Describes operations by Bomber Command and USAAF aircraft to Hamburg from 24 to 28 July 1943. Mentions it was the first firestorm and the use of Window. Writes that the next firestorm was Darmstadt on September 11 1944. Mentions subsequent firestorms at Magdeburg, Dresden, Pforzheim and Wurzburg. Goes on to mention justification for Dresden and lists those operations that his crew took part in. At the end mentions 617 Squadron attack on the Lützow.




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[underlined] Firestorms [/underlined]
Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg had 4 RAF and 2 U.S. raids from 24th to 29th July ’43. All the Bomber Command raids were of over 700 planes. The 3rd raid, on 26th caused a huge firestorm with heavy casuaties [sic] & damage. Despite hundreds of raids on cities this was the first firestorm. Some of the reasons may have been: a more dense raid (in area & time) from the NW; use of WINDOW nullifying their radar; a compact city with few open spaces; prior air raid damage. However, it was a ‘fluke’ .. no one could predict such a fire. Despite all the raids on cities, before & after that, the next big one was at Damstaat [sic] on Sept 11th, ’44, and no more until 1945 … Magdeburg 16 Jan; Dresden 13th Feb; Pforzheim 23rd Feb. & Wurzburg 16th Mar. There was a great “hoo-ha” after the war about Dresden, but it was, along with Berlin, Leipzig & Chemnitz all threatened by Russians … and raids on them [inserted] were [/inserted] asked for at the Yalta Conference.
Our crew took part in 3 raids, just by 5 Group, with about 200 Lancs, causing firestorms on the cities Stuttgart (12.9.44), Bremerhaven (18.9.44) & Bremen ([deleted] 18.9 [/deleted] 6.10.44) … perhaps because of 5 Group’s good marking, with bombing much condensed in time & space compared to “earlier times”. I have seen no record of these 3 fires in the several books I’ve read about Bomber Command.
“Lutzow.” On 17.12.44 our crew was one of just a few picked to attack the Lutzow & another pocket battleship at Gdynia (Poland) Over the years I’ve tried to find out what happened to the Lutzow … & recently found, on p. 183 of a book “Lancaster, The Biography by 617 Pilot Iveson, when they attacked it with Tallboys & 1000 pounders … “tore a hole in the bottom of Lutzow & she settled to the bottom in shallow water.”



H G Adams, “Firestorms,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 29, 2024,

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