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What Happened And When

This section is concerned with the events before, during, and after the Bath blitz.

The sub-menu items above if chosen in turn, lead to a set of pages in roughly chronological order, covering

Summary of the attacks

Between the evening of Saturday 25th April 1942 and the early hours of Monday 27th April 1942, there were three attacks on Bath.  The planes took off from airfields in northern France, and it only took about an hour and a half to fly from there to Bath.

Roure Map

On the first night, a two phase attack was proposed. The plan was to check, refuel and rearm the aircraft as soon as they returned from the first raid so that they could go back and bomb the same target twice in one night. In this way, the relatively small force of just over 80 bombers available became a total of 163 planes that took off heading for Bath, of which 151 arrived over the city.

On the first night, the planes arrived about an hour before midnight and left just after midnight to return to France. There they received more fuel and a new bomb load, and were back over Bath at about half past four in the morning. They left again just before dawn.

The following night, they were back again for the third and final raid, arriving shortly after midnight. These planes did not return for a further attack. Indeed, after the third raid, Bath was not attacked again for the rest of the war.

The World scene

Although catastrophic for Bath, its air raids were of little consequence to the War Cabinet, who had far greater problems to address. The following chronological list shows what was happening in the world in the spring of 1942. The attacks on the Hansa cities are picked out in green, and the Baedeker raids on British cities in orange.

Friday March 20

Heavy air attack on shipping in Malta harbour.

Saturday March 21

No significant events.

Sunday March 22

Convoy in Mediterranean attacked. British Naval forces secure shell hit on Italian battleship of Littorio class.

Monday March 23

Battle of Toungoo in Burma.

Sir Stafford Cripps visits Delhi.

Tuesday March 24

No significant events.

Wednesday March 25

Japanese occupy Andaman Islands.

Heavy and continuous raids on Malta.

Sir Stafford Cripps meets Maulana Azad and Mr Jinnah.

Thursday March 26

Very heavy raids on Malta.

Friday March 27

Combined night attack on submarine base at St Nazaire. Dock gates rammed by HMS Campbeltown with bows filled with explosives. Troops carry out demolitions. Motor Torpedo Boat torpedoes entrance to U-Boat basin.

Sir Stafford Cripps meets Mr Ghandi and other Indian leaders.

Saturday March 28

Mass raid on Lübeck. 340 tons of bombs dropped.

British Draft Proposals for India published.

Sunday March 29

No significant events.

Monday March 30

No significant events.

Tuesday March 31

No significant events.

Wednesday April 1

Enemy air raid on Gibraltar.

In Libya, Rommel concentrates forces in triangle Martuba-Mekill-Bomba.

Large Japanese forces reach Rangoon.

Pacific War Council meets in Washington.

Thursday April 2

No significant events.

Friday April 3

No significant events.

Saturday April 4

USA recognises the authority of Free French throughout French Equatorial Africa and Cameroons.

Sunday April 5

Japanese aircraft raid Columbo.

Monday April 6

Japan bombs harbours in Madras Province.

Tuesday April 7

In Burma, British take up new positions north of Thayetmo.

Destroyer Havoc lost off Tunis.

Malta's 2000th air raid alert.

Wednesday April 8

No significant events.

Thursday April 9

Aircraft carrier Hermes sunk off Trincomalee by Japanese aircraft.

Cruisers Devonshire and Cornwall also sunk.

Italian cruiser sunk in the Mediterranean.

Friday April 10

British Naval units sink two Italian supply ships and two Schooners in Mediterranean.

In India, the Congress Working Party Committee rejects British proposals.

Saturday April 11

No significant events.

Sunday April 12

No significant events.

Monday April 13

Appointments announced: Admiral Sir James Somerville as C-in-C Eastern Fleet; Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten as Chief of Combined Operations.

Tuesday April 14

In Mediterranean, torpedo planes attack Axis convoy.

In Libya, enemy sets up a line of strong points on line Gazala-Bir Temrad-Sidi Bregesch.

In Burma, British forces retire from Migyaungwe.

Japanese advance from North Siam and threaten flank of Chinese in Shan states.

Budget day in Britain.

Wednesday April 15

No significant events.

Thursday April 16

Malta awarded the George Cross.

Friday April 17

Daylight raid on Augsburg by Lancaster bombers flying at roof-top height.

Germans report British attempt to land forces south of Crete.

British forces on Irrawaddy withdraw north of Magwe.

Yenangyaung oilfields destroyed by Japanese.

Saturday April 18

Japanese report air attacks on Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya.

Free French submarine Surcouf reported lost.

Sunday April 19

Chinese recapture Yenangyaung and relieve surrounded British troops.

Fierce fighting on Pinchaung and Sittang rivers.

Monday April 20

No significant events.

