The official history volume British War Production (Postan, 1952) noted that the greatest effect on output of warlike stores was on the supply of components and dispersal of production rather than complete equipment. There was also a mentality in all air forces that flying by day would obviate the need for night operations and their inherent disadvantages. The estimate of tonnes of bombs an enemy could drop per day grew as aircraft technology advanced, from 75 in 1922, to 150 in 1934, to 644 in 1937. The GL carpet was supported by six GCI sets controlling radar-equipped night-fighters. Dowding agreed air defence would require some offensive action and that fighters could not defend Britain alone. [153] For Gring, his prestige had been damaged by the defeat in the Battle of Britain, and he wanted to regain it by subduing Britain by air power alone. London Blitz took place during the World War 2. [31], The circumstances affected the Germans more than the British. Bombers were flown with airborne search lights out of desperation but to little avail. By 16 February 1941, this had grown to 12; with 5 equipped, or partially equipped with Beaufighters spread over 5 Groups. The Children's Overseas Reception Board was organised by the government to help parents send their children overseas to four British Dominions Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. [24], Hitler was much more attracted to the political aspects of bombing. From July until September 1940 the Luftwaffe attacked Fighter Command to gain air superiority as a prelude to invasion. Rumours that Jewish support was underpinning the Communist surge were frequent. The AOC Bomber Command, Arthur Harris, who did see German morale as an objective, did not believe that the morale-collapse could occur without the destruction of the German economy. The Blitz refers to the strategic bombing campaign conducted by the Germans against London and other cities in England from September of 1940 through May of 1941, targeting populated areas, factories and dock yards. [40], However, the Luftwaffe faced limitations. [72] The psychoanalysts were correct, and the special network of psychiatric clinics opened to receive mental casualties of the attacks closed due to lack of need. Harold Macmillan wrote in 1956 that he and others around him "thought of air warfare in 1938 rather as people think of nuclear war today". Attacks from below offered a larger target, compared to attacking tail-on, as well as a better chance of not being seen by the crew (so less chance of evasion), as well as greater likelihood of detonating its bomb load. The London Blitz Timeline Nathaniel Zarate Sep 7 1940 September 7, 1940 On Saturday September 7th 1940, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force to bomb London. The hope was that, if it could deceive German bombardiers, it would draw more bombers away from the real target. The difference this made to the effectiveness of air defences is questionable. [126] RAF day fighters were converting to night operations and the interim Bristol Blenheim night fighter conversion of the light bomber was being replaced by the powerful Beaufighter, but this was only available in very small numbers. [89][90], Knickebein was in general use but the X-Gert (X apparatus) was reserved for specially trained pathfinder crews. [92] The counter-operations were carried out by British Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) units under Wing Commander Edward Addison, No. Port cities were also attacked to try to disrupt trade and sea communications. Many of the latter were abandoned in 1940 as unsafe. They also noted regional production was severely disrupted when city centres were devastated through the loss of administrative offices, utilities and transport. In the following month, 22 German bombers were lost with 13 confirmed to have been shot down by night fighters. The Royal Chapel, inner quadrangle and Palace gates were hit, and several workmen were injured. Locating targets in skies obscured by industrial haze meant the target area needed to be illuminated and hit "without regard for the civilian population". [136] The Germans were surprised by the success of the attack. By September 1940, London had already experienced German bombing. Children in the East End of London, made homeless by the Blitz From this point, there were air raids every day for two months. Ed Murrow reporting on war torn London during the blitz. Another poll found an 88% approval rating for Churchill in July. [122][123] In July 1940, only 1,200 heavy and 549 light guns were deployed in the whole of Britain. The bombings left parts of London in ruins, and when the war ended in 1945 much of the city had to be rebuilt. Launched in May 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, discover our collection of resources about the resilience of London during World War II. Predictions had underestimated civilian