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Eighty years ago RAF Bomber Command launches the Battle of Berlin

  What came to be known as the Battle of Berlin got properly underway with raids on four nights: 440 RAF aircraft in the first, then 764 bombers two days later, followed the next night by one of 383 and three nights later,  443 Lancasters. After the devastation wrought on Hamburg that summer Bomber Command had staged one large raid in August, but its commander, Air Marshal Arthur Harris, was determined to obliterate the whole city, which he believed would win the war for the allies. He was prepared for a campaign that would involve several raids and the loss of 300-400 of his aircraft. 123 were lost in the November raids, a loss rate of 4.9%, heavy but sustainable. A total of  some 7,000 tons of bombs were dropped, killing perhaps 3,000 people and ravaging most of the city's central district, destroying or severely damaging many famous buildings including the Kroll Opera House which had housed the German parliament since the Reichstag was burned out in 1933. The US began its drive

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