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Old October 27th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #1
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Some notes about less known ww2-history. Bombings of european major cities like PRAQUE or ROME

London, Conventry, Belfast, Belgrad, Warsaw, Stalingrad, Rotterdam, Dresden, Berlin, Brest, Saint-Nazaire, Ploiesti and other cities in GreatBritain, France, Belqium, Netherland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Yougoslavia and Romania are surely known.

But you may doesnt know, that Prague or Rome were bombed too. So what is the point of this thread? To give information (copy and paste) of this quite possibly overlooked thing of ww2-history. Maybe because those cities weren't as much bombend and often as other cites, more less destruction and death, but still worth to mention.

For example Prague. Looks quite old and untouched of any damage today.

Occurred during the end of World War II (February 14, 1945) known as Ugly Wednesday.
According to American pilots, it was the result of a navigation mistake—at the same time, a massive bombing of Dresden was under way, 120 km north from Prague.
Forty B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th American Air Force dropped about 152 tons of bombs on many populated areas of Prague. The carpet-bombing hit Vyšehrad, Zlíchov, Karlovo náměstí, Nusle, Vinohrady, Vršovice and Pankrác. The bombing resulted in the deaths of 701 people and the wounding of 1,184. About a hundred houses and historical sites were totally destroyed and another two hundred were heavily damaged. All the casualties were civilians, and not one of the city's factories, which might have been of use to the Wehrmacht, was damaged.

Many homes and national sites were destroyed, allowing damage to innocent civilians. Some of Prague's most famous modern buildings, like the Dancing House or the Emauzy church, were constructed in locations where the bombs destroyed existing buildings.

The Americans voiced their regret many times. The history of 398th Bomb Group based at RAF Nuthampstead which carried out the raid, indicates the attack was an accident. Radar navigational equipment on the aircraft was not functioning correctly, and high winds en route produced a Dead Reckoning navigational error of some 70 miles causing the formation to arrive over the supposed "target" which was believed to be Dresden at the time bombing commenced. Prague was mostly obscured by broken cloud, with occasional glimpses of the Vltava river. Prague and Dresden also looked similar from the air, with rivers running through both cities. The bombing was carried out as a "blind attack" using radar.

After the war, the Americans were charged to pay for some of the damaged historical buildings. The raid was used for anti-American propaganda purposes both by the Nazis and the subsequent Communist Regime in Czechoslovakia

The attack took everyone by surprise. When the air raid siren went off shortly before midday, citizens of the capital did not take it seriously - they were used to such sirens. Allied air forces flew over Prague very often and had never attacked it before. Their target had always been Germany.
The American pilots thought they were above Dresden, not Prague, and they dropped bombs all over the city.
After the raid, a few navigators said they thought it was the wrong target. But they did not know until they landed that they had bombed a civilian area of a friendly country.


Big groups of aeroplanes were flying over Vysocany heading north, presumably on their way to Dresden. A few planes broke away from the main group and turned back and dropped some bombs here and there. It was not a systematic bombing. Others flew very low above Radlice which was destroyed

Exceptionally bad weather conditions in Western Europe were the main reason why 62 planes succumbed to a navigational error of judgment and dropped their deadly cargo on Prague instead of Dresden.

Prague suffered heavy losses with 637 fatalities, 1,050 badly wounded and 2,400 slightly wounded. Ninety- three houses were completely flattened, 190 were severely hit and 1,500 slightly damaged, on top of that 11,000 Praguers suddenly became homeless.

After the war, the ruins were quickly cleared
A mistake also let to the only bombing of switzerland in ww2 and in whole history.

Schaffhausen is located in a finger of Swiss territory surrounded on three sides by Germany. On April 1, 1944, Schaffhausen suffered a bombing raid by United States Army Air Forces aircraft which strayed from German airspace into neutral Switzerland. About a hundred civilians were killed, the United States immediately offered a million dollars in reparations.
But neutral cites were bombed by the Germans like the irish capital of Dublin aswell.

Around 2am on 31 May 1941 four German bombs dropped on north Dublin.
The raid claimed the lives of 28 people[9], injured 90, destroyed or damaged approximately 300 houses, and left 400 people homeless.
The then-West Germany later accepted responsibility for the raid, and by 1958 it paid compensation of Ł327,000


The bombing of Rome in World War II took place on several occasions in 1943 and 1944, by both Allied and Axis aircraft, before the city was freed from Axis occupation by the Allies on June 4. Rome was eventually declared an open city on August 14, 1943—a day after the last Allied bombing—by the defending forces.

In the 110,000 sorties that comprised the Allied Rome air campaign, 600 aircraft were lost and 3,600 air crew members died; 60,000 tons of bombs were dropped in the 78 days prior to Rome's capture

On March 1, 1944, German airplanes dropped six bombs over the Vatican, littering the Court of Saint Damaso with debris.

The Bulgarian capital of Sofia suffered a series of Allied bombing raids during World War II, from late 1943 to early 1944.



Bombing of Treviso in World War II

Bombing of Tallinn in World War II

Bombing of Bucharest in World War II

The Minsk Blitz was the heavy bombing of the city of Minsk (population was 270,000) in the USSR during the Second World War.

