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Bombing of Vienna in World War II

Bombing of Vienna
Part of World War II

Vienna after the bombings.
Date 4 September 1942 - 16 April 1945
Location Vienna, Nazi Germany
Belligerents
United States
Soviet Union
United Kingdom
Germany

The city of Vienna in Austria was bombed 52 times during World War II, and 87,000 houses of the city were lost (20% of the entire city). Only 41 civilian vehicles survived the raids, more than 3,000 bomb craters were counted. and the Schwarzenberg Palace was bombed but later rebuilt.

History

After a lone Soviet air raid conducted on 4 September 1942,[1] Vienna was finally reached by western Allied bombers in 1944, when the Allied invasion of Italy allowed them to establish an air base at Foggia. Following the Normandy Invasion the greater part of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) was transferred to the West. Remaining Luftwaffe shot down one-tenth of 550 bombers in June 1944.

The air defenses of Vienna were aided by a ring of anti-aircraft batteries set up around the city and three pairs of Flak towers. These were large anti-aircraft gun blockhouses built in the city. Due to the increasing lack of fuel, by autumn 1944, artillery on the ground was the only defence against air raids. It typically took some 5,000 small-calibre and 3,400 large-calibre shells to bring down one bomber. During the day, one out of 125 planes was shot down on average. During the night, this dropped to only one out of 145. However, roughly one-third of the bombers and escorts suffered heavy damage. Some Vienna factories were moved to bomb-proof sites such as caves (e.g. the Seegrotte near Hinterbrühl) or hidden in other ways. The military industry even boosted its production, also by use of forced labour of concentration camp inmates and POWs. Bypasses for traffic junctions had been established before the bombings and traffic did not come to a halt until the very last days of the war.

By early 1945 Vienna had already faced 1,800 bombs. In February and March 1945, 80,000 tons of bombs were dropped by US and British aircraft, destroying more than 12,000 buildings, and 270,000 people were left homeless.

