September 1940 marked a shift in Germany’s aerial war against Britain. What was based on tactical strikes against airfields and radar stations in order to prepare for an invasion changed to wide-scale bombing of London with the aim of forcing surrender.
The extent of destruction wrought by Germany’s bombs no doubt inspired reprisals later in the war, such intense bombing raids carried out by the British and Allied forces on civilian targets in Germany.
Here are 10 facts about both the German Blitzkrieg and the Allied bombing of Germany.
1. 55,000 British civilian casualties were sustained through German bombing before the end of 1940
This included 23,000 deaths.
2. London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights from 7 September 1940
3. At this time, as many as 180,000 people per night sheltered within the London underground system
4. The rubble from bombed cities was used to lay runways for the RAF across the south and east of England
5. Total civilian deaths during the Blitz were around 40,000
6. The first British air raid on a concentrated civilian population was over Mannheim on 16 December 1940
7. The RAF’s first 1000-bomber air raid was conducted on 30 May 1942 over Cologne
Although only 380 died, the historic city was devastated.
8. Single Allied bombing operations over Hamburg and Dresden in July 1943 and February 1945 killed 40,000 and 25,000 civilians, respectively
Hundreds of thousands more were made refugees.
9. Berlin lost around 60,000 of its population to Allied bombing by the end of the war
10. Overall, German civilian deaths totalled as many as 600,000