Did you know about the real target of the Münster Raid?

The railroad yards, the mission’s goal in Masters of the Air
(Image: Apple Studios)

This short article will react to the American air raid on the German city of Münster, the disastrous mission depicted in episode 5 of the miniseries Masters of the Air. We're told in the show that the objective of the mission was to bomb the railroad marshaling yards in the city center, and we’re given the impression that while American leadership didn’t particularly mind civilian losses, they were still trying to avoid them. In real life, the mission plan was slightly different.

Photograph of the actual bombing
(Photo: U.S. Army Air Forces)

Historically, civilian losses were calculated into the mission planning. In fact, the aiming point was not the railyards, as stated in the show, but the steps of the nearby cathedral. The timing of the mission, with the bombs dropping at exactly noon, when people were at Sunday Mass, was also quite deliberate.

Celebrating Mass in the damaged Münster Cathedral in 1946
(Photo: unknown photographer)

The Royal Air Force had already been targeting population centers, but this kind of mission was new to many American bomber crews, and the briefing shocked many men across several airfields in East Anglia, a detail that was accurately represented on screen.

Interestingly, Münster actually did have purely military targets outside the city. Areas to the north and south of it have been in military use since 1893, when the German 91st Infantry Regiment, commanded by the same Paul von Hindenburg who would become Germany's last president before Hitler's takeover (Read our earlier article), established a camp there. Factories in the area produced chemical weapons in World War I, and both chemical and explosive weapons during World War II.

National Medal of Honor Day promotion

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The Medals of Honor of different branches of the U.S. armed forces
(Photo: public domain)

On the occasion of the upcoming National Medal of Honor Day, we are offering all our available tours with a discount of $600 if you book and pay in full by March 25, 2024. Note that this offer applies only in case of new bookings, and it cannot be combined with other special promotions. If you have any questions related to this promotion or our tours, please contact our travel consultants at info@beachesofnormandy.com or by calling our toll-free number: +1 855-473-1999.

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