Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

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Postby escotregen » Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:02 pm

The Great Western Road bombings is an issue I have found recurring over many years. I came to the conclusion that the hits on and around Great Western Road were not intentional targeting by the Luftwaffe. I'm pretty well persuaded that is was miss-targeting and the most convincing reason was, as suggested, the mistaken identification of the road for a water feature i.e. Clyde or canal.

At the time of the Clydebank blitz air attack, directional techniques were still relatively primitive and targetting was in large part a case of interpretation and guestimating on-the-job.

One of the reasons that 'Bomber' Harris, in charge of the RAF, opted for the mass carpeting bombing of German cities, including civilian areas, was that the techniques for more selective heavy bombing (especially night-time) of military or otherwise strategic targets were just not available at that stage.

Many revisionist historians, like the Nazi apologist Irving, like to refer to Hariss's tactics as unjustified 'terror-bombing'. I was not around at the time being subjected to the immediate and intense terror of the Nazis threatening to invade at any time; so I prefer not to expound latter-day easy moral judgements on people fighting for their survival.

Another example of the lack of precision is that the Nazis didn't actually 'mean' to start the blitz on London. Their incidental off-loading of bombs on the fringes of London was a case of an almost-lost lone bomber unloading his lot before scuttling off back home. Within 24 hrs the British retaliated with a revenge raid on Berlin. This enraged Hitler into a declaration to the Riechstag that he would serve like-for-like.

The inability to deliver precise night-time bombing was ultimately one of the biggest factors in the Nazis losing the Battle of Britain... and hence WW2. (this is why some conspiracy-leaning historians allege that Churchill's Government deliberately baited the Nazis into the self-defeating mass bombing tactics... just a pity about the British civilians in the way in places like Clydebank :cry: )
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Postby Apollo » Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:51 pm

I think those expounding modern-day theories and criticism also tend to make the general mistake of reviewing events with today's capability in their mind, rather than that of the time.

Prior to the devlopment of radio navigation systems for target location, aircraft navigators who served at the time have described the operation of their night-time navigation aids. One example quoted position fixes as being within 5 miles of the known position, however that was when using the equipment static on the home airfield, and not while airborne and dodging flack and night-fighters.

Considering the effects of bombing in Clydebank, it should also be remembered that a portion of the ordnance bound for that area was dropped in the area of the Kilpatrick hills, where 'decoy cities' were set up to provide reflections and lighting to simulate the intended target, so attracting the bombers.
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Postby Socceroo » Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:36 pm

Significant Luftwaffe Air Raids over Glasgow – Clydeside in 1941

March 13th 1941 - 236No. Aircraft with 272 Tons of High Explosive and 1650 Incendiary Containers

March 14th 1941 - 203No. Aircraft with 231 Tons of High Explosive and 782 Incendiary Containers

April 7th 1941 - 179No. Aircraft with 204 Tons of High Explosive and 722 Incendiary Containers

May 5th 1941 - 386No. Aircraft with 351 Tons of High Explosive and 1300 Incendiary Containers

May 6th 1941 - 232No. Aircraft with 271 Tons of High Explosive and 1140 Incendiary Containers


The raid on May 5th 1941 was one of the largest air raids in the United Kingdom that year.
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BOMBS OVER GLASGOW

Postby Socceroo » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:32 am

The following is from "The Clydebank Blitz" by IMM MacPhail, i think it gives a good account of the hit and miss aspects of the Luftwaffe night time bombing techniques -

"The mission of the German pathfinder force was to start fires which would serve as markers for the follow - up aircraft was accomplished with a considerable degree of success from the German point of view; and the fires which began then determined the pattern of the later bombing.

The effectiveness of the incendiaries was largely, if not entirely, dependant on the accident of where they fell. Generally at industrial sites where the structures were of brick, concrete and metal, incendiaries caused very little damage.

But in the Clydebank area two of the first fires that started were at industrial sites full of inflammable material - Singer's timber yard and Yoker Distillery, just over the boundary with Glasgow.

In the forty acres of the timber yard belonging to the Singer Manufacturing Company, engaged during the war in the manufacture not only of sewing machines but also of armaments, including the Sten machune guns, a vast store of wood, estimated as worth at least 500,000 pounds, and, in addition, Goverment stocks of timber of unknown value stored there, were completely destroyed by fire.