adaptability and resourcefulness. [49], In 1937 the Committee on Imperial Defence estimated that an attack of 60 days would result in 600,000 dead and 1.2million wounded. [184][185] This imagery of people in the Blitz was embedded via being in film, radio, newspapers and magazines. By December, this had increased to 92 percent. [161] Another raid was carried out on 11/12 May 1941. Corum 1997, pp. Tickets were issued for bunks in large shelters, to reduce the amount of time spent queuing. [164], In the north, substantial efforts were made against Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland, which were large ports on the English east coast. From 1916 to 1918, German raids had diminished against countermeasures which demonstrated defence against night air raids was possible. This was when warfare deliberately included civilian populations. Ironically, the Blitz was the result of an . Contact Us 0207 608 5516 Call today: 9am - 5.30pm Bombers were noisy, cold, and vibrated badly. Fighter Command lost 17 fighters and six pilots. BBC - WW2 People's War - Timeline Fact File : The Blitz 25 August 1940 to 16 May 1941 Theatre: United Kingdom Area: London and other major cities Players: Britain: RAF Fighter Command under. It believed it could greatly affect the balance of power on the battlefield by disrupting production and damaging civilian morale. The most intense series of these raids took place from September 1940 to May 1941 in a period that has become known as the Blitz. Areas of Learning Mathematics Literacy Communication and Language Understanding The World Physical Development Personal, Social & Emotional Development Expressive Arts and Design Theme and Topics Everyday Life Fantasy and Adventure Festivals and Cultural Celebrations Places Weather and Seasons Science & Investigation [140] The first group to use these incendiaries was Kampfgruppe 100 which despatched 10 "pathfinder" He 111s. Throughout 1940, dummy airfields were prepared, good enough to stand up to skilled observation. [127] In November 1940, 6,000 sorties and 23 major attacks (more than 100 tons [102t] of bombs dropped) were flown. German crews, even if they survived, faced capture. [40] The Port of London, in particular, was an important target, bringing in one-third of overseas trade. [107], Luftwaffe policy at this point was primarily to continue progressive attacks on London, chiefly by night attack; second, to interfere with production in the vast industrial arms factories of the West Midlands, again chiefly by night attack; and third to disrupt plants and factories during the day by means of fighter-bombers. The term was first used by the British press and originated from the term Blitzkrieg, the German word meaning 'lightning war'.[4]. On 17 September he postponed Operation Sea Lion (as it turned out, indefinitely) rather than gamble Germany's newly gained military prestige on a risky cross-Channel operation, particularly in the face of a sceptical Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. They concluded bombers should strike a single target each night and use more incendiaries because they had a greater impact on production than high explosives. [131], Nevertheless, it was radar that proved to be the critical weapon in the night battles over Britain from this point onward. The lack of bombing in the Phoney War contributed significantly to the return of people to the cities, but class conflict was not eased a year later when evacuation operations had to be put into effect again. On 9 April 1941, Luftflotte 2 dropped 150 tons (152t) of high explosives and 50,000 incendiaries from 120 bombers in a five-hour attack. In September, there had been no less than 667 hits on railways in Great Britain, and at one period, between 5,000 and 6,000 wagons were standing idle from the effect of delayed action bombs. Added to the fact an interception relied on visual sighting, a kill was most unlikely even in the conditions of a moonlit sky. Although the stress of the war resulted in many anxiety attacks, eating disorders, fatigue, weeping, miscarriages, and other physical and mental ailments, society did not collapse. Five main rail lines were cut in London and rolling stock damaged. The British were still one-third below the establishment of heavy anti-aircraft artillery AAA (or ack-ack) in May 1941, with only 2,631 weapons available. The first attack merely damaged the rail network for three days,[102] and the second attack failed altogether. : The Blitz 1940 971941 510 : Blitz Other targets would be considered if the primary ones could not be attacked because of weather conditions. Morrison warned that he could not counter the Communist unrest unless provision of shelters were made. The considerable rail network distributed to the rest of the country. The effectiveness of British countermeasures against Knickebein caused the Luftwaffe to prefer fire light instead for target marking