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F.133, L'interprétation des photographies aériennes

  • Illustrations
  • Summary
  • Additional
  • Translation
  • My Collection
(Image/s source:
English Title/Description
RAF photo interpretation
Conflict Language/s
World War II French
Production Agency Year Pages Size
P.W.E. 1942 4 13.0 cm x 21.5 cm
First Dissemination by Aircraft Last Dissemination by Aircraft Total No. Dropped by Aircraft
06/07 November 1942 15/16 January 1943

Two design variations.


Extracts from R. A. F. surveys

The repeated R.A.F. bombings have been successful. Goering has admitted as much and aerial photographs taken by British reconnaissance planes bear witness to the extent of the damage caused in Germany.

At first sight these photographs, of which several are reproduced in this leaflet, may not appear to be clear.

They are usually taken at a height of approximately 8,000 metres from a plane flying at a speed of from 480 kilometres to 640 kilometres an hour.

The camera is equipped with a remarkable lens and with special devices for preventing frosting over by the intense cold which prevails at that height.

Because of the height at which these photographs are taken, the view at first sight may be confusing because one merely sees a plan of the rooftops and streets of the town.

Here are a few indications which will enable you to realise the results obtained by R.A.F. bombers.

First of all, when examining aerial photographs one should take one's time. Look at the photograph carefully and slowly; only then will their striking features stand out.

Only rarely do the craters made by the explosions of the bombs in built-up areas appear visible. But on the other hand, where the plan of rooftops and streets is blurred, one can be sure that damage has been done.

The following points will help in interpreting aerial photographs:

1. Place the photograph in such a way that the shadows thrown on the table are going in the same direction as the shadows on the print. In this way the buildings and the ground will stand out.

2. Roads and railways are easily picked out. The latter make relatively large curves, whereas the former have more marked and sudden turnings. (See the photographs of Osnabruck).

3. Forests and vegetation usually stand out in dark masses. The roads, harvests and grassland are of a slightly lighter tone.

4. A path leading to a wood can reveal a camouflaged gun emplacement or a field post.

5. Aerodromes are often camouflaged but are nevertheless easily detectable. Runways and sheds are difficult to hide. Similarly the edges of an airfield can easily be picked out.

6. A magnifying glass is useful when examining damage in detail.

It must not be forgotten that all damage is not visible. It can only be seen when the roofs have been torn off. But more often the blast of bombs destroys the interior of buildings making them uninhabitable or useless.

It is therefore probable that most of the buildings in the neighbourhood of the greyish patches which mark the spots where explosive bombs have fallen, are destroyed inside although the roofs seem to be intact. (See photograph of Saarbrucken).

Damage done to buildings by incendiary bombs is revealed by the black and empty squares and rectangles. (See photograph of Mainz).

Bearing the above in mind, a close study of the photographs reproduced inside and on this page will confirm that the intensive bombing of German towns has had a cumulative effect on the Reich's war effort, slowing down production and interfering with the transport system whose vulnerability constitutes one of the weak points of the enemy's military organisation.

[Photograph across top showing damage in Lübeck]

Caption reads: Lübeck one of the principle German ports on the Baltic, was attacked during the night of March 28th-29th 1942. Approximately 40% of the total area of the town was devastated by high explosives and incendiaries. Nothing remains - no roofs remain in the districts in the vicinity of the docks.

[Pictures in the centre show damage at Osnabruck]

Caption reads: Docks district of Kanalhafen, a) before, and, b) after the attack of August 17th, 1942. Warehouses, petrol reservoirs and port installations have been destroyed.

[Pictures at bottom of page show damage in Cologne]

Caption reads: Cologne was attacked on the night of May 30th-31st by 1,000 bombers and despite anything Goering may say, more than 250 factories and workshops were destroyed or seriously damaged. In the foreground, examine the damage done to the dockyards. Below a view of these same docks taken in October 1942. The work of clearing up has not yet been terminated. Barges lying alongside the quay are loaded with debris, rubble and quarry stone from the demolished buildings.

[Picture at top is of Saarbrucken]

Caption reads: Saarbrucken was attacked on the night of July 29th-30th. The two gray patches show the effects of the explosions of two heavy bombs. Hundreds of houses, of industrial buildings and factories are without roofs.

[Picture at bottom is of Mainz]

Caption reads: Mainz was attacked on the night of August 11th-12th. This view of a section of the town resembles a honeycomb. The results of the explosive bombs are clearly seen: nearly all the roofs have disappeared. Note: the white spots around the ruins which mark the sun's rays passing through holes which were once windows.

On August 10th 1939, at Essen, Goering stated:-

"We will not expose the Ruhr to a single bomb dropped by enemy-planes."

On September 9th 1939, he promised the workers of the Rheinmetall-borsig-Werks:-

"Above all, I shall see that the enemy is not in a position to drop a single bomb."

On October 4th, 1942, Goering stated in groaning tones at the Sportpalast:-

"I will do everything humanly possible to alleviate the sufferings of the people in bombed territories and to prevent aerial bombardment."

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