Defense witness says Goering planned Coventry bombing raid

March 12 1946
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NUREMBERG, March 12, 1946 (UP) - Responsibility for the German annihilation bombing of Coventry in 1940 was pinned squarely on Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering by one of his own defense witnesses today.

Marshal Albert Kesselring's defense testimony against Goering came while he was under direct examination. Defending the Nazi onslaught on the English town, the former Nazi air chieftain said:

"I was very happy Coventry had been selected because it was ...an important military objective."

When Goering's counsel first asked him about the Coventry raid, Kesserling said "I did it." Then when he swung to the defense of the decision to bomb the town he said:

"According to our target files, Coventry was a technical center. We called it 'Little Essen.' Preparations for the attack were very methodical, extraordinarily so. I myself aided Goering in preparing them.

"It was a good navigational night. We did not even need the radio to find the targets. In particular cases whole areas have been considered as targets.

"The next day we examined the pictures. The bombs had landed perfectly. Much of the later destruction, as in Rotterdam, was caused by subsequent fires.

"We considered Coventry as a target was admissible according to international law."

Kesserling readily accepted responsibility for the Rotterdam raid as air chief in Holland at the time. He said the bombing was carried out "according to plan and time, and to our knowledge everything was complete."

He said the raid had been planned to coincide with armistice negotiations between the Nazis and Dutch, and the fact that it occurred after the city capitulated was "really an accident of war."

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