Talk:Bombing of Hamburg in World War II

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Thanks for the picture, but as it cannot be seen here that a whole city is burning - it could be any house anywhere - I think there might be better alternatives. Get-back-world-respect 12:22, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)


The entire "Aftermath" section is completely identical to the same section on the following web page: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Awrootbeer1123 (talkcontribs) 21:57, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Very unlikely, as Wapedia almost exclusively copies Wikipedia not the other way round.Petebutt (talk) 08:37, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

War crime[edit]

As was already noted at the Dresden bombing talk page, there are thousands of pages on the internet claiming that area bombings killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in WWII were war crimes or crimes against humanity. 23:56, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

See Talk:Bombing of Dresden in World War II for more in this issue. --Philip Baird Shearer 14:41, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

OK, so Hamburg and Dresden were possibly bordering on War Crimes, but that's war. If the Nazis could have done this to allied cities: they would have without batting an eyelid. Why no mention of Warsaw, Rotterdam, London?. True, the German casualties were horrendous, but at least the allies didn't deliberately gas six million of them. 11:58, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

NOTE ON THE COMMENT ABOVE: You are sick and perverse. You cannot justify killing people because others killed more. If the topic of war crimes is going to be debated here, then we should not draw comparisons, only evidence.

People classing the bombing of German cities as 'War Crimes' seem to be missing a fairly important point here. There was nothing stopping the Nazi Government from evacuating the cities - the British did this to some extent, sending their children out into the countryside and even shipping them-off to Canada. The RAF (and presumably, the USAAF) would have been quite content to bomb the now-empty cities, possibly with less loss of life to themselves.
Obviously the Nazi government didn't want to do this, as it would have halted production and almost certainly ended the war, with Germany losing - this is actually the result the Allies wanted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ian Dunster (talkcontribs) 19:16, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
The German population had been given plenty of warning about what was to come in the millions of leaflets that the RAF had dropped in the preceding years of the war and which - (paraphrased) - "did nothing but fulfil the raw material requirements for Germany's toilet-paper industry", and it was their misfortune that Hitler's was not a government that it was in their power to get rid-of.
The only circumstances which probably would have made the bombing a war crime, even by today's laws, is one where the Allies had effectively put the cities in a state of siege and were preventing the civilian population from escaping, i.e., one where the civilians were to all intents and purposes, prisoners.
The moral of this whole sorry story is simple - be very careful who you vote for - if you are lucky enough to still have a vote. Ian Dunster 12:24, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
There is much sense in the above. I believe that Hitler never once visited a heavily-bombed German city, and seemed almost oblivious to the fate and welfare of his people. (FALSE - It is a fact that Hitler visited many ruined cities) As an Englishman, I know that there is an unfortunate tendency here to think that we saw the Germans in their true light during the Nazi era. In fact the opposite is true...they were democrats before Hitler, and they were not forced into a peaceful democratic way of life after the war, but actively embraced this system as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Few Germans mourned Hitler after the war, and only a minority of cranks hold him in any regard now. Whether the terrible destruction of German cities contributed to the 'regime change' is open to debate, but (especially in the pre-Pearl Harbour period) Britain v. Nazi Germany was perceived in the UK as a battle to the death, so if any armchair historians like myself feel the need to self-flagellate ourselves with talk of past war crimes, we need to try to put ourselves in the position of people who believed that the enemy were not coming to fight us, but to exterminate us. Let us agree on one thing - WW2 was a great tragedy, which contained many sub-tragedies, such as the wholesale destruction of great cities. But the Germans themselves have moved on in great style, and it's time to shake hands over the matter and write it into the human race's 'Book of Lessons Hard Learned'.ChrisRed 20:51, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm... I'm still trying to find any evidence that Hitler visited bombed German cities, so I think that whoever inserted the 'FALSE' comment into the above must either have his own agenda, or be mixing him up with Mother Theresa, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon or somebody. It was a specific criticism of Hitler that after the tide of the war had begun to swing against the Nazis, He was generally only to be seen either at rallies, on propoganda newsreels or heard over the radio. Even then his thoughts were often transmitted second-hand via Goebbels. Obviously he must have passed through places en route from Berlin to Berchtesgaden etc, but I can't find any pictures of this warm caring man dispensing happiness and comfort to the Germans. Especially at the end, he seemed more than happy for the entire nation to follow him into hell.ChrisRed 08:26, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
Hm. To what Ian said: no, to me it doesn't make sense. Hamburg was a town of more that 1.5 million people then (if not more). How on Earth do you want to evacuate such a number? Not knowing when and where exactly the raids would come? Where should the people go, where should they live, from what should they feed? And it wasn't Hamburg alone that was bombed. Any major town hit the same fate though not all to the same extend. Now if you start to want to evacuate any bigger town ... knowing that even back then Germany was a largely urbanized society ... I leave it up to you to image if such a thing really was an option.

