Military Review

The destruction of Dresden, 1945 year

World War II left the world stories many sad and terrible pages of human cruelty. It was during this war that the tactics of carpet bombing of cities became widespread. As the famous proverb says, he who sowed the wind will reap a storm. This is exactly what happened with Nazi Germany. Starting in 1937 with the bombardment of the Spanish Guernica by the Condor legion, continuing raids on Warsaw, London, Moscow and Stalingrad, in 1943 Germany itself began to be subjected to air strikes by the Allies, which were many times more powerful than the Luftwaffe raids during the initial period of the war . So one of the symbols of the tragedy of the German people was the allied raid aviation to the large city of Dresden in February 1945, which led to huge destruction of the city's residential infrastructure and large casualties among the civilian population.

Even after the end of the war for more than 60 years, there are calls in Europe to recognize the destruction of the ancient city of Dresden as a war crime and genocide against its inhabitants. Many in Europe and the United States hold the opinion that the bombardment of German cities in the final months of the war was no longer dictated by military necessity and was unnecessarily militarily. To recognize the bombardment of Dresden as a war crime, the Nobel Prize in Literature, the German writer Günther Grass, and the former editor of the English newspaper The Times, Simon Jenkins, are now demanding. They are supported by both the American journalist and literary critic Christopher Hitchens, who believes that the bombing of the last months of the war was carried out only with the aim of practicing the methods of bombing by young pilots.

The destruction of Dresden, 1945 year

The number of victims of the bombing that the city underwent from 13 to 15 February 1945 of the year is estimated at 25 000 - 30 000 people, while many of the estimates have stepped over the mark at 100 000. During the bombing, the city was almost completely destroyed. The area of ​​the zone of continuous destruction in the city in 4 times exceeded the area of ​​the zone of complete destruction in Nagasaki. After the end of the war, the ruins of churches, palaces and residential buildings were dismantled and taken out of the city; only a site with marked borders of streets and buildings that remained here remained on the site of Dresden. The rebuilding of the city center took 40 years, the rest of the parts were restored earlier. At the same time, a number of historical buildings of the city located on the Neumarkt square are being restored.


Before World War II, Dresden was recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Many tourist guides called him Florence on the Elbe. There were a lot of objects of great cultural significance: the famous Dresden Gallery, the second largest porcelain museum in the world, the opera house, which competed in acoustics with the Teatro alla Scala, the palace ensemble Zwinger, many baroque-built churches. By the end of the war, a large number of refugees had flowed into the city. Many residents were confident that the city would not be bombed. There were no large military factories. In Germany, it was rumored that after the war, it was Dresden that could become the new capital.

For all the war, the Allies bombed the city only twice, not taking it as a military target. Bombs fell on the city of October 7 1944, when about 30 "Flying Fortress" B-17, which could not bomb the main target, hit Dresden, the former spare flight target. As well as January 16 1945, when the sorting railway station was bombed by 133 "Liberator".

Corpses on the streets of Dresden

The air defense of the city was rather weak, the air-raid signal was given just a few minutes before the bombing began. Yes, and bombing in the city was nothing special. It housed 2 large tobacco factories, which produced a significant part of the German tobacco products, soap factory and a number of breweries. There was a factory of the firm "Siemens" for the production of gas masks, an enterprise of the firm "Zeiss", specializing in optics and several small enterprises for the production of radio electronics for the needs of the aviation industry. At the same time, they were all located on the outskirts of the city, while the historical center was subjected to bombardment.

Before the war in Dresden, there were about 650 000 residents, by February at least 200 000 refugees had arrived, their exact number could not be counted. By 1945, the British and Americans were already great specialists in the destruction of German cities. They developed special techniques that increased the effectiveness of the bombing. The first wave of bombers dropped high-explosive bombs, which were to destroy the roofs of houses, knock out windows, expose wooden structures, followed by a second wave of bombers dropping incendiary bombs on the city. After that, high-explosive bombs were again dropped on the city, which were supposed to complicate the work of fire and rescue services.

