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Dierk 's Photo Album - Cologne at war (1)

Cologne Pictures
City
The City of Cologne
At War
Cologne at war
Cathedral
The Cologne Cathedral
Christmas
During christmas season
Carnival
The Cologne Carnival
Historic
Cologne before WWII
Reconstruction
Postwar decades
Special war
Tank duel at the cathedral
Tower
Cathedral tower ascent

Special Triangle Tower
View of Cologne from the new observation platform

All images reproduced here by permission of the authors of the photographs or the owners of the websites where the images were published and may not be reproduced by any method without written permission from each author or website owner.

 
 

  bomber sound

  siren sound

  explosion sound

Because of the western exposure of the city and the existence of the Rhine as a good navigation help, Cologne was a preferred target for the Allies during WWII. On 12 May 1940 there was a first smaller raid on Cologne, on the night for the 2nd March 1941 the first major attack with about 100 bombers. On 2 March 1945, there was the last of 262 air strikes in all. During this years there were a total of 1,122 air-raid alarms, and 1,089 "Public Warnings" (which were introduced in August 1942 as a new alarm signal). These alarms made sure that the people spent up to 2,000 hours in bomb shelters or basements, which corresponds to about 83 days and nights in all - or almost 3 months.

The biggest destructions were caused by the first 1,000-bomber raid of the war - code name "Operation Millennium". Exactly 1,096 Allied bombers took off from airfields and flew in the night of 30 at 31 May 1942 between 0.47 am and 2.25 am a violent attack on the city. Until shortly before the start of the operation the city of Hamburg was an alternative target for the first 1,000-bomber raid too. But because of bad weather over northern Germany Cologne was choosen finally. 243 ha / 2.4 square miles of the city were destroyed - about 30.000 houses damaged or destroyed. Only 300 houses were preserved during the two hours air raid. About 1,500 tons of bombs were falling on the city. There were "only" about 500 deaths owing to the fact that many inhabitants had already left the city during the war, in addition there were about 5,000 injuries. Two-thirds of the bombs dropped were incendiary bombs that caused about 12,000 small fires, which led to 1,700 big fires. 45,000 people became homeless.
Even if this attack caused already many fires in the city, the phenomenon of a real firestorm was seen for the first time during a major assault on 29 June 1943 which caused approximately 4,400 deaths. After this attack, there were already 230,000 homeless in the city.
Before the war 770,000 people were living in Cologne, at the end of the war 40,000 people. 20,000 people died during the air attacks, 1,500,000 bombs were spread over the city
 
 

 

Photo source: bunkerarchaeologie.de
Photo (191 K):
Courtesy of 303rd Bomb Group (H) Association, by friendly permission of Gary Moncur. 90 % of the center of the city of Cologne was destroyed at the end of WWII

Zoom picture destroyed city, zoom the photo (popup, flash, 900 K)

 

 
Photo (100 K):
Courtesy of 303rd Bomb Group (H) Association, by friendly permission of Gary Moncur.
 
Photo (139 K):
Courtesy of 303rd Bomb Group (H) Association, by friendly permission of Gary Moncur
 
Photo (32 K):
Courtesy of 100th Bomb Group Foundation, by friendly permission of Michael Faley
 
Photo (40 K):
Courtesy of 91st Bomb Group (H), by friendly permission of Jim Shepherd. Contributed by Paul Chryst. Jim wrote, the men of the 91st made it a point to not bomb the cathedral
 
 
 

Fortunately only a photomontage - concerning the cathedral which wasn't destroyed in reality. At the end of WWII, after all the bombings, it could also have looked like this ...

 

Photo (63 K):
This photo was sent by Don Henderson. His uncle, Floyd N.
Henderson, 457th Bomb Group 8th AF, took this photo from
his waist gunner position while flying over Cologne during the
later stages of WWII. He flew the last 22 mission of the war.
See: homepage
 
 
Photo (138 K):
Courtesy of 467/463 RAF/RAAF WWII Bomber Squadrons website, by friendly permission of Peter Johnson
 
Photo (182 K):
This photo was sent by David Foster. His uncle Paul B. Davis was a member of crew #108, belonging to the 448th BG based out of Seething, Norfolk, UK. The B-24 named "Wazzel Dazzel" was belonging to 715th Sqn.. The photo was taken by Co-pilot James "Pop" Beadling
 
Photo (118 K):
This photo was sent by David Foster too. Central station and destroyed bridge Hohenzollernbrücke
 
Photo (148 K):
Another photo sent by David Foster, right side square Neumarkt, left side the area around street Zeppelinstraße at building Olivandenhof
 
Photo (258 K):
Photo sent by David Foster, Cologne center
 
Photo (174 K):
View to the city districts Nippes, Riehl und Altstadt Nord. In background church St. Agnes and the square Ebertplatz, Riehler Strasse and Reichenspergerplatz with the building of the higher regional court.
Courtesy of David Foster