During 24 June 1941 three waves of bombers, of 47 aircraft each, bombed Minsk. The anti-aircraft defense of the city was poorly organized, and panic ensued. Because the water supply was destroyed, fires could not be put down. Inhabitants left the city.

As much as 85% of the city's buildings and the entire infrastructure was destroyed. More than 1,000 people were killed.

Naples was the most bombed Italian city in World War II. There were about 200 air strikes between 1940 to 1944 by Allied forces, with 180 raids on the city in 1943. Estimates of civilian casualties vary between 20,000 to 25,000 killed.[1][2]

In Naples, the primary targets were the port facilities at the extreme eastern end of the Port of Naples as well as the rail, industrial and petroleum facilities in the eastern part of the city and the steel mill to the west, in Bagnoli.[1]

The largest raid was on August 4, 1943 by 400 B-17 planes of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) which targeted Axis submarine base at Naples.[1][3] The Church of Santa Chiara was destroyed in this raid[1] but was later rebuilt. The Santa Maria di Loreto hospital was also destroyed in the bombing of Naples.
Bombing of Helsinki in World War II

The capital of Finland, Helsinki was bombed several times during World War II. Between 1939–1945 Finland fought three wars, two against the Soviet Union and one against Germany. The largest raids were three raids in February 1944, which have been called the Great raids against Helsinki.

Helsinki had been severely bombed earlier, too, first during the Winter War (between November 30, 1939 and March 13, 1940), and during the Continuation War (from Midsummer 1941 onward). The Soviets bombed other Finnish cities as well, and even smaller communities.

Bombing of Palestine in World War II

The bombings of Palestine in World War II were part of an effort by the Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) to strike at the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations wherever possible in the Middle East.

Starting in July 1940, the Italian bombings in the British Mandate of Palestine were primarily centered on Tel Aviv and Haifa. However, many other coastal towns such as Acre and Jaffa also suffered.[1][2]

The 29 July issue of Time Magazine reported a bombing at Haifa during the previous week. According to Time Magazine, the Italians claimed a success which the British did not deny. Where the British oil pipeline from Mosul reaches tidewater, "Ten big Italian bombers, flying at great altitude from the Dodecanese Islands, giving the British bases at Cyprus a wide berth, dumped 50 bombs on the Haifa oil terminal and refinery." The bombing started fires which burned for days afterward. British pursuit ships from a base on Mt. Carmel were too late to overtake the hit-and-run Italians.[3]

On 9 September 1940, a bombing of Tel Aviv caused 137 deaths

Never ever war in Europe again and let's hope that ongoing wars and conflicts in the world today come soon to an end!

I think it is interesting how the damge to the house was repaird and destroy buildings got reconstructed. Sadly, i didn't found anything to compare "then and now"

Last edited by Dr.Mabuse; October 27th, 2010 at 10:00 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 09:52 PM   #2
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Hmmm......Never heard of this place called PRAQUE. Is it in France?
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Old October 27th, 2010, 10:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Marbur66 View Post
Hmmm......Never heard of this place called PRAQUE. Is it in France?
no, i misspelled prague wrong. i am sorry for that, my fault, yes. Thanks for the hint. Do you have any ideas, how i can edit the headline of a thread?
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:23 PM   #4
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Please. Considering the average damage of European cities, Rome and Prague weren't even touched.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:50 PM   #5
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i know, but still doesn't mean it isn't worth to mention. Rome and PRAGUE for example aren't just some cities, they were and are capitals. i don't talk about some smaller cities.

I haven't heared of the raids on Prague and Rome or Helsinki, etc. Tough i thought they were never bombed. It was a surprise to me. Like the german bombing of Dublin.

Again, i know, if you compare with the average european city, they were untouched. That's possibly the reason, why the cities are almost never named.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 12:33 AM   #6
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Both Prague and Rome were major centers of Roman Empires.. Rome - SPQR and Prague - Heilige Römisches Reich..

the most visible damage:

Old Town Hall before and after:

It could be probably saved though, problem was this building was controversial long before the bombing..
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Old October 28th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot Norkey. I've never seen pics of the missing part of the town hall before. Not a big loss if you ask me. Especially the front towards St. Nicolas is pretty bad.

Last edited by Karasek; October 28th, 2010 at 10:50 AM.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #8
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but you see red, brown, white, grey and a bit yellow colors and then this pink color. WTF?!!
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Old October 29th, 2010, 03:21 AM   #9
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Here's another building from Prague that was damaged pretty badly during the bombing-the Emauzy monastery! They later rebuilt the monastery, but added two asymmetrical modern spires as replacements for the demolished neo-gothic towers! I usually don't like "unfaithful" reconstructions like this one, but those spires look absolutely amazing!

(Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...7/7d/Emazy.png)

(Source: http://img120.imageshack.us/img120/5...nor19452ir.jpg )

(Source: http://www.praguecityline.cz/wp-cont...2_emauzy06.jpg)

(Source: http://www.praguecityline.cz/wp-cont...2_emauzy08.jpg)
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Old October 29th, 2010, 04:44 AM   #10
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Wow, I agree, those spires actually look nice. A modern add-on that isn't ugly, yay!

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