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Likely Target in Britain for Fire Bombing


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#1 Hairog

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 01:26 AM

What would be a good target similar to Dresden late in the war in Britain? If the Germans could pull it off either by special V2s or romote control bombers etc., what would be a good target to "avenge" Dresden? Any cities with oil depots, lots of wood structures etc. that would burn the way Dresden did?
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#2 CAC

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:13 AM

Buckingham Palace and St Paul's Cathedral...sacred sites for the Poms. Oh and Lords...
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#3 George Patton

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 03:22 AM

I'll say London as well. Given that the Germans never came close to destroying it despite devoting a lot of time and effort to it (Blitz, Baby Blitz, V1/V2), I'm sure that if they had the capability they would have done so. In fact, during the Baby Blitz (Operation Steinbock) the Germans assigned different parts of London code-names based on heavily bombed German towns.

Goebbels would have likely demanded a high prestige target be attacked in retaliation. There was nothing in England richer in culture or history than London. This ignores the fact that it was the seat of government, and was home to important military installations.

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#4 lwd

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 01:32 PM

The consensus on a thread over on the axis history forum seem to be that few if any cities in GB would make good canditates for a fire storm. Of course the Germans did firebomb a fair few cities in GB I believe.

#5 Carronade

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 01:43 PM

The firestorm phenomenon was a rare and random event dependent on weather and other conditions. This article Firestorm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia concludes with:

According to physicist David Hafemeister firestorms occurred after about 5% of all fire-bombing raids during World War II (but he does not explain if this is a percentage based on both Allied and Axis raids, or combined Allied raids, or U.S. raids alone).[16] In 2005 The American National Fire Protection Association stated in a report that there were 3 major fire storms resulting from Allied conventional bombing campaigns during World War II: Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo.[17] They do not include the comparatively minor firestorms at Kassel, Darmstadt or even Ube into their major firestorm category. Despite later quoting Glasstone and Dolan and data collected from these smaller firestorms:

based on World War II experience with mass fires resulting from air raids on Germany and Japan, the minimum requirements for a fire storm to develop are considered by some authorities to be the following:

  • (1) at least 8 pounds of combustibles per square foot,(40 kg per square meter), in the fire area.
  • (2) at least half of the structures in the area on fire simultaneously.
  • (3) a wind of less than 8 miles per hour at the time of ignition.
  • (4) a minimum burning area of about half a square mile.
It wasn't a case of Bomber Command deliberately trying to start a firestorm in Hamburg or Dresden, or refraining from firestorming Essen or Berlin; rather the normal area/incendiary bombing occasionally produced an unusual spectacular result.




#6 George Patton

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 01:46 PM

The consensus on a thread over on the axis history forum seem to be that few if any cities in GB would make good canditates for a fire storm.


I think the only reason why firebombing Dresden yielded such destruction was because the Allies used thousands of bombers around the clock dropping enough bombs to create a massive firestorm. To my knowledge, there was few (if any) wooden buildings in Dresden -- the bombing wasn't like those in Japan in 1945 where 75%+ of the targets were made of wood and paper. In my opinion, *if* the Germans had the capacity to create a large firestorm, it would do serious damage regardless of how suited the target was.

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#7 lwd

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:47 PM

I think the only reason why firebombing Dresden yielded such destruction was because the Allies used thousands of bombers around the clock dropping enough bombs to create a massive firestorm. To my knowledge, there was few (if any) wooden buildings in Dresden

From the discussion over there many of the German buildings had at least interior wooden walls. If unroofed they provided a wealth of fuel.

, *if* the Germans had the capacity to create a large firestorm, it would do serious damage regardless of how suited the target was.

The problem is starting a firestorm take the proper conditions. That includes sufficient fuel, the right weather conditions, and a goodly blaze. You should read the thread over on the azis history forum. Here's a link:
Axis History Forum • View topic - London Firestorm

#8 urqh

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:35 AM

chester for a fire storm and historical significance a la dresden.. Hitting nearby ellesmere port chem and petrolium and dockr and gateway to manchester ship canal..in fact forget liverpool and just decimate the eastern wirral coastline from birkenhead down to and including chester a short hop away..as a strategic target rather than a secondary targetting of its own right.

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#9 Marmat

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:16 PM

The medieval period towns, with older tightly packed city centres that tended to be made of wood. We’re talking cities and towns the likes of York, Bristol, and most notably, Coventry. In mid-to-late 1941, the British examined their own bombing (Butt Report), which wasn’t very good, and compared it with German Bombing. They found that the Germans were much better at it. They reasoned that in terms of bomb damage, the explosive bombs were about the same, but the Germans carried 30-60% proportion incendiary, while the British carried 15-30% proportion incendiary. The Germans were also thought to drop them in higher concentration, whereas the British dropped them over the whole target.

The British in a sense improved upon the Germans, they supposed the Germans dropped 20,000 2lb. incendiaries in a successful attack, so they would drop 25,000-30,000 of their 4 lb. incendiaries, along with high explosive on the same types of target. In March-April 1942, Lubeck and Rostock, two medieval port towns of the old Hanseatic League; lightly defended, easy to find at night on the Baltic coast, were bombed at low level with alternating loads of incendiaries and high explosive, including 4,000 lb. bombs. Bomber Command was attempting to perfect the tactic of concentrated incendiary area attack; the towns were gutted.

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#10 Duns Scotus

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:42 PM

The Nazis DID try to firebomb London as Hamburg and Dresden were later firebombed. On December 28 1940 the Luftwaffe had a good stab at trying to exterminate London by fire.Five Sir Christopher Wren designed churches and London's ancient Guildhall were destroyed plus many other buildings and many Londoners lost their lives.
Watching from a roof was one Arthur Harris who swore -''They(the Nazis) have sewn the wind they shall inherit the whirlwind..'' and when he became Bomber Command boss in 1942 the Nazis did just that -at Hamburg-Rostock, Lubeck, Pforzheim, and Dresden to name a few.
Also watching that Luftwaffe initial introduction of indisciminate firebombing of civilians in W.W. 2 by the Nazis was Sir Kingsley Wood -the member of Neville Chamberlain's 1939 Cabinet who famously vetoed a proposal, early in the war in 1939, for the R.A.F. to firebomb the German Black Forest.
Wood said then ''We can't do that-the Black Forest is private property!...''
After seeing what the Luftwaffe tried to do via re bombing in London on December 28 1940 Wood became an impassioned convert to area firebombing supporting the July 1943 firebombing of Hamburg with great gusto.
Also to the original poster. Your question tells me that you have never heard of the Nazi ''Baedecker Raids'' mounted by Goebbels in retaiiation for the firebombing of Lubeck and Rostock so that Bath, York, and other historic English tourist towns found in the German tourist book ''Baedecker'' and all of which had many flammable buildings WERE targetted and attacked by the Luftwaffe.
Don't forget Scotland either-Aberdeen was attacked more often and more heavily than many English towns were between 1939-43 and in March 1941 Clydebank near Glasgow, also received one of the most destructive Luftwaffe raids of the entire war with less than a dozen houses being left habitable in a town of 40,000 population.
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