Bombing of Duisburg during World War II
Part of Strategic bombing during World War II

"Window" (left) and 36lb incendiaries and a Blockbuster bomb (right) dropped from an ABC- radio jammer equipped Avro Lancaster over Duisburg in 1944
Result near complete destruction of the historic cityscape[citation needed]

 United Kingdom

 United States
 Nazi Germany
229 bombing raids

Duisburg was bombed a number of times by the Allies during World War II. The most devastating air raids on Duisburg occurred during October 1944 when the city was bombed by the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Duisburg was a major logistical centre in the Ruhr Area and location of chemical, steel and iron industries, Duisburg was a primary target of Allied bombers. Not only the industrial areas but also residential areas were attacked by Allied bombs. As an entry to the Ruhr, there were daily warnings of bombing raids in 1943.

In the period 1939 to 1945 the Royal Air Force dropped a total of 30,025 long tons of bombs on Duisburg.[1]

Battle of the Ruhr

During the "Battle of the Ruhr" in 1943, 577 British bombers destroyed the old city on 12/13 May, with 1,599 tonnes of bombs: 96,000 people were made homeless.

Operation Hurricane

In October 1944, Duisburg became the main target in Operation Hurricane a joint RAF Bomber Command and USAAF Eighth Air Force operation.[2]

On 14 October 1944 just after daybreak, RAF Bomber Command sent 1,013 aircraft, with RAF fighters providing an escort, to bomb Duisburg. 957 bombers dropped 3,574 tonnes of high explosive and 820 tonnes of incendiaries on the city for a loss of 14 aircraft.[3] The same day Eighth Air Force sent 1,251 heavy bombers escorted by 749 fighters to bomb targets in the area of Cologne. Later the same day, during the night of 14 October/15 October, 1,005 RAF bombers returned to Duisburg in two waves about two hours apart, and dropped a further 4,040 tonnes of high explosive and 500 tonnes of incendiaries for the loss of seven aircraft. The same night a further 230 aircraft destroyed Brunswick.

During Operation Hurricane nearly 9,000 tonnes of bombs fell on Duisburg in less than 24 hours, but the damage to Duisburg is difficult to assess because much of the documentation including the final report (Endbericht), is not held by the Duisburg state archive (Stadtarchiv).[2] However the documentation which is available mentions "Very serious property damage. A large number of people buried." and that at the Thyssen Mines III and IV 8 days production was lost.


Date Air Force Notes
1941-06-1212/13 June 1941 RAF Bomber Command
445 tonnes of bombs dropped.[4]
1942-04-055/6 April 1942 RAF Bomber Command
263 aircraft.[5]
1942-04-0520/21 December 1942 RAF Bomber Command
232 aircraft. "The bombing force found that the target area was clear and claimed much damage."[6]
1943-03-2626/27 March 1943 RAF Bomber Command
a "widely scattered raid" by 455 aircraft during the Battle of the Ruhr due to cloud cover and lack of Oboe marking[7]
1943-05-1212/13 May 1943 RAF Bomber Command
With good marking and the Main Force delivering concentrated bombing, 577 bombers[8] destroy the old city with 1,599 tonnes of bombs: 96,000 people are made homeless.
1944-11-2323 November 1944 U.S. Eighth Air Force Over 140 B-17s escorted by 2 fighter groups bombed the benzol manufacturing plant near Gelsenkirchen and Marshalling Yards at Duisburg.[9]
1944-10-1414/15 October 1944 RAF Bomber Command
During the morning, 957 Operation Hurricane bombers dropped 3,574 tonnes of high explosive and 820 tonnes of incendiaries. In the subsequent night raid, 1,005 bombers in 2 waves about 2 hours apart, dropped a further 4,040 tonnes of high explosive and 500 tonnes of incendiaries.[2]
1945-03-055 March 1945 U.S. Ninth Air Force Among other missions over German the Ninth flew armed reconnaissance sorties over the Hamm-Duisburg area.[10]
1945-04-1212 April 1945 U.S. Ninth Air Force Fighters of the Ninth the supported the XVI Corps as it continued fighting in the Duisburg and Dortmund areas during the destruction of the German armies of Army Group B surrounded and contained in the Ruhr pocket[11]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Campaign Diary, October 1944 Archived 6 July 2007 at the UK Government Web Archive
  3. ^ Bomber Command Diary
  4. ^ Campaign Diary, June 1941 Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Campaign Diary, April 1942 Archived 6 July 2007 at the UK Government Web Archive
  6. ^ Campaign Diary, December 1942 Archived 10 May 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Campaign Diary March 1943", Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary, 6 April 2005, archived from March 1943 the original Check |url= value (help) on 2007
  8. ^ Campaign Diary May 1943, archived from May 1943 the original Check |url= value (help) on 2007
  9. ^ Carter (1991), p. 550
  10. ^ Carter (1991), p. 638
  11. ^ Carter (1991), p. 673