Percentage of Berlin that was destroyed?...

General WWII era German military discussion that doesn't fit someplace more specific.
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L. Kafka
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Percentage of Berlin that was destroyed?...

Post by L. Kafka » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:21 am

I was in Berlin a few years ago and from looking at postwar photos of the city, I wondered what percentage of the city was destroyed or severely damaged by allied bombing and Soviet ground fighting. Curious if there is a figure on the damage to Berlin and displaced residents.
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Ronald Lameck
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Re: Percentage of Berlin that was destroyed?...

Post by Ronald Lameck » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:56 pm

What you ask is possibly not something that can be determined with any accuracy. If you see a destroyed or damaged building, how do you determine what percentage of its destruction or damage was due to bombing, what to artillery/street fighting, and what to happy/drunken Soviet soldiers after the battle was over shooting off their guns for the hell of it? (Examples of this last form of destruction by U.S. troops can be seen in several places in Munich, for example.) Certainly there is still a lot of destruction and damage in Berlin (and Leipzig) that was subject to benign neglect by the D.D.R. government during its reign.
Post-war, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey determined that Dresden was 61% destroyed by bombing; Magdeburg 59%. They are widely considered the greatest damage done by non-nuclear bombing attacks, and topped the U.S.S.S.B. list, although the small city of Zerbst was allegedly "about 80%" destroyed by bombing in April 1945. I am unsure of the criteria used in that survey.

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Wutenberg(sp) subway station in Belin...

Post by L. Kafka » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:05 pm

...appeared to still have unrepaired pock marks from battle damage in 2007 when I visited. (I be off on the spelling of the subway station.) I also noticed some buildings that look battle damaged in Dresden from a train as we passed through the city.

A study of Allied bombing after the way concluded that only something like 22 or 24% of the objects of the aerial campaign were achieved. If I recall right, Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the '60s, was a member of the group that conducted studies of aerial bombardment during and after the war.
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Re: Percentage of Berlin that was destroyed?...

Post by Ronald Lameck » Wed May 02, 2012 4:14 pm

"A Traveller's History of Germany" must be the oddest of sources for this question. Still, leafing through it last night I found (pp. 251-2 - the following list is altered to read from lowest percentage of destruction to highest)

Berlin 33%
Munich 42%
Stuttgart 46%
Nuremberg 51%
Frankfurt 52% (I assume this refers to Frankfurt-am-Mainz)
Koblenz 58%
Aachen 59%
Dresden 59%
(Note: U.S.S.S.B. says 61% for Dresden and 59% for Magdeburg which, oddly, is not listed herein)
Bremen 60%
Hannover 60%
Mainz 61%
Kassel 69%
Kiel 69%
Bremerhaven 79%
Bonn 83%

mconrad
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Re: Percentage of Berlin that was destroyed?...

Post by mconrad » Fri May 18, 2012 11:51 am

Looks like that at around 60-70% destroyed there is no more return on bombs dropped. As they say, at that point you are just rearranging the rubble.

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Re: Percentage of Berlin that was destroyed?...

Post by Ronald Lameck » Fri May 18, 2012 6:17 pm

Despite all of these percentage figures (I wonder exactly HOW that is determined), many sources I have consulted over the years say that Dresden was the most-destroyed city ever by non-nuclear bombing, and that Magdeburg was the 2d-most. Yet, at both cities on my last visits (Dresden 2005, Magdeburg 2011), you are hard-pressed to find any bomb-inflicted damage. Berlin still has much because it was a jumble governed by 4 nations, all of whom showing considerable begning neglect. The German city that I think is still the most bomb-damaged is Leipzig. Despite being "dressed up" for the 2006 World Cup, it still has a lot of desolate areas.

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