Death of a City
287 pp paperback
BY DAVID IRVING
Single copies £1.50 inc. post.
‘And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.’
‘But what good came of it at last?’
Ouoth little Peterkin:
‘Why that I cannot tell,’ said he,
‘But ‘twas a famous victory.’
— Southey, After Blenheim.
“In terms of personal success, there has been no career more fortunate than that of Winston Churchill. In terms of human suffering to millions of people and destruction of the noble edifice of mankind there has been no career more disastrous.”
— The European and English Journal. Source; American Manifest Destiny and the Holocausts, P. 176.
“One closes these volumes feeling, uneasily, that the true heroes of the story they tell are neither the contending air marshalls, nor even the 55, 888 officers and men of Bomber Command who were killed inaction, They were the inhabitants of the German cities under attack; the men, women and children who stoically endured and worked on among the flaming ruins of their homes and factories, up till the moment when the allied armies overran them …”
— London Times reviewer on the ‘British Official History of the Strategic Air Offensive’,
Hamburg at the end of the war. Millions of Germans had no home, no places of work, schools or hospitals, Almost the entire country was destroyed and that which remained was looted by allied governments and multi-national companies., Much of the looted industrial booty still produces goods in British factories today.
Published by Phoenix Publications, 95a Chester Rd. East. Deeside, CLWYD. CH5 2AA.
A CITY MUST DIE
A CITY DIGS IN
THE HOLOCAUST BEGINS
WHEN SATAN RULED, GOD WEPT
HAMBURG IS NO MORE
WATER, SWEET WATER
HELL ON EARTH
IN THE AIR
A CITY IN RUINS
STRUCK FROM THE RECORDS
THE LAST CONVULSIONS
A CITY MUST DIE
Woven into the tapestry of the 2nd World War, the air blitz is a stark reminder that this war, perhaps more so than any other affecting the European continent, provided for the deliberate destruction of civilian s as an instrument of policy. Most of us are familiar with the major events of World War 2 and of these, the blitz on such major cities as London and Liverpool stand out as beacons of devastation. The blitz on Coventry was equally tragic and the horror is increased as we subsequently learnt hat civilian losses could have been reduced enormously but for the fact that Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the time. refused to warn Coventry’s inhabitants that their city was to be raided lest the enemy realise their code had been broken.
Sir Basil Liddell Hart, Britain’s foremost historian described the policy of bombing civilian targets as being:
“The most uncivilised method of warfare the world has known since the Mongol invasions.”
It is a sad reflection on Britain that it was a British Government which initiated this war crime which by its nature would needless ly destroy so many European lives not to speak of British lives lost in raids of retaliation.
On the 10th May, 1940, just one day after his appointment as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill announced that the bombing of Germany’s civilian population would commence. J. M. Spaight, C. B. C.B.E. who was the Principal Secretary to the Air Ministry admitted that;
“Hitler only undertook the bombing of British civilian targets reluctantly three months after the R.A.F. had commenced bombing German civilian targets.” 
He went on to say that;
“Hitler would have been willing at any time to stop the slaughter. Hitler was genuinely anxious to reach with Britain an agreement confining the action of aircraft to battle zones.” 
Churchill’s decision to bomb Germany’s civilian targets was to cost Britain dearly in terms of lives lost. The smouldering blackened ruins of London, Liverpool, Coventry and many other British cities bore silent testimony to this. The blitz on Coventry stands out as an example of such retaliatory raids and the British people in their innocence, unaware of the true reasons for their suffering, grew to hate and gave their all to strike back at the German barbarians. When the war ended in 1945, Coventry mourned 380 of her citizens who had died as a result of German bombing raids and 100 acres of their city lay in ruins. A tragedy of enormous proportions which was nevertheless to pale in to relative insignificance when compared with the results of bombing raids on German cities by allied bombers.
For every Briton killed by German bombs, no less than nine Germans were killed by allied bombs. In the demilitarised city of Dresden, an estimated 135,000 people, mostly civilian refuges, were slaughtered in allied bombing raids in just 24 hours. And for no purpose other than sheer blood lust. That beautiful city which contributed very little to the German war effort was virtually remove d from the face of the earth. It was a crime of such magnitude that one of Great Britain’s most eminent Socialists. R.H.S. Crossman described it as:
“The long-suppressed story of the worst massacre in the history of the world.”