At around 22 in the evening of February 13, residents of the outskirts of Dresden heard the roar of approaching aircraft. In 22 hours of the 13 minutes, the first bombs were dropped on the city, the city was bombed by the first wave of British heavy bombers - the 244 Lancaster. In a matter of minutes, the entire city was engulfed in flames, which was visible at a distance of more than 150 km. The main blow to the city was struck between 1: 23 and 1: 53 at night, when the city bombed 515 British heavy bombers. After hitting the first wave, nothing prevented the spread of fires in the city, the high-explosive bombs of the second wave only contributed to the expansion of the area engulfed in fire, and prevented the fire brigades. A total of about 13 14 tons of high-explosive and 1 500 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on the city from 1 on 200 in February on the night of February. The total number of incendiary bombs dropped on the city was 650 000 units.

Folded to burn the body of the inhabitants of Dresden

And it was not the last air strike. In the morning, the X-NUMX of the American B-311 bombers took off, accompanied by the X-NUMX fighter P-17 Mustang, divided into 72 groups. One of them was constantly covering the bombers, and the second after the bombing, was supposed to begin to attack the targets of the pilots. Bombs rained down on the city in 51: 2, the bombing lasted 12 minutes, during which time about 12 tons of high-explosive and 11 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on the city. After that, a group of 500 fighters "Mustang" began to attack the roads leading from the city, which were filled with refugees and civilians. The next day, the city again bombed 300 American bombers, dropping tons of high-explosive bombs to the city 37.

One of the pilots of the Royal Air Force, who participated in the raid, recalled: “The fantastically bright light became brighter, the closer we approached the target, at an altitude of about 6 000 meters, it was possible to distinguish parts of the terrain that had never been seen before; For the first time ever, I felt sorry for the residents who were downstairs. ” Another participant in the bombardment of the navigator-scorer noted: “When I looked down, I saw a wide panorama of the city, which was burning from one side to the other, it was visible thick smoke, which carried to the side. My first reaction was the thought of the coincidence of the carnage that took place below with the evangelical sermons that I heard before the war. ”

As a result of the bombing of Dresden, it was planned to create a fiery tornado on its streets and these plans came true. This tornado occurs when scattered fires unite into one fantastic bonfire. The air above it warms up, its density decreases, and it rises up. The temperature in the fire tornado that engulfed the city reached 1500 degrees.

A historian from England, David Irving, described the firestorm in Dresden as follows. The fire tornado that formed as a result of the bombardment, on the basis of surveys, absorbed more than 75% of the entire territory of destruction in the city. His strength allowed him to rip out giant trees with roots, crowds trying to flee people were picked up by these tornadoes and thrown straight into the fire. The torn roofs of buildings and furniture were thrown into the center of the burning historical part of the city. The tornado reached its peak in the three-hour gap between the airstrikes, at the moment when the inhabitants of the city, who had taken refuge in the basements and shelters, were trying to escape to its outskirts. On the streets of Dresden, asphalt melted, and people falling into it, merged with the road surface.

The railway worker, who was hiding near Pochtovaya Square, saw a woman with a baby carriage dragged along the street and thrown into the flames. Other residents of the city, who were trying to flee along the railway embankment, which was not filled up with debris, saw railway cars on open sections of the roads simply blew off with a storm.

According to the report of the Dresden police, which was drawn up after the raids, 12 thousands of buildings burned down in the city. It was destroyed 3 Theater, 5 consulates, 11 churches, 60 chapels, 19 hospitals and 19 post offices, 50 cultural and historic buildings, 24 Bank, 26 insurance companies, 26 brothels, 31 hotel, 31 trading shop, 39 schools, 63 administrative buildings , 256 trading floors, 640 warehouses, 6470 stores. In addition, the fire destroyed the zoo, waterworks, railway depot, 4 tram depot, 19 ships and barges on the Elbe.

What was it for?

Formally, the Allies had reason to bomb the city. The United States and Britain agreed with the USSR on the bombing of Berlin and Leipzig; there was no talk of Dresden. But this large 7-th largest city in Germany really was a major transportation center. And the Allies declared that they bombed the city with the goal of making it impossible to move traffic around these cities. According to the American side, the bombing of Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden was important and contributed to the withdrawal of these transport hubs. Indirectly, the effectiveness of the bombing was confirmed by the fact that, near Leipzig, in Torgau, on April 25, the advance units of the allied forces met, cutting Germany into two.

