From: Cologne, Germany
As to the rubble German industry was turned into, I have a suspicion that much of the damage was done postwar.
Well, factories in East Germany, if still functional, were completely dismantled and either rebuilt in Russia or parts/machines were used to upgrade Russian plants. Also, quite some were just melt down and used for new stuff in Russia. The Russians demanded and forced this as reparation. In turn, quite some factory owners in West Germany suffered of the Nazi tendency to move machines and equipment to underground locations or safe regions, with them literally sitting on empty shop floors.
Still, despite the bombing campaign's impact, the Germans were really good at restoring capacities in wartime, where the 1944 raids resulted in some refineries not being able to get back to more than 17%-60% of the original capacity. In retrospect, there was no refinery that hadn't been hit once, at least, and many other industry sectors had been hit too.
Damage was done during the war, not postwar.
There were some factories that could have operated after the war right away, IF the occupying powers would have allowed to do so. Newspaper facilities and textile factories were the first that started their productions again (late 1945, early 1946).
I know that the Krupp facilities in Essen were 80% undamaged when British forces occupied the city,
An aerial photo taken from an artillery obs plane of Ninth U.S. Army's 79th Division, shortly before 10th of April 1945, when Essen fell to troops of the 17th U.S. Airborne Division:
It doesn't look a bit undamaged, does it? The facilities were hit by a devastating amount of air attacks and arty barrages, as preparation for the assault on the area, where US troops then met little resistance. Krupp had to move their metal and car production (which restarted in 1946) to other places for quite a while, before they could use their main facilities again.
.... but then the Soviets looted everything they could get away with, and the British blew up much of the rest in their quest to turn Germany into Kansas East.
Actually, the Soviets did not advance any further than Torgau at the river Elbe, which by the way marks a point on the map that's almost on the same latitude as Essen, but 400 kilometers away (and in the East).
In the Ruhrgebiet, the industrial heart of Germany, there were +250,000 slave labourers, many of them Russians. They were not allowed to enter military or public shelters during the Allied bombings, and their living conditions were terrible. The medical care and food supply situation was catastrophic - a detail the Germans did not care about, and, after they had been freed by the US Army, many of them then started to wander around, searching for food, and, somewhat understandabe, started to loot and destroy stuff.
So, in fact, those weren't Russian soldiers, but former slave labourers or KZ-inmates who let loose. Also, they didn't destroy the Krupp facilties, but they looted and robbed places in the Ruhrgebiet's residential areas.
After 3 murders (seemingly committed by some of those ex-inmates) the Brits (who had moved in later on, as the Ruhrgebiet was projected to be part of the British occupation zone) strengthened their patrol units, but which then even led to armed hostilities between British Army units and ex-slave labourers. On top of that, further looting and theft occured, as proper food supply was not established before JUNE 1945, where they then at least issued food stamps and proper clothing to those poor fellas. The Brits were absolutely overstrained there.
Such looting happened in many German regions, pretty much at places where KZ camps or POW camps were located. The looting in the Ruhrgebiet might have been the most severe incident, though.
Now, regarding the Brits blowing up things.... the Brits blew up bunkers (U-Boat docks and shipyards), military installations and bunkers (eg. the massive bunker installation on Helgoland, which resulted in a vital part [and historical landmark] of the isle ending up sinking into the Ocean) all over (in the British zone). The Krupp facilities were not on their list. They just made sure that equipment for armament production was dismantled.
< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 3/14/2010 12:47:04 PM >
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
8th of August, 2006