to chrisred (irealize now what red stands for):

check for the DEUTSCHE WOCHENSCHAU. its a collection of videos concerning the life in germany during the war. in many of them you can see hitler visiting the devastated cities. do some research. im not pro nazi but i dislike when people try to make a point valid by "theorizing". -the rallies stopped when the war begun (this is widely known for those who read a bit of european history). - the VERGELTUNGWAFFEN project was speed up after Hitler visited many of the burned-to-the-ground german cities. -none of your points are valid because you havent made any SERIOUS research on the subject. you cant find everything on the net. i bet you just searched for "hitler, ruins". (by the way google, and altavista ban usually sites containting photos of hitler, so the best source for photos are books)

dont get moral on us, take your stalin mask off and quit listening to radio guevara and you will find the truth someday-


Dear Konstantin,
Strange...It's amazing what you can deduce about me from three letters. 'Red' is just the first three letters of my surname. I am not greatly political, but would describe myself as a social democrat if pushed. I prefer to get my information from Shirer etc. than google.ChrisRed 09:56, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
On July 25, 1943 Goebbels wrote in his diary:
"..These letters keep asking why the Fuhrer does not visit the distressed air area, why Goering isn't to be seen anywhere, and especially why the Fuhrer does not for once talk to the German people to explain the present situation. I consider it very necessary that the Fuhrer do this...(ChrisRed)

Goebbels had an ongoing feud with Goering, so his statements are a bit trendy . there is a famous video showing Goering visiting a ruined city (probably Hamburg). he is being driven around by his chauffer on a mercedez benz kompressor. you can see him crying (yes, cocodrile tears) and people talking to him.. in the video you can also see the famous "UNSERE MAUERN RAUCHEN ABER UNSERE HERZEN NICHT" sign hanging from the cracked walls of a collapsed building.

Goebbels was "loved" by the german people because he was one of the few who visited most of ruined cities. Fºor security reasons, or whatever Hitler didnt visit as many cities as him. And Goering visited just a few (with not other intention than to save his own ass)

i remember you that history is about facts not about personal trendy opinions. so what do you want to prove? that he didnt give a shit for civilians? well thats already proved. (neither did any of your heroes, HARRIS, CHURCHILL, ROOSVELT) but i dont see any merit in trying to distort the truth just because you "think" that a man like hitler would not bother to visit ruined cities and to assist the suffering people.

By the way the heavy bombing of Germany started in 1944 (thtat is the indiscriminate bombing against civilians).

thats the problem with you people. you are too fanatic to an ideology. (i guess you would describe Stalin as a "sensitive well-intentioned freedom lover statesman)

read books. they will help you.


Well, people like us (whatever that means) do read books, but it seems that we do not read the same books as you. It's a pity that William Shirer is dead - you could have written to him to tell him that 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' is a load of rubbish. I know it has been 'dated' by new information since it was written, but after reading your comments above, I think I would prefer him as a source than any author that you have read :-) For example the poor people of Cologne (30 May 1942) and the Ruhr (Spring 1943) would probably like a word with you about your date for the start of large-scale bombing. ChrisRed 11:38, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Kiddo, As far as i know Köln, Hamburg, and the Ruhr district were technically industrial and economic targets. Thats what they were blasted. TO QUOTE MYSELF: "By the way the heavy bombing of Germany started in 1944 (that is the indiscriminate bombing against civilians). " Obviously the allies (Britan in this case) started to bomb german cities as early as 1939. but the systematic bombing of german cities with the purpose of terrorizing the population started in 1944. DO YOU GET IT BOY?. one thing is to bomb FACTORIES, OR OIL REFINERIES and another one is to bomb cities for the sake of TERROR. THATS CALLED TERROR BOMBING. ARE WE GETTING THE MESSAGE? THE TERROR BOMBING THEORY WAS DEVELOPED IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE WAR. your source is only one book. that what makes your points invalid. one of the best books (although not the most complete) about the third reich is Allan Bullocks, "A STUDY IN TYRANNY". read it.

