15,000 French Killed by Anglo-American Bombing French Rail Junctions

 

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WWII French General Charles De Gaulle A WWII photo portrait of General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French Forces and first president of the Fifth Republic serving from 1959 to 1969.

Office of War Information, Overseas Picture Division.

[1] The image prefix (LC-USW3) at the Library of Congress image page matches that of pictures from the OWI collection (see prefix list here. – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b42159.

I have put this detailed photo information in because I came across this photo (before I went directly to the Library of Congress)  on a website called Maritime Quest. These people constantly slap their copyright on photographs which are in the public domain. It is outrageous that they do this and it is simply a way to get their website mentioned. Any photograph which is released to the public taken by a photographer working for the US Government is immediately in the public domain and no one can copyright one of said photographs.

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Royal Air Force ground crew “bombing up” a Vickers Wellington MkIII  strategic bomber with a 4,000 pound “cookie”.

(photo courtesy of the BBC)

more information on this bomber here:

http://www.haynes.co.uk/wellington/details.htm

Prior to D-Day, the Allies wanted to bomb and keep bombing important French rail junctions to make movement on the railroads difficult for the Germans. Since railroad tracks are easy to repair, we had to keep bombing them over many months and bomb rail junctions all over France so as not to give away that we were going to invade in Normandy.

The Allies sought the permission of the Free French under de Gaulle to bomb these rail junctions knowing that many thousands of Frenchmen would be killed. Nonetheless, de Gaulle gave his permission. We bombed to many areas in France that it is hard to say exactly how many French civilians were killed in Allied bombing raids on just rail junctions.

I think the estimate which many historians use is 15,000 to 20,000 dead. Many more French civilians were killed in Allied bombings of German military installations in German occupied France. Nonetheless, the bombing of rail junctions was critical to the success of D-Day. It is worth noting that according to Anthony Beevor’s history of D-Day, more French civilians were killed by Allied friendly fire on D-Day than Allied soldiers.

While the efforts of the French Resistance are wildly overestimated, it is worth noting that not one train moved on the French rail network on 6 June 1944.

An excellent piece on the number of French civilians killed in Allied bombing can be found on the BBC website here. A British historian calculates 57,000 French civilians were killed by Allied bombing of France in WW Two. He makes some disparaging remarks about why we bombed certain French cities which subsequently were quickly taken by Allied troops which they could have done without having the city bombed.

I sincerely doubt the Allied combat soldiers who were in the front line moving into attack after the bombing would agree. Second, we were bombing German strong points in French cities. We weren’t bombing the French cities for the hell of it.

Interesting article on this subject from the BBC here:

It has been a taboo subject in France for 70 years but in his D-Day commemoration speech on 6 June, President Francois Hollande will pay tribute to the terrible civilian casualties suffered by the French due to Allied bombing up to and during the liberation of France.

Historians believe Allied bombardments killed almost as many French people as German bombs killed Britons during the Blitz.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27703724

 

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RAF Bomber Command Halifax strategic bomber in flight during World War Two

(photo courtesy British MoD)

Italians Bomb Turkish Troops!

Italo-Turkish War 0f 1911-1912

 

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Italian dirigibles bomb Turkish positions on Libyan Territory. The Italo-Turkish war of 1911-1912 was the first in history in which air attacks (carried out here by dirigible airships) determined the outcome.

 

In 1911 the Kingdom of Italy attacked the Ottoman Empire in what is known as the Italo-Turkish War and seized most of modern day Libya. Unexpectedly, the Italians introduced a new concept in warfare: they dropped a bomb from an airplane; in this case on Turkish troops. Dropping bombs from aircraft during wartime had never been done before.

Nazi Germany Declared War on the USA on 11 December 1941. Big mistake. By late 1942, American bombers of the “Mighty 8th” Were Bombing Germany

Margaret Bourke-White photographs the Mighty 8th

 

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“In 1942, LIFE Magazine sent Margaret Bourke-White, the first female photojournalist accredited to cover WWII, and the first authorized to fly on a combat mission, to take pictures of the VIII Bomber Command, commonly known as the Eighth Air Force or The Mighty 8th.

