Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Wesel, Germany shows the effects of carpet bombing by the Allies; ca. 1945

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97% of the city was destroyed.


Wesel became a target of the Allies, particularly in its strategic position as a depot with bridges on the Rhine. On the 16, 17, 18 and 19 February 1945, the town was attacked by the Royal Air Force with impact and air-burst weapons and almost entirely destroyed.

On 23 March, Wesel came under the fire of over 3,000 guns when it was bombarded anew, in preparation for Operation Plunder. That day 80 Lancasters from No. 3 Group RAF attacked Wesel Then that night of 23/24 March, 195 Lancasters and 23 Mosquitos of RAF Bomber Command No. 5 Group aided in the softening up of the German defenders. 97% of the town was destroyed before it was finally taken by Allied troops and the population had fallen from almost 25,000 in 1939 to 1,900 in May 1945.

The town was taken quickly with 36 civilian casualties. Field-Marshal Montgomery said “the bombing of Wesel was a masterpiece, and was a decisive factor in making possible our entry into the town before midnight.”

(Source)

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3 responses

  1. pastopresent

    Is Wesel still a current city in Germany? Are you able to visit it?

    March 28, 2016 at 8:23 am

    • Yes, the city still exists. It was rebuilt in the 1950s… but some of its medieval
      buildings still survive.

      March 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      • pastopresent

        Thank you!

        March 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm

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