read book"s" kiddo (emphasis on "plural")


Nah...I'm getting bored now. You really are totally obnoxious, aren't you. Anyway: Toodle-pip from jolly old blighty, and all that. (Unwatch) ChrisRed 14:36, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
    • The winner of the war will call it "strategic bombing" when they do it to the losers. When the losers were doing to the winners, it will be called "crimes against humanity". That's basically how it goes, so both of you are right and wrong. Look no further than what the US did to Japan with fire bombing. More people died in the Tokoyo firebombing using conventional weapons then from any Atomic bomb dropped later. The bombing of Hamburg and other European cities almost pale in comparison to what hundreds of B-29s and napalm did. But because the US was on the winning side, generals like Hap Arnold were never tried as war criminals for directing such a malicious bombing strategy.

There is no winner in war, only a means to the end of it. Its only long afterwards where the armchair generals will decide if the end justifed the means. 20:36, 24 July 2006 (UTC)Buggsbuny 24 July 2006

Bombing of cities was not uncommon during WW II, in fact, just about every country that could was doing it. What the complainers seem to be complaining about is that the RAF did it on a far larger scale then anyone else.
When the rules laying down the legality of Aerial Bombing were being considered in the early part of the twentieth century, the average bomber aircraft (or Zeppelin) was capable of carrying only a limited bomb load, and they were only envisaged as being use in relatively small numbers.
As such, the view taken was that legally aerial bombing was akin to the bombardment of a city with heavy artillery, and was treated as-such. If the people in charge of a city that was liable to be attacked wanted to prevent the possibility of death or injury to its inhabitants, the normal procedure was to declare the city an 'Open City' (such as was done by the German commander of Paris in 1944) which then meant the city would be deliberately undefended, the onus being on the attackers not to attack it. This is effectively surrendering the city to the attacker.
That the people drawing up these rules failed to take into account the possibility of a country creating a bomber force capable of putting 800-1000 heavy bombers, carrying several thousand tons of bombs, onto a single target, was not their fault.
For the RAF's Area Bombing Campaign to have been a War Crime the attacked cities would have had to have been undefended, as the whole principle of a 'War Crime' is that the victims are at the mercy of the attacker, and have no means to defend themselves, e.g., the Jewish people in occupied Europe, that is to say, the victims are powerless, and it being on the onus of the victor to show mercy to the vanquished. This patently did not apply to the German cities, as not only where they defended by thousands of anti-aircraft (AA) guns, but also had a substantial night fighter force of excellent quality defending them. That the RAF Bomber Command losses for the period 1939-1945 were approximately 55,000 aircrew killed (roughly the same as the total US losses over the ten years of the Vietnam War) should make this obvious.
One of the unfortunate facts of war is that the people who start them often rapidly lose control of events (after all, there is the other side to consider, over whose actions the attacker has no control) and this turn-of-events is sometimes not what the attackers predicted or would like, e.g., "No enemy plane will fly over the Reich territory" - Hermann Göring. The bombing of Germany was just this situation, and the British commander Arthur Harris summed it up in an unusually apposite way when he said; "They have sown the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:30, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
The bombing of Hamburg and other European cities almost pale in comparison to what hundreds of B-29s and napalm did.
... erm no - the total US bomb tonnage dropped on Japan during the war was around about 300,000 US tons. The total US tonnage dropped on Germany 1943-1945 was around 500,000 US tons. RAF Lancasters alone dropped ~608,000 tons, including ~51,000,000 incendiaries. The total RAF tonnage on Germany 1939-1945 was just under 1,000,000 tons (~908,000 IIRC). For comparison, the total dropped on the British Isles by the Luftwaffe 1939-1945 was about 70,000 tons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:45, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Total RAF bomb tonnage on Germany 1939-45 was 955,044 long tons.
Total RAF bomb tonnage on Germany 1939-45 by city was:
All figures are long tons.
from an August 1945 issue of Flight here: [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:23, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
There should be a conclusion reached on this issue. It does not matter what editors think, or even historians for that matter. The only people whose views are relevant are jurists. I suggest that someone summarise the opinions of suitably qualified lawyers. I am a lawyer, and have studied military law. I believe that the bombing was clearly a war crime. However my opinion does not count as I am not an academic with suitable in-depth qualification and experience.Royalcourtier (talk) 03:06, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I suggest you read up then on the relevant laws of the time, which made attacking undefended cities a war crime. Not defended ones. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:21, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Further reading?[edit]

