German tragedy of destiny









The city of Kassel was doomed because of its wide-ranging industrial facilities. Here were the Fieseler aircraft plant, tank factories and locomotive workshops.


Accordingly, the city was frequently bombed, in particular on

9 September 1941

27/28 August 1942

4 October 1943

22/23 October 1943

22 September 1944

2 October 1944


Compared to other cities, all attacks were relatively heavy from the beginning.

The second strike with 569 machines and 4,160,000 incendiary bombs was particularly disastrous.


At the two major attacks on 4 October and 22 October 1944 a total of 3500 tons of bombs were dropped.


The giant firestorm practically destroyed the entire city core consisting mainly of half-timbered houses. One in ten residents of the city persihed.


13,000 dead


On 22 September and 2 October 1944 with 3,000 tons of bombs also the remains were reduced to rubble and ash.



Here a mention must be made of the

air strike against the dams of the Eder River:


The dams 35 km from Kassel - together with the dams of the Möhne and the Sorpe - were envisaged by the British bombers with the purpose of destroying the barrages and killing as many people as possible by the resulting floods. For this special operation the Squadron No. 617 of the Royal Air Force was assigned.


The coned bombs designed especially for this purpose contained 3 tons of explosives apiece. They had to be dropped in an adequate flying angle and at a speed of 350 km/hour above the water surface so that they could follow their target similarly to the stone thrown flat over the water surface. Only this way could the bombs leap over the nets put up to ward off bombs and torpedoes. Coming into contact with the dam wall, the special bombs had to sink before exploding.



Animation of the principle of the "bouncing" bomb


The extremely complicated procedure was exercised accurately in England at a lake.


On the night of 16/17 May 1943 three machines out of 18 succeeded to take the right direction. The dam wall burst and 200 million cubic meters of water poured in a huge tidal wave into the valley. The deadly torrent measured over 9 meters in height and destroyed everything through the Eder valley up to Kassel. It flooded five settlements, in the raging waters 1,200 people lost their lives, including more than 800 residents of the small-town Neheim-Hüsten and hundreds of foreign workers.



Many weeks after this terrible event corpses still turned up from under the mud.





National Zeitung (Berlin):


Neue Zürcher Zeitung (1):


Neue Zürcher Zeitung (2):


The Times (1):


The Times (2):