Bombing of Stuttgart in World War II
The bombing of Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 in World War II
was a series of 53 air raids that formed part of the strategic air offensive of the Allies against Germany
Strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II...

. The first bombing (by 20 aircraft of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

) occurred on August 25, 1940 and resulted in the destruction of 17 buildings. The city was repeatedly attacked over the next four and one-half years by both the RAF and the 8th Air Force as it had a significant industrial infrastructure (including the Daimler
Daimler-Benz AG was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motor vehicles, and internal combustion engines; founded in 1926. An Agreement of Mutual Interest - which was valid until year 2000 - was signed on 1 May 1924 between Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, which had...

 and Porsche
Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry....

 automotive factories) and several military bases, and was also a center of rail transportation in southwestern Germany. The final bombing (by a lone aircraft) took place on April 19, 1945.

Biggest raids

Southern Stuttgart was attacked by 191 aircraft on November 22, 1942. Previous large raids directed against the city had failed to reach the city in any strength.

On March 11, 1943, 279 aircraft bombed southern Stuttgart again. This raid was followed by one against eastern Stuttgart by 393 aircraft on April 15, 1943. A well-known raid was on September 6, 1943. 338 American heavy bombers took off but only about 150 reached and attacked the city. Losses were heavy (45 B-17's) and the results disappointed the Americans. Downtown Stuttgart was bombed on October 8, 1943 by 342 Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

s of the RAF and the final large raid of 1943 saw eastern Stuttgart bombed by 162 aircraft on November 26.

552 aircraft struck the city on February 21, 1944, and this attack was followed by a raid of 557 aircraft on March 2. Stuttgart was heavily attacked by the RAF raid of March 15, 1944, in which 863 bombers dropped 3,000 tons of bombs. About 100 aircraft bombed the city on July 16, 1944. Subsequently, the Allied air forces struck Stuttgart four times between July 25 and July 29, dropping some 73,000 bombs on the city. On September 5, 10, and 12, the city was attacked by raids of over 200 aircraft. The September 12 raid resulted in a firestorm
A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires...

 that caused extensive damage and 957 deaths. During the night of October 19-20, 1944, the city was bombed by 583 aircraft. This was followed on November 5 by two raids that totaled 165 bombers. The last large raid of 1944 was with 350 aircraft against eastern Stuttgart on December 9.

The final large raid of the war was on January 28, 1945, in which 539 aircraft bombed eastern Stuttgart. Subsequent raids consisted of less than 50 aircraft.

Despite the damage wrought in Stuttgart by the attacks, the RAF concluded that its attacks against Stuttgart were not as effective as they could have been:

Air defenses

By 1944, Stuttgart was defended by 11 heavy (88 mm) and 38 light (20 mm to 40 mm) anti-aircraft gun batteries. There was also a Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 fighter base south of the city at Echterdingen.

Statistics of the attacks

  • 15 million cubic meters of rubble was formed and later gathered on the Birkenkopf
    The Birkenkopf is a hill of height 511m within Stuttgart. It is the highest point of the inner regions of Stuttgart and is almost 300m higher than the river Neckar on which Stuttgart lies. The hill lies in the Stuttgart-West city region...

  • Around 142,000 bombs were dropped on Stuttgart during the course of the war.
  • Allied losses in the attacks on Stuttgart are estimated at 300 aircraft and 2,400 aircrew.
  • 4,590 people were killed by the air attacks.
  • 39,125 buildings were damaged or destroyed by the attacks.
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