilities and even the concept of "tactical" nuke come to mind.

QUOTE
That also replies to your proposal to conduct war only along the front lines. The air over Germany during WWII was a front line, because the Germans had an integrated defense network in place, radars, searchlights, AA batteries, fighters. The same goes for most other air spaces, of course.


Strategic bombings were justified as long as there were no armed forces on the ground to inflict strategic losses, when there were ground forces but they lacked the capability to interdict or destroy strategic assets, or when softening up/deprive of supply enemy forces.
But when air superiority was achieved and the fighter sorties were able to break the connection between the already weakened strategic assets and frontline troops (by fighter sorties), strategic bombings were not crucial.
Not to mention that land force and logistical superiority was already achieved both in the West and in the East.

QUOTE
In order to judge the decision to bomb, one has to consider what the decision makers knew at the time, not what we know today. The decision makers had no way to know when the war would end.


So the question was when the war would be won, not IF it would be won by the Allies.
So why the hurry?

p.s. dont dismiss the anti-german feeling and dehumanisation propaganda during the war.

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