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Bombing of Duisburg in World War II


Bombing of Duisburg in World War II

Bombing of Duisburg during World War II
Part of Strategic bombing during World War II

"Window" (left) and incendiary and Blockbuster bombs (right) dropped from Avro Lancaster over Duisburg in 1944
Location Duisburg
Result near complete destruction of the historic cityscape
 United Kingdom United States  Nazi Germany
229 bombing raids

Duisburg was bombed a number of times by the Allies during World War II. The most devastating air raids on Duisburg occurred during October 1944 when the city was bombed by the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Duisburg was a major logistical centre in the Ruhr Area and location of chemical, steel and iron industries, Duisburg was a primary target of Allied bombers. Not only the industrial areas but also residential areas were attacked by Allied bombs. As an entry to the Ruhr, there were daily warnings of bombing raids in 1943.

In the period 1939 to 1945 the Royal Air Force dropped a total of 30,025 long tons of bombs on Duisburg.[1]


  • Battle of the Ruhr 1
  • Operation Hurricane 2
  • Post war reconstruction 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Battle of the Ruhr

During the "Battle of the Ruhr" in 1943, 577 British bombers destroyed the old city on 12/13 May, with 1,599 tonnes of bombs: 96,000 people were made homeless.

Operation Hurricane

In October 1944, Duisburg became the main target in Operation Hurricane a joint RAF Bomber Command and the USAAF VIII Bomber Command operation.[2]

On 14 October 1944 just after daybreak, RAF Bomber Command sent 1,013 aircraft, with RAF fighters providing an escort, to bomb Duisburg. 957 bombers dropped 3,574 tonnes of high explosive and 820 tonnes of incendiaries on the city for a loss of 14 aircraft.[3] The same day Eighth Air Force sent 1,251 heavy bombers escorted by 749 fighters to bomb targets in the area of Cologne. Later the same day, during the night of 14 October/15 October, 1,005 RAF bombers returned to Duisburg in 2 waves about 2 hours apart, and dropped a further 4,040 tonnes of high explosive and 500 tonnes of incendiaries for the loss of 7 aircraft. The same night a further 230 aircraft destroyed Brunswick.

During Operation Hurricane nearly 9,000 tonnes of bombs fell on Duisburg in less than 24 hours, but the damage to Duisburg is difficult to assess because much of the documentation including the final report (Endbericht), is not held by the Duisburg state archive (Stadtarchiv).[2] However the documentation which is available mentions "Very serious property damage. A large number of people buried." and that at the Thyssen Mines III and IV 8 days production was lost.

Post war reconstruction

A total of 299 bombing raids had almost completely destroyed the historic cityscape. 80% of all residential buildings had been destroyed or partly damaged. Almost the whole of the city had to be rebuilt, and most historic landmarks had been lost.

Date Air Force Notes
1941-06-1212/13 June 1941 RAF Bomber Command RAF roundel 445 tonnes of bombs dropped.[4]
1942-04-055/6 April 1942 RAF Bomber Command RAF roundel 263 aircraft.[5]
1943-00-001943 As an entry to the Ruhr, there were daily warnings of bombing raids in 1943.
1943-03-2626/27 March 1943 RAF Bomber Command RAF roundel a "widely scattered raid" by 455 aircraft during the Battle of the Ruhr due to cloud cover and lack of Oboe marking[6]
1943-05-1212/13 May 1943 RAF Bomber Command RAF roundel With good marking and the Main Force delivering concentrated bombing, 577 bombers[7] destroy the old city with 1,599 tonnes of bombs: 96,000 people are made homeless.
1944-11-2323 November 1944 U.S. Eighth Air Force Over 140 B-17’s escorted by 2 fighter groups bombed the benzol manufacturing plant near Gelsenkirchen and Marshalling Yards at Duisburg.[8]
1944-10-1414/15 October 1944 RAF Bomber Command RAF roundel During the morning, 957 Operation Hurricane bombers dropped 3,574 tonnes of high explosive and 820 tonnes of incendiaries. In the subsequent night raid, 1,005 bombers in 2 waves about 2 hours apart, dropped a further 4,040 tonnes of high explosive and 500 tonnes of incendiaries.[2]
1945-03-055 March 1945 U.S. Ninth Air Force Among other missions over German the Ninth flew armed reconnaissance sorties over the Hamm-Duisburg area.[9]
1945-04-1212 April 1945 U.S. Ninth Air Force Fighters of the Ninth the supported the XVI Corps as it continued fighting in the Duisburg and Dortmund areas during the destruction of the German armies of Army Group B surrounded and contained in the Ruhr pocket[10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Campaign Diary, October 1944
  3. ^ Bomber Command Diary
  4. ^ Campaign Diary, June 1941
  5. ^ Campaign Diary, April 1942
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Carter (1991), p. 550
  9. ^ Carter (1991), p. 638
  10. ^ Carter (1991), p. 673


  • Carter, Kit C.; Mueller, Robert (1991). U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology 1941 - 1945, Center for Air Force History Washington, DC.
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