He went on to say;
“The devastation of Dresden in February 1945 was one of those crimes against humanity whose authors would have been arraigned at Nuremberg if that court had not been perverted.” 
Equally horrendous were the earlier attacks on Hamburg. In ten terrible days from July 24 to August 3, 1943 British bombers reduced to rubble more than 6,000 acres of Hamburg. During those ten awesome days, an estimated 100,000 people lost their lives.
When a thousand-year old city of 2,000,000 souls is incinerated in just a few days with the loss of so many lives, what affect does it have on survivors? An official German document states:
“For weeks afterwards, eyewitnesses were unable to report without succumbing to their nerves and weeping hysterically. They would try to speak then would breakdown and cry; ‘I can’t stand seeing it again; I can’t stand it!’” 
Many weeks later, a woman who did survive was interviewed. She had still not recovered from the experience;
“I saw people killed by falling bricks and heard the screams of others dying in the fire. I dragged my best friend from a burning building and she died in my arms. I saw others who went stark mad. The shock to the nerves and the soul, one can never erase.”
The Police President of Hamburg reported:
“It’s horror is revealed in the howling and raging of the firestorms, the hellish noise of exploding bombs and the death cries of martyred human beings as well as the big silence after the raids. Speech is impotent to portray the measure of the horror, which shook the people for ten days and nights and the traces of which were written indelibly on the face of the city and its inhabitants …”
“No flight of imagination will ever succeed in measuring and describing the gruesome scenes of horror in the many buried air raid shelters. Posterity can only bow its head in honour of the fate of these innocents, sacrificed by the murderous lust of a sadistic enemy…”
Manin Caidin, one of the world’s leading authorities on military science subjects, who was a high-ranking U.S. Government official expert on bombing effects and author of many related books, described the bombing of Hamburg as;
“Standing out as the worst of the disasters visited up on civilisation during the insanity of the 2nd World War.” 
As National Socialist Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg was a natural target for allied bombing raids. The shame attached to ‘Operation Gomorrah’ was that it far exceeded that which was necessary to paralyse the city’s contribution to Germany’s war effort. “Gomorrah” was the code name given to the plan to incinerate Hamburg in 1943.
Hamburg was. a Hanseatic city that straddled the beautiful River Aister immortalised by many songs and ballads and in particular, by the ‘Moonlight on the Alster’ waltz. Perhaps its most endearing feature was its medieval half timbered Elizabethan-style houses that attracted tourists from all over the world. Sadly, this feature made it also attractive to the allied warlords who reasoned that such a city would burn easier and offer more potential victims per square mile.
The method devised for the total destruction of Hamburg was simple. and as we shall see, was extremely effective. The first waves of bombers would release thousands of high-explosive bombs on the city which “would keep the population, and especially the fire service in their shelters. Then. the subsequent raids would rain down magnesium bombs. It has been conservatively estimated that during those “ten days” Hamburg was struck by 1,200 land mines 30,000 heavy high explosive bombs, and 3,000,000 stick incendiary bombs. In, addition to this, perhaps the most macabre weapon devised by mankind, the phosphorous bomb. was deemed suitable for dropping on a city’s civilian population. 80,000 of these 100 pound phospherous bombs were dropped. plus 500 phosphorous canisters, and 500 phosphorous incendiaries. The affect that this type of weapon had on civilians is one of the worst nightmares to emerge from the 2nd World War as we shall later see.
A CITY DIGS IN
As might be expected of a German National Socialist city, no effort was spared to make the city as safe as possible from air attack. It was perhaps the best protected city in Europe from an air attack point of view. The Police President of Hamburg wrote;
“The fate of our cities in the Ruhr district and on the Rhine was a warning. None gained there was disregarded. The plainly increasing intensity of the war in the air led to an acceleration of tempo in the constant development of air protection measures which finally reached the limit of possibility.”
There was total mobilisation of all resources and there was no shortage of volunteers. Men. women, and even children worked ceaselessly to make their city safe. Equipment was kept in tip top condition and always at hand. A massive air raid shelter construction was begun and the authorities assisted civilians in building air raid shelters in homes and factories. The same authorities saw to it that the city’s hospitals, government buildings, schools, administrative and police buildings were likewise catered for.