and navigation. Yet when compared with Luftwaffe daylight operations, there was a sharp decline in German losses to one percent. More might have been achieved had OKL exploited the vulnerability of British sea communications. Upsurges in population in south Wales and Gloucester intimated where these displaced people went. Ingersol wrote that Battersea Power Station, one of the largest landmarks in London, received only a minor hit. To paralyse the enemy armed forces by stopping production in armaments factories. Instead, he wasted aircraft of Fliegerfhrer Atlantik (Flying Command Atlantic) on bombing mainland Britain instead of attacks against convoys. A summary of Harris' strategic intentions was clear. Below is a table by city of the number of major raids (where at least 100 tons of bombs were dropped) and tonnage of bombs dropped during these major raids. Loge continued for 57 nights. Poor intelligence about British industry and economic efficiency led to OKL concentrating on tactics rather than strategy. [156] Hitler now had his sights set on attacking the USSR with Operation Barbarossa, and the Blitz came to an end. [152] Raeder's successorKarl Dnitzwouldon the intervention of Hitlergain control of one unit (KG 40), but Gring would soon regain it. (AUDIO: The Wanderer) Despite being forbidden under the terms of the Treaty of . [45] This method condemned the offensive over Britain to failure before it began. In the Myth of the Blitz, Calder exposed some of the counter-evidences of anti-social and divisive behaviours. Browse 1,952 london blitz stock photos and images available, or search for the blitz or world war ii to find more great stock photos and pictures. In some cases, the concentration of the bombing and resulting conflagration created firestorms of 1,000C. "Civilian morale during the Second World War: Responses to air raids re-examined.". Lights were not allowed after dark for almost six years and the blackout became by far the most unpopular aspect of the war for civilians, even more than rationing. The Luftwaffe was not pressed into ground support operations because of pressure from the army or because it was led by ex-soldiers, the Luftwaffe favoured a model of joint inter-service operations, rather than independent strategic air campaigns. The 'all clear' was sounded at 05.00 on 8 September - 420 people were killed and over 1600 seriously wounded. Ground-based radar was limited, and airborne radar and RAF night fighters were generally ineffective. Children pull crackers under paper decorations while jubilant adults smile . The debris of St Thomas's Hospital, London, the morning after receiving a direct hit during the Blitz, in front of the Houses of . [15] It was thought that "the bomber will always get through" and could not be resisted, particularly at night. [176] Total losses could have been as high as 600 bombers, just 1.5 percent of the sorties flown. Outside the capital, there had been widespread harassing activity by single aircraft, as well as fairly strong diversionary attacks on Birmingham, Coventry and Liverpool, but no major raids. The bombing also helped to support the U-boat blockade by sinking some 58,000 long tons (58,900t) of shipping and damaging 450,000 long tons (457,000t) more. German intelligence suggested Fighter Command was weakening, and an attack on London would force it into a final battle of annihilation while compelling the British Government to surrender. The Blitz was a huge bombing campaign of London and other English cities carried about by the German airforce from September 1940 to May 1941. The Minister of Aircraft Production, Lord Beaverbrook and Churchill distanced themselves. They have usually been treated as distinct campaigns, but they are linked by the fact that the German Air Force conducted a continuous eleven-month offensive against Britain from July 1940 to June 1941. [174] By the end of May, Kesselring's Luftflotte 2 had been withdrawn, leaving Hugo Sperrle's Luftflotte 3 as a token force to maintain the illusion of strategic bombing. [46], In an operational capacity, limitations in weapons technology and quick British reactions were making it more difficult to achieve strategic effect. Four days later 230 tons (234t) were dropped including 60,000 incendiaries. [184], Raids during the Blitz produced the greatest divisions and morale effects in the working-class areas, with lack of sleep, insufficient shelters and inefficiency of warning systems being major causes. Later in . On 15 September, on a date known as Battle of Britain Day, a large-scale raid was launched in daylight, but suffered significant loss for no lasting gain. [40] The Luftwaffe's decision in the interwar period to concentrate on medium bombers can be attributed to several reasons: Hitler did not intend or foresee a war with Britain in 1939, the OKL believed a medium bomber could carry out strategic missions just as well as a heavy