Tuesday April 21

No significant events.

Wednesday April 22

British commando raid south of Boulogne for reconnaissance.

Australian destroyer Vampire lost in Bay of Bengal.

Thursday April 23

In Burma, British forces withdraw from Taungdwingyi.

Heavy RAF raid on Rostock in the Baltic. The port, U-Boat building yard and Heinkel factory were the targets.

Baedeker raid on Exeter.

Friday April 24

Heavy fighting at Yamethin on Sittang river.

Heavy RAF raid on Rostock.

Baedeker raid on Exeter.

Saturday April 25

American troops land at New Caledonia.

Heavy RAF raid on Rostock.

Baedeker raid on Bath.

Sunday April 26

Japanese enter Yamethin.

Destroyer Southwold lost.

Heavy RAF raid on Rostock.

Baedeker raid on Bath.

Monday April 27

Baedeker raid on Norwich.

Tuesday April 28

US warships arrive in Mediterranean.

Baedeker raid on York.

Wednesday April 29

Japanese occupy Lashio on Burma Road.

Allies bomb Lae and Kupang.

Baedeker raid on Norwich.

Thursday April 30

Germans attack convoys to Russia in Arctic.

Cruiser Edinburgh torpedoed.

Scattered enemy raids on NE coast of Britain; 11 raiders destroyed.

Friday May 1

Mandalay evacuated.

Air offensive begins against Malta.

RAF daylight sweeps over France.

Saturday May 2

British withdraw from north bank of Irrawaddy.

Lease-lend extended to Persia and Iraq.

Sunday May 3

Japanese capture Bhamo.

US bombers raid Rangoon.

Baedeker raid on Exeter.

Monday May 4

Japanese invasion fleet attacked by US sea and air forces off Solomon Islands.

RAF bomb Skoda Works, Pilsen.

Tuesday May 5

British troops land on Madagascar.

Wednesday May 6

No significant events.

Thursday May 7

British occupy Diego Suarez

Battle of Coral Sea against Japanese rages.

Friday May 8

Japanese capture Akyab and Myitkyina.

Saturday May 9

End of battle of Coral Sea. Japanese fleet withdraws northward after heavy losses.

Sunday May 10

Mr Churchill warns Germany of Allied retaliation if poison gas used against Russians.

Monday May 11

No significant events.

Tuesday May 12

Japanese land on Kiska.

Wednesday May 13

No significant events.

Thursday May 14

No significant events.

Friday May 15

British Burma forces reach India.

Saturday May 16

Russians take Kerch.

Sunday May 17

German cruiser Prinz Eugen attacked by Fleet Air Arm.

Monday May 18

No significant events.

Tuesday May 19

RAF raids Manhelm.

Luftwaffe bombs Hull.

Wednesday May 20

No significant events.

Thursday May 21

RAF begins offensive in Libya.

Friday May 22

No significant events.

Saturday May 23

No significant events.

Sunday May 24

General Stilwell reached Delhi from Burma.

Monday May 25

RAF raids Messina.

Tuesday May 26

Anglo-Soviet treaty signed in London.

German offensive in Libya.

Wednesday May 27

Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler's deputy, shot and fatally wounded near Prague.

Thursday May 28

Germans withdraw in Libya.

Friday May 29

Fierce tank battles in Libya.

RAF raids industrial targets in France.

Mexico declares war on Axis.

Saturday May 30

RAF raids Cologne. 1,130 bombers take part.

Sunday May 31

Japanese midget submarines attack Sydney. All sunk.

Baedeker raid on Canterbury.

Monday June 1

German pressure increases in Libya.

Germans raid Ipswich.

RAF raids Essen with 1,036 bombers.

Tuesday June 2

Lease-lend extended to China.

Baedeker raid on Canterbury.

Wednesday June 3

German offensive begins in Libya. British 150th Brigade overwhelmed.

Japanese bomb Aleutians.

Major General Lloyd George appointed Minister of Fuel, Light and Power.

Thursday June 4

British counter-attack in Libya fails.

Commando raid on coast near Boulogne.

Japanese attack on Midway Island repulsed.

Reinhard Heydrich dies of his wounds.

Friday June 5

RAF raids Ruhr in force.

USA declares war on Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria.

Saturday June 6

Germans attack Bir Hacheim.

RAF raids Emden.

Last Baedeker raid on Canterbury.

Sunday June 7

Heavy German attacks on Bir Hacheim repulsed by Free French.

Monday June 8

No significant events.

Tuesday June 9

RN Submarine Turbulent sinks four Italian ships and destroyer escort in Mediterranean.

Wednesday June 10

German reprisals for death of Heydrich. Lidice is destroyed. All its men are shot. Women and children are deported.

Thursday June 11

US bombs Ploesti oil wells in Rumania.


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