The aerial bombardment of Germany from 1941 to 1945 achieved tremendous destruction of German cities and left 600,000 dead civilians. Allied Aircrews operating over Germany had an increased chance of dying with every mission. Initial Allied bombardments were highly inaccurate with some bombs faling 20km from the target. The Allies introduced pathfinder aircraft, aluminium foil to disrupt enemy radar, aerial photography to ensure the target was destroyed and if at first unsuccessful, aircraft were required to circle and bomb until the photographic evidence confirmed, with often fatal consequences.880 hectares of London were destroyed, whereas 12,000 hectares of German cities, 33% of Berlin, were turned to rubble. Allied aircrews suffered 250,000 casualties, the RAF alone endured 56,000 casualties. From 25-25 July 1943 onwards Hamburg suffered devastating day and night bombing raids where fires killed 40,000 and rendered 600,000 homeless. The bombing of Schweinfurt 14th October 1943 by 291 B-17 cost the attackers 82 planes shot down and 640 men killed, a loss quota of 28.2%, considered intolerable by US command, loss of production of ball bearings did not amount to Allied expectations. What price war? Germany developed an early computerised anti-aircraft system whereby guns were aimed using a grid system, the guns only had to be loaded.
Lone JU88 aircraft picked off damaged returning aircraft.Kurt Vonnegut's recent passing (Gore Vidal described him as the worst American writer) reminded us of his time as a POW in Dresden, Germany. The U.S 8th Air Force bombed the refugee crammed city of Dresden by day 14th February 1945, the RAF bombed by night, 15th February. The memorial plaque at the bomb destroyed Church, restored in 2006, states 35,000 deaths, in fact some 135,000 perished. Dresden was not a military target. Vonnegut was paid by the number of corpses he buried! Vonnegut described the bombing of Dresden as the defining moment of his life, he came out of retirement to challenge President Bush in his writings. Vonnegut was housed as a POW in Slaughterhouse Five (SclossHof Funf) this was the subject of the Optometrist's journey to Tralsfamidor or an ethereal Utopia where aliens marvelled at the primitive earthlings they had captured. Vonnegut was proud of his Germanic origins.