 
Photo (112 K):
Cathedral and central station. Courtesy of Peter Dunn's "Australia @ War" web site at www.ozatwar.com, by friendly permission of Peter Dunn
 
Photo (181 K):
Recon photo, Cologne february 1945. Cathedral at the bottom right corner
 
Photo (219 K):
Another Recon photo, february 1945. Cologne center between Street Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring and the buildings around Appellhofplatz. In the center of the photo church St. Gereon
 
Photo (177 K):
Photomontage of the two Recon photos above. Destruction between Cathedral and Street Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring
 

The amount of debris was approximately 50 times the volume of the Cologne Cathedral. In the late 1980s there were still about 2,000 war ruins in Cologne.
 
 
Photo (175 K):
Courtesy of Kevin "The Rocketeer" via flickr-Website. Kevin's website
 
Photo (194 K):
Courtesy of Kevin "The Rocketeer". Kevin's website

Zoom picture, zoom this photo (popup, flash 1,4 mb).

 

 

Photo (165 K):
Courtesy of Kevin "The Rocketeer". Kevin's website

 
Photo (290 K):
Photo copyright: Jimmy Wood. Courtesy of 75nzsquadron.com by Simon
Simon's father Robert Douglas 'Jock' Sommerville from Scotland was a Bomb Aimer in 75(NZ) Squadron RAF and during WWII he flew several raids to German cities. This flights haunted him after the war. He was an honourable and a fair man. It was only after he had died that Simon learnt from one of Robert's friends that on a summer holiday tour of Germany in the 80's he touched the wall of the Cathedral and wept inconsolably.
Photo shows the damages to the Cathedral.
 
Photo (226 K):
Pvt. Harry Roeder, 504th Military Police Battalion, took this photo showing the damages to the Cathedral. His son Bruce kindly allowed me to show the photo here and he maintains an interesting website about his father and his experiences during and after the war here: What did you do in the war dad? part 3.
 
Photo (162 K):
On the right side a hospital called "Krankenhaus der Augustinerinnen" in Cologne called "Severins-Klösterchen" too. The church nearby is the church "Kartäuserkirche" and the Streets around are called "Jakobstrasse" and "Kartäusergasse". The cologne city district is "Altstadt Süd".
Courtesy of Kevin "The Rocketeer". Kevin's website

 
Photo (160 K):
Courtesy of Gordon Ross via flickr-Website. Gordon's website.
 
Photo (150 K):
Courtesy of Gordon Ross via flickr-Website
 
Photo (114 K):
Church St. Aposteln near square Neumarkt. Courtesy of Norman Date. Norman's website
 
Photo (102 K):
On the right side the old building is the "Gürzenich", a historic hall for celebrations - today again a hall for celebrations. It's the area around square Heumarkt. Courtesy of Norman Date. Norman's website
 
Photo (105 K):
Cathedral and in foreground the destroyed Hindenburg bridge. Courtesy of Norman Date. Norman's website
 
Photo (137 K):
Ruins and the cathedral. Courtesy of Norman Date. Norman's website
 
Photo (124 K):
View of the ruins of Cologne, from the Zeppelinstrasse shopping district to the Cathedral. Courtesy of World War II Multimedia Database website, by friendly permission of Jason McDonald
 
Photo (186 K):
May 24, 1945. View of the ruins, southern city districts. Courtesy of World War II Multimedia Database website, by friendly permission of Jason McDonald
 
Photo (175 K):
View of the ruins, southern city districts, detail from the photo above. In foreground street Severinstrasse and street Mühlenbach, in adition church St. Georg. Courtesy of World War II Multimedia Database website, by friendly permission of Jason McDonald
 
Photo (74 K):
Cologne Cathedral. Courtesy of Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, by friendly permission of Dr. Douglas Day.
 
Photo (64 K):
The destroyed bridge "Hohenzollernbrücke". Photo sent by Bernd Fromader
 
Photo (116 K):
The city of Cologne in March 1945 after several bombing raids. Courtesy of Juno Beach Centre / National Defence Image Library, PL 42542, by friendly permission of Xavier Paturel. Same photo with explanation of the buildings.
 
Photo (105 K):
Damages resulting from bombing in a residential area of Cologne. View from the cathedral onto the southern parts of the city, street at the right side is the "Hohe Straße". Courtesy of Juno Beach Centre / National Defence Image Library, PL 42543, by friendly permission of Xavier Paturel.
 