bomber force, and Germany did not possess the resources or technical ability to produce four-engined bombers before the war. When the second hand re-aligned with the first, the bombs were released. He fell asleep at the controls of his Ju 88 and woke up to discover the entire crew asleep. Added to the tension of the mission which exhausted and drained crews, tiredness caught up with and killed many. [120], British night air defences were in a poor state. Daniel Todman reveals how Britons rebuilt their lives, and their cities, in the aftermath of the raids Published: December 1, 2017 at 4:27 pm Subs offer Industry, seats of government and communications could be destroyed, depriving an opponent of the means to make war. At this time, the Underground lines were mostly owned and run by separate companies, all of which were merged together with . Dec. 17, 1983: Six people are. When the Luftwaffe struck at British cities for the first time on 7 September 1940, a number of civic and political leaders were worried by Dowding's apparent lack of reaction to the new crisis. Mackay2002, pp. The name "Blitz" comes from the word "blitzkrieg" which meant "lightning war". 11 Feb 2020. [131] Whitehall's disquiet at the failures of the RAF led to the replacement of Dowding (who was already due for retirement) with Sholto Douglas on 25 November. Wever's vision was not realised, staff studies in those subjects fell by the wayside and the Air Academies focused on tactics, technology and operational planning, rather than on independent strategic air offensives. but even after the Blitz ended, danger remained. de Zeng, Henry L., Doug G. Stankey and Eddie J. Creek. The Luftwaffe lost 18 percent of the bombers sent on the operations that day and failed to gain air superiority. The primary goal of Bomber Command was to destroy the German industrial base (economic warfare) and in doing so reduce morale. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency . [43] The Luftwaffe's strategy became increasingly aimless over the winter of 19401941. [16], The Luftwaffe took a cautious view of strategic bombing but the OKL did not oppose the strategic bombardment of industries or cities. [139], Although official German air doctrine did target civilian morale, it did not espouse the attacking of civilians directly. 12 Group RAF). [121] Few anti-aircraft guns had fire-control systems, and the underpowered searchlights were usually ineffective against aircraft at altitudes above 12,000ft (3,700m). By 1938, experts generally expected that Germany would try to drop as much as 3,500 tonnes in the first 24 hours of war and average 700 tonnes a day for several weeks. 80 Wing RAF. For eight months the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on London and other strategic cities across Britain. [161] Still, while heavily damaged, British ports continued to support war industry and supplies from North America continued to pass through them while the Royal Navy continued to operate in Plymouth, Southampton, and Portsmouth. The Communists attempted to blame the damage and casualties of the Coventry raid on the rich factory owners, big business and landowning interests and called for a negotiated peace. [69] Contrary to pre-war fears of anti-Semitic violence in the East End, one observer found that the "Cockney and the Jew [worked] together, against the Indian". People were forced to sleep in air raid shelters, and many people took shelter in underground stations. [58], Deep shelters provided most protection against a direct hit. [145] The shift from precision bombing to area attack is indicated in the tactical methods and weapons dropped. Its aircraftDornier Do 17, Junkers Ju 88, and Heinkel He 111swere capable of carrying out strategic missions[41] but were incapable of doing greater damage because of their small bomb-loads. However, as with the attacks in the south, the Germans failed to prevent maritime movements or cripple industry in the regions. [160], On 13 March, the upper Clyde port of Clydebank near Glasgow was bombed (Clydebank Blitz). Official histories concluded that the mental health of a nation may have improved, while panic was rare. He recognised the right of the public to seize tube stations and authorised plans to improve their condition and expand them by tunnelling. Summerfield, Penny and Peniston-Bird, Corina. [68], Although only a small number of Londoners used the mass shelters, when journalists, celebrities and foreigners visited they became part of the Beveridge Report, part of a national debate on social and class division. [35][36], It was also possible, if RAF losses became severe, that they could pull out to the north, wait for the German invasion, then redeploy southward again. [36] Other historians argue that the outcome of the air battle was irrelevant; the massive numerical superiority of British naval forces and the inherent weakness of the Kriegsmarine would