There should be something better than this "Official website of the film Asche-1945 (free to download) with a different point of view concerning the bombing of civilians.". Pukkie 09:41, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

For further reading, I would like to suggest Jörg Friedrich's book "The Fire: The bombing of Germany, 1940-1945" (Columbia University Press, New York, 2006). Having read the book, I find it to be a frank and well-documented description of the motivations behind and the results of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command's "morale bombing" campaign during the Second World War. MisterCat 09:08, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I should also like to suggest the following book, an account written by an eye-witness shortly after the bombings of Hamburg in 1943 and recently published in English:

MisterCat 09:46, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


This britsh area bombing directive nr. 42 lead to a systimatical attacking of the geman civil populatiuon. the british attacks were concentrated on workingclass quarters and midivael citycenters. The goal was pure terror against civilians. The amount of civilian loses were enormous. In Hamburg (55.000 dead, in Dresden betwenn 25.000 and 35.000 dead, in Pforzheim 20.277 dead ,31,4 % of all inhabitants, in Darmstadt 12.500 dead, 66.000 homeless out of former 110.000 inhabitants, Kassel 10.000 dead, Heilbronn 6500 dead, Würzburg 8500 dead etc. Churcill, Harris, Lindmann and many other bristish politicians and military personell was not sentenced for his warcrimes after the war.--Kastorius 16:27, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Maybe the British had intelligence about the thousands of CIVILIANS murdered in Poland and Russian by police batallions formed by Hamburg men, and they were trying to get even? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:49, 5 May 2007 (UTC).
Is unright undo with unright? 19:00, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, they attacked civillians, it is collateral damage. It is unfortunate, but without bombing the war would have taken longer and cost more allied lives to win. The sooner Hitler and his evil was out of power the better. I'm sure you'll agree. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tacit tatum (talkcontribs) 16:17, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Collateral damage would have been when they hadn't specifically attacked civilians. However, the operational aim of Gomorrha was "To destroy Hamburg". That is, with everything living in it. The area bombing was, naturally, directed at densely populated areas. There was no specific targeting of factories, barracks or any other military installations. The city as a whole was atacked in order to completely annihilate it. From RAF Bomber Comand's point of view the operation wa a resounding success because it succeeded in turning a city of 1.5 million people on planet earth into a death zone of 1000 degress celsius. 13.000 men, 21.000 women and 8.000 children were killed in the firestorm. Some 35.000 were wounded. Britain spent some 40% of its defence budget on the bombing war. They spent 40% on this kind of warfare of killing civilians. Shouldn't they rather have spent the funds on fighting enemy soldiers instead of mass-murdering civilians? Lookoo 19:16, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, ideally yes - but at the time the RAF bomber force was being built up the UK was not present on mainland Europe, having been forced out at Dunkirk. It was precisely because they were not present on mainland Europe that they decided on building a massive heavy bomber force, as that was the only way of physically attacking Germany at the time - around 1940. Britain - for the geographically-challenged - is an island, surrounded by sea, and unless you have an army that can walk on water, there is not much you can do short of invasion, and at the time that was definitely not a possibility. Instead, it was decided to build a large bomber force as bombing Germany seemed the only practicable method of carrying the war to the German people - it was Germany who started the war by invading Poland BTW, so they weren't entirely innocent.
Because the Luftwaffe rather unsportingly insisted on shooting down RAF bombers that went over during the day, the RAF was forced instead to send its bombers out over Germany at night, and one of the difficulties about flying at night is that you cannot see where you are or where you are going. This meant that the RAF could not find and bomb individual factories and similar war targets, in fact they could not even guarantee to find a particular city. When bombing Germany the British faced a much more difficult navigational problem than the Luftwaffe did when it was bombing Britain, London in particular, as whereas the Luftwaffe bombers were based in Northern France, and had a round trip distance to London of around 200 miles, there and back, the British when they bombed Germany had to cope with distances around three times this, the distance to Berlin being in the order of 600 miles, or 1200 miles round trip. This made night navigation much more difficult, as small errors become magnified with distance, so for them it was even harder to find their targets at night.