Predicting conditions in which every drop of water would be more precious than gold itself, a program was started that would revolutionise the entire water system in and around the city. All open waters were requisitioned. At the city’s harbour and canal systems were built special ramps, approaches and platforms to enable easy access. Wherever possible, water storage systems were built. Streams and rivers were damned and lakes and ponds in the area were cleaned out, enlarged and made deeper. Even sewers were used for the piping of water to those areas in need.
Nothing was overlooked. Swimming pools, rain water tanks, industrial cooling tanks, wells, empty oil storage tanks; even the water tanks in the laboratory of Hamburg’s ‘Experimental Ship Construction Institute’ were used. If it is true that necessity is the father of invention, Hamburg ’s preparation was the proof of it.
When all such measures had been taken, the mobilised city looked to other ways and means by which water could be stored. The cellars of two wrecked buildings were cleaned out and the shells used as reservoirs. Seven thousand private wells were catalogued and 52 private wells on industrial premises were linked to the general system. Firms like oil companies, breweries which used especially constructed fluid carrying vehicles were also utilised. Rarely in the history of mankind has an entire population mobilised to defend itself better than Hamburg’s did. No matter how small and seemingly insignificant, nothing was over looked. All vital targets were camouflaged, smoke screen generators were placed where needed. All inflammable material was remove d unless it was absolutely necessary. All attics were cleared of any material of an inflamable nature by lawful edict and all homes were liable to spot checks to ensure that defensive measures were being complied with.
By the time that all possible defensive measures had been completed, it was impossible to improve upon them. Hardly a single person regardless of age or sex, wasn’t involved in some aspect of defence. Caidin wrote that civil defence and activities in the city of Hamburg attained an almost unbelievable level of co-ordination and efficiency.
The people were totally mobilised as fire watchers, air raid wardens, rescue teams and voluntary firemen, labour gangs, evacuation crews, medical teams and messengers. In addition to those measures, neighbourhood assistance programs were started as were self -help groups. When the holocaust was to be visited upon these people, it could never be said that their idleness had contributed to their tragedy.
In his official report the Police President of Hamburg wrote;
“… a greater state of readiness in the Air Protection Service was not possible. On the material side — bearing in mind existing conditions — the limit had been reached. On the side of personnel and organisation, not only had the legal regulations been fulfilled and even surpassed, but among the entire Hamburg population there was a readiness for defence and a spirit that was bound to surmount any test. Difficulties of a bureaucratic nature, which in a modern state, with a mass of necessary authorities as a rule unavoidable; practically did not arise in Hamburg. Collaboration on all sides, in the spirit of a true National Socialist community was so exemplary that at least one prerequisite for successfully meeting the severest ordeal by fire was assured ...” 
Throughout June of 1943, and halfway through July, Hitler’s Germany withstood ceaseless and relentless waves of bombers, both American and British. During the day, the skies over Germany were darkened by U.S. Airforce bombers and the night skies were filled with Britain’s R.A.F. bombers. Little regard was paid to the likely victims of bombs dropped indiscriminately. Indeed, the allies had already decided that civilians, even refugees were not only legitimate targets but in some cases, preferable targets.
Prime Minister Chamberlain, before he was ousted by the Churchill clique, had been quite adamant on the matter of bombing civilians. He had said that such a policy, “was absolutely contrary to international law”. And he had given the assurance that:
“The British Government would never resort to the deliberate attack on women and children for purposes of mere terrorism.”
Winston Churchill had no such scruples and was a principle party to the most appalling acts of mass murder which included the strafing of women and children refugees as they fled from their burning cities, or before the Red Armies raping Asiatic hordes. 
[Image] An old man with his grandchild: typical of Hamburg’s citizens.
His premiership was accompanied by a new war policy in which it was decided that at whatever cost, Hitler’s National Socialist Germany must be unconditionally and totally destroyed and the means used must have little or no regard for long established rules of warfare. Indeed, it could be safely said that in this, Churchill overturned rules of war that had endured for more than 1,000 years of European history.
