July 24th 1943 - Air raid on Hamburg - Operation Gomorrah


Operation Gomorrah was the military code name for a series of air strikes, which were carried out over Hamburg by the British Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Force from July 24th to August 3rd of 1943. They were the heaviest attacks in the history of aerial warfare until then. The color footage is from a Hamburg firefighter. About the historical perspective: Stalin had asked the Western Allies to open a second front. At this point they did not want to stage a ground attack, so the compromise offered was the bombing of German cities. The operation was commanded by Air Marshal Arthur Harris Gomorrah called “Bomber Harris”. He had prepared this new type of air warfare systematically with scientists and fire experts. The goal was to reach the largest possible effect with area bombings through explosion or fire. The bombing occurred always under the same scheme: First the targets were hit with flare bombs. During the next wave of attack, the allied planes dropped aerial mines, which tore open roofs and house walls thereby creating a large attack surface for the fire and phosphor bombs which were to follow. The ensuing fires were so strong that they would ignite firestorms. The fire consumed so much oxygen that many of the victims suffocated in their bunkers. Furthermore, most shelters were inadequate to withstand the explosion power of the new aerial mines and bombs. The air raids claimed 34,000 lives and injured 125,000. Large parts of Hamburg had been completely destroyed.

Länge: 00:01:54 | O-Ton: nein | Farbe: ja | Jahr: 1943 | Clip-ID: JHT000292E




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