Yoker Distillery, one of the oldest in Scotland, was on the other side of the Yoker Burn from Clydebank, but the flames and smoke were to attract to the eastern portion of Clydebank the later German bombers, who were not looking for specific targets but just dropped their bombs on or near the fires.

In the eastern parts of Clydebank, even as far west as Radnor Park, the aroma of whisky from the Distillery was already evident in the small hours of Friday morning."
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Postby HollowHorn » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:02 pm

Interesting article if you have not already seen it. I never knew that Belfast had been bombed from the air :? http://www.graeme.kirkwood.btinternet.co.uk/NFS/B1.htm
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Postby ghiribizzo » Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:41 pm

In the '70's as a boy I recall going to my father's Work in Livingstone Street, Clydebank and being goggle-eyed at the amount of shrapnel damage on the sandstone walls of tenements that were then empty, east of Kilbowie Road. A chilling reminder of those buildings was in Berlin, where a great many buildings still show the scars. On a lot of those it's easy to see the difference between the bomb/shell damage and where troops had gone round a pend and opened fire indiscriminately.
I've still got chunks of shrapnel from Govanhill St somewhere around, grandfather was in the Corpy. Electrical Div. and also the Aux. Fire Service.
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Postby Socceroo » Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:51 pm

That's another one for the list. Govanhill Street. I wonder if they were going after the nearby Dixon Blazes on that raid.

I read somewhere that some of the sporadic raids over Glasgow in 1943 were when the Luftwaffe was looking for Steelworks such as Dixon Blazes.

On a similar vein to your recollections ghiribizzo, i have been to Kiev in the Ukraine a few times. I was surprised at the amount of shrapnel damage to the buildings there.

I remember seeing one particular apartment block that had the brickwork around a particular window riddled with bullet holes like a cheddar cheese. I learned later that it was where a sniper duel had taken place over a number of days during the war.
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Postby ghiribizzo » Wed Oct 26, 2005 10:08 pm

My folks stayed at 142 Govanhill St. - I worked around Govanhill-Clarkston with an insurance co. for years but never looked into when those Closes were taken down. Maybe I should. I guess the metal would only have been kept if it had significance. I know he had a scrap of paper with '142' with it for yonks but I don't remember him saying anything about it.
Weren't there loads of ack-ack (and later rockets?) around Dixon's Blazes?
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BOMBS OVER GLASGOW

Postby Socceroo » Wed Oct 26, 2005 10:22 pm

There's a question for the HG members. Does anyone know anything about the Anti - Aircraft rockets?

I read a bit about them, i think it was in "Glasgow at War".

I think they were attributed with shooting down one Luftwaffe Bomber, but i could be wrong. I think they were based at the Kings Park Ack Ack battery.

Anyone know where that battery was? Some locals in Mount Florida tell me it was where the pre fabs next to Hampden at Hangingshaw were built following the war.

Some others have claimed that the battery was actually in Kings Park or was sited where there are now TA buildings on Aitkenhead Road.
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BOMBS OVER GLASGOW

Postby Socceroo » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:24 pm

Apparently the Anti Aircraft Rockets used over Glasgow were Z Rockets and they were sited in the Kings Park AA Battery which was based in the playing fields opposite Asda in Prospecthill Road.

The above info is from "Glasgow at War" and RCHAMS, although local folk advise me that there was heavy military activity in the old Street Lighting Depot in Aitkenhead Road (a 1920's Art Deco building which has now sadly gone) the site of the current Territorial Army building in Aitkenhead Road and at Hangingshaw.

For some reason as i commented on in earlier posts in this thread the area between Kings Park and Polmadie / Gorbals seemed to be defended more than other areas of Glasgow.
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Postby HollowHorn » Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:14 am

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Postby Techno4yourhead » Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:56 pm

Socceroo wrote:I remember seeing one particular apartment block that had the brickwork around a particular window riddled with bullet holes like a cheddar cheese.


Think you mean Emmental cheese. :)
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Postby HollowHorn » Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:19 am

View showing the Blitz site at Cathcart Street, where the foundations are being laid for new shops, offices and dwelling houses. In the background is the Victoria steeple and on the right, is the general post office 1959
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Postby AlanM » Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:23 am

Came across some more recon photo's this one of Yarrows and Albion Motorworks. Scotstoun showground is also clearly visible

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© Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland; C/47625 / Licensed via http://www.scran.ac.uk
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Postby AlanM » Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:35 am

And here's one of Barr and Stroud at Anniesland

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© Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland; E/4762 / Scran
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