Bari Air Raid

The Air Raid on Bari was an air attack on Allied forces and shipping in Bari, Italy by Nazi German bombers on December 2, 1943.

In the attack, 105 German Junkers Ju 88 bombers of Luftflotte 2, achieving complete surprise, bombed Allied shipping and personnel operating in support of the Allied Italian campaign, sinking 17 cargo and transport ships in Bari harbor.

The attack lasted a little more than one hour, but put the port out of action until February 1944 for the Allies, and was called by some "Little Pearl Harbor". Increasing the loss of life among the military, merchant marine, and civilian personnel present was the release of mustard gas from one of the wrecked cargo ships in the harbor.

The major tragedy occurred on the evening of December 2nd when a swift, successful German air raid, took place on the port of Bari during the dusk period, when the harbour lighting was on, and off-loading took place at the quayside. Earlier in the day, during the morning, the crews working on deck, heard the engine noise of a German reconnaissance aircraft buzzing over their heads, high up in the sky. The film that was taken revealed that Bari harbour was crammed full of merchant ships carrying food, equipment, ammunition, everything that was necessary to maintain the Eighth Army advance and keep the RAF and Royal Navy well supplied with all their needs to continue the war.