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1940-41 Blitz

Discussion in 'The Blitz' started by Jim, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    The greatest perceived threat to civilians was aerial bombing with high explosive, incendiaries and poison gas, and in the prelude to war much emphasis was placed on preparing the population for this test. It was sensibly believed that the greater the knowledge, the greater would be the public’s ability to protect themselves and the less damaging the impact upon morale. In July 1939 ‘blackout’ trials, the switching off or concealment of all night lighting in public places and domestic premises were conducted in many parts of the country. On 9th August London was blacked out for the first time, allowing the authorities to judge the effectiveness of the regulations and to identify any major problems. On 1st September 1939 the blackout regulations came into force nationwide. At first the restrictions applied to street lighting, homes, factories and business premises but not motor vehicles; this oversight was corrected in early 1940, by which time the public were becoming weary of wartime restrictions that seemed pointless. Vehicle lights had to be masked except for small exposed slits, which were almost useless; the restrictions led to a dramatic increase in accidents, and particularly in the number of pedestrians being killed. Little could he done other than to urge greater care; a major campaign was launched, with newspapers carrying what were for those days’ unusually graphic advertisements depicting the human cost of accidents.
    (On a lighter note, September 1939 saw many of Hampshire’s wild New Forest ponies being given a coat of whitewash, making them more visible as they roamed the forest roads by night.)

    Grumbling and carelessness over the petty annoyances of wartime restrictions decreased sharply from 7/8th September 1940, when the first massed air raid on London’s East End and Docklands caused over 2,000 casualties. Raids on London and other industrial and port cities escalated thereafter: by 12th November some 15,000 Londoners had been killed, many more than that number injured, and 250,000 made homeless. On 14th November, Coventry was hit by a raid that caused some 1,100 casualties, destroyed 21 factories and almost one-third of the city’s homes; the German propaganda machine used the name of Coventry thereafter as a term to describe total destruction. During the month of November alone 4,588 British civilians were killed and 6,202 injured. Between 7th September 1940 and 10th May 1941 the capital and other cities were subjected to the terror and destruction of the Blitz every single night. The London raid of 10/11th May was the last major attack of this phase, and undoubtedly the worst: 1,436 civilians were killed and 1,792 seriously injured, and one-third of the streets in Greater London were rendered impassable to motor traffic. The end of the 1940-41 Blitz offensives did not bring bombing to an end: raids continued nationwide, although on a reduced scale. April 1942 saw the start of a series of raids on provincial cities: called the ‘Baedeker raids’ after a tourist guide which it was suggested had been used to identify targets, these hit cathedral cities such as Exeter, Bath, Norwich, York and Canterbury. The next phase were the ‘Steinbock raids’ the ‘little’ or ‘baby Blitz’, which ran from 21st January to 29th May 1944. By this time Luftwaffe bomber strength in the West was greatly reduced and RAF night fighters much more effective: but the Germans now moved to a terrifying new type of aerial assault, the V-Weapons.

    Elite: The British Home Front 1939-45
  2. fpbeast

    fpbeast New Member

    Oct 12, 2007
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    West Yorkshire UK
    via War44
    really intresting thanks for the info keep it coming

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