Luftwaffe Begins Heavy Bombing of British Cities

From November 1940 to February 1941, the Luftwaffe attacked industrial and port cities.

Targets included Coventry, Southampton, Birmingham, Liverpool, Clydebank, Bristol, Swindon, Plymouth, Cardiff, Manchester, Sheffield, Swansea, Portsmouth, and Avonmouth. During this period, 14 attacks were mounted on ports excluding London, nine on industrial targets inland, and eight on London.

Probably the most devastating raid occurred on the evening of 29 December, when German aircraft attacked the City of London itself with incendiaries and high-explosive bombs, causing a firestorm that has been called the Second Great Fire of London. A photograph showing St Paul's Cathedral shrouded in smoke became a famous image of the times.

Hitler believed that by targeting civilians he could force the British to surrender and on 7th September 1940 began his daily bombing campaign. London was the main target but other major cities were also bombed. Casualties were high. On the first day of bombing 430 people were killed and 1,600 badly injured.