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Unknown Photographer

United States Army Air Force Flying Fortresses dropping bombs over the shipyards at Rotterdam, c. 1940-1945
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper

Creation Place: Europe
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.292

United States Army Air Force Flying Fortresses dropping bombs over the shipyards at Rotterdam, Germany, c. 1940-1945.

Allied air forces, primarily the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces, carried out scores of raids on Rotterdam and the surrounding area. About half the raids were within the city limits. The others were clustered around Nieuwe Waterweg, Schiedam (shipyards) and Pernis (petrochemical industries and fuel storage tanks). During the 128 raids, casualties amounted to 884 killed and a further 631 wounded. An attack on Rotterdam on 31 March 1943 was made by 102 USAAF bombers. Their target was the shipyards and dock area, in the west of Rotterdam. The bombing took place at 12:25 (BST) in cloudy conditions. 33 B-17s dropped 99 tons of bombs. The industrial area between Keilehaven and Merwehaven was hit. "A combination of strong wind and overcast conditions also caused great damage to the nearby residential areas, especially in the Bospolder- Tussendijken District". The death toll was between 326 and 401, and the raid made between 10,000 and 20,000 people homeless. This bombardment became known as the "Forgotten Bombardment".

Ferrotyped prints are processed in such a way that they are shiny. The print has a sensitive surface, usually thinner, because it was put through a press while still wet.

Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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