Another war crime of the West, specifically England, similar to Hiroshima, destroying a city with absolutely no military target.
British World War II veteran Victor Gregg might not be alive today were it not for the Allied bombardment of Dresden. But the now-97 year old finds it difficult to reconcile the hellish events of February 13, 1945 with victory.
On that night, around 800 Allied aircraft filled the air above Dresden and proceeded to drop 1,500 tons (metric) of high explosives and incendiary canisters, setting the city ablaze and turning it into a scene from hell. Some 25,000 people perished in the bombing.
The catastrophic aerial attack focused on the historic German city after Britain’s Royal Air Force identified the area as a key transportation and industrial hub for Nazi Germany.
More than 1,600 acres (6.5 sq km) within the city were either flattened or gutted, and a final death toll was tallied only in 2010, by the Dresden Historians’ Commission.
More than seven decades on from the Allied bombing, one of the event’s survivors, a former paratrooper, describes the late night blitz as “more than” a war crime. Victor Gregg says the events left him psychologically scarred, contributing to “50 years of traumatic stress.”
‘Everything was alight’
After being captured at Arnhem in the Netherlands, Gregg was one of the few Allied troops on the ground during the bombing of Dresden.
“I was in a Straflager – a special punishment cell – with my mate where we were waiting to be shot. We were supposed to be put against a wall the next morning,” Gregg told RT.com.
As air raid sirens announced their arrival, De Havilland Mosquito planes from the Royal Air Force (RAF) dropped flare markers on the city below. By now the people of Dresden would have grown used to wailing sirens, but Gregg says no-one was prepared for the firestorm and asphyxiating conditions which swept through large parts of the city.