The failure to prepare adequate night air defences was undeniable but it was not the responsibility of the AOC Fighter Command to dictate the disposal of resources. [40] Late in the afternoon of 7 September 1940, the Germans began Operation London (Unternehmen Loge, Loge being the codename for London) and Operation Sea Snake (Unternehmen Seeschlange), the air offensives against London and other industrial cities. The name "Blitz" comes from the word "blitzkrieg" which meant "lightning war". This philosophy proved impractical, as Bomber Command lacked the technology and equipment for mass night operations, since resources were diverted to Fighter Command in the mid-1930s and it took until 1943 to catch up. [25], When Hitler tried to intervene more in the running of the air force later in the war, he was faced with a political conflict of his own making between himself and Gring, which was not fully resolved until the war was almost over. Over a quarter of London's population had left the city by November 1940. He roused them, ensured they took oxygen and Dextro-Energen amphetamine tablets, then completed the mission. [40], However, the Luftwaffe faced limitations. The main damage was inflicted on the commercial and domestic areas. An American witness wrote "By every test and measure I am able to apply, these people are staunch to the bone and won't quit the British are stronger and in a better position than they were at its beginning". The debris of St Thomas's Hospital, London, the morning after receiving a direct hit during the Blitz, in front of the Houses of . Port cities were also attacked to try to disrupt trade and sea communications. [173] On 10/11 May, London suffered severe damage, but 10 German bombers were downed. The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom, in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. 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. Air attacks continued sporadically, then in 1944 an entirely new threat arrived in the form . Thereafter, he would refuse to make available any air units to destroy British dockyards, ports, port facilities, or shipping in dock or at sea, lest Kriegsmarine gain control of more Luftwaffe units. [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. [16], The Luftwaffe took a cautious view of strategic bombing but the OKL did not oppose the strategic bombardment of industries or cities. [81], British air doctrine, since Hugh Trenchard had commanded the Royal Flying Corps (19151917), stressed offence as the best means of defence,[82] which became known as the cult of the offensive. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) In 1903, after receiving a wealth of information from the future, Grigori Rasputin foresaw the Blitz. [120], British night air defences were in a poor state. [23], While the war was being planned, Hitler never insisted upon the Luftwaffe planning a strategic bombing campaign and did not even give ample warning to the air staff that war with Britain or even Russia was a possibility. Dowding agreed air defence would require some offensive action and that fighters could not defend Britain alone. 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. [156] Hitler now had his sights set on attacking the USSR with Operation Barbarossa, and the Blitz came to an end. [179], Some writers claim the Air Staff ignored a critical lesson, that British morale did not break and that attacking German morale was not sufficient to induce a collapse. Summerfield, Penny and Peniston-Bird, Corina. To support naval operations by attacking naval bases, protecting German naval bases and participating directly in naval battles. [186] At the time it was seen as a useful propaganda tool for domestic and foreign consumption. But the Blitz started in earnest on the afternoon of 7 September when the German Luftwaffe filled the skies in the first major daytime raid on London. The main focus was London. 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. Nearly 350 German bombers (escorted by over 600 fighters) dropped explosives on East London, targeting the docks in particular. Battle noises were muffled and sleep was easier in the deepest stations, but many people were killed from direct hits on stations. On September 7, 1940, 350 German bombers escorted by fighters bombarded London on consecutive successions. Many Londoners, in particular, took to using the Underground railway system, without authority, for shelter and sleeping through the night. Birmingham and Coventry were subject to 450 long tons (457t) of bombs between them in the last 10 days of October. This weight of attack went on for two months, with the Luftwaffe dropping 12,400 long tons (12,600t) of bombs. At a London railway station, arriving troops pass by children who are being evacuated to the countryside. Operating over home territory, British aircrew could fly again if they survived being shot down. The first attack merely damaged the rail network for three days,[102] and the second attack failed altogether. [94], On 9 September the OKL appeared to be backing two strategies. 604 Squadron RAF shot down a bomber flying an AI-equipped Beaufighter, the first air victory for the airborne radar. [125], Few fighter aircraft were able to operate at night. [149], A further line in the directive stressed the need to inflict the heaviest losses possible, but also to intensify the air war in order to create the impression an amphibious assault on Britain was planned for 1941. Throughout 1940, dummy airfields were prepared, good enough to stand up to skilled observation. At 18:17, it released the first of 10,000 firebombs, eventually amounting to 300 dropped per minute. The bombings left parts of London in ruins, and when the war ended in 1945 much of the city had to be rebuilt. [24][182] [127] Other sources say 449 bombers and a total of 470 long tons (478t) of bombs were dropped. [161] This raid was significant, as 63 German fighters were sent with the bombers, indicating the growing effectiveness of RAF night fighter defences. Home Secretary Sir John Anderson was replaced by Morrison soon afterwards, in the wake of a Cabinet reshuffle as the dying Neville Chamberlain resigned. Want to Read. [51], British air raid sirens sounded for the first time 22 minutes after Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany. 