Bombing of Prague in World War II


Bombing of Prague in World War II

The Bombing of Prague occurred during the end of World War II (February 14, 1945) when the US Army Air Forces carried out an air raid over Prague. The city was the capital of Czechoslovakia and (since the Nazi occupation in 1939) the main city of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. According to American pilots, it was the result of a navigation mistake—at the same time, a massive bombing of Dresden was under way, 100 km north from Prague.

Impact of the attack

About sixty B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th American Air Force dropped about 152 tons of bombs on many populated areas of Prague. The carpet-bombing hit Vyšehrad, Zlíchov, Karlovo náměstí, Nusle, Vinohrady, Vršovice and Pankrác. The bombing resulted in the deaths of 701 people and the wounding of 1,184. About a hundred houses and historical sites were totally destroyed and another two hundred were heavily damaged. All the casualties were civilians, and not one of the city's factories, which might have been of use to the Wehrmacht, was damaged.

Controversy

Although the Americans voiced their regret many times, it is still not clear whether the attack was an accident caused by bad weather conditions and the fact Prague and Dresden looked similar from the air, or whether it was a deliberate attack. [http://www.radio.cz/en/article/63404]

Trivia

* Some of Prague's most famous modern buildings, like the Dancing House or the Emauzy church, were constructed in locations where the bombs destroyed existing buildings.
* The pilot of the lead ship was Harold Van Opdorp, a Czech citizen "born and bred in the city" of Prague. [http://www.398th.org/FlakNews/Articles/Mission_14Feb1945/14Feb1945_Book_Dresden.html]

External links

* [http://www.radio.cz/en/article/63404 Radio Prague: The bombing of Prague - was it a mistake?]
* [http://www.praguepost.com/P03/2005/Art/0210/news6.php Looking back at the bombing of Prague]
* [http://www.398th.org/Missions/Dates/1945/February/MIS_450214.html 398th Bomb Group Web Page for 14 February 1945]
* [http://www.398th.org/FlakNews/Articles/Mission_14Feb1945/14Feb1945_Intro_Ostrom.html The Dresden/Prague Story By Allen Ostrom]
* http://www.398th.org/Missions/Diaries/Veenschoten/Veen_450214.html
* http://www.398th.org/Missions/Diaries/Forsyth/Forsyth_450214.html
* http://www.398th.org/Missions/Diaries/Dee/Dee_450214.html


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