However, even the memorandum, which was read out to British pilots before the February 13 bombing mission, revealed the true meaning of this military operation: Dresden, 7 is the largest city in Germany ... currently, the largest enemy area is still not bombed. In the middle of winter, with refugees heading west and troops to be stationed somewhere, living quarters are in short supply, since it requires not only accommodating workers, refugees and troops, but also government agencies evacuated from other areas. At one time Dresden, widely known for its porcelain manufacturing, developed into a large industrial center ... The aim of the attack is to strike the enemy where he feels it most strongly, behind the partially collapsed front ... and at the same time show the Russians when they arrive in the city. Royal Air Force.

In February, 1945, Germany was already on the verge of a catastrophe, which could not be delayed. The task of defeating Germany was completely solved, the Western allies of the USSR looked to the future, concerned about their post-war relations with Moscow.

Before the Second World War, the USSR, according to modern terminology, was still considered an outcast country. The USSR was not invited to Munich, where the fate of Czechoslovakia and, as it turned out later, the whole of Europe was decided. Not invited to the London and Washington conferences. At that time, Italy was recognized as a great power, but the USSR - not. However, by 1945, few doubted the power of the Soviet Union. And although the USSR did not have a strong sea fleet and did not have strategic aviation, in its offensive capabilities tank armies no one doubted. They were quite capable of reaching the English Channel, and hardly anyone could stop them.

The flames from the fire in Dresden were visible at a distance of 200 km. from the city on the Soviet front. More than half of residential buildings were destroyed in the city, a lot of architectural monuments, while the large sorting stations did not receive serious damage, one of the Elbe railway bridges was intact, and a military airfield in the vicinity of the city also received no damage. Great Britain and the United States needed to show their power, make an impression on Stalin, which is why the city practically unaffected by the bombing was chosen to demonstrate. For the Anglo-American strategists, the lives of its inhabitants became just a bargaining chip in their political game.
Dresden. Chronicle of the tragedy (Alexey Denisov)

Alexey Denisov's film is dedicated to the events of February 13, 1945 - the bombing of Dresden by the Anglo-American aviation During the Second World War. This action was interpreted by the Allies as an act of assistance to Soviet troops advancing from the east, allegedly in support of the Yalta agreements.
The implementation of the barbaric bombardment took place in three calls by forces of almost three thousand aircraft. Her result - the death of more than 135 thousands of people and the destruction of 35 near 470 buildings.
One of the main questions that the filmmakers tried to answer was whether there was such a request from the Soviet side and why, to this day, former allies from England and America are trying hard to shift the blame for the senseless bombardment of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, besides military value, on Russia.
German and Russian historians, American pilots and eyewitnesses of this tragedy take part in the film.


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  1. dimarm74
    dimarm74 14 November 2011 08: 35
    And what is there to be surprised ... in the spirit of the USA ...... then Hiroshima and Nagasaki were arranged .... Everything is within the framework of freedom, human rights, humanity, etc.
    1. SL.Kocegar
      SL.Kocegar 14 November 2011 15: 51
      All the bombardments were carried out in front of the entrance of our troops, "allies" their mother, is that a demonstration of their culture (ours had an order not to touch historical monuments), or the tactics of a scorched earth. Destroy Florence on the Elbe, the height of barbarism
    2. His
      His 14 November 2011 18: 15
      Democracy so to speak
  2. Setevik
    Setevik 14 November 2011 09: 54
    Yeah. Another "democratic bombing" ...
  3. Professor
    Professor 14 November 2011 10: 05
    Do you think it was necessary to sit on the sidelines while Hitler trampled on our Motherland, or even join him? Tell what these "victims" did in Khatyn?

