Bombing of Braunschweig in World War II - Statistics Relating To 15 October 1944 - Destroyed Buildings (selection)

Destroyed Buildings (selection)

A great part of Braunschweig's tightly packed city centre was made up of about 800 timber-frame houses, many of which dated back to the Middle Ages. There were also stone buildings dating mainly from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The narrow streets with their wooden timber-frame houses that could so easily catch fire and burn, all built cheek by jowl with each other, saw to it that the British tactics were successful. First dropping explosive bombs, and then incendiary bombs, not only started a fire, but made sure it would spread quickly and turn into a firestorm that raged for 2½ days, destroying virtually everything. Braunschweig lost many irreplaceable cultural monuments in the short time after the air raid.

In an ironic twist of fate, the old cathedral, which the RAF had used as a reckoning point for the whole operation, and which the Nazis had turned into a "National Shrine" in 1935, was left standing.

Along with whole streets in the city centre, many important historic buildings were largely or utterly destroyed. What follows is a selection of those:

Building time built Condition after 15 October 1944
Aegidienkirche (church) 13th - 15th cen. heavily damaged
Alte Waage 1534 utterly destroyed, from 1990 - 1994 rebuilt
Andreas-Kirche (church) about 1230 heavily damaged
Bierbaumsches Haus 1523 destroyed
Braunschweiger Schloss (Palace) 1833–1841 heavily damaged, demolished in 1960 amid great controversy; reconstructed and reopened 2008. Now houses city library and joined with the new Schloss-Arkaden mall.
Brüdern-Kirche (church) about 1361 heavily damaged
Dankwarderode Castle 1887–1906 heavily damaged
Gewandhaus (cloth hall) before 1268 heavily damaged
Hagenmarkt-Apotheke 1677 destroyed
Haus Salve Hospes 1805 heavily damaged
Katharinen-Kirche (church) about 1200 heavily damaged
Liberei 1412–1422 heavily damaged
Magnikirche (church) about 1031 heavily damaged
Martineum 1415 destroyed
Martini-Kirche (church) about 1195 heavily damaged
Meinhardshof about 1320 destroyed
Mumme-Haus (brewery) 16 cen. destroyed
Nicolai-Kirche (church) 1710–1712 destroyed
Pauli-Kirche (church) 1901/06 heavily damaged
Petri-Kirche (church) before 1195 heavily damaged
Stechinelli-Haus 1690 heavily damaged
Staatstheater 1861 heavily damaged

On the next morning, 16 October, Braunschweig lay under a thick cloud of smoke. A British reconnaissance aircraft sent to take photographs of the bombing's aftermath for analysis actually had to turn back and return to England without completing its job, which had been rendered impossible by the opaque pall that hung over the town.

By the evening of 17 October, the last of the fire's main hotspots had been put out, but it took another three days to quench lesser fires, until 20 October. Eighty thousand of the townsfolk were left homeless by the attack.

The destruction was so widespread and thorough that ordinary people and the experts alike, even years after the war, were convinced that the attack had come from one of the dread "thousand-bomber attacks", such as the one that had laid Cologne waste. The extent of the damage could seemingly not otherwise be explained. Only after the British opened their military archives did it become plain that it had been "only" 233 bombers.

Read more about this topic:  Bombing Of Braunschweig In World War II, Statistics Relating To 15 October 1944

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