So, because of this, and because the RAF had already committed to building a massive bomber force, which needs advance planning, as factories need to be built, aircraft designed well in advance, a process which, like an ocean tanker, takes a long time to start, and an equally long time to stop, this meant that a large amount of industrial and other effort went into building the bomber force, a force that could not be practically used for much else. Now, once you have already started building up a large bomber force, it becomes very difficult to change one's mind without wasting a lot of time and materiel, so as it was not possible for the RAF bombers to find their individual targets at night, the decision was taken to aim at the cities themselves, it being assumed that as the Germans had been doing that to us in 1940, there was little to be said in opposition - although there was opposition, the general feeling in Britain towards bombing German cities would have been something like 'serve the buggers right'.
You see, because the British planners weren't psychic, in 1940 they had no way of foreseeing that Germany would attack the Soviet Union, nor would they have been able to rely on Hitler declaring war on the United States, so at the time, with Britain and her Empire more-or-less facing Hitler alone, bombing Germany seemed one of the few possible ways of forcing Germany on to the defensive, and this it ultimately did, albeit in the air only. What we now all know as 'history' such as D-day, the Battle of Kursk, etc., was then unforeseen, and so the British did what they were capable of doing at the time when they were fighting alone, which was bombing Germany. You see, we have 20/20 hindsight, they didn't.
So, at one point early in the war the British were faced with the choice of bombing Germany or doing nothing. They chose to bomb Germany, and once this decision had been made it took several years to build up a force appropriate to the task in the sufficient numbers that first Peirse, and later Harris, thought desirable - when this policy was decided no-one knew that first the USSR and then later the USA would also eventually come into the war on Britain's side, so the bomber force was always going to be a pretty large one. By around 1943-44 the introduction of electronic navigation aids such as Gee, Oboe, H2S, etc. had made night navigation much less hit-and-miss - pardon the (unintentional) pun - but the RAF night heavy bomber force had by then become so specialised in area bombing cities that they retained this policy till the war's end in 1945, simply because it was what they were for - bombing Germany. As I pointed out elsewhere there was nothing stopping the Germans from evacuating their cities, a matter that was entirely out of British hands, and so impossible for them to prevent, and this would have reduced German civilian casualties greatly. Perhaps the inhabitants of Germany's cities might have been more inclined to move elsewhere if Hermann Göring hadn't publicly boasted that 'No enemy plane will fly over the Reich territory'. Because he was wrong. And they did. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 11 January 2013 (UTC)


Apparently, not only civilians or strategic target were the object of these bombing raids. From a 2001 article by Miles Glendenning, buildings and topographical surveys manager with the National Monuments Record of Scotland:

"This paper is not concerned with the issue of socalled terror bombing of civilians, or with air attacks in support of army campaigns, such as the allied bombing of Caen or the German bombing of Rotterdam. We are solely concerned here with deliberate 'cultural bombing', and the way in which that interacted with the concern for Heimatschutz and the citymonument. The first deliberate mass bombing of a historic city was the Royal Air Force attack which incinerated over 80 per cent of the timberbuilt Hanseatic old town of Lubeck on Palm Sunday, 28 March 1942. This attack by over 200 heavy bombers was ordered by the South African commander of Bomber Command, Air Marshal Arthur Harris, as an experiment, to test whether bombing timberframed buildings could start an inferno large enough to be used as an easy aiming point for later waves of bombers: "I wanted my crews to be well blooded, as they say in fox hunting, to have a taste of success for a change".

