In his postwar memoir, Bomber Command, Harris wrote, “I know that the destruction of so large and splendid a city at this late stage of the war was considered unnecessary even by a good many people who admit that our earlier attacks were as fully justified as any other operation of war. It was dark, and all of us tried to leave this cellar with inconceivable panic. The report concludes with: The specific forces and means employed in the Dresden bombings were in keeping with the forces and means employed by the Allies in other aerial attacks on comparable targets in Germany. [67] The 379th bombardment group started to bomb Dresden at 12:17, aiming at marshalling yards in the Friedrichstadt district west of the city centre, as the area was not obscured by smoke and cloud. In northeastern Germany, the Red Army had captured East Prussia and reached the Oder River, less than 50 miles from Berlin, and was bulldozing its way toward the German capital. This group of 254 Lancasters carried 500 tons of high explosives and 375 tons of incendiaries ("fire bombs"). [103], One of the journalists asked whether the principal aim of bombing Dresden would be to cause confusion among the refugees or to blast communications carrying military supplies. His studio having burned in the attack with his life's work, Rudolph immediately set out to record the destruction, systematically drawing block after block, often repeatedly to show the progress of clearing or chaos that ensued in the ruins. Grierson answered that the primary aim was to attack communications to prevent the Germans from moving military supplies, and to stop movement in all directions if possible. The stench of burned wood and human flesh hung over the city like a shroud, and Dresden’s architectural treasures lay in ruins. Here the victim was a shapeless slab, there a layer of ashes shoveled into a zinc tub.” So instead the Nazis sent in troops with flamethrowers. The damage to other infrastructure and communications was immense, which would have severely limited the potential use of Dresden to stop the Soviet advance. [62], Primary sources disagree as to whether the aiming point was the marshalling yards near the centre of the city or the centre of the built-up urban area. It also contained all of the worst from Germany during the Naziperiod. It was February 1945, and the Bombing of Dresden had yet to commence. Today Dresden has experienced a renaissance and returned to life as one of Germany’s most important cities—a center of education and technological advancement. "This should be a sobering thought. There seemed no good reason for the status quo to change. In March 1945, Churchill himself sent a memo intended for the British Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff: “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. The first group to arrive over the target was the 401st, but it missed the city centre and bombed Dresden's southeastern suburbs, with bombs also landing on the nearby towns of Meissen and Pirna. After some deliberation, it was included as a legitimate target. Vonnegut recalled "utter destruction" and "carnage unfathomable." [161] The firebombing of Dresden was depicted in George Roy Hill's 1972 movie adaptation of Vonnegut's novel. Tens of Thousands of Buildings Destroyed by 2,700 tons of U.S. Other than deciding on how German territory would be carved up and administered by which power, there was little discussion about how the final military operations would be conducted. 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