 

Honey Chile II

Getting ready: Members of the flight and ground crews of a B-17 bomber named ‘Honey Chile II’ make adjustments to their plane prior to a mission, Polebrook, Northamptonshire, England, fall 1942. (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

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Pep talk: Before taking off on a mission in 1944 a Flying Fortress crew in England receives a talk from 26-year-old Chaplain James O. Kincannon, a Van Bueren, Arkansas, minister affectionately known as ‘Chaplain Jim’ (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

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Good luck charm: Portrait of an unidentified American servicemen, possibly the tail gunner of a B-17 bomber, with a child’s bunny doll tucked into the waistband of his fur-lined-flight suit and a type B-4 life preserver, known as a ‘Mae West’.  (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

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Comics in the sky: An American soldier paints caricatures of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito on the nose of a B-17 bomber named ‘Flying Flit-Gun,’ which originated from the 97th Bombardment Group of the 8th Bomber Command. [a flit-gun was used in homes in the USA to kill mosquitoes and flying pests] (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

Easy riders

Easy riders: Three American military personnel, possibly ground crewmen, sit on their bicycles in front of a B-17 bomber named ‘Berlin Sleeper II’ (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

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Power of precision: The VIII Bomber Command, commonly known as the Eighth Air Force, was assembled to strategically bomb Nazi-controlled cities after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

54,000 flight crewmen of the US 8th Airforce were either killed in combat or taken prisoner in World War Two. The 8th Air Force historical site is here:

 

http://www.8thafhs.org/index.php

UXB in London: A Reminder of the Blitz

 

From Al Jazeera America 3.24.15

 

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a bomb disposal expert from the Royal Logistics Corp working on defusing an unexploded (UXB) German bomb in London 3.24.15

WWII bomb prompts evacuation of thousands in London

Hundreds of Londoners were allowed to go home on Tuesday after a huge unexploded World War II bomb that kindled a “Blitz spirit” among evacuees was removed for detonation after being found by construction workers.

About 1,200 homes in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames near Tower Bridge, were evacuated as army bomb disposal experts examined the 1,000-pound bomb dropped by the German Luftwaffe.

Eighty people spent Monday night in hotels after being put up by the local council, which was also laying on food and hot drinks for residents plus activities for children whose schools were closed.

The police said the bomb was “made safe” and driven through the city in an army truck to a quarry outside London, where it will be detonated.

“There’s been a sense of the Blitz spirit,” said Louise Neilan, a spokeswoman for the local council in Southwark. “We’ve been trying to reassure people.”

Southwark was an industrial and commercial hub that was badly damaged during the Blitz, the German aerial campaign against Britain in 1940 and 1941 that killed some 20,000 civilians in London and was intended to cripple the country and force it to surrender.

The entire story is here:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/24/blitz-spirit-london-evacuees-go-home-as-ww2-bomb-removed.html

World War Two Bomb Causes Massive Evacuation In French Town

An interesting piece from the London Daily Mail. I have often written about unexploded World War Two bombs in Europe. There are several hundreds of thousands of what used to be known as “UXBs”

 

More than 3,000 evacuate French city after massive British WWII bomb found near town hall

 

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A 250kg bomb, containing approximately 70 kilos of high explosives, was discovered around Rennes’s town hall area during the works on the new metro line. Photo courtesy of www.ibtimes.co.uk)

 

Workers spent two hours defusing the aged weapon, which is believed to have been dropped by Britain’s Royal Air Force between 1943 and 1944 as the Allies fought Nazi Germany.

The discovery of a gigantic World War II bomb forced thousands of residents to flee their homes in the French city of Rennes on Sunday.

More than 3,000 people were evacuated after the potentially devastating 550-pound device was found near the city’s town hall, reports France 24.

Workers building a new metro line were stunned to unearth the aged weapon – which was packed with 155-pounds of high-grade explosives.

All homes and businesses within 300 yards of the scene were cleared, including a fire station and a home for the elderly.

Bomb disposal experts then moved in to disarm the shell, in what was described as a “very delicate operation.”

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/thousands-evacuate-french-city-discovery-wwii-bomb-article-1.2021466

Duck and Cover During the Blitz

We practiced doing this in my elementary school during the Cold War. And in practically the same position. It wouldn’t have done any good for us or for these children but what the hell.

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These London schoolchildren are in the midst of an air raid drill ordered by the London Board of Education as a precaution in case an air raid comes too fast to give the youngsters a chance to leave the building for special shelters, on July 20, 1940. They were ordered to go to the middle of the room, away from windows, and hold their hands over the backs of their necks. (AP Photo)

Collateral Damage During Random Bombing of London

 

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Abandoned boy holding a stuffed toy animal amid ruins following German aerial bombing of London, England. 1945.

Photo by American photographer, Toni Frissell (1907–1988). Placed into the public domain by the photographer. Courtesy of the US Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.