Operation Küste

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This was the German air campaign, otherwise known as ‘Seebad’, against Warsaw, the capital of Poland (25 September 1939).

Although propaganda during and since the end of the war has ascribed to the German aerial assault force for this campaign against the Polish capital an overall strength of 800 bombers, the true total of aircraft deployed by Generalmajor Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen’s Fliegerführer zbV (from 10 November VIII Fliegerkorps) in General Alexander Löhr’s Luftflotte IV was some 460 bombers, dive-bombers and ground-attack aircraft. The Poles had four times been warned of the dangers inherent in any continued defence of the city (by some 100,000 troops), and in the event received some 500 tons of HE bombs from these aircraft.

Far greater damage was inflicted by a force of some 30 Junkers Ju 52/3m bomber-transports, however, as they unloaded 72 tons of incendiaries over the Polish capital, causing numberless fires that made accurate conventional bombing impossible. The effect of ‘Küste’ was immediate, for on the next day the capital surrendered without the need for a German ground force assault.