Chronology[2]
Date Target/Topic
September 4, 1942 First air raid on Vienna during World War II Petlyakov Pe-8 bombers flew a 2,000 mile round trip also reaching Budapest, Koenigsberg and Breslau[1]
March 17, 1944 Floridsdorf The first American air raid on Vienna targeted the Floridsdorf refinery and mined the Danube.
June 16, 1944 Floridsdorf B-17s bombed the Floridsdorf [sic] oil refinery On this date the 464 BG bombed an oil-blending plant at Vienna.
June 16, 1944 Kagran B-17s bombed the Kagran [sic] oil refinery[3]
June 16, 1944 Lobau B-24s bombed the Lobau oil refinery.
June 16, 1944 Schwechat B-24s bombed the oil refinery at Schwechat in Vienna (Schwechat became a separate city in 1954).
June 16, 1944 Winterhafen B-24s bombed the Winterhafen oil depot. An underground storage installation was just west of Mainz.
June 26, 1944 Floridsdorf The Floridsdorf oil refinery and marshalling yard were bombed.
June 26, 1944 Korneuburg The 461 BG bombed "a refinery in the open country near the small town of Korneuburg".[4]
June 26, 1944 Moosbierbaum The 455th BG received a 2nd Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing the Moosbierbaum oil refinery.
June 26, 1944 Lobau
June 16, 1944 Schwechat The Heinkel firm's Heinkel-Süd Schwechat aircraft factory, and Schwechat oil refinery were bombed.
June 16, 1944 Winterhafen Winterhafen oil refinery bombed.
July 8, 1944 Floridsdorf The 464[5] and 465th Bombardment Groups earned Distinguished Unit Citations.[5]:48
July 8, 1944 Floridsdorf & Zwolfaxing The 464 BG[6] and 465 BG earned Distinguished Unit Citations,[5] as the Heinkel-Süd plant in Floridsdorf was hit, destroying the third prototype of the He 177B four engined bomber, and possibly damaging the incomplete fourth prototype He 177B airframe.[7]
July 16, 1944 The 32 BS bombed a Vienna oil refinery.
August 21, 1944 The 484 BG received its second DUC for bombing an underground oil storage installation at Vienna.[6]
August 22, 1944 Korneuburg B-24s bombed the oil refinery at Korneuburg. The 485 BG bombed the "Korneuburg [sic] Oil Storage".
August 22, 1944 Lobau B-24s bombed the oil refinery at Lobau. The 461 BG bombed the underground oil storage at the refinery.
August 23, 1944 Vösendorf 472 B-24s and B-17s supported by P-51s and P-38s bombed the South industrial area of Vienna, including the Vösendorf oil refinery.
August 28, 1944 Moosbierbaum B-17s hit Moosbierbaum oil refinery and adjacent chemical works.
September 10, 1944 344 B-17s and B-24s bomb 5 ordnance depots and the SE industrial area in Vienna and 2 oil refineries in the area.
September 10, 1944 Schwechat The 32 BS bombed the Schwechat oil refinery.
September 13, 1944 Mainz Mission 628: 22 B-17s bombed targets of opportunity at Mainz.
September 27, 1944 Mainz Mission 650: 171 B-17s bombed Mainz.
October 7, 1944 Lobau The Lobau oil refinery was bombed. On this date, the 741st Bombardment Squadron flew over Vienna to hit an oil refinery.[8]:162
October 7, 1944 Schwechat
October 7, 1944 Winterhafen The 485 BG bombed the "Winterhafen Oil Storage".
October 11, 1944 Floridsdorf
October 13, 1944 Floridsdorf
October 17, 1944 The industrial area of Vienna was bombed.
November 4 & 7, 1944 Floridsdorf The 32 BS bombed.
November 5, 1944 Floridsdorf The 485 BG bombed the oil refinery.
November 6, 12-17 & 19, 1944 Moosbierbaum The 32 BS bombed the Moosbierbaum oil refinery.
November 15, 1944 US intelligence reported in February 1945 that the Vienna area had no fuel since November 15.[9]:5
November 18, 1944 The 32 BS bombed a Vienna oil refinery.
November 19, 1944 Winterhafen The 32 BS bombed the "Winterhafen" oil storage.
December 2, 1944 Floridsdorf
December 8, 1944 Moosbierbaum
December 11, 1944 Moosbierbaum
December 18, 1944 Floridsdorf
December 27, 1944 Vösendorf
January 1945 The Lipizzan horses of the Spanish Riding School were evacuated.
January 31, 1945 Moosbierbaum In a blind attack,[9]:s1,3 670+ B-24s and B-17s bombed the Moosbierbaum oil refinery.
February 1 & 27, 1945 Mainz The 466th bombed Mainz.[10]
February 1, 1945 Moosbierbaum A visual attack[9]:s1,3 by 300+ B-17s and B-24s bombed the oil refinery.
February 7, 1945 [Expand] 680 B-17s and B-24s bombed oil refineries at Moosbierbaum, Schwechat, Floridsdorf, Korneuburg, and Kagran refineries in the Vienna, Austria area.
February 7, 1945 Floridsdorf oil refinery
February 7, 1945 Kagran The Kagran oil refinery was bombed "in the Vienna, Austria area".
February 7, 1945 Korneuburg The Korneuburg oil refinery was bombed "in the Vienna, Austria area".
February 7, 1945 Lobau The 32 BS bombed the Lobau oil refinery.
February 7, 1945 Moosbierbaum oil refinery
February 7, 1945 Schwechat oil refinery
February 8/9, 1945 Moosbierbaum 49 bombers hit the Moosbierbaum oil refinery.
February 14, 1945 Floridsdorf
February 14, 1945 Lobau
February 14, 1945 Moosbierbaum 500+ B-24s, B-17s and P-38s bombed the Moosbierbaum oil refinery.
February 14, 1945 Schwechat
February 15, 1945 Korneuburg
February 20, 1944 Schwechat
February 20, 1945 Lobau The Lobau oil refinery and the Floridsdorf marshalling yard at Vienna were bombed. "The attack was outstandingly successful, resulting in severe damage to the boiler house, virtual destruction of the distillation unit pump house, the fractionating tower probably hit, and serious damage to tankage and rail sidings.[11]
March 1, 1945 Moosbierbaum 22 P-38s bomb the Moosbierbaum refinery.
March 12, 1945 Floridsdorf B-24s and B-17s bombed the Floridsdorf oil refinery. The 747 bombers and 229 fighter planes caused heavy damage to the city centre and the Vienna State Opera and the Burgtheater burnt, and the Albertina, the Heinrichshof (on Ringstraße) and the Messepalast (Trade Fair Palace) were heavily damaged. The Philipphof (a block of apartments opposite to the Albertina and the State Opera House) collapsed, burying some 200 people who had sought shelter from the raid in its cellars. Most of the victims have never been unearthed and the Mahnmal gegen Krieg und Faschismus (English: Memorial against War and Fascism) has been erected there.
March 14, 1945 During the briefing for bombing the Vienna oil refinery, the briefing officer told crews to avoid the St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Vienna State Opera, the Schönbrunn Palace and other historic buildings and schools. Due to weather, the alternate target (Wiener Neustadt marshaling yards) was bombed.[8]:228–9
March 15, 1945 [Expand] 109 B-17s bomb the oil refinery at Ruhland (the Fifteenth's deepest penetration into Germany). 103 others bomb the alternate target, the refinery at Kolín, Czechoslovakia. 470+ other bombers attack targets in Austria, including Moosbierbaum, Schwechat, and Vienna/Floridsdorf oil refineries.
March 16, 1945 Floridsdorf
March 16, 1945 Korneuburg
March 16, 1945 Moosbierbaum
March 1945 (mid) 300 bombs were dropped on the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the world's oldest zoo. 2,000 animals out of 3,500 died including a bull rhino, a favourite of the zoo-keepers.
March 16, 1945 Schwechat
March 20, 1945 [Expand] In Austria, 760+ B-17s and B-24s, with fighter escort, hit the Korneuburg and Kagran oil refineries.
March 21, 1945 3 oil refineries and a goods depot bombed at Vienna.
March 21, 1945 Floridsdorf The 32 BS bombed.
March 22, 1945 2 Vienna oil refineries were bombed.
March 23, 1945 Vienna oil refinery(ies) bombed. On April 2, Soviet troops began the Vienna Offensive.
April 12, 1945 After having burned from a fire looters set to local shops on April 11, St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna was hit by 22-ton bombs which shattered on the floor of the church.
April 16, 1945 "The advances of our ground forces have brought to a close the strategic air war waged by the United States Strategic Air Forces and the Royal Air Force Bomber Command." (Spaatz dispatch to Doolittle and Twining).[12]