What was to take place was carefully hidden from the British and American public. Even making allowance for propaganda-fed wartime hysteria, the iniquitous conspirators knew that ordinary folk would never stand for mass murder on such a scale. Outrage and revulsion would curb excessive bloodlust. The labour M.P. Richard Crossman who in 1964 became Minister for Housing in Harold Wilson’s Government, spoke severely of the screen of lies that was setup to deceive the public on the terror bombing of Germany.
“One of the most unhealthy features of the bombing offensive was that the War Cabinet — and in particular the Secretary for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, felt it necessary to repudiate publicly the orders which they themselves had given to Bomber Command.”
Nothing illustrates the cover up more than events which resulted from questions raised by Richard Stokes, M.P. in the House of Commons on 6th March, 1945. He had demanded to know the truth about a report that originated at Supreme Allied Headquarters in Paris which had gloatingly described the terror bombing of the refugee-crowded city of Dresden. This particular report had been widely published in the United States, and broadcast on Paris Radio. But the official censor in Britain had suppressed its publication presumably as a result of the indignant protests it had already aroused.
Mr Stokes had insisted on being told,
“‘Is terror bombing now part of our policy?’ Why is it that the people of this country who is supposed to be responsible for what is going on, are the only people who may not know what is being done in their name? On the other hand, if terror bombing be not part of our policy, why was this statement put out at all? I think we shall live to rue the day we did this, and that it (the Raid on Dresden) will stand for all time as a blot on our escutcheon (Coat of Arms).” 
It is interesting to note also that whilst Members of Parliament of all political persuasions — including Government Ministers, were extolling the virtues of Britain’s working class, Professor Frederick Lindemann, Churchill’s closest advisor was getting his own way in demanding that Bomber Command’s saturation bombing raids be concentrated on working class areas of Germany because this would give us a much higher kill-rate per ton of explosives because working class houses were built closer together. British High Command reasoned that if German workers were kept busy burying their wives and children, industrial output would drop.  It would be difficult if not downright impossible to imagine a more monstrous inhuman callousness than this. And it is the most dreadful irony that Churchill’s first scientific advisor and his blood lusting sycophants were proved wrong in the end. One can only imagine why Churchill selected Lindermann to be his first advisor when scientifically, his track record was that of persistent failure.
Who can know the state of mind of those who were by now directing the British war machine? Although it is beyond the comprehension of rational human beings, hindsight and hitherto unknown facts suggest that Churchill and the other Warlords were caught up in a vortex of satanic bloodshed. In 1953, H.. M. Stationary Office published the first volume of a work entitled: The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945. In the relevant volume, The Fight at Odds, which was officially commissioned and based throughout on official documents which had approved by the Air Ministry Historical Branch, the author Mr Dennis Richards stated;
“The primary purpose of these raids was to goad the Germans into undertaking reprisal raids of a similar character on Britain. Such raids would arouse intense indignation in Britain against Germany and so create a war psychosis without which it is impossible to carry on a modern war.” 
It would appear that the British people were beginning to tire of what was clearly a European civil war over matters; which were of no interest or concern of Britain’s, and that Churchill’s War Cabinet was determined to goad the Germans into attacking Britain’s civilian population to put some fight into them.
At this time also, Stalin’s Communist Russia was reeling from the Wehrmacht’s onslaught as Hitler’s Germany sought to remove the menace of world communism once and for all. Stalin was in a blind panic which was increased by the knowledge that he could no longer count on the Red Army to defend his slave empire. Wherever the victorious German Army appeared, they were regarded as saviours liberating Russia and its vassal states from their Communist rulers. Tens of thousands of Red Army soldiers were joining Hitler’s legions and the counter-revolution was sweeping all before it. Russian cities, largely undefended by cowed populations fell to the German Armies and Stalin, Churchill’s comrade-in-arms loudly condemned Winston for not doing enough to draw the Germans off. With Georgian cunning, Stalin reasoned that German bombers could not attack Kiev while they were attacking Coventry. That German bombers and fighter planes could not be in two places at the same time. In Stalin’s twisted mind, Russia was making all the sacrifices and Churchill had to be leaned on to draw the German armed forces off. J. M. Spaight, the Principal Secretary to the Air Ministry later wrote in his book Bombing Vindicated:
“It gave Coventry and Sheffield and Southampton, the right to look Kiev and Kharkov, Stalingrad and Sebastopol, in the face. Our Soviet allies would have been less critical of our inactivity if they had understood what we had done.”
