I know… when you read that headline, your first reaction is – WTF? How can you accidentally bomb London?
During the Luftschlacht um England or what every English speaker calls the Battle of Britain, Germany apparently bombed London, England. Accidentally.
The Battle of Britain began on July 1, 1940 when the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) seeking air superiority over the RAF (British Royal Air Force) began attacking convoy ships and ports before attacking airfields and aircraft manufacturing and ancillary sites.
That would be expected in a war.
But, it was when Germany tried to create disillusionment and terror by bombing the cities… well… it eventually turned the tide of the war…
- On July 1, 1940 – German planes attacked Caithness, Scotland, bombing its aerodrome and killing 15 people;
- July 9, 1940 – German bombers attacked factories and ironworks in Norwich, killing 27.
More and more towns along the coastal areas were attacked as part of Germany’s Operation Sealion. These were all daylight attacks….
English cities such as Southampton, Coventry, Liverpool, Wrexham, Bradford and Birmingham were attacked in various German bombing raids – but in each case, the targets were military… though civilians did get in the way…
But all that changed on August 24, 1940 when the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on central London.
Was this really Germany upping the ante by creating terror? Actually.. no…
It is now BELIEVED that the Luftwaffe accidentally released a load of bombs on Central London instead of the more important—for military reasons—docks.
Nine people were killed when the bombs hit London.
Now… keep in mind… if one is traveling all across the English channel to bomb a city in daylight… you should be able to do more damage than ‘just’ killing nine civilians… why wouldn’t you bomb Buckingham Palace or Parliament or Big Ben to cripple the British resolve?
Why indeed. Because it was an error.
Either a single plane failed to drop its load in time over the docks because of a malfunction or weather – whatever – but that single bomber obviously felt it had to drop its load and decided on its own to bomb the city of London.
It might not be an accident, but it probably was not part of Germany’s master plan at that time.
Until the London bombing on August 24, 1940… all of the deaths by German air attacks had been collateral damage during the bombing of strategic industrial targets and from bombs scattered off-target to make a hasty getaway.
By this time, these bombing runs by the Luftwaffe had actually killed over 1,000 civilians.
But this… this unprecedented attack on a civilian center… well… Germany poked the bear.
Come back tomorrow to see what response the British had.