have made the projected German invasion, Unternehmen Seelwe (Operation Sea Lion), a disaster with or without German air superiority. On September 13, 1940, shortly after the start of Germany's bombing campaign on the towns and cities of Britain, five high explosive bombs were dropped on Buckingham Palace. [150] The OKL had always regarded the interdiction of sea communications of less importance than bombing land-based aircraft industries. Civilians left for more remote areas of the country. Night fighters could claim only four bombers for four losses. A Gallup poll found only 3% of Britons expected to lose the war in May 1940. Around 250 tons (9,000 bombs) had been dropped, killing 1,413 people and injuring 3,500 more. People were forced to sleep in air raid shelters, and many people took shelter in underground stations. The Battle of Britain From the beginning of the National Socialist regime until 1939, there was a debate in German military journals over the role of strategic bombardment, with some contributors arguing along the lines of the British and Americans. [19] General Walther Wever (Chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff [180] The 10th directive in October 1940 mentioned morale by name but industrial cities were only to be targeted if weather prevented raids on oil targets.[181]. Who . In Sunderland on 25 April, Luftflotte 2 sent 60 bombers which dropped 80 tons (81.3t) of high explosive and 9,000 incendiaries. It was to be some months before an effective night-fighter force would be ready, and anti-aircraft defences only became adequate after the Blitz was over, so ruses were created to lure German bombers away from their targets. The air campaign soon got underway against London and other British cities. These were marked out by parachute flares. [186] At the time it was seen as a useful propaganda tool for domestic and foreign consumption. The Blitz as it became known in the British press was a sustained aerial attack, sending waves of bombs raining down onto British towns and cities. [55] The relocation of the government and the civil service was also planned but would only have occurred if necessary so as not to damage civilian morale. [50] Panic during the Munich crisis, such as the migration by 150,000 people to Wales, contributed to fear of social chaos.[54]. Ground transmitters sent pulses at a rate of 180 per minute. It reveals the devastation caused by the Blitz over eight months. [56] Not only was there evacuation over land, but also by ship. At a London railway station, arriving troops pass by children who are being evacuated to the countryside. [70] Pub visits increased in number (beer was never rationed), and 13,000 attended cricket at Lord's. [124] Although the use of the guns improved civilian morale, with the knowledge the German bomber crews were facing the barrage, it is now believed that the anti-aircraft guns achieved little and in fact the falling shell fragments caused more British casualties on the ground. Beginning in September 1940, the Blitz was an aerial bombing campaign conducted by the Luftwaffe against British cities. This timeline highlights key moments in the run up to and during the Battle of Britain. Two heavy (50 long tons (51t) of bombs) attacks were also flown. This had important implications. First, the difficulty in estimating the impact of bombing upon war production was becoming apparent, and second, the conclusion British morale was unlikely to break led the OKL to adopt the naval option. Roads and railways were blocked and ships could not leave harbour. Two hours later, guided by the fires set by the first assault, a second group of raiders commenced another attack that lasted until 4:30 the following morning. Anti-Semitic attitudes became widespread, particularly in London. [93], For industrial areas, fires and lighting were simulated. In recent years a large number of wartime recordings relating to the Blitz have been made available on audiobooks such as The Blitz, The Home Front and British War Broadcasting. [84], The attitude of the Air Ministry was in contrast to the experiences of the First World War when German bombers caused physical and psychological damage out of all proportion to their numbers. The maximum range of Y-Gert was similar to the other systems and it was accurate enough on occasion for specific buildings to be hit. People referred to raids as if they were weather, stating that a day was "very blitzy". The difficulty of RAF bombers in night navigation and target finding led the British to believe that it would be the same for German bomber crews. Many more ports were attacked. [149] Some 50 Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers and Jabos (fighter-bombers) were used, officially classed as Leichte Kampfflugzeuge ("light bombers") and sometimes called Leichte Kesselringe ("Light Kesselrings"). Throughout 193339 none of the 16 Western Air Plans drafted