Photo (82 K):
Lt. Wick Goist at Cologne Cathedral. Courtesy of 1-377 FAR (AASLT) website
 
Photo (65 K):
Destroyed houses. Courtesy of 1-377 FAR (AASLT) website
 
Photo (82 K):
Destroyed Hohenzollern-Bridge. Courtesy of 1-377 FAR (AASLT) website
 
Photo (146 K):
Cologne, city district Mülheim, two heavy day attacks on October 14-15, 1944. One of destroyed the bridge "Mülheimer Brücke"
 

Courtesy of collection Willi Weiss
The burning Cologne at night
 
The following photos are courtesy of The U.S. Army 3rd Armored Division History Website, by friendly permission of Vic Damon
Photo (36 K):
Spearhead infantrymen advance in the heart of Cologne. In the distance are the Cathedral twin spires.
 
Photo (66 K):
3AD M-26 Pershing and Infantry Advance in Cologne
 
Photo (76 K):
Convoy of 3AD Shermans in Cologne

The same view in 2006

 

 
Photo (64 K):
3AD Column Meets Resistance in Cologne. Up ahead was German machine-gun, mortar, and artillery fire.
 
Photo (42 K):
Cologne, March 6 - 7, 1945. www3ad.com comment:
At left, 3rd Armored infantrymen peer around a building as a Sherman tank stands ready to fire. At right, a German tank burns after hits from a 3rd Armored tank (90mm Pershing M26) that killed three of its five-man crew.
 
Photo (50 K):
The destroyed German Tank at the Cathedral. It lost a sudden violent duel with new 3AD Pershing M-26. www3ad.com comment:
Unidentified 3AD soldiers inspect a German Mark V Panther tank several days after it had been knocked out on March 6, 1945, by an M-26 commanded by Sgt. Robert Early, E Co, 32nd Armored Regiment. The Panther took three hits from the M-26's 90mm gun. At least three of the five-man German crew were confirmed killed. The M-26 was not hit.

Special page
Several photos: the tank duel at the cathedral

 
Photo (50 K):
Bird's-Eye View from Cologne Cathedral, including Panther tank knocked out on March 6, 1945, by 3AD Pershing. This photo was probably taken on March 7th or 8th after the downtown area had been fully secured.
 
Photo (102 K):
Bird's-Eye View from Cologne Cathedral at the southern districts.
 
Photo (83 K):
Bird's-Eye View from Cologne Cathedral at the destroyed Rhine river bridge "Hohenzollernbrücke"
 
Photo (73 K):
Pedestrians near the cathedral, taken around March 6-7, 1945
 
Photo (64 K):
Spearhead-sign in street Venloer Straße
 
Photo (51 K):
Spearhead-sign at a bridge in street Venloer Straße
 
 
Following photos are coming from private archives Bernhard Hilger
Photo (139 K):
His grandfather, Bernhard Leich (1891 - 1966) worked from 1914 to 1966 in the "Dombauhütte" (the cathedral construction department) as a stonemason, most recently as a foreman. He waited many nights of bombing in WWII in the cathedral and on the roof of the cathedral , looking for falling fire-bombs, starting fire-fighting operations directly. For his services he received several honors and in 1957 awarded by Pope Pius XII, the Knight's cross of the Order of St. Sylvester.

  Bernhard Leich
A personal tragedy hit him hard during the war. During the air raids in the early hours of the 15th October 1944 he stayed on the cathedral roof once again and helped put out the burning provost. Having done this, he went to his home in city district Deutz, to see for his family. However, he found only a destroyed house. While he kept the cathedral from major damage, his house was bombed and collapsed. His wife and two children died. Then he went back to the cathedral, where he - following the memories of Domvikar Kleff - arrived with the words "I have nothing left."

In his grandfather's estate Bernhard Hilger found the following photos.

The interior of the cathedral

 

 
Photo (144 K):
The interior of the cathedral
 
Photo (172 K):
The interior of the cathedral
 
Photo (81 K):
The destroyed Hohenzollernbrücke
 
Photo (150 K):
View of square Wallrafplatz, Hohe Strasse and the (large house) Stollwerckhaus
 
Photo (143 K):
The Hohe Straße
 
Photo (161 K):
Excerpt from the photo above. Shows the extent of destruction more clear
 
Photo (160 K):
View of cathedral, destroyed houses, in foreground right the destroyed tower of church Groß St. Martin
 
Photo (135 K):
Square Fischmarkt, cathedral, left church Groß St. Martin, right the "Stapelhaus"
 

More fascinating photos, information and movies on page 2    
 

Zoom picture destroyed city, zoom the photo (popup, flash, 900 K). Photo: 303rd Bomb Group (H) Association
Zoom picture destroyed city 2, zoom the photo (popup, flash, 1,4 mb). Photo: Kevin "The Rocketeer"
Zoom picture destroyed city 3, zoom the photo (popup, flash, 2,0 mb)

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At War (2)
Special page
Several photos: the tank duel at the cathedral
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