Later termed "The Hiroshima of Germany", the bombing of Hamburg, code named Operation Gomorrah, was undertaken as a joint RAF and USAF mission in the last week of July 1943, with the Americans bombing by day, and the British by night. 

bombing of hamburg ww2

Germany's second largest city, Hamburg was protected by anti-aircraft fire, rings of searchlights and night fighters, all controlled by a series of radar stations. However, the RAF employed a radar countermeasure, code named 'Window' to obscure the German radars by dropping a cloud of precisely cut aluminium strips.

At the time, the attack was the heaviest air assault ever undertaken, creating an enormous firestorm which destroyed almost the entire city, killing 42,600 civilians and wounding 37,000 in the process.

In the above aerial photograph, taken over the Eilbek district, the true extent of the damage can be seen with great swathes of residential and commercial buildings completely obliterated by the firestorm that was swept through the city by hurricane-level winds.

The original image can be found here.