    By the way, Dresden:

    1. dimarm74
      dimarm74 14 November 2011 10: 43
      Dear professor ... there is no forgiveness to these Nazi bastards, no one argues with this ... and what they did in Russia, no one forgets. But there was no military necessity to bomb Dresden in such a way, not to mention the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Moreover, the Americans did this, well, to put it mildly, they did not suffer such terrible losses as the USSR.
      1. Professor
        Professor 14 November 2011 10: 59
        We were taught about Hiroshima and Nagasaki at school that the Americans simply tested nuclear weapons and wanted to present them to the world. And that there was no military need for this. However, after talking with the Japanese over the past 10 years, I am inclined to agree with the Americans - Japan would not capitulate without these bombings, the war would last longer and there would be more victims. By the way, during the bombing of Tokyo, there were no less victims.
        The Japanese themselves (those with whom I talked) to the question of how you feel about what the Americans have done to you, they answer something like "this is what we have been doing."

        Dresden and Hamburg were bombed after the Germans bombed London. In Hamburg, for example, during bombardments, a directional explosion method was used to increase destruction: two bombers simultaneously dropped bombs so that while detonating they created an explosive wave in a certain direction.
        1. dimarm74
          dimarm74 14 November 2011 11: 04
          "... However, after talking with the Japanese for the last 10 years, I tend to agree with the Americans - Japan would not capitulate without these bombings, the war would have lasted longer and there would have been more casualties. By the way, there were no less casualties during the bombing of Tokyo ..."
          This is a controversial issue, the Japanese fleet almost ceased to exist by August 1945, the aircraft were defeated, the Kwantung army too .... Soviet troops kicked the Japanese out of China .... etc. So until the end of the war there was not much ... a month .... no more.
          1. Professor
            Professor 14 November 2011 11: 14
            Japanese submarine I-400 was on the way to New York for the bombing, the emperor ordered them back and they surrendered. There are thousands of such examples. Prior to this surrender, the foot of a foreign soldier had never set foot on the land of Japan.