The facts are beyond dispute. German bombers were in the words of one British historian invited to bomb Britain’s cities to relieve pressure on Russia’s cities. A British housewife’s life in exchange for a Russian women’s life. It is true and fair to say that a further reason for the Germans being goaded into attacking British cities were to relieve pressure on British airfields but in general, the Luftwaffe’s bombers that attacked British cities had not been used to a great extent in attacking British airfields.
[Image] Old Hamburg before it was incinerated. It was precisely because its medieval houses were dry-timbered and packed closely together that R.A.F. High Command on Churchill’s orders bombed them. They reasoned that in such areas, they could kill more people per square mile.
The air attacks on German cities increased and had become a regular feature of German life. But abruptly on the morning of July 15th, 1943, the skies over Germany became clear of bombers. An eerie silence settled over the entire German nation. The absence of the incessant drone from the sky was a completely new experience and Germans looked wonderingly at each other as they emerged from their cellars and air raid shelters. There was even talk that a secret peace agreement had been signed. This profound silence was to last ten days and there was good reason for it. The allies were preparing for ‘Operation Gommorah’.
THE HOLOCAUST BEGINS
As July, 24th, 1943 came to an end and the sun slipped down behind the western horizon, the scents and sounds of another English Summer’s day were submerged by the activities surrounding events as nearly 800 heavy bombers were made ready for declaring war on a great city. Over 5,000 British airmen; pilots, co-pilots, bombardiers and navigators, radio operators and gunners were preparing to take part in the first assault wave of an air armada that in ten days would erase from the face of the earth, one of Europe’s oldest and loveliest of cities.
As darkness descended, English airfields vibrated to the roar of nearly 4,000 of the most powerful air engines devised by man. Each bomber was being positioned for a long nose-to-tail lumbering take off. The engines screamed on full throttle whole pilots checked their instruments. Their brakes stayed firmly on while the pilots waited for the signal to go. Finally it was given and the brakes were released. The bombers; Lancasters and Halifaxes sluggishly moved down the runways trying to pick up speed yet handicapped by huge bomb loads.
In each, everything had been sacrificed to enable them to carry the heaviest possible bomb load and incendiary devices. The Lancaster could carry a bomb load of seven tons. In weight, that is the equivalent to that of a double-decker bus. It could carry monstrous bombs weighing many tons each. The Halifax likewise could carry bomb loads of seven tons and cruise at speeds of 230 miles per hour.
On the ground the bombers were cumbersome although the sense of their power was overwhelming as these monster aircraft lurched awkwardly down the runways. It was an awesome spectacle. Each of the aircraft’s four propellers chewed hungrily at the air, dragging the reluctant fuselage along and slowly increasing its speed until 60 to 70 miles per hour was reached. Then, each tail slowly started to lift as the pressure of air increased beneath the aircraft. Finally, the wheels grudgingly left the tarmac and airborne, the bombers clawed to increase height.
This air armada of nearly 1,000 bombers took their bearings from English coasts and then as one they headed out over the North Sea towards Germany. Leading the pack were ‘the Path finders’ — a corps d‘elite made up of the most experienced and skilled crews. In the armada itself were 51 bombers that would not take part in the attack on Hamburg. They are decoys. They will break off from the main body to swing towards other coastal areas as a ploy to confuse the German defences. As they do so, these bombers and others too will release thousands of strips of tinfoil called ‘window’ and these will appear on German radar screens as enemy aircraft and will cause further confusion. German fighter planes directed by ground control units will search the skies vainly for a non-existent enemy. By the time they realise that the British are attacking Hamburg, it will be too late for them to do much about it. They will find that the earth beneath the air armada has been torn apart and that a large section of their homeland has become a sea of flames.
During the day, Hamburg’s citizens had already been inconvenienced by two false air raid alarms but when the sirens start screaming again at 24 minutes past midnight, they dutifully went once more to their air raid shelters. The silence of the night was broken again at 33 minutes past midnight and moments later, the urgent shrieking at the warnings was drowned out by the roar of nearly 1,000 bombers and already the first deadly rain of landmines, high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices was falling on the city. All hell broke loose and no words can adequately convey the awesome spectacle that unfolded before the eyes of people watching from the safety of small towns beyond Hamburg itself.