'Bomber' Harris's motive thus merely seems to have been one of philistine utilitarianism; but the emotional hold of the Heimatschutz philosophy in Germany led to public outrage at the destruction of Lubeck, and calls for revenge attacks targeted precisely against the English architectural heritage. On 14 April, Hitler issued an order for the deliberate bombing of historic cities, the socalled Baedeker raids named after the guidebooks used to select the targets. The first raids hit Exeter, Bath and York, where the Guildhall was gutted: the German radio announced that "Exeter was a jewel; we have destroyed it".7

That, however, was something of an exaggeration. The fact that the German air force only had light tactical bombers meant that these retaliations could only be on a pinprick scale, compared with what was inexorably coming in the opposite direction. For example, as the attackers headed for Bath, a massive formation of RAF bombers crossed their path heading for another Hanseatic city, Rostock, where threequarters of the medieval Old Town was flattened. At a meeting three days later, Hitler raged against the destruction of Rostock, and Goebbels recorded that "he shares my opinion absolutely that cultural centres, health resorts and civilian centres must be attacked now. There is no other way of bringing the English to their senses. They belong to a class of human beings with whom you can only talk after you have first knocked out their teeth". But - quite apart from the fact that 'Bomber' Harris was not himself an Englishman most of the historic teeth being knocked out in this surreal competition continued to be German ones. In May 1942, in Operation Millennium, over 1,000 bombers rained incendiaries on Cologne, predictably using the Cathedral and the Old Town as their aiming point, and destroyed over 13,000 houses. In July 1943, in 'Operation Gomorrah' - the name itself says a lot - the week-long fire raid on Hamburg, over one-third of all buildings in the city were destroyed, including most of the historic centre and its churches, and the university library with its 800,000 volumes."

I'll try to find the link to this article - if folks are interested -and post it here. Kanitz 22:41, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

This article seems to rely on an assumption that the aim of the RAF's bombing was to destroy cultural symbols. As this was not the case, the basis of this article seems unsound.IxK85 13:09, 2 April 2007 (UTC).


The discreption of the Mahnmal St. Nikolai is misused to blame Britain in a very bad way - I will try to change that... Citius Altius Fortius 06:45, 12 August 2007 (UTC)


Surely the Allies must have formulated some goals for the operation, and I think they should be mentioned in the article.--Cancun771 (talk) 13:58, 7 July 2008 (UTC)


These sites: [[2]] and [[3]] have videos, about this bombing.Agre22 (talk) 02:52, 1 September 2008 (UTC)agre22

For an overview of the British and US bombing campaigns then YouTube has the The World at War episodes on the bombing in the Whirlwind programme here: [4] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
There's the relevant part on the Hamburg bombing here: [5] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
There's Albert Speer appearing in a 1977 BBC programme The Secret War episode; 'To See for a Hundred Miles', talking about the bombing of Hamburg on YouTube here: [6] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Article scope[edit]

Hi All. IMHO, this article should cover in detail more than "Operation Gomorrah" which was only one of the several attacks on this city. There is a lot of information about "Operation Gomorrah" and it is notable enough to deserve its own wikiarticle, which I begun drafting.
Additionally, the wikilink to Operation Gomorrah currently redirects to this article (ie: "Bombing of Hamburg in World War II"), so its kind of recursive! (this article is linking to itself).
Please if anyone has a sound reason to disagree, let me know.
Thanks and regards, DPdH (talk) 09:57, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Additionally, it'd be interesting to include details of other relevant bombing attacks on Hamburg. Can anyone please help with this task?
Thanks & regards, DPdH (talk) 02:43, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I have a german book >>Hans Brunswig: Feuersturm über Hamburg<<(470 pages), written by the main firefighter at that time, about all air attacks on Hamburg, offical lists about time of alarm, time of attack, viewed airplains, viewed bombs, casualties, fotos etc etc. You can find the 11th edition everywhere by internet, costs about 15 euro. mfg from german wiki - Drdoht (talk) 01:23, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Hamburg post-1945 film[edit]

For anyone interested in seeing what bomb-damaged Germany was like in around 1945, then there is an RAF film on YouTube that shows a sequence of shots taken from the air, including several of Hamburg, including the submarine slips where several partly-completed U-boats are visible;

[7] - part 1

[8] - part 2

The relevant section is near the end of part 2 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:53, 2 August 2010 (UTC)


Say no more Was Hamburg bombed? - yes Did lots of Civilians die? - yes There is not a lot else to say except, fill in details, or the NPOV rule would force deletion!!!Petebutt (talk) 08:37, 6 September 2010 (UTC)


This article is laden with errors. I just corrected the sentence The furious winds created by the firestorm were rumoured to have the power to sweep people up off the streets like dry leaves and.