            1. makrus
              makrus 14 November 2011 15: 17
              There are quite official documents about Japan. It was like this, the Americans invented a nuclear bomb, tested it in the desert. When the kamissia came to inspect the epicenter, they just saw melted sand. Having spent a lot of money on development and having received such an indistinct result, one of the generals exclaimed: "And that's all!" They probably expected to see a hole in the ground, but this did not happen. This was one of the main reasons the Americans wanted to try it out.
              A blow to Dresdan in my opinion is a war crime.
              1. nnz226
                nnz226 15 November 2011 01: 06
                And what about the Luftwaffe attack on Stalingrad on 23 August 1942? Again, tears are shedding over the German refugees shot by American fighters on the roads .... Can you still remember about 1941-42 about the shot Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian women and children from the "Messers" and "Junkers"? These German women screamed with tears of happiness in their eyes "Heil Hitler!" and sent their husbands to the war with requests to find a plot in Russia for a larger farm and so that there would be enough Slavic slaves. And for such "applications" you have to pay. As in "Prisoner of the Caucasus" - "mistakes must not be admitted, they must be washed off - with blood!" Here is the mistake of the Germans in choosing a leader in 1933, they washed away with blood ...
                1. makrus
                  makrus 15 November 2011 14: 36
                  You comrade here are simplifying everything, but if you remember why the Germans voted for the Nazis, everything becomes not so simple. England and France turned Germany into their colony after the First World War, the impoverishment of the population was colossal, and Hitler said simple, understandable things and owes his election primarily to rural regions. Add to this the indistinct beginning of WWII, when the allies simply raised this "demon", later getting confused to conclude an alliance with him against the USSR. The Germans were simply left with no choice.
            2. Lech e-mine
              Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 15: 56
              WHAT SHE COULD DO? ONLY A FART. THE JAPANESE HAVE BEEN PUSHED FROM ALL PARTIES AND THEY HAD NO CHOICE. LIFE turned out to be better than the shameful captivity. Although I agree to save the lives of the Russian soldiers, the Japans could have been continued.
              1. J_silver
                J_silver 14 November 2011 17: 59
                Something is not visible with the salvation of our soldiers ...
                1. Lech e-mine
                  Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 18: 07
        2. J_silver
          J_silver 14 November 2011 17: 58
          Many people know that the British were the first to bomb the cities ...
          By and large, barbarism in this regard was manifested by the would-be allies more than the Nazis, from a military point of view, a lot was simply meaningless, the "bombardier Harris" even their own simply despised ...
          1. Lech e-mine
            Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 18: 02
        3. Lech e-mine
          Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 18: 47
    2. crazy_fencer
      crazy_fencer 15 November 2011 15: 30
      Dear professor, about Khatyn - could you give a less incorrect example? Sorry, but Khatyn was destroyed by the 118th police battalion formed in 1942 in Kiev from defectors and criminals. Purely Slavic Sonderkommando. There were, of course, the SS men of Dirlewanger, who had arrived from Logoisk, but their role in the actual destruction of the inhabitants of Khatyn is rather controversial. But the specific figures - the chief of staff of the 118th battalion Grigory Vasyura (after the war - he was already deputy chairman of the collective farm after serving the top ten), Ivan Pleshchinyuk, a Belarusian from nearby Pleshchenitsy, who were behind machine guns in front of the doors of the burnt barn Abdulaev, Gutsilo, Katryuk. .. These are the German names.
      1. Professor
        Professor 15 November 2011 16: 50
        For everything that happened on the front line and the Germans are responsible for it. Specific performers are also not exempt from liability.
    3. stalker
      stalker 15 November 2011 17: 22
      I support! These ki were German and didn’t do this with us, we had to drive them and pickle them ourselves in their own concentration camp for 10 years!
  4. hellbringer
    hellbringer 14 November 2011 10: 48
    In general, both strategists and historians agree that the bombing of Dresden was unnecessary. The city was rolled out literally in the face of our troops, who would have taken it without problems. Rather, it was done for:
    1) The emotional effect, show these communists.
    2) To slow down the advancement of our troops (logistics, supply, etc.).
  5. alebor
    alebor 14 November 2011 11: 20
    It is the tradition of the United States - to treat the peoples with whom they are at war as to harmful animals, to ruthlessly destroy all their representatives, regardless of age and gender. Even at the dawn of its existence, the United States did this with the Indians, destroying entire tribes. During World War II, German and Japanese cities were indiscriminately destroyed along with all their inhabitants. Then there were carpet bombing in North Vietnam ... I think that such a tactic is no better than the fascist "gas chambers" but, as you know, the winners are not judged.
    1. karbofos
      karbofos 10 January 2012 00: 20
      who won that and good
  6. ICT
    ICT 14 November 2011 11: 26
    in Kaliningrad (Königsberg) there is not a single old German house in the center either, forts and other targets were not bombed, it was just easier to bomb the city, there were more targets and almost no anti-aircraft guns, and the result is usually always positive even if there are no losses among the armed forces.
    1. J_silver
      J_silver 14 November 2011 18: 00
      The fortified city of Koenigsberg was taken by a long and stubborn assault, so it would be strange if many buildings survived there ...
      1. Lech e-mine
        Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 18: 04
        In general, it was necessary to compare this land with Kenyksberg. LIFE OF OUR SOLDIERS ROADER GERMAN SKIN.
        1. Dimani
          Dimani 14 November 2011 18: 20
          why ?, there is a military necessity, but to destroy in order to destroy in my opinion it’s useless ................. but agree, the German soldier was a worthy opponent ...
          1. Lech e-mine
            Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 18: 50
            THE GERMAN ZOLDATEN LEFT AFTER HIMSELF IN RUSSIA MILLIONS OF CORPS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN. And rot these bastards in the land until the end of the century.
          2. strelok-07
            strelok-07 14 November 2011 20: 12
            What is the military need to roll out the center of the city to zero, anyone if the defenses, if any, are located around the perimeter of the city? I live in Kaliningrad, the former Königsberg, there are photographs before and after the war. And one thing is certain, all military and industrial facilities were located on the outskirts of Könsberg and even after the assault by our troops some remained intact. For example, the Wehrmacht barracks, they are still deployed in our military units. Let me remind you that the destruction of the center of Konigsberg by the British was carried out at the end of August 1944, and our people stormed it at the beginning of April 1945. By the way, the Germans began preparations for the defense of the city center just a month before the assault. But the old thick-walled forts before the assault were intact and had to be destroyed. The British are the ideological inspirers of carpet bombing, especially since they knew that this territory would go to us. Clear water demonstration of their capabilities and the development of carpet bombing.
            1. Lech e-mine
              Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 20: 14
              1. strelok-07
                strelok-07 14 November 2011 21: 43
                I agree, but leaving behind a large group in the rear, capable of making a breakthrough at the right time, is not entirely reasonable, combat-ready units were needed in the Berlin direction. We are all strong in hindsight, wanting to criticize the story more than enough. And it’s not what we are discussing here, but the expediency of carpet bombing of fortified cities filled with the CIVIL population. And so this is an act of intimidation, and not only of the enemy.
      2. nnz226
        nnz226 15 November 2011 01: 12
        According to the recollections of Marshal Vasilevsky, our aviation did not "climb" from the sky over Konigsberg for 3 days, and it bombed very well, so that later the captured German commandant of the city, during interrogation, said that due to the destruction the German tanks could not pass through the streets littered with debris. But Konigsberg was a powerful fortress, which the Germans were going to defend to the last, even to reinforce the German spirit they cited the defense of Sevastopol by our soldiers and sailors as an example. It didn’t help, it’s true .... but the bombing is justified here, the life of our 1 soldier is worth more than several lives of the Germans: "and so that they do not climb into Russia!"
  7. Mr. Truth
    Mr. Truth 14 November 2011 12: 09
    Two different views on the war.
    First Soviet - "We will grind enemy armies in grandiose battles"
    Second American - "We will kill and intimidate the enemy's population, counting on his revolt against the authorities."
    1. J_silver
      J_silver 14 November 2011 18: 01
      We are more honest in any way ...
      1. Dimani
        Dimani 14 November 2011 18: 21
        I agree +1
  8. Lech e-mine
    Lech e-mine 14 November 2011 15: 51
  9. Dimani
    Dimani 14 November 2011 18: 17
    it’s not a great honor to bomb old women and children!
  10. ICT
    ICT 14 November 2011 21: 38
    [quote = J_Silver] The fortified city of Koenigsberg was taken by a long and stubborn assault, so it would be strange if many buildings survived there ... [/ quote]