The clean night air of Summer was broken by countless flickering, wavering searchlights as they stabbed at the darkness seeking an airborne enemy for the flak guns to aim at. The combined noise of the air armada, air raid sirens, and anti-aircraft guns firing made speech impossible. The din on the ears was enough to make some people lose their senses. The darkness of the night sky, now broken by the searchlights and the jagged bursts of flak was lightened by a more ominous as bombs struck the city and incendiaries thudded through houses and buildings setting them ablaze.
The flames spread through the city as the very air itself throbbed to the drumming roar of hundred sand hundreds of heavy bombers overhead. Smoke started to rise from the city; first as many hundreds of individual columns but soon to become one column of cloying choking gases. Beneath this black shroud, flames danced. Some were hundreds of feet high, swirling from building to building. Shock waves from the falling bombs could be felt running through the ground several miles away and as onlookers watched from a safe distance and the horizon became a sea of flickering flames, they were mesmerised by the awesome sight. Their minds became numbed by the horror that unfolded before them for they knew that in those flames, thousands of their fellow country men, including women and children, were being done to death.
For the city ’s German defenders, the misery was increased, for against the swirling clouds of tinfoil being dropped by the bombers, their search lights and their anti-aircraft guns were virtually useless. Ground defences were thrown into turmoil for both searchlights and anti-aircraft guns were radar controlled. The apparatus which normally guides the searchlight beams and gun sights to their targets had seemingly become deranged. The apparatus reported bombers where there weren’t any. The beams of light wandered aimlessly, stabbing uselessly in all directions. Far above the confusion, a bomber’s pilot reported exultantly;
“They waved aimlessly in every direction. It was a beautiful sight to see.”
WHEN SATAN RULED, GOD WEPT
In Hamburg itself, the fire defences were completely overwhelmed.
‘Bomber Harris’s’ prediction was coming true and the old dry timbered medieval sections of the city were ablaze from one end of the city to the other. High explosive bombs had smashed water mains and firemen looked on helplessly as the flames leapt from building to building. The noise was beyond all previous experience. Every explosive device known to man was pouring down on the city. The sound smashed the ears, it stunned the brain. People, terrified out of their wits succumbed to violent spasms and shaking. From all quarters could be heard shouts; and above the shouts, the shrieks of pain, madness, agony, terror, anguish and horror. It was not until twelve hours after the Lancasters and Halifaxes had left that the full horror was gauged. The city’s officials were appalled at the numbers killed for during that two and a half hours attack, 1,500 citizens of Hamburg had been killed and many times that number mutilated and maimed beyond all practical help.
All gas, water, electricity mains had been destroyed. Devastation was everywhere. The world famous Hagenbeck Zoo had been totally destroyed and pieces of animals were scattered in the area.
The radio operators in the Lancaster’s and Halifaxes were beside themselves with glee as they listened on their radios to the confused shouts on German radio waves as for two and a half hours, their bombers poured 2,396 tons of bombs on to the stricken city below. The first air raid was terrifying in the extreme to the people of Hamburg. Large parts of their city were in flames and the suburb of Barbeck on the left banks of the Alster was almost completely destroyed. The suburbs of Hoheluft, Elmsbuttel and Altona, and the inner city too were likewise desolated. They had no way of knowing that pro-Zionist Winston Churchill had embarked on a coldly calculated policy of wiping Hamburg and as many of its citizens as possible off the face of the earth, that the night’s horrifying event was just an appetiser for ‘Bomber Command’ and that in ten days time, their city would be no more, that it would resemble nothing more or less than a desert of bomb craters and crumbling shells of burned out buildings.
That night’s bombing was just a grim foretaste of what was yet to come. For perhaps the first time in the history of mankind, one European nation was to utilise technological advantage to raze to the ground whole cities without any thought of sparing the inhabitants. innocent or otherwise. This is terror-bombing designed for no other purpose but to instill in a population a boundless fear, a mindless terror. What the Red Army could do with barbaric Asiatic hordes, the Western allies could do with bomber armadas.
