What damage was caused by Moscow, the German air raids

History 02/02/20 What damage was caused by Moscow, the German air raids

Now some young people are genuinely surprised when they are told that the Moscow metro served as a bomb shelter. “Who bombed Moscow? they wonder. – When was it?” This is not a joke, the author himself faced with such situations when he taught history at the high school graduates of modern Russian schools.

Moscow and presently bears traces of the war

Traces of the Luftwaffe raids on Moscow can be seen in our time. On moss street is a double house number 10, consisting of buildings 1 and 2. Before the war, it was one house. On the night of 13 August 1941 it was hit by a bomb that completely destroyed the Central part of the building. After the war the house was rebuilt, however, in two buildings. The Central part and did not recover.

during one of the raids was destroyed theater Central Park of culture and rest named after Gorky. The building of the cinema and was never rebuilt, its ruins are preserved until now and dismantled. Chips caused by the bombings can be seen on the pedestal of the monument to Kliment Timiryazev at the Nikitskie gate (the monument was knocked down), in separate buildings in the center.
During the raids were organized by the duty air defense observers on the roofs of tall buildings. There was built a wooden box – temporary observation posts. Sometimes they have also been preserved until now. After the war many of them were used by the KGB to listen to the broadcast and ticks clandestine radio transmitters. There are allegations that some of them still are used for this purpose.

the Goal and outcome of the Luftwaffe raids on Moscow

Moscow was not the target of massive terrorizing raids of the Luftwaffe, which was, for example, London. The German strategists had hoped to capture Moscow during the short-lived campaign was not going to spend in Moscow a considerable force aircraft, bRosa them primarily to support terrestrial military operations. Raids on Moscow was to have a primarily moral meaning – to demonstrate the absolute superiority of the Luftwaffe in the air. In the raids involved about 200 aircraft – a small number for such a large city. Given that in those days there was not enough to carry out precision bombing: the bombing was conducted on a large size order, in the “area”.

However, German aircraft inflicted serious damage on the Russian capital. Only from 22 July (first RAID) to 24 November 1941 Moscow was dropped more than a thousand high-explosive and more than 56 thousand incendiary bombs. Died 1327 people, almost two thousand are seriously injured. More than 400 residential houses, several dozens of industrial enterprises and public buildings were destroyed.

During the German offensive on Moscow bombing was to contribute to the panic among the population, to prevent the events of the evacuation of the capital. Part of this problem was performed. However, the greatest panic that occurred in Moscow from 16 to 20 October 1941, had no relationship to air raids. In those days were cloudy, rainy weather (by the way, hitting Germans March on Moscow after their victory at Vyazma). The aircraft was inactive. Whether it was in those days the Luftwaffe able to bomb the city and on the way out of it (especially if you have to reset these paths parachute landings), then the outcome of the war could be different.

After the defeat of the Wehrmacht in the battle of Moscow Luftwaffe raids on the capital of the USSR continued, but now they are even more clearly had the sense of demonstration of their superiority in the air. The bombing continued, although much less frequently than in the autumn of 1941, to terrorize the Muscovites until June 1943. The reduction and complete cessation of the bombing of Moscow was caused by the losses of German aircraft and the need for the concentration of its residues in support of ground forces in major battles.

For all Luftwaffe on Moscow killed about 2,000 civilians and Soviet soldiers.

Contrary to legend: the weakness of the Soviet air defense

Power allocated by the Germans for attacks on Moscow, and the value is a striking example of the command that the Luftwaffe bombing was nothing in comparison with the value of raids on England and mainly in London. Therefore, the amount of damage and casualties from air raids in Moscow less than in London. Only during the Battle of Britain in September-October 1940, killed more than 14 thousand civilians and over 20 thousand were wounded. And during the Second world war, from bombing and missile strikes killed more than 43 thousand in London.

However, given the much higher intensity of the actions of the Luftwaffe against London, against Moscow, the number of victims and destruction in the Soviet capital looks disproportionately large. This is due to the weakness of Soviet air defense during the war.

In the memoirs of Soviet military leaders says about the high effectiveness of the Soviet air defense in the defense of Moscow. The commander of the 1st corps of air defence the General-Colonel Zhuravlev wrote that for the first month of raids to Moscow broke, only 50 of the 1,700 enemy aircraft participating in the raids and German losses amounted to approximately 10 %. Former air force commander of the Moscow defence zone, Lieutenant-General of aviation Sales argued that “on some days, our fighters destroyed in the air 25-30 planes, and in one of the October nights were down 47 bombers of the enemy.” Even in our time they say that all the time to Moscow just broke 229 enemy aircraft.

These data are wholly inconsistent with the figures on the number of fallen on Moscow bombs (see above), saying that the German aircraft to break through to Moscow, was much more. German bomber Heinkel-111 could not carry more than 2 tons of bomb load. With minimum weight of high-explosive bombs of 250 kg and a minimum weight of incendiary bombs of 60 kg, the minimum total the number of German sorties, reached the goals in Moscow, is more than 1800.
in Any of the weeks of October 1941 the Luftwaffe on the Eastern front lost more than 41 aircraft. No German aircraft were not reliably shot down in the skies directly over Moscow.

One of the reasons for the weakness of Soviet air defenses was the lack of radar. It managed to be liquidated only in 1942-1943 due to lend-lease. If during the war, the Soviet Union produced just over 600 radar, from abroad, was supplied by 2400 high-quality radar. They, as well as the best Western fighter planes, were primarily for air defense of Moscow.
Deficiency of radars led to the fact that the enemy raids were not able to alert and air RAID alarm is often sounded after the start of bombing. This explains the large number of casualties among residents. So, on 28 October 1941 heavy high-explosive bomb exploded on the street of Gorky (now Tver), killed more than a hundred people standing in line for merchandising bread cards. The siren had sounded.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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