- Bombing of Würzburg in World War II
World War II, on 16 March 1945, 89% of the Würzburgwas laid to ruins by a British Royal Air Forcebombing raid. Most of the main artistic highlights were destroyed, such as the episcopal palace, the historic fortress and the major churches. The baroquecity center was irrecoverably damaged. During the next 20 years, the historically important buildings would be painstakingly re-constructed to the way they originally were. Today, many of the historical relics are, in fact, high-quality replicas; something many visitors to the city do not realise. The famous Würzburg Residence, which was badly damaged, has a piece of the original architecture from 1945. To this day, the blackened bomb damage can still be seen on it.
Two hundred and twenty five Lancaster and eleven Mosquito bombers from No. 5 Group arrived over the city at about 21.30 hours (CET). The Mosquito Pathfinders were used to target the town centre with markers. The Lancasters released 1,127 tons of bombs (including around 370,000 incendiaries) in seventeen minutes. [ [http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/mar45.html Royal Air Force Bomber Command Campaign Diary March 1945] ] A
firestormdeveloped, raising the temperature to around 1500°C and killing approximately five thousand people.
Detlef Siebert wrote in an article on "British Bombing Strategy in World War Two" for the
BBC: "Some ... like Würzburg or Pforzheim were primarily selected because they were easy for the bombers to find and destroy. Because they had a medieval centre, they were expected to be particularly vulnerable to fire attack." [Detlef Siebert [http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/area_bombing_04.shtml British Bombing Strategy in World War Two] Page 4 BBC1 August 2001]
Würzburg was also the name of the German
Würzburg radarsystem which formed part of the Kammhuber Lineair defences. However the City of Würzburg had no direct connection to the radar system, the name being chosen simply because the project leader of the development team liked to use geographic names for the equipment his team developed.
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