References

  1. ^ a b Bremen, Vienna, Budapest get fierce mass air raid by William Dickinson, British United Press, 5 September 1942
  2. ^ "Campaign Diary". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
    1944: January, February March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
    1945 January, February, March, April
  3. ^ McKillop, Jack. "Combat Chronology of the USAAF". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
    1944: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
    1945: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September
  4. ^ Mission histories for Bombardment Groups:
    301 BG/"32 BS": Thompson, Boyd. "301st Bomb Group Mission Summary of the: 32nd, 352nd, 353rd and 419th Bomb Squadrons". 32nd Bomb Squadron, 1942 -1945. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
    "461 BG": "Chapter IX Target: German Oil, June 1944.". 461st.org. 
    "464 BG": "Our Missions: The 464 BG Mission List". 
    "486 BG": "Prologue: The Stories Behind the Numbers". Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
    "487 BG": "487th Bomb Group (H): Combat Missions". Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Polk, David (December 1991). World War II Army Airborne Troop Carriers. Turner Publishing. p. 48.  
  6. ^ http://libraryautomation.com/nymas/usaaf7.html
  7. ^ Griehl, Manfred; Dressel, Joachim (1998). Heinkel He 177-277-274. Shrewsbury, England: Airlife Publishing. p. 170.  
  8. ^ a b  
  9. ^ a b c "Meeting No. 45/6" (pdf). Enemy Oil Intelligence Committee. February 6, 1945. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
    • "Memorandum". p. 19 of pdf. 
    • "Minutes". p. 20 of pdf. 
    • "Annex". p. 27 of pdf. 
    • "Weekly Survey No. 31". Economic Advisory Branch. 2 February 1945. p. 32 of pdf. 
    • "Table I, Estimated Output …". 6 February 1945. pp. 33 of pdf. 
    • "Table II …". 6 February 1945. p. 34 of pdf. 
    • "Table III Output Production Status …". pp. 35–7 of pdf. 
  10. ^ "466th": "466 Squadron Missions". 466 Squadron. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  11. ^  
  12. ^ Jablonski, Edward (1971). Volume 1 (Tragic Victories), Book II (The Big League). Airpower. pp. 115–6. 
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