Bombing of Kassel in World War II

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Kassel World War II bombings
Part of Strategic bombing campaign in Europe
Fires in the Bettenhausen district
Two people observing fires ravaging the Bettenhausen district after bombing
Date 1942-1945
Location Kassel
Belligerents
 United States
 United Kingdom
 Nazi Germany
Commanders and leaders
Carl Spaatz (May 1942 - )
Arthur Harris (1941-)
Gauleiters, Karl Weinrich,
Karl Gerland

The Kassel World War II bombings were a set of Allied strategic bombing attacks which took place from February 1942 to March 1945. In a single deadliest raid on 22-23 October 1943, 150,000 inhabitants were bombed-out, at least 10,000 people died, the vast majority of the city center was destroyed, and the fire of the most severe air raid burned for seven days. The US First Army captured Kassel on 3 April 1945, where only 50,000 inhabitants remained, versus 236,000 in 1939.[citation needed]

Targets[edit]

Bomb damaged buildings in Kassel, Untere Königsstraße

As well as being the capital of the provinces of Hesse-Nassau & Kurhessen, Kassel had some important targets.

  • Fieseler aircraft plant
  • Henschel facilities, maker of the Tiger I and King Tiger heavy tanks
  • locomotive plant
  • engine plant
  • motor transport plant
  • railway works
  • Military HQs at Wehrkreis IX, and Bereich Hauptsitz Kassel
  • Central Germany HQ, highway & railway construction
  • Regional Supreme Court

Bombing raids[edit]

bombing raids on Kassel during World War II
Date Target
17/18 February 1942 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 10 Wellingtons and 3 Stirlings to Emden, Hamburg, Kassel and Aachen.
27/28 August 1942 Henschel RAF roundel.svg 306 aircraft destroyed/seriously damaged 144/317 buildings, particularly in the city southwest. Three Henschel buildings were seriously damaged, and 43/251 were killed/injured.[1]
2/3 October 1943 [specify] RAF roundel.svg The Pathfinder Force (PFF) was not able to find the center of the city, and most bombs into Ihringshausen and Bettenhausen. In addition to considerable damage, an ammunition store was hit.
3–4 October 1943 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 547 aircraft used H2S radar; the main weight of bombs fell on the western suburbs and outlying towns and villages.
22/23 October 1943 city centre RAF roundel.svg 569 bombers dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs (including 460,000 magnesium fire sticks) in a concentrated pattern.[2] For deception, the attack used Operation Corona radio spoofing and a Frankfurt diversionary raid. The blaze caused a minor firestorm similar in nature to that at Hamburg. Damage to the main telephone exchange and the city's water pipes hindered firefighting efforts.
18–19 March 1944 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 11 Mosquitos on a diversionary raid.
30–31 March 1944 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 34 Mosquitos on diversionary raids to Aachen, Cologne and Kassel.
27–28 September 1944 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 46 Mosquitos on a diversionary raid.
1944-09-28 Henschel motor transport plant Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png Mission 652: 243 of 262 dispatched B-24s bombed the Kassel/Henschel motor transport plant.[3]
3–4 October 1944 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 43 Mosquitos.
15/16 October 1944 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 2 Mosquitos on a diversionary raid.
9/10 November 1944 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 3 Mosquitos.
27/28 December 1944 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 7 Mosquitos on Oboe (navigation) trials (some flew over Kassel).[citation needed]
6/7 January 1945 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 20 Mosquitos.
18/19 January 1945 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 12 Mosquitos.
21/22 January 1945 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 76 Mosquitos
2/3 March 1945 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 67 Mosquitos on a training raid.
8/9 March 1945 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 176 aircraft; the last heavy raid by the RAF on Kassel.
18/19 March 1945 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 24 Mosquitos.
20/21 March 1945 [specify] RAF roundel.svg 16 Mosquitos on a diversionary raid.

Before and after the bombings

After the bombing in 1943

References[edit]


Sources[edit]

  • Werner Dettmar: Die Zerstörung Kassels im Oktober 1943. Hesse, Fuldabrück 1983, ISBN 3-924259-00-3
  • Gebhard Aders: Bombenkrieg/Strategien der Zerstörung. licoverlag 2004

External sources[edit]