10 Facts About the Blitz and the Bombing of Germany

Simon Parkin

3 mins

09 Aug 2018

September of 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.

What follows 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

bomb-site-casualty

This included 23,000 deaths.

2. London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights from 7 September 1940

blitz-lonodn

3. At this time, as many as 180,000 people per night sheltered within the London underground system

The_London_Underground_As_Air_Raid_Shelter,_London,_England,_1940_D1677

4. The rubble from bombed cities was used to lay runways for the RAF across the south and east of England

On the 73rd anniversary of the firebombing of Dresden, Dan Snow accompanies British veteran Victor Gregg, a POW in Dresden during the raid, as he returns to the city for a historic meeting with Irene Uhlendorf, who was just 4 years old on the night of the bombing. Together they are able to talk about the horrors of that night and the effect that it has had on the rest of their lives.Watch Now

5. Total civilian deaths during the Blitz were around 40,000

Hallam_Street_Blitz_Bomb_Damage_1940

The Blitz effectively ended when Operation Sealion was abandoned in May 1941. By the end of the war about 60,000 British civilians had died through German bombing.

6. The first British air raid on a concentrated civilian population was over Mannheim on 16 December 1940

mannheim-civilians

7. The RAF’s first 1000-bomber air raid was conducted on 30 May 1942 over Cologne

Cologne_Cathedral_stands_intact_amidst_the_destruction_caused_by_Allied_air_raids,_9_March_1945._CL2169

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.

In June 1940, the Channel Islands - British Crown Dependencies - were occupied by German forces. On the orders of Adolf Hitler, they were transformed into impregnable fortresses, works that still mark the islands today.Watch Now

9. Berlin lost around 60,000 of its population to Allied bombing by the end of the war

Berlin-burned

10. Overall, German civilian deaths totalled as many as 600,000

dresden bombing