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The Bomber Brings Destruction!
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THE ROAD TO WAR -
Kent
 
The Bomber Brings Destruction!
 
The people of England hearing the news that the Zeppelins had been stopped from bombing raids were ecstatic and sighed with relief, and but their joy was to be short lived, in fact the truth was that a greater menace would follow the Zeppelins, it would be a far more fearsome form of destruction.
On the night of 25th May 1917, a formation of sixteen German heavy-bombers, which the British called “Gotha’s”, were slowly making their way across the English Channel in an attempt to bomb London.
The powerful German “Gotha” Bombers
 
Fortunately for the Londoner’s it failed, as the pilots and navigators lost their way in the dark nearing the British coast, the lights from a coastal town shone brightly up into the night sky, the Germans believing that they were over London decided to drop their bombs. As the bombs hurled down into the darkness explosions were heard, but they had mistakenly bombed Shornecliffe camp, Essex, instead of London.
Their raid caused over 100 casualties to Canadian troops that were stationed there, waiting to leave for France and Belgium.
The next attack proved far more devastating, for on 13th June 1917, a daylight raid on London saw the German heavy-bombers release their bomb load on the city. It caused the destruction of a complete street near Liverpool Street Station and killed 104 people.
Public outrage was creating serious concerns for the government, as they firmly believed that the Germans would continue without let up in their bombing attacks on London, and devastate the city to a greater extent, with far greater losses of life.
Immediately improvements were made to the anti-aircraft defenses around London, it became so effective it scared off the Germans in their daylight raids, so they returned to night-time bombing instead, they continued to attack London as the main target, but also targeted other towns across England, the damage sustained was little in comparison to their earlier raids and not so nearly as extensive.
As the air war progressed the bombing raids became far more destructive and deadly, many cities of Europe had been bombed by the might of the German Air Force, but the raids still continued unabated.
However the Germans decided to enlarge their squadrons of bombers, on 19th May 1918, in their last and final attack on London, forty heavy-bombers headed for England, thirteen arrived ready to bomb London, but before a bomb could be dropped they ran into trouble, three were shot down by fighter aircraft, three more shot down by anti-aircraft guns, and one crashed due to engine failure, the rest were lost. A total of seven heavy-bombers were destroyed and their crews killed.
Thereafter the Germans reckoned the effort to accomplish this was becoming too costly in aircraft and crews, so they abandoned any further attempts to bomb England.
 
In all, the German Zeppelin raids and Heavy-Bomber attacks dropped 8,776 bombs and killed a total of 1,316 people, with over 3, 000 civilians being seriously injured.
Sir Hugh Trenchard became General of the now amalgamated Air Forces of Britain, naming one branch “The Royal Air Force” and the other “The Independent Air Force”.
A new British bomber - in action!
 
An attack was now demanded immediately after the German raid, the British Air Ministry was swift in its preparation for a retaliatory attack on Germany, heavy-bombers and their crews were now ordered to prepare to bomb the specified target.
 
General Sir Hugh Trenchard knew that just bombing any towns was a waste, so he chose Cologne, as this city lay in the heart of the main industrial part of Germany, the Ruhr.
The bombers arrived over Cologne and dropped their cargo of 33 tons of bombs on an industrial area, which proved to be very effective and deadly, causing widespread destruction.

(Left) Bomber under inspection by officers
It had been realized many years before that using heavy-bombers could destroy a greater area of the target, and kill far more of the enemy than just using normal fighter aircraft, so many aircraft designers were employed and ready to draw up their own plans for faster fighter aircraft, and Heavy-Bombers.
Just as the dreaded Zeppelins had created fear to the people of England with their huge airships, that had dropped bombs by hand destroying and killing many. This type of warfare was now over, and a new age of killing by aerial warfare was about to begin!
None then living until the outbreak of WW2 in 1939, who were still alive, could ever imagine how supremely fast the production of new aircraft, bombers and weapons had been so actively established in only 20 years, to encompass the world with ever greater, more horrific weapons of destruction that they could ever imagined.
By the summer of 1915, there would be 100 Victoria Crosses awarded for the utmost Bravery displayed, on land, in the air, and on the seas, during battles fought in “The Great War”.
   
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