Arthur "Bomber " Harris.....

Fiction, movies, alternate history, humor, and other non-research topics related to WWII.

Moderator: Commissar D, the Evil

sid guttridge
on "time out"
Posts: 8055
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2002 4:54 am

Post by sid guttridge » Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:17 am

Hi Phylo,

You are obscuring my point with generalities.

There were hundreds of air raids in the Spanish Civil War, Guernica included. However, it was the first Barcelona raid that provided the statistics most countries worked on.

The Barcelona raid occurred in as near to pure laboratory conditions as you could get. The city was unprepared, there was no warning, nobody took cover and there were no shelters. The sky was clear, the number of aircraft was small and could be counted accurately, there were almost no defences, the city's public services were able to provide accurate casualty figures and it was crammed with foreign correspondents as independent witnesses.

The first Barcelona raid was the defining measure used by the British Air Ministry in calculating the likely number of casualties if preparations were not made and informed its advice to politicians on how many shelters were needed, how many beds should be prepared, who and how many to evacuate, etc.

The practical importance of this raid has long been obscured by the propaganda surrounding Guernica.

Cheers,

Sid.

phylo_roadking
Patron
Posts: 8459
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:41 pm

Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:34 am

The first Barcelona raid was the defining measure used by the British Air Ministry in calculating the likely number of casualties if preparations were not made and informed its advice to politicians on how many shelters were needed, how many beds should be prepared, who and how many to evacuate, etc.
Sid, IF for once you care to read a post of mine corrctly, I've agreed with this! BUT this is not the full story - only HALF of what the name "Barcelona" conjures out of the records. Through the summer of 1939 and the subsequent autumn, Yes this information provided "expert" information from the Air Ministry to the Cabinet for damage and casualties that could be expected from the anticipated "aerial offensive" - but also the events of January 21-26 1939 in Barcelona and the breakdown of law and order, the handling of refugees, the destruction of utilites etc. were EQUALLY on the minds of politicians. Damage from air attack on buildings and people is only half the story after all - the OTHER side is whether or not they make the target city/area/country ungovernable or destroy the necessities of life for survivors to the point at which a government has to sue for peace.

Remember - everything that had been seen up until then backed up the worst predictions through the 1930's - NOONE anticipated the efforts made on all sides and at all levels to recover from air attack. They still expected civilian populations to cower is shelters - which is part of the reason the Deep Shelter programme was halted - and the initial decision taken not to let people shelter in the Tube stations - along with initial plans for armed Met. Police to drive people out of shelters at gunpoint at dawn!!!

Governments are obliged to take a slightly longer view of things than yours, Sid - they have to think about destroyed buildings, and shelters and casualties and rescue and evacuation of survivors - BUT they're also obliged to ensure the continuance of civil utilites - gas, water, electricity for the uninjured and/or capable of working survivors, casualty clearance from inner city hospitals to outlaying facilities to leave beds free for the next raid, prevention of looting, clearing of major arterial roads, repair to rail lines and viaducts, shoring up of damaged but vital buildings that would be costlier to relocate, the reopening of civil administrative buildings required day-in, day-out, the reopening of shops and the getting of stock to them - ALL to ensure the morale of survivors isnt broken and that they'll go to work the next day....and don't come storming down Whitehall with the pitchforks etc. which is what the government as of September 3rd, 1939 fully expected them to do at some point...

THIS is what they learned from January 1939 in Barcelona - how all this DOESNT get done without a HUGE amount of preparation - and even then a huge amount of luck. For example - have you ANY idea of the efforts it required every night during the Blitz JUST to repair the damage done to the Southern Railway? To both ensure damaged viaducts and bridges didnt cause further casualties, that all mainline and suburban stations were open and safe to use? The Southern moved over a million "fares" a day in London at the height of the Blitz - in each day and out each evening - THEN their staff fire-watched, repaired, rebuilt and laboured before starting again to shift the "fares" next morning. And thats just a private railway company!

THIS was mirrored everywhere in Great Britain during 1940 and 1941, and places like Dover right the way through to June 5th 1944, constantly living under artillery bombardment and air raid.
You are obscuring my point with generalities
Nothing general about it - the Government was concerned with "the continuance of life and the nation's life" (wish I could remember who said that) of which dealing with the immediate effects of bombing was only a part.
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

sid guttridge
on "time out"
Posts: 8055
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2002 4:54 am

Post by sid guttridge » Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:43 am

Hi Phylo,

January 1939 is after the civil defence measures provoked by the first Barcelona raid were implemented in the UK and elsewhere and after the Anglo-French had proposed at the League of Nations that bombing of cities be banned.

No doubt it added to existing concerns, but it was not the turning point that the first Barcelona was on the professional analysis front or that Guernica was on the propaganda front. In fact, even though later raids in the Spanish Civil War produced much lower death/bomb ratios, the air professionals continued to use extrapolations of the first Barcelona raid's higher statistics as a worst case scenario in order to motivate the politicians to take countermeasures.

The impact of the first Barcelona raid badly needs the research attention that Guernica gets.

Cheers,

Sid.

phylo_roadking
Patron
Posts: 8459
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:41 pm

Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:04 am

No doubt it added to existing concerns, but it was not the turning point that the first Barcelona was on the professional analysis front or that Guernica was on the propaganda front
Sid, what part of "Sid, IF for once you care to read a post of mine corrctly, I've agreed with this!" is unclear? BUT, similarly unclear must me...
BUT this is not the full story
as a worst case scenario in order to motivate the politicians to take countermeasures.
Sid, believe me, if you care to reasearch this properly - they didn't need any further motivation. They were as I said by then as much concerned with the breakdown of law and order, and the continuation of government and the welfare of the people post-attack as they were with immediate damage and casualties.
January 1939 is after the civil defence measures provoked by the first Barcelona raid were implemented in the UK and elsewhere
....and that was only the FIRST of such implementations; Barcelona I and several intelligence reports led to the Deep Shelter programme - the fall of Barcelona led eventually with other factors to its [cancellation and the allocation into "pure" Civil Defence and a VAST extension of the ARP services and rescue services. AND in Parliament achieved a MUCH higher profile - and In Churchill's National Government - there having been two Labour MPS in Barcelona only hours before its capitulation.
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

User avatar
Soldat7128
Supporter
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun May 09, 2004 11:54 pm
Location: U.S.A.

Re:

Post by Soldat7128 » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:54 am

M.H. wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:32 am
PS: I don't want to shove down ones throat one viewpoint or the other...
But if you think about it that the propaganda WWII started much earlier then 1939 and Guernica was made to such a symbol of german maliciousness...why not hear the other side for once too?
Especially as Adolf Galland never was a Nazi but respected by friends and foes alike!
At the same time I believe around the time of the Fighter Pilots' Revolt the Gestapo began investigating Galland and Hitler allegedly told Himmler to call them off, saying "He's one of us!" (So you can argue he was a dedicated National Socialist he just didn't share some of its principles such as rabid anti-Semitism somewhat similar to Rommel [most people tend to hold very overgeneralized/cookie-cutter images of Nazis in my opinion; there was diversity as in any group especially if you go back to earlier figures such as Gregor Strasser, Ernst Roehm, and others).

NB I'm a distant relative of Galland's.

Post Reply