At the beginning of the war Leicester had been considered a relatively safe location, suitable for the reception of evacuees. Now there seemed to be no part of Britain that was excluded from the danger of the Luftwaffe.
Luftwaffe tactics and techniques.
Contrary to the popular belief that “Luftwaffe bombers circled round looking for trains to follow, or chinks of light peeping through poor blackout preparation” the target maps below graphically illustrate just how meticulous the Luftwaffe was in its efforts to understand their objectives over enemy soil.
Every attack on the UK was planned down to the last detail. Each crew had their assigned target area/s with their appropriate levels of fuel, bomb loads & types, arranged to suit their intended targets; Even times over target areas were planned. Target maps, along with photographs, were issued to all Luftwaffe bomber crews prior to their mission.
Luftwaffe targets in Leicester.
The pilots were ordered to aim for important infrastructure including:
- Train stations, yards and and workshops
- Gas works
- Power plants
- Textile industries
The maps below are 2 examples of such planning, drawn up by the Luftwaffe during January 1942, identifying targets within the city of Leicester. Primary targets were outlined in red and secondary targets in purple: (click to enlarge)
Personal accounts of the air raids in Leicester.
Dennis Parker, from Leicester tells a story about his father at the time:
Braunstone estate was built in the 1930s. My father worked on the Great Central Railway (LNER by then) and he used to tell a story that, one night he was on an engine outside Marlow Road shed when a string of incendiary bombs fell across the power station coal stacks. He then turned to his fireman and said “we are in for it now” but one by one each bomb was extinguished by the power station fire watch team.
If you have any other stories, please don’t hesitate to contact me here.
Check these books out to learn more about the impact the Luftwaffe had on Leicester:
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