The Firestorm-phenomenon is very well researched and it is not a "rumour". It sucks cars, uprooted trees and of course people up into the air into the Firestorm centre, this applies for both assaults on Hamburg and Dresden. I have corrected this gross mistake, and added:

Some people who tried to walk along, they were pulled in by the fire, they all of the sudden dispappeard right in front of you (...) You have to save yourself or try go get as far away from the fire, because the draught pulls you in. , from a BBC-documentation of 1973. PeterBln (talk) 17:19, 9 September 2010 (UTC)PeterBln (talk) 20:04, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Clarification needed of the phrase practically destroying the entire city[edit]

The article states "The attack during the last week of July, 1943, Operation Gomorrah, created one of the greatest firestorms raised by the RAF and United States Army Air Force in WWII, killing 42,600 civilians and wounding 37,000 in Hamburg and practically destroying the entire city." For the deaths and wounded, statistics have been quoted in the introductory section, but for the destruction of buildings, instead of statistics, the journalistic phrase that I have placed in cursive has been used. Further on in the article, it states "Dwellings destroyed amounted to 214,350 destroyed out of 414,500". So, it would seem that "practically destroying half the city" (or perhaps 51.7%) might well be more accurate. On the other hand, perhaps "the entire city" is referring to the centre of Hamburg, but, if so, this is not clear in this paragraph, and other articles in Wikipedia refer to the whole of Hamburg as the city. Coyets (talk) 17:03, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

1945 Pathe News un-issued films of aerial shots of Hamburg here: [9] and here: [10]— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 26 July 2014 (UTC)


What is often lost in discussions of Area Bombing (as politicized as it has become) is the historical context from which it developed. The British found early in the war that daylight attacks were too costly and decided, to reduce their own losses, to bomb mostly at night. Well, given the technological limitations of the 1939/1940 time frame that we're dealing with here, it begs the question, "what kind(s) of targets could be hit at night?" The only practical answer at the time was an entire city. Not a factory, not a shipyard, not a railyard, but a whole city. Even with the great technological strides that Bomber Command was able to eventually apply to it's campaign, the only target you could reliably hit at night, even at the end of the war, was a city. Too many people seem to project current military capabilities backwards into time and thus either place unrealistic expectations on 1940s technology, capabilities, and doctrine, or they make moralizing statements about the "should haves" and "could haves" regarding total war; second-guessing people that actually had to make decisions based on what they knew at the time and what they could reasonably accomplish. For those interested in tabulating the human costs of such decisions, keep in mind that NOT bombing Germany would have had real and dire human consequences, too. (talk) 21:43, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

It is a curious fact of life that many critics think the world revolves around them, and that their point-of-view is the only one with merit.
The British didn't bomb Germany to please the critics. They did it to shorten a particularly unpleasant war that was not of their making and which prior to 1939 they had been doing everything reasonably possible to prevent from occurring.
... no-one ever put up a monument to a critic. With the possible exception, if so, of a well-deserved one for Oscar Wilde. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

Killed 42,600 and left 37,000 wounded[edit]

From the article (in two different places) "Operation Gomorrah killed 42,600 people and left 37,000 wounded." These are precise figure, please can we have a citation to the source from whence they come. -- PBS (talk) 02:02, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

OK I've found the edit that added the numbers and it was sourced. But since then it has been moved further away from the numbers. -- PBS (talk) 02:15, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Incompleteness of sources / limited accessibility of British military archives[edit]

