Friedrichshafen World War II bombings
Part of Strategic bombing campaign in Europe
Grey Bus Friedrichshafen.JPG

Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen
United States Fifteenth Air Force
United Kingdom RAF Bomber Command
Nazi Germany Luftwaffe
(Defence of the Reich)
Commanders and leaders
Carl Spaatz
Arthur Harris

The German city of Friedrichshafen was bombed during World War II as part of the Allied strategic bombing campaign against German war materiel industry, particularly in the targeting of German fighter aircraft production and long range missile development.


Friedrichshafen lies in the Bodenseekreis district, on Lake Constance in the extreme south of Germany, and at the time it was at the edge of the German nightfighter defences. Targets included the Dornier Flugzeugwerke aircraft works at Manzell, the Maybach tank engine factory, the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin aircraft works and its Oberraderach test facility near Raderach, and the Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen (literally "gearwheel factory Friedrichshafen") tank gearbox factory.

In February 1944 an underground factory at Immenstaad near Friedrichshafen was suspected to be a synthetic oil and/or liquid oxygen plant.[1][2] Near Überlingen,[2] forced labor of KZ-Häftlinge im Goldbacher Stollen,[2] KZ Nebenlager Raderach[3] and the Aufkirch subcamp of Dachau concentration camp was used for constructing an underground facility for armament manufacturing (code name "Magnesit"[2]) safe from Allied air raids.


Date Target Notes
1942-08-17 Zeppelin Works Allied intelligence had suspected the Zeppelin Works (German: Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH) was involved with the V-2 rocket.[4]
1943-06-20 Zeppelin Works
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Operation Bellicose targeted suspected Würzburg radar production at Friedrichshafen.[5] (In early June, a CIU photo interpreter (Claude Wavell) had identified a stack of ribbed baskets--Würzburg radar reflectors—at the Zeppelin Works, Winston Churchill had reviewed the photos on June 14, and No. 5 Group RAF received attack orders on June 16.)[6] The bombing hit the Zeppelin Works' V-2 production which had only produced a few V-2 tanks and fuselage sections by June 20.[7]: 143 
1944-04-2727/28 April 1944 ZF Friedrichshafen
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A night attack by 322 heavy bombers damaged several factories and destroyed the factory producing tank gearboxes. 1,234 tons of bombs were dropped causing (an estimated) 67 percent of the town's built-up area to be destroyed.[8]
1944-07-20 Zeppelin Works
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The 485 BG bombed Luftschiffbau Zeppelin.[9] V-2 production planned for Zeppelin had already been moved to the Mittelwerk after the 1943 British bombing raid on the Peenemünde Army Research Center.[7]: 193 
1944-07-28 Dornier Flugzeugwerke
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The 464 BG bombed the Manzell aircraft works.
1944-08-03 Oberraderach & ZF Friedrichshafen
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Oberraderach (primary target) and the Zahnradfabrik secondary target were bombed.[10][11] As early as September 20, 1942, Albert Speer had warned Hitler of the critical importance of Friedrichshafen tank plants and Schweinfurt ball-bearing plants.[12]
1944-08-16 Oberraderach
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The 485 BG bombed the Ober chemical works.
1945-02-25 Maybach tank factory
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Mission 847: 377 B-17s are sent to hit the Maybach tank factory at Friedrichshafen (63) using Gee-H.[13] Maybach Motorenbau (Friedrichshafen) and Norddeutsche Motorenbau (Berlin) produced nearly all tank engines.[14]


  1. ^ "Minutes of Meeting No. 45/6" (PDF). Enemy Oil Intelligence Committee. February 6, 1945. Archived from the original (pdf: document starts – p 19) on 2008-08-21. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  2. ^ a b c d (Google translation)
  3. ^ "KZ Nebenlager Raderach" (in German). Retrieved 2010-12-27. (Google translation)
  4. ^ Ordway, Frederick I, III; Sharpe, Mitchell R (1979). The Rocket Team. Apogee Books Space Series 36. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. p. 74. ISBN 1-894959-00-0.
  5. ^ "Campaign Diary June 1943". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  6. ^ Irving, David (1964). The Mare's Nest. London: William Kimber and Co. pp. 65, 81.
  7. ^ a b Neufeld, Michael J. (1995). The Rocket and the Reich: Peenemünde and the Coming of the Ballistic Missile Era. New York: The Free Press. p. 143, 174,193.
  8. ^ "Campaign Diary April 1944". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  9. ^ "485th Missions". 485th Bomb Group Association. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  10. ^ "August 1944". 461st Bombardment Group (H). Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  11. ^ Glantzberg, Hughes. "Missions". 461st Bomb Group (H) "The LibeRaiders". Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  12. ^ Speer, Albert (1970). Inside the Third Reich. Translated by Richard; Clara Winston. New York and Toronto: Macmillan. p. 433. ISBN 978-0-684-82949-4. LCCN 70119132.
  13. ^ McKillop, Jack. "Combat Chronology of the USAAF". Archived from the original on 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2007-05-25. February 1945 Archived 2013-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Williamson, Charles C.; Hughes, Richard D.; Cabell, C. P.; Nazarro, J. J.; Bender, F. P.; Crigglesworth, W. J. (5 March 1944). "Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)