    C6-9 April is this long? the main battles against the troops were fought on the outskirts of the city itself and at the forts, but the forts were whole, there were no fierce battles in the city, and the houses in the center disappeared after the BOMBING and the loss of our troops didn’t affect this, and then there was a shortage of the residential fund after the WAS BIG
    1. J_silver
      J_silver 15 November 2011 12: 29
      It was indicated above that the center of the city was initially rolled out by the allies, and this did not affect the defense capability, as in all other cases ...
      The participants in the assault on Koenigsberg had enough impressions for the rest of their lives ...
  11. Colonel
    Colonel 14 November 2011 22: 22
    August 23, 1942. Stalingrad
    1. SL.Kocegar
      SL.Kocegar 15 November 2011 08: 27
      So you think the "allies" avenged the Luftwaffe raid on Stalingrad, I doubt they wanted to spoil us. The presence of a transport hub would have helped us in the further offensive.
      1. Colonel
        Colonel 15 November 2011 20: 11
        I think that if the "allies" could, they would have poured into Stalingrad too. And he reminded me about August 23, because the monster was released by the Germans.
  12. Kyrgyz
    Kyrgyz 15 November 2011 14: 55
    The winners are not judged, they were bombed during the war at the training ground of the war, but it was necessary or not it was now decided, but then it was decided, otherwise you can agree so much on what is right and what wasn’t yesterday, the Poles were bugging with their Katya’s ears, humanists done result achieved, move on
    1. J_silver
      J_silver 15 November 2011 19: 20
      Poles had to be sent immediately and not bother ....
  13. ISO
    ISO 16 November 2011 10: 04
    The Anglo-Saxons (politicians and military) had a lot of interesting statements about the civilian population of Germany, sorry they were not quoted here. This bombing is a clear example of the democratization of totalitarian states, but for some reason Russian Westerners stubbornly ignore such a clear lesson.
    It is interesting for refugees on the roads to read their rights over the loudspeaker before or after the attack? ...
  14. Darn
    Darn 21 December 2011 17: 24
    It seems to me that the Amers and Angichans have some kind of inferiority complex,
    they all the time want to show everyone.
  15. Georg Shep
    Georg Shep 29 February 2012 20: 27
    The grin of capitalism.