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WW2 time firebombs.

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I was reading about WW2 stradec bombing done by allies and I noticed most of the big cities were bombed with firebombs(Hamburg, Tokyo, Yokohama etc). I was wondering about 2 things:
a) Wouldn't the effect on industry been bigger if they would of used GP bombs?
b) How much different were the WW2 time firebombs from cluster bombs?

a) they weren't targeting the industry, but the civilian population...
b) not that much

The use of firebombs were not used for the sake of destroying the industrial complexes, but for like reccejet said, psychological effect but also the horrible effectiveness it has of putting cities on fire, which is a nightmare for any city even today, not just from a psychologically point of few. Especially when your city is not just all-concrete buildings. The strategic bombing of cities alone has a huge effect on the functioning of a nation and thus ability to sustain its war efforts and support for the regime/war, but using ammunitions like this you are clearly trying to kill masses of civilians, in the most traumatizing way possible until the advent of the nuclear bomb I guess. Makes you think some more of the definition of 'total war' and strategical bombing of densely populated cities.

Cluster bomb subminitions are used to bomb a certain area, they can either detonate when they hit the ground, or bury themselves and act as mines, waiting for a trigger to explode. A very effective weapon when you want to take out troop or soft target concentrations, or in case of mines put runways or roads out of use. As you can imagine, these small mines are quite a problem to clean up, even when the war is over. Several nations signed a treaty to ban the use of cluster bomb containing mines. However the subminitions can also be incendiaries.

The 'firebomb' used by the US in the second world war, was a container, clustering 38 M-69 firebombs. Each M-69 weighed only 2.3 kilograms (6.2 pounds). Quite sophisticated for its time:

--- Quote ---The aimable cluster was a bundle of M-69s fitted with a nose shroud and tail assembly. It was dropped from high altitude and then broke apart at about 900 meters (2,000 feet), scattering its M-69s. Each M-69 then ejected a long strip of cloth to stabilize itself, and crashed nose-first into buildings below. On impact, it ignited its payload of napalm, which shot out of the tail of the bomb in a burning jet. Under optimum conditions, this jet could travel 45 meters (150 feet).
--- End quote ---

One night of firebombing Tokyo took more casualties than Nagasaki and more than half the number of Hiroshima...

a) I asked that cause when ever I ask someone about that were the bombings wrong and point out the civilian loses, they say the bombings were right and were done for the industry. When ever I point out the firebombs, they say that the bombing was against the people.

--- Quote from: Webmaster on January 27, 2006, 01:34:13 AM ---One night of firebombing Tokyo took more casualties than Nagasaki and more than half the number of Hiroshima...

--- End quote ---

I think you mean the March 1945 bombing over the living areas in Tokyo. Some sources say 100'000 lost their lives(Hiroshima - 80'000, Nagasaki 70'000) - it's higher then the nukings. If we'd add it all up(all bombings), then we'd get over million deaths... for nothing.
That date is bit unclear - wikipedia says it was 9-10th March, however some book say it was on the 8th.

a) well if you kill a large proportion of the workforce, and destroy the ability for that workforce to lead a relative normal life, then yes, you also target the industrial capacity and productivity of a nation. I can't imagine going to work when my neighbour's house got destroyed last night, let alone my own house and people dying. By bombing the cities, you severely cripple the economy, which is already under great strain due to the continuous war effort. Aside from the effects it has on support for the war and regime in power as mentioned before.

The article I read reported March 10, just after midnight. It reports far higher number of casualties in Hiroshima, might include the deaths after the actual event because of radiation sickness. Not sure. Big difference is that it took I don't know how many bombers, compared to just one B-29 and one bomb.


--- Quote from: Webmaster on January 27, 2006, 01:17:35 PM ---Big difference is that it took I don't know how many bombers, compared to just one B-29 and one bomb.

--- End quote ---

By my calculations 2866 bombers if all B-29s have full payload and use GP bombs.
(Little Boy = 13'000 tonns of TNT and with hoping the exlosive in the GP bomb isn't very much better then TNT and GP bomb has 50% of the explocive.)
So it's ALOT.

Btw Fat Man was alot stronger. 20'000tonns I think.


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