mentioned morale as a target. It also took part in the bombing over Britain. Night after night, from September 1940 until May 1941, German bombers attacked British cities, ports and industrial areas. But their operations were to no avail; the worsening weather and unsustainable attrition in daylight gave the OKL an excuse to switch to night attacks on 7 October. The shortage of bombers caused OKL to improvise. [154], Even so, the decision by the OKL to support the strategy in Directive 23 was instigated by two considerations, both of which had little to do with wanting to destroy Britain's sea communications in conjunction with the Kriegsmarine. But the great bulk of the traffic went on, and Londonersthough they glanced apprehensively each morning at the list of closed stretches of line displayed at their local station, or made strange detours round back streets in the busesstill got to work. [73][74][75], The cheerful crowds visiting bomb sites were so large they interfered with rescue work. Authorities expected that the raids would be brief and in daylight, rather than attacks by night, which forced Londoners to sleep in shelters. The government up until November 1940, was opposed to the centralised organisation of shelter. Reflections made by factory skylights were created by placing lights under angled wooden panels. Unpopular with many of his fellow MP's, Prime Minister Chamberlain agreed to replace him under pressure from . Around 200 people were killed and another 2,000 injured. [118] The London Docklands, in particular, the Royal Victoria Dock, received many hits and Port of London trade was disrupted. [133] By mid-November, nine squadrons were available, but only one was equipped with Beaufighters (No. The rate of civilian housing loss was averaging 40,000 people per week dehoused in September 1940. People left shelters when told instead of refusing to leave, although many housewives reportedly enjoyed the break from housework. In Portsmouth Southsea and Gosport waves of 150 bombers destroyed vast swaths of the city with 40,000 incendiaries. German planners had to decide whether the Luftwaffe should deliver the weight of its attacks against a specific segment of British industry such as aircraft factories, or against a system of interrelated industries such as Britain's import and distribution network, or even in a blow aimed at breaking the morale of the British population. Its round-the-clock bombing of London was an immediate attempt to force the British government to capitulate, but it was also striking at Britain's vital sea communications to achieve a victory through siege. The Blitz (the London Blitz) was the sustained bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7th September 1940 and 10th May 1941 during the World War Two Every night bar one for ten solid weeks,from 7 September to 14 November 1940, London was attacked by an average of 160 bombers. Over a period of nine months, over 43,500 civilians were killed in the raids, which focused on major cities and industrial centres. [190], The brief success of the Communists also fed into the hands of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). [157] Air attacks sank 39,126 long tons (39,754t) of shipping, with another 111,601 long tons (113,392t) damaged. Summerfield and Peniston-Bird 2007, p. 84. However, the use of delayed-action bombs, while initially very effective, gradually had less impact, partly because they failed to detonate. Much civil-defence preparation in the form of shelters was left in the hands of local authorities and many areas such as Birmingham, Coventry, Belfast and the East End of London did not have enough shelters. [183], A popular image arose of British people in the Second World War: a collection of people locked in national solidarity. The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (Kindle Edition) by. The lightning attack was infamously called "Black Saturday". [142] Civilian casualties on London throughout the Blitz amounted to 28,556 killed, and 25,578 wounded. With the doors to our museums physically closed, we are offering some exclusive World War II content from our galleries and collections. Dowding had to rely on night fighters. It is argued that persisting with attacks on RAF airfields might have won air superiority for the Luftwaffe. Blitz Incidents Thursday, 2 January 2014 High Holborn - the morning of 8th October 1940 I had no idea fighter-bombers were used against London as early as 1940, yet on Tuesday 8th October just before 9 am a raid took place that certainly hit targets across the centre of London, including Whitehall, at the very heart of British government. [26], The deliberate separation of the Luftwaffe from the rest of the military structure encouraged the emergence of a major "communications gap" between Hitler and the Luftwaffe, which other factors helped to exacerbate.
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