|Bombing of Warsaw|
|Part of the Invasion of Poland|
An aerial view of Warsaw burning, September 1939
|Commanders and leaders|
|Wolfram von Richthofen|
|Casualties and losses|
|6,000 - 7,000||2 Ju 52 bombers lost|
The Bombing of Warsaw in World War II refers to the aerial bombing campaign of Warsaw by the German Luftwaffe during the siege of Warsaw in the invasion of Poland in 1939. It also may refer to German bombing raids during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. During the course of the war approximately 84% of the city was destroyed due to German mass bombings, heavy artillery fire and a planned demolition campaign.
The aerial bombing of cities in warfare is an optional element of strategic bombing which became widespread during World War I. The bombing of cities grew to a vast scale in World War II, and is still practiced today. The development of aerial bombardment marked an increased capacity of armed forces to deliver ordnance from the air against combatants, military bases, and factories, with a greatly reduced risk to its ground forces. Civilian and non-combatant casualties in bombed cities have variously been a purposeful result of the bombings, or unavoidable collateral damage depending on intent and technology. A number of multilateral efforts have been made to restrict the use of aerial bombardment so as to protect non-combatants.
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.780 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germany's military air arms during World War I, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy, had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.
In 1939, the Luftwaffe opened the German attack on Poland with operation Wasserkante, an air attack on Warsaw on 1 September. This attack by four bomber groups was of limited effectiveness due to low-lying cloud cover and stout Polish resistance by the PZL P.11 fighters of the Pursuit Brigade, which shot down 16 German aircraft for the loss of 10 of their own. However, heavy losses in Polish fighter aircraft meant that by 6 September the air defense of Warsaw was in the hands of the 40 mm and 75 mm anti-aircraft guns of the Warsaw Defense Command.
The PZL P.11 was a Polish fighter aircraft, designed and constructed during the early 1930s by Warsaw-based aircraft manufacturer PZL. Possessing an all-metal structure, metal-covering, and high-mounted gull wing, the type held the distinction of being widely considered to have briefly been the most advanced fighter aircraft of its kind in the world.
As the German Army approached Warsaw on 8 September 1939, 140 Junkers Ju 87 Stukas attacked the portions of the city on the east bank of the Vistula River and other bombers bombed the Polish Army positions in the western suburbs. On 13 September Luftwaffe level and dive bombers caused widespread fires. Further resistance was followed by propaganda leaflet drops.
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a German dive bomber and ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, it first flew in 1935. The Ju 87 made its combat debut in 1937 with the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War and served the Axis forces in World War II.
Finally, starting at 0800 on 25 September, Luftwaffe bombers under the command of Major Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen conducted the largest air raid ever seen by that time, dropping 560 tons of high explosive bombs and 72 tons of incendiary bombs,in coordination with heavy artillery shelling by Army units. The center of Warsaw was badly damaged. Approximately 1,150 sorties were flown by a wide variety of aircraft, including obsolescent Junkers Ju 52/3m bombers, which dropped 13 percent of the incendiary bombs dropped on the day. Only two Ju 52 bombers were lost.
Wolfram "Ulf" Karl Ludwig Moritz Hermann Freiherr von Richthofen was a German field marshal of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Born in 1895 into a family of the Prussian nobility, Richthofen grew up in prosperous surroundings. At the age of eighteen, after leaving school, he opted to join the German Army rather than choose an academic career, and joined the army's cavalry arm in 1913.
The Junkers Ju 52/3m is a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1931 to 1952, initially designed with a single engine but subsequently produced as a trimotor. It had both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler. In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber. The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s. The aircraft has continued to be used well beyond that date for purposes such as sightseeing.
Although commonly portrayed as being absolutely decisive, the Black Monday air attack was a mixed success. While the bombing lowered Polish morale, it did not cause the Polish surrender.Smoke from fires and large amounts of dust obscured targets and greatly reduced accuracy. As a result, Luftwaffe bombers dropped a significant amount of their bomb loads on German infantry positions in the northwest suburbs of the city, leading to acrimonious discussions between Luftwaffe and Army commanders. The tonnage dropped combined with only approximate delivery on target and the short duration does not begin to approximate the intensity of attacks major European cities were subsequently to suffer.
However, on 26 September three key forts in the city defenses were captured, and the Polish garrison offered its surrender - on 27 September German troops entered the city. By estimates around 20,000 to 25,000 civilians were killed,40 percent of the buildings in the city were damaged and 10 percent of the buildings destroyed. However, some of the damage was the result of ground artillery fire and not solely caused by aerial bombing—including intense street fighting between German infantry and armor units and Polish infantry and artillery.
The September 25 raid was an example of terror bombing, with the aim of breaking Polish morale and forcing a Polish surrender. However, according to the laws of war in 1939, Warsaw was a defended military target and the Luftwaffe raid could be construed as a legitimate military operation.
The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against Britain in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and is the German word for 'lightning'.
The Baedeker Blitz or Baedeker raids were a series of attacks by the Luftwaffe on English cities during the Second World War.