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. During World War I, German zeppelins and Gotha airplanes had bombed the city and forced people to take shelter in the tunnels. [144] In January and February 1941, Luftwaffe serviceability rates declined until just 551 of 1,214 bombers were combat-worthy. [50] London hospitals prepared for 300,000 casualties in the first week of war. Ed Murrow reporting on war torn London during the blitz. The Luftwaffe dropped around 40,000 long tons (40,600t) of bombs during the Blitz, which disrupted production and transport, reduced food supplies, and shook British morale. More than 40,000civilians were killed by Luftwaffe bombing during the war, almost half of them in the capital, where more than a million houses were destroyed or damaged. Hitler believed the Luftwaffe was "the most effective strategic weapon", and in reply to repeated requests from the Kriegsmarine for control over naval aircraft insisted, "We should never have been able to hold our own in this war if we had not had an undivided Luftwaffe. Ingersol wrote that Battersea Power Station, one of the largest landmarks in London, received only a minor hit. In March 1941, two raids on Plymouth and London dehoused 148,000 people. [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". The British government grew anxious about the delays and disruption of supplies during the month. The attacks against Birmingham took war industries some three months to recover fully. Some 107,400 gross tons (109,100t) of shipping was damaged in the Thames Estuary and 1,600 civilians were casualties. Other reasons, including industry dispersal may have been a factor. Just three and twelve were claimed by the RAF and AA defences respectively. [149], From the German point of view, March 1941 saw an improvement. Daylight bombing was abandoned after October 1940 as the Luftwaffe experienced unsustainable losses. Tickets were issued for bunks in large shelters, to reduce the amount of time spent queuing. [109], These decisions, apparently taken at the Luftflotte or Fliegerkorps level, meant attacks on individual targets were gradually replaced by what was, for all intents and purposes, an unrestricted area attack or Terrorangriff (Terror Attack). [134], From November 1940 to February 1941, the Luftwaffe shifted its strategy and attacked other industrial cities. [23], Ultimately, Hitler was trapped within his own vision of bombing as a terror weapon, formed in the 1930s when he threatened smaller nations into accepting German rule rather than submit to air bombardment. When the third cross-beam was reached the bomb aimer activated a third trigger, which stopped the first hand of the clock, with the second hand continuing. [15] It was thought that "the bomber will always get through" and could not be resisted, particularly at night. 11 Group RAF and No. Hitler quickly developed scepticism toward strategic bombing, confirmed by the results of the Blitz. In subsequent months a steady number of German bombers would fall to night fighters. Children in the East End of London, made homeless by the Blitz From this point, there were air raids every day for two months. Dozens of men, women and children celebrate a Christmas party at a London Underground station during the Blitz in 1940. From 7 September 1940, London was systematically bombed by the Luftwaffe for 56 of the following 57 days and nights. [11][12] The greatest effect was to force the British to disperse the production of aircraft and spare parts. Jones began a search for German beams; Avro Ansons of the Beam Approach Training Development Unit (BATDU) were flown up and down Britain fitted with a 30MHz receiver. From 1943 to the end of the war, he [Harris] and other proponents of the area offensive represented it [the bomber offensive] less as an attack on morale than as an assault on the housing, utilities, communications, and other services that supported the war production effort. The damage was considerable, and the Germans also used aerial mines. (PROSE: Ash, TV: The Empty Child) It lasted from 7 September 1940 to 21 May 1941. More might have been achieved had OKL exploited the vulnerability of British sea communications. [122][123] In July 1940, only 1,200 heavy and 549 light guns were deployed in the whole of Britain. The property stands alone on a section of riverbank on the Thames, in South East London 's . The German bombing of Britain from 1940-45 exacted a terrible price, in lives lost, infrastructure wrecked and nerves shattered. [46], In an operational capacity, limitations in weapons technology and quick British reactions were making it more difficult to achieve strategic effect. In some cases, the concentration of the bombing and resulting conflagration created firestorms of 1,000C. [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. This led the British to develop countermeasures, which became known as the Battle of the Beams. Many of the latter were abandoned in 1940 as unsafe. Both the RAF and Luftwaffe struggled to replace manpower losses, though the Germans had larger reserves of trained aircrew. [50] Panic during the Munich crisis, such as the migration by 150,000 people to Wales, contributed to fear of social chaos.[54]. Nevertheless, its official opposition to attacks on civilians became an increasingly moot point when large-scale raids were conducted in November and December 1940. These include Peter Hennessy, Andrew Thorpe, and Philip Ziegler, who while admitting serious exceptions, argue that the population largely behaved well during the Blitz.[193]. 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. Despite the bombing, British production rose steadily throughout this period, although there were significant falls during April 1941, probably influenced by the departure of workers for Easter Holidays, according to the British official history. [139], Although official German air doctrine did target civilian morale, it did not espouse the attacking of civilians directly. 6063, 6768, 75, 7879, 21516. It would prove formidable but its development was slow. Though they failed to make a large gain in influence, the membership of the Party had doubled by June 1941. [145] Captured German aircrews also indicated the homes of industrial workers were deliberately targeted. [42], Although it had equipment capable of doing serious damage, the Luftwaffe had an unclear strategy and poor intelligence. [149] The indifference displayed by the OKL to Directive 23 was perhaps best demonstrated in operational directives which diluted its effect. This is a Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II covering Britain 1939-45.Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II covering Britain 1939-45. Morale was not mentioned until the ninth wartime directive on 21 September 1940. [92] The counter-operations were carried out by British Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) units under Wing Commander Edward Addison, No. The loss of sleep was a particular factor, with many not bothering to attend inconvenient shelters. [132] On 19 November 1940 the famous RAF night fighter ace John Cunningham shot down a Ju 88 bomber using airborne radar, just as Dowding had predicted. The government saw the leading role taken by the Communist Party in advocating the building of deep shelters as an attempt to damage civilian morale, especially after the MolotovRibbentrop Pact of August 1939. Famed SF author Connie Willis' first novel in five years, Blackout, returns to a scenario she's explored before: Time-traveling scholars find themselves changing historical events they're only . paychex payroll reports,

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