The “1,000-bomber-raid” on Cologne on the night of May 29/30, 1942, caused major damage and huge casualties for the first time in one of the largest cities in Germany. But the numerous area raids on the Ruhr in 1942 were less successful because of the strong air defense. On March 5th, 1943, the inner city of Essen experienced one of the heaviest air-raids, killing 461 people and injuring 1,593, and leaving 50,000 inhabitants homeless. On the 26th, another 700 bombers flew over the city and unloaded 1,000 high-explosives bombs, 160,000 staff and 30,000 incendiary bombs. 550 more died, 1,500 were injured. 7,000 more homes, 2 hospitals, 4 churches and 6 schools were destroyed.

In May and June, 1943, the “Battle of the Ruhr” increased, killing more than 6,000 civilians in two attacks on Wuppertal and almost 5,000 in Cologne in the night of June 28/29, 1943. The attack on Wuppertal in the night of May 29/30, 1943 was the first example of a firestorm (under Wuppertal).

Other cities lying beside the Rhine river, notably Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Cologne, suffered heavy damage and high civilian casualties. From a major attack on Essen in the night of March 5/6, 1943, the RAF Bomber Command started an air offensive against the Rhine-Ruhr area which was to last four months until mid-July 1943, continuously bombing nearly all larger cities in this region.

11 January 1944: Major James Howell Howard, Air Corps, United States Army, commander of the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force, led fifty P-51 Mustangs escorting three divisions of B-17 Flying Fortresses on a raid against Oschersleben, near Berlin, Germany.

As defending Luftwaffe fighters attacked the bomber formation, Major Howard immediately went on the offensive and shot down a twin engine Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstörer long range fighter. During this engagement, Howard became separated from his group, but climbed back to rejoin the bombers.

More that thirty German fighters were attacking the bomber formation and Major Howard single-handedly went after them. He shot down two, probably shot down two more and damaged at least another two. He continued to attack even after he had run out of ammunition and was low on fuel. When he returned to his base at RAF Boxted, his Mustang had just a single bullet hole.

The “1,000-bomber-raid” on Cologne on the night of May 29/30, 1942, caused major damage and huge casualties for the first time in one of the largest cities in Germany. But the numerous area raids on the Ruhr in 1942 were less successful because of the strong air defense. On March 5th, 1943, the inner city of Essen experienced one of the heaviest air-raids, killing 461 people and injuring 1,593, and leaving 50,000 inhabitants homeless. On the 26th, another 700 bombers flew over the city and unloaded 1,000 high-explosives bombs, 160,000 staff and 30,000 incendiary bombs. 550 more died, 1,500 were injured. 7,000 more homes, 2 hospitals, 4 churches and 6 schools were destroyed.

In May and June, 1943, the “Battle of the Ruhr” increased, killing more than 6,000 civilians in two attacks on Wuppertal and almost 5,000 in Cologne in the night of June 28/29, 1943. The attack on Wuppertal in the night of May 29/30, 1943 was the first example of a firestorm (under Wuppertal).

Other cities lying beside the Rhine river, notably Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Cologne, suffered heavy damage and high civilian casualties. From a major attack on Essen in the night of March 5/6, 1943, the RAF Bomber Command started an air offensive against the Rhine-Ruhr area which was to last four months until mid-July 1943, continuously bombing nearly all larger cities in this region.

5th March 1943: The ‘Battle of the Ruhr’ begins with Essen


Battle of the Ruhr - Wikipedia

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