Strategic bombing during World War II was the sustained aerial attack on railways, harbours, cities, workers' and civilian housing, and industrial districts in enemy territory during World War II. Strategic bombing is a military strategy which is distinct from both close air support of ground forces and tactical air power.
The Siege of Warsaw in 1939 was fought between the Polish Warsaw Army garrisoned and entrenched in Warsaw and the invading German Army.
Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany, was subject to 363 air raids during the Second World War. It was bombed by the RAF Bomber Command between 1940 and 1945, by the USAAF Eighth Air Force between 1943 and 1945, and the French Air Force between 1944 and 1945 as part of the Allied campaign of strategic bombing of Germany. It was also attacked by aircraft of the Red Air Force, especially in 1945 as Soviet forces closed on the city. British bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs; the Americans dropped 23,000 tons. As the bombings continued more and more people moved out. By May 1945, 1.7 million people had fled.
The bombing of Wieluń comprised air raids on the Polish town of Wieluń by Germany's Luftwaffe on 1 September 1939. The Luftwaffe began bombing Wieluń in the early morning on the first day of World War II. The bombing has been described by several historians as the first act of World War II, but this claim, and the precise time the town was bombed, have been disputed by other historians. Regardless of the precise time, the air raids on the town were among the first aerial bombings of the war.
The Siege of Sevastopol also known as the Defence of Sevastopol or the Battle of Sevastopol was a military battle that took place on the Eastern Front of the Second World War. The campaign was fought by the Axis powers of Germany, Romania, and Italy against the Soviet Union for control of Sevastopol, a port in the Crimea on the Black Sea. On 22 June 1941 the Axis invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa. Axis land forces reached the Crimea in the autumn of 1941 and overran most of the area. The only objective not in Axis hands was Sevastopol. Several attempts were made to secure the city in October and November 1941. A major attack was planned for late November, but heavy rains delayed it until 17 December 1941. Under the command of Erich von Manstein, Axis forces were unable to capture Sevastopol during this first operation. Soviet forces launched an amphibious landing on the Crimean peninsula at Kerch in December 1941 to relieve the siege and force the Axis to divert forces to defend their gains. The operation saved Sevastopol for the time being, but the bridgehead in the eastern Crimea was eliminated in May 1942.
Stalingrad, a Soviet city and industrial centre on the river Volga, was bombed heavily by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II. German land forces comprising the 6th Army had advanced to the suburbs of Stalingrad by August 1942. The city was firebombed with 1,000 tons of high explosives and incendiaries in 1,600 sorties on 23 August. The destruction was monumental and complete, turning Stalingrad into a sea of fire and killing thousands of civilians and soldiers. Further fire-attacks were mounted against the ruined city for the next two days, enveloping it in dense volcano-like black smoke clouds that stretched 3.5 kilometers into the sky.
The capital of Finland, Helsinki was bombed repeatedly during World War II. Between 1939–1944 Finland was subjected to a number of bombing campaigns by the Soviet Union. The largest raids were three raids in February 1944, which have been called The Great Raids Against Helsinki.
Kampfgeschwader 55 "Greif" was a Luftwaffe bomber unit during World War II. KG 55 was one of the longest serving and well-known in the Luftwaffe. The wing operated the Heinkel He 111 exclusively until 1943, when only two staffeln of its four Gruppen (Groups) used the Junkers Ju 88C.
The Defence of the Reich is the name given to the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe over German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. Its aim was to prevent the destruction of German civilians, military and civil industries by the Western Allies. The day and night air battles over Germany during the war involved thousands of aircraft, units and aerial engagements to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign. The campaign was one of the longest in the history of aerial warfare and with the Battle of the Atlantic and the Allied Blockade of Germany was the longest of the war. The Luftwaffe fighter force defended the airspace of German-occupied territory against attack, first by RAF Bomber Command and then against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).
Kampfgeschwader 3 "Blitz" was a Luftwaffe bomber wing during World War II.
Kampfgeschwader 54 "Totenkopf"(German pronunciation: [ kampfɡəʃvaːdɐ fiːɐ ʊntfʏnftsɪç ]) was a Luftwaffe bomber wing during World War II. It served on nearly all the fronts in the European Theatre where the German Luftwaffe operated.
During the Second World War the German Luftwaffe was the main support weapon of the German Army (Heer). It fought and supported the Wehrmacht's war effort throughout the six years of conflict and contributed to much of Nazi Germany's early successes in 1939–1942. After the turn in Germany's fortunes, it continued to support the German ground forces until the German surrender in May 1945.
Lippstadt Airfield is a former military airfield located in Germany, located in the northern part of Lippstadt (Nordrhein-Westfalen); approximately 222 miles west-southwest of Berlin.
The Heinkel He 111 was one of the most numerous German bombers of the Second World War. Designed in the mid-1930s, the type persevered until 1945. In Spain, variants of the design saw service until 1973.
The bombing of Gorky by the German Luftwaffe was the most destructive attack on Soviet war production on the Eastern Front in World War II. It lasted intermittently from October 1941 - June 1943, with 43 raids carried out.