When the dawn came a nightmare was revealed. A thick yellow mantle of chemical dust overhung the entire city and fires bellowed smoke and fumes to add to it. People were in a state of severe shock. Others appeared at first to be rational and composed until one looked into their eyes which mirrored the horrors that they had seen. Of these people, thousands wandered away over the ruins and out of the city hardly knowing or caring where their faltering steps took them. They were hardly clear of the city when behind them, they heard the sirens screaming once more. It was then twenty minutes to three in the afternoon and the bombs began to fall once more on the paralysed, terrorised city. This time it was the U.S. Air Force. To them, the days, to the R.A.F., the nights.
The following 48 hours were broken by repeated air raid warnings, feints and minor bombing attacks. And then, on the night of 27th July, an attack was to come that would mortally wound this great city of north Germany.
It began at 24 minutes to midnight and the scream of thousands of bombs ripped the night apart. The sound of high-velocity bombs to people sheltering from them can only be likened to that of an express train screaming through one’s home. The sky, had it been light would have been darkened anyway by the awe-inspiring phalanx of 1,000 bombers in perfect formation, pouring across the city’s skies in a never-ending train of destruction. Only fifteen minutes after this first onslaught, Hamburg was finished. There was no need to wreak further damage. Industry had come to a halt, the docks were useless, the people were incapable of helping the war effort. To all intents and purposes, the city of as a going concern had ceased to exist. It had become a flaming inferno from one end to the other. The only differences worth commenting on were that some parts of the city were totally destroyed, others partially devastated but all normal life or anything approaching it had come to an end.
The fires were so intense that an entire house would disappear as completely and as quickly as would a piece of paper thrown onto a fire burning in a grate at home. Within thirty minutes of the first attack, two out of every three buildings in an area of six square miles were burning. Yet the bombers continued to empty their cargoes of death on the stricken city. The most heavily populated area of Hamburg was doomed.
There was no wind in Hamburg that night but the fires created their own wind. Hamburg was a city that was dead except for the intense flickering of flames and ignited gases. That which remained of the terrified population was sheltering and knowing that exposure on the streets would almost certainly result in a quick and horrible death. The heat was so intense that phenomena previously unknown to man began to occur. Parts of buildings simply burst into flames although no flame had been near them. Flames, hundreds of feet in length danced and waved in the air unattached to any combustible material. Pockets of air heated to incredible density exploded.
It became possible to see air moving. The flames of the doomed city needed oxygen and the breeze feeding the fires became a stiff wind wafting through the avenues and streets leading into the city. As a million flames embraced and became one in a multi-mile inferno, the winds became gales and partially destroyed buildings began to collapse in the fast-moving streams of air. Flaming wreckage was picked up and hurled through streets and into the city itself. Never in the history of man have such scenes been witnessed. Balls of fire were leaping into the air and exploding.
Gales shrieked as the countryside surrounding the mutilated city was starved of air. It began to look as though the very skies above Hamburg were on fire. For the tens of thousands of lost-souls in their air raid shelter sanctuaries. escape was hopeless. The condition outside of their shelters were such that survival could be measured in minutes if not moments. They sealed the doors tight and bolted themselves inside little knowing that they had sealed their own tombs and that they would never again set eyes on their city. There was no escape but some did try. They were totally unprepared for what they were to see. The neighbourhood that they had known all their lives had disappeared. Greeting them was an unrecognisable flaming desert. Roads had disappeared under rubble and here and there, charred corpses lay in grotesque positions. Having ventured out into the searing heat of the blistering city, they became bewildered and panic-stricken, stumbling through avenues of debris, blinded by fumes, gasping for air until they collapsed through a combination of heat, smoke and terror.
And the worst was yet to come.
[Image] Children feeding the swans on the Alster. Little could they know that soon this idyllic scene would play a major part in the most horrifying episode in the history of mankind.
[Image] Hamburg as it was before the bombing raids. In the foreground the busy port area of the River Elbe. And in the background, the beautiful Alster, immortalised for its scenic surroundings.
Click to go to: Death of a City by Michael McLaughlin – Part 1
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Version 1: Published Nov 19, 2014
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