One may hardly
believe today that Dortmund also had an inner city with
a long historical past. Its location along the old
military road elevated the town to a powerful imperial
and trading center with Roman and Gothic churches. These
included the oldest City Hall in Germany from around
The largest city of
Westphalia with about 540,000 inhabitants formed an
industrial agglomeration based on coal and steel.
The city was thus a
preferred bombing target.
The most serious
attacks were made on:
15 April 1942 = 215
5 May 1943 = 596
bombers, 693 dead
24 May 1943 = 826
bombers, 654 dead
More bomb attacks
took place on:
7 October 1944, 7
November 1944, 1,148 dead and 2,451 wounded,
12 November 1944, 29
November 1944 and 12 March 1945, shortly before
the end of the war, with 1,107 fighters and nearly 5,000
tons of bombs. An area of one kilometer wide and five
kilometer long was razed to the ground. The dead were
not carried away, ostensibly because there were too many.
Report of a British newspaper
Not only the bombers
brought death and destruction to the inner city; the
fleeing people were hunted down from low-flying aircraft
by cannon fire. On 3 March 1945 the "Thunderbolt"
fighter planes killed 40 passengers of a crowded tram.
Dortmund was destroyed.
Special mention must
be made of the
bomb attack on
the Möhne Dam:
In addition to the
Operation "Gomorrah", the complete destruction of
Hamburg by fire, the British borber force envisaged also
another model of biblical destruction: the deluge.
To disrupt the water
supply of the Ruhr and to inflict as many casualties as
possible by large floods, the Royal Air Force targeted
also large dams, namely beside the dam of the river
Möhne also the Eder and Sorpe dams.
For the destruction
of the barrages special bombs have been designes and
special dropping techniques practiced.
The strike was
carried out on the night of 16/17 May 1943. Only the 5th
approach succeeded in destroying the barrage.
cubic meters of water poured in a huge tidal wave into
While the walls of
the Sorpe Dam remained in place, the waterflood at the
Möhne Dam inflicted heavy losses among the civilian
population. An estimated 1,200 people drowned in the
raging waters, including more than 800 residents of the
small town Neheim-Hüsten and hundreds of foreign workers.