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The Air Raid of Dresden

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 4 months ago

The Air Raid of Dresden

           The air raid of Dresden, which took place on the night of February 13th and persisted through the early morning hours of February 14th, was the second worst bombing of a German city during the war. The amount of bombs dropped on Dresden did not compare to the amount dropped on other German cities. As a matter of fact Dresden did not even make the top twenty list of bombs dropped by the ton. The allied forces knew that the city’s' structures and composure were perfectly set for destruction. They used a method called "the fan" (Friedrich 310) which is a quarter of a circle. The people of Dresden had a twenty-five minute warning given by air raid sirens. What use are warnings and air raid sirens without bunkers or protective shelters of which Dresden had none. After these twenty-five minutes had passed the bombers began to spread out over the area of the fan and they dropped their bombs.


          The bombing caused an immense amount of fire, concussive blasts, and explosions. Normally the first bombs dropped were huge one to two ton bombs, called cookies, which blasted the roofs off of buildings and homes. The bombs following were four pound incendiary sticks which are more or less gigantic flares that spew fire. They landed in the homes which had their roofs blasted off and set the wooden buildings aflame. The fires started by the bigger bombs lit the incendiaries on fire. The closely woven together city of Dresden went up in flames. As the minutes passed the smaller fires found each other and grew until the majority of the city was engulfed in one huge fire. The firestorm covered three quarters of the city but according to the allies it only resulted in 12,000 deaths (Friedrich 313). The city had over six hundred thousand residents and had more than that in its company in refugees. This totals to over one million people. That’s roughly one percent of the population of Dresden at the time of the bombing. The numbers don’t make sense to me. After the initial bombing of Dresden by the RAF (Royal Air Force) the USAAF (United States of America Air Force) commenced their bombing around 1:15 in the morning of February 14th.


          There was roughly a ninety minute gap between the completion of the RAF’s bombing campaign and the beginning of the USAAF’s campaign. The British and American Air forces came up with this form of attack because they assumed the survivors would be emerging from their cellars and many more lives would be lost (Friedrich 314). In total the deaths for Dresden are listed as between twenty-five and thirty thousand people. Many sources over the years have listed the total number of deaths in Dresden from twenty five thousand to over five hundred thousand. Many of these sources are said to be unreliable but German sources after the bombing said the death count was roughly around two hundred and twenty thousand. In all reality the total number of deaths is hard to tally because thousand of people were incinerated leaving no remains whatsoever.

Next Page: The Allies and Their Excuse for the Raid




  • Jorg. Friedrich. The Fire: The Bombing of Germany. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

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