Baedeker Raids

I\’m not entirely convinced by this, you know?

Plans to deploy to the Eastern Front had been delayed for what became known as the Baedeker Raids because Hitler chose his targets from the popular tourist guides. Richard Flohr-Swann, Mr Schludecker’s translator and co-pilot on what he expects to be his final mission to Bath, said: “The rumour in his unit was they were trying to kill Churchill. They thought that was why they had been ordered to bomb the city centre.”

Churchill was rumoured to be staying at the Abbey Hotel in Bath. Although the bombs damaged 19,000 buildings, the hotel was not among them. Mr Schludecker, a pilot with Kampfgeschwader 2, stationed in eastern France, had never heard of Bath before the pre-mission briefing.

19,000 buildings in Bath alone? I\’m afraid I\’m hugely, hugely, unconvinced.

The population of the City now is about 80,000 and given the Georgian architecture of the centre, that part is pretty much all multiple occupancy. I expect (but don\’t know) that the population 65-70 years ago was lower.

I do know where at least some of the bomb damage was: Bear Flat, Queen Square, bottom of the Wells Road, Southgate and where the Tech is now (although at least some of that was caused by the City Council later), top of the High Street and so on, but 19,000 buildings would have been what, a quarter, half, the City?

As I say, hugely, hugely unconvinced.

7 thoughts on “Baedeker Raids”

  1. Um, as the Wehrmacht was busy invading Greece at the time, I reckon there might have been a more significant reason for delaying Barbarossa than blitzing Bath…

  2. There is a hoo-hah going on at the moment about plans to patch up the last bomb-damaged building in the city – it’s between the art college and the new cinema complex, on James Street West – it’s got shrapnel marks all over the front of it. As usual there’s a bunch of people protesting about it.

  3. Hitler invaded Greece in April 1941 and the USSR on 22 June 1941 so bombing Bath had little or nothing to do with his campaign in the East.

    However, the wilful destruction of Lubeck and, later in the war, other German cities and towns of little or no military significance is a reminder that, in war, only the vanquished are the villians.

  4. It has been recorded by Martin Wainwright’s book The Bath Blitz that 19,000 buildings were damaged – but damage in many cases meant a broken window. With very limited defences the bombers peppered the whole city and it would be quite possible that up to half the buildings would have received some sort of bomb blast. The stats show that in Bath the Luftlotte III killed over 400 people, totally destroyed 329 houses and shops, wrecked another 700 so severely that they had to be demolished.

    A wealth of information aout this can be found on http://www.bathblitz.org

  5. I live near Canterbury, one of the targets during the Baedeker raids, and I was under the impression that these raids were in retaliation for RAF bombing on German cities

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