Both of the german and english language wp-articles share a lack of evidence that there is still no full access to the relevant parts of the contemporary British military archives. In the past (I mean, it was 1995 or 2005), there was a decision by the British Ministry of Defense, to extend the classification of some of the relevant documents to the middle of the 21st. century. Can anyone provide a source to this? Maybe someone can help with: service responsible, date, publication source, date or condition that will let the "classification as secret" expire. -- (talk) 15:06, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

The holding-back of certain documents is not necessarily due to nefarious or suspicious motives. Often it is simply due to the relevant documents containing information that would either cause distress to living relatives of those concerned - some reports may describe deaths of aircrew and other personnel in graphic and distressing manner, or that the documents may contain operational information that could prove useful to a future enemy. For every document that is to be released it is necessary to ensure that it contains no private personal information - due to the Data Protection Act, and that it also does not provide information on tactics, etc., that are still useful today - as an example, some of these were still in use by the V bomber force throughout the Cold War. For documents that contain this sort of data, it is necessary to manually redact such information, and this is a very time consuming, and labour intensive, and therefore costly, process. So often it is simpler and cheaper to retain the classified nature of the whole document. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:16, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Hiroshima of Germany[edit]

I can find this phrase existing back in the article as far as 2005, but a search for it online delivers wiki-mirrors and what looks like straight quotations from Wikipedia or at least very close phrasing to this article. No books turn up with the phrase that predate its use in Wikipedia. I wonder if the National archives did the same, it is after all a glossary and not an analysis of the contents of the archives? GraemeLeggett (talk) 12:01, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Let's remove it. Wasn't Hiroshima the Hamburg of Japan? Binksternet (talk) 12:27, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

What is a "DISNEY mission"? This term is used in the section titled "Timeline", third from the last row in the table. I can find nothing, despite searching everywhere, including the referenced info by McKillop, Jack (2 July 2004), United States Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology of World War II, U.S. Federal Depository Library Program Electronic Collection (FDLP/EC) Archive. My online searches are complicated by many spurious matches with irrelevant things such as the mission statement of the Disney corporation. Possibly "DISNEY" is an acronym for some historical weapon system or wartime strategy? (talk) 01:02, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Re; 'DISNEY' see here: Disney bomb. The Disney bomb was intended for use against hardened concrete structures so the USAAF missions referred-to were presumably aimed at U-boat pens or similar. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Re Film footage of the bombing of Hamburg[edit]

...the overlay says that the planes took off "on airdomes in England". Is that "from aerodromes in England" or am I missing something? While there are (nowadays) things called "airdome", I can't see the connection with planes, nor do I see how one might take off "on" sth — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:36, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

It should be ' ... from aerodromes ...', so it's probably an error in the original labelling. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Bombing was not "highly concentrated" due to warm weather?[edit]

Is it likely that the "unusually warm weather and good conditions" resulted in the bombing being "highly concentrated around the intended targets"? The sentence is also too long and needs to be broken up.Royalcourtier (talk) 03:07, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Constant bickering[edit]

The constant bickering on the 'talk section' of this page in particular is very worrisome to me. i cannot regard the information as professional. bickering and fighting about what happened and the intentions behind it as well as some poeple actually trying to minimize the atrocities blame shifting it on hitler. excuse me? thats not very professional. i cannot possibly use this source as a good source to learn from. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:A03F:26C7:1E00:BD19:F151:6157:35AC (talk) 18:23, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

Firestorm severity / Photo?[edit]

Note the trees

In this article, we have a description of Operation Gomorrah firebombing creating a firestorm so severe that asphalt roads ignighted and updrafting winds were strong enough to literally pull people into the sky like leaves. The chief illustration of this destruction is the image of the Eilbek district (thumbnail included for reference), currently captioned as taken in 1944 or 1945 (up to 2 years after the events of July 1943). This image, however, clearly shows a park packed with building-size adult trees and undamaged foliage. A firestorm with flames reaching 300 meters into the sky, at 800 C, hot enough for asphalt to combust somehow spares leaves and wood? The roads can't possibly have acted as firebreaks: individual blocks would be intact if that were so.

It seems that either the date attributed to this photo or the grandiose firestorm claims (attacked elsewhere on this talk page) are incorrect; certainly they are incongruous with each other.

Tofof (talk) 02:43, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

Aerial view of Hamburg in 1945 - incorrectly captioned as 1943 - here: [11]

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