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Steviebullsatatter

Are there records of the British deliberately bombing German hospitals

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Steviebullsatatter

During my trawling these last weeks and hearing of German planes bombing doullens Canadian hospital in may 1918,it led me to wonder if the British bombed or directly attacked German field hospitals or the like.

Steve 

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
16 minutes ago, Steviebullsatatter said:

During my trawling these last weeks and hearing of German planes bombing doullens Canadian hospital in may 1918,it led me to wonder if the British bombed or directly attacked German field hospitals or the like.

Steve 

By " directly" do you mean " deliberately" or "intentionally"?

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Steviebullsatatter

Yes..not accidentally 

Steve 

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Hedley Malloch

It makes no strategic sense to bomb an enemy’s hospitals. Enemy wounded have to be cared for by the enemy. This care ties up their logistical and other resource capacities. The wounded require hospitals, doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, trains, lorries, medicines and other materials, resources which otherwise would be released for the wider war effort. So don’t kill the enemy, but wound as many as possible. If the wounded die, then the enemy’s only obligation to them is to bury them.

for this reason I doubt if bombing hospitals was deliberate in the sense that it was planned by senior management beforehand. On the other hand, there may have been individual pilots who had their own personal motives for deliberately going off piste and seeking out buildings marked with a Red Cross.

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petestarling

I think if you read the accounts of allied hospitals being bombed it was because the were located in logistical areas and the bombing was accidental and aimed at ammunition and stores areas. Just look at some of the maps like Etaples and Le Harve, they were such crowded bases. Also a lot of the bombing was done at night and not with the precision weapons that we have today. This is unlike the deliberate sinking of hospital ships after the German government decided they were legitimate targets because they were also used to carry arms and men who were not casualties.

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AOK4

I know of several allied (British) bombings of German hospitals here in Flanders, Lichtervelde and Kortrijk (Picpus) in 1917 being the most obvious examples.

 

Jan

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Steviebullsatatter

Its extremely difficult to quantify as to whether a medical establishment was deliberately attacked..I just wanted to see if anyone could provide evidence either way. 

Thanks for your input ..most interesting. 

Steve 

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andrew pugh

Hi Steve

German aircraft bombed the 77th Field Ambulance on the 23/03/1918 at about 8pm, killing 2 men wounding 2 and killing several horses and destroying equipment. Its in the war diary

Regards

Andy

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Steviebullsatatter

Perplexing..

A desperate army in the throes of defeat maybe.

Thanks andy

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AOK4
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Steviebullsatatter said:

Perplexing..

A desperate army in the throes of defeat maybe.

Thanks andy

 

Please!

Both sides bombarded hospitals... Whether by accident or deliberate, is very difficult to prove.

Edited by AOK4

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
14 hours ago, andrew pugh said:

Hi Steve

German aircraft bombed the 77th Field Ambulance on the 23/03/1918 at about 8pm, killing 2 men wounding 2 and killing several horses and destroying equipment. Its in the war diary

 

3 hours ago, Steviebullsatatter said:

Perplexing..

A desperate army in the throes of defeat maybe.

I don't think the German Army thought it was in the throes of defeat that day.

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kenf48

The British authorities recognised that placing the Hospitals next to reinforcement camps gave some legitimacy to the German bombs, for example on May 20 when Etaples was bombed many of the casualties came from the Scottish and Cavalry camps.  As a consequence although there were demands for ‘reprisal’ raids these demands were resisted by senior officers.  Nevertheless hospitals were bombed by the Allied air forces, two notable examples mentioned above.  There was also a suspicion the Germans painted Red Crosses on buildings at aerodromes, bombing these was justified in some quarters by the observation that they could not be medical facilities as there were no railways for evacuating the wounded.

 

The British  ‘bombing campaign’ until the creation of the Independent Air Force in June 1918 could not be described as ‘strategic’ in the WW2 and later sense.  Even after the creation of the Independent Air Force Post War reports showed results were not only inaccurate but greatly exaggerated.  

Pilots often dropped their bombs where they pleased and a Red Cross was good aiming point even if Article 27 of The Hague Convention on Land Warfare placed a responsibility ‘as far as possible’ to spare ‘hospitals and places where the wounded were collected, providing they were not being used for military purposes’ from bombardment ( the 1907 Convention did not consider aerial warfare, that was to come later).

As Jan said both sides bombed hospitals but whether by accident or design, impossible to prove and largely a matter of interpretation especially on the allied side given the poor design of ‘bombers’  and the lack of any strategic direction.  That said Trenchard believed the bombers should be used in the support of ground troops so hospitals would not have been a priority for a small and limited force.

 

Ken

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Steviebullsatatter

Makes a lot of sense Ken.. must have been dreadful to have been on the receiving end of a bomb if working at a hospital.

Some of the long range guns must have ended up hitting medical establishments. 

Very interesting 

Steve 

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Marilyne
On 11/06/2019 at 09:16, AOK4 said:

 

Please!

Both sides bombarded hospitals... Whether by accident or deliberate, is very difficult to prove.

 

Hi all, 

 

Been going over the various threads on hospitals raids existing on the forum and I'm glad that on various occasions, Jan raises this point... neither side is completely innocent in the matter !!

This being said,... does any comprehensive litterature exist on WWI air raids???  

Just wondering... 

 

m;

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seaJane

There are official reports on air raids on UK territory e.g. the raid on Sheerness, 5 July 1917. I don't know if similar detailed reports were written for raids on British units in France and Belgium.  

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kenf48

I think you will struggle to find a comprehensive account of bombing raids on the Western Front, in English, bearing in mind the French are credited with forming the first strategic bombing group.  The raids on the Western Front were relatively minor events in the context of the war, albeit with far reaching consequences post war.  

 

Most  of the popular histories concentrate on fighter pilots and the ‘aces’ of all nationalities.The British OH The War in the Air (six volumes) is available on line, Volume 5 deals with the bombing of the U.K.

https://archive.org/search.php?query=Raleigh Jones war in the air

 

A post war translation of the German Air Force devotes just one paragraph to the night bombing raids in the Spring Offensive.

https://archive.org/details/germanairforcein00gurduoft/page/232

 

 

There are histories of the aeroplanes, e.g. Bloody Paralyser currently on sale at N&MP

https://www.naval-military-press.com/product/bloody-paralyserthe-giant-handley-page-bombers-of-the-first-world-war/

 

There are also general histories of the RAF etc.

 

I occasionally think there is a book to be written on ‘the Hospital Raids’.  Before her untimely death Sue Light transcribed the War diary of the Matron General on her Scarlet Finders website which describes the aftermath of the raids on the British Hospitals.

 

Ken

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