WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

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RTH10260
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WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#1

Post by RTH10260 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:37 pm

The German bombing of Coventry, as filmed by the Luftwaffe
12 November 2015 Last updated at 16:29 GMT

On 14 November 1940 the Luftwaffe launched the most devastating bombing raid so far on Britain.
The target was Coventry; deep in the heart of England.

In a 12-hour blitz the Luftwaffe dropped hundreds of tonnes of bombs. It was a baptism of fire for Coventry and Britain.

The crews even had times to film the destruction as it took place.


(video clip at the link)

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Sam the Centipede
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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#2

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:16 pm

Coventry now is a dull, charmless city because the Nazi bombing completely destroyed its rather lovely medieval center with black and white half-timbered shops, etc. Nobody would go there for sightseeing now except to see the remains of the bombed out cathedral and its post-war replacement.

One of the sad aspects of the Brits' post-WWII city planning is that they chose not to reconstruct damaged cities. Other European countries chose to reinstate their pre-war cityscapes as best they could, using whatever plans and photographs they had, but the Brits went for concrete slabs and brick boxes. I was in Dubrovnik, Croatia last year and you can walk all around its city walls and its apparently medieval parts - but they were all (I think) rebuilt after fairly complete destruction in the Yugoslavian wars.

I watched a WWII-related documentary some weeks ago, and it included some Germans muttering that Allied bombing of German cities was unnecessary and inhumane (and I certainly don't like the idea of area bombing one little bit) but the complainers seem to ignore the facts that (a) they started the tactic of relentless, vicious attacks on civilian populations (and the war itself, of course), and (b) if they really didn't like it, they could stop their damnable war at any point. I think there was also the issue in the Brits' mind that these German assholes had started two wars in the 20th century, this time they had to learn that their warmongering had to stop for ever.

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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#3

Post by Foggy » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:02 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that the British knew in advance that Coventry would be the target, but said nothing because they didn't want the Germans to know how good their intelligence was. A most unfortunate tragedy.
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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#4

Post by TollandRCR » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:07 pm

The ruins of the ancient cathedral of Coventry are a memorial to all that was lost, not just in Coventry but throughout the United Kingdom. Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was written for performance in the first cathedral to be constructed in Britain since the Reformation, the new Coventry Cathedral.

[bbvideo=560,315][/bbvideo]

David Douglas speaks to the message of both the ruined cathedral and the new cathedral: forgiveness.



David Douglas:
In all Britain there is perhaps no better setting than Coventry to reckon with forgiveness. Yet, if the power to forgive comes from God, our ability to forgive begins with prayer. And that can begin anywhere.

In Coventry we confront the paradox that we have postponed that which we profess to pray for each day: ". . . as we forgive those who trespass against us." A tenacious wind carries up sounds of traffic from streets far below. It is time to descend the steeple steps and return home.
“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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Sam the Centipede
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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#5

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:32 am

Foggy wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that the British knew in advance that Coventry would be the target, but said nothing because they didn't want the Germans to know how good their intelligence was. A most unfortunate tragedy.
That appears to be a conspiracy myth. Coventry had been bombed before and had air defenses (both fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns) which were heavily used on the night but ineffective) but more to the point there doesn't appear to be solid evidence that Churchill and his intelligence people knew that (a) Coventry was the night's target, or (b) that the raid was planned to be so intense. Although the physical destruction was huge, the death toll was "only" in the hundreds - tragic, of course, but these things have their own scales of awfulness.

In general, although Churchill made huge decisions about horrible acts, I think he was always aware of the human consequences. Sacrificing Coventry does not ring true; had they known, his commanders would have looked for a way to act without making it too obvious that they had inside info.

Additionally, Coventry had lots of war factories; it was not somewhere that would be sacrificed lightly.

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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#6

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:46 am

The Enigma/Ultra codebreaking story is fascinating in its own right. The codebreakers wanted "cribs" to assist the process; cribs were bits of known text that they expected to find in a message. Sometimes these were easy, as when one German station would each morning send a routine message to its next base up the line saying "all is well" using exactly the same phrasing each day. Weather reports could also be very useful, as they tend to be highly stylized. Some days it wass more tricky.

But the bit that amuses me is the concept of "gardening". If Bletchley Park was stuck for a crib, sometimes they would whistle up the RAF and ask them to drop anti-ship mines at a known location. The codebreakers had a German chart, so they would wait for a message to be picked up from German observers reading "RAF has dropped mines at location XY8RK3" and they'd have their crib.

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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#7

Post by Foggy » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:27 am

Sam the Centipede wrote:That appears to be a conspiracy myth.
Correcto mundo. Now that I took the time to look, it was a false report. On the bright side, it means my memory pills are still working, when I remember where the heck I put them.

I read The Ultra Secret, which was the source of the report that turned out not to be accurate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_B ... _and_Ultra
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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

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Post by SueDB » Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:10 am

Even having the information and making others listen are two different things.
The Royal Navy lost several ships early on as the Admiralty reportedly didn't put any stock in the Ultra information. (HMS Glorious etc.)
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Re: WWII: 75 Years of The German bombing of Coventry UK

#9

Post by TollandRCR » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:17 pm

Remembrance Day 2015, Royal Albert Hall.

[bbvideo=560,315][/bbvideo]
“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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