'Reaping the whirlwind'



'Reaping the whirlwind'


Article 1: Accounts of operations against munition works in Paris, factories in the Ruhr and operations involving over 1000 bombers on Cologne. Goes on with accounts of RAF operations in the Middle East and German communique about Cologne. Article 2: 'Reprisals raid on Canterbury. Churches and schools destroyed'. Mentions half of 50 aircraft attacked the town and 3 were shot down. Account of casualties and fire services.

Temporal Coverage




Two newspaper cuttings mounted on a scrapbook page


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Reaping the Whirlwind

The power of the Royal Air Force has been manifested over the week-end in the greatest air assault ever launched. Attacks on Friday night upon munition works in the Paris suburbs were on a large scale and enormous damage is admitted by the Vichy reports. They were, however, eclipsed by Saturday night’s battering of the factories in the Ruhr and the Rhineland. Over a thousand bombers were employed and the attack makes even the raids on Rostock and Lübeck seem almost minor affairs. The attack was mainly on Cologne. It lasted only an hour and a half, but during that time British aircraft bombed their objectives at intervals of only six seconds. It gives some idea of the scale of the operation to remember that in the biggest of the raids upon Great Britain in 1940 and 1941 the Germans never used more than six hundred aeroplanes; and these, though they had to fly a much shorter distance, carried a much smaller bomb load than the bigger and more modern machines now used by the R.A.F.
The whole attack was most skilfully planned. While the bombers were on their way to Germany large numbers of other bombers and fighters attacked the aerodromes from which night fighters might have been sent to intercept the raiding force on the way out and back. They brought down several enemy aeroplanes, and it was probably due in great measure to them that, in spite of the moonlit night, the losses were light in comparison with the weight of the attack. Great numbers of British aircraft have been sent, and will continue to be sent, to Russia to reinforce our allies in their great struggle on the Eastern front. The R.A.F. in the Middle East has been and is still being steadily increased. Spitfires which have recently arrived are now taking part in the fighting over the Western desert. In spite of all this dispersal, the force of the blows which can be delivered from home bases has grown in a fashion which must inspire trepidation among those against whom they are directed. And this is only the beginning. With the cooperation of American airmen the attacks upon German factories, ports, and railways during the coming summer and autumn will become devastating. MR. CHURCHILL in his congratulations to Bomber Command described the operations of Saturday night as “the herald of “what Germany will receive, city by city, “from now on.”
A German [italics] communiqué [/italics] describes the attack upon Cologne merely as “a terror “raid,” and belittles its effects in much the same way as it belittled the damage done at Rostock and Lübeck. It is safe to say that when the full reports are received the destruction done in Cologne will be found to have been on an even greater scale. The Germans are now learning in their own homes and their own cities, something of the loss and suffering which they have inflicted upon the civilian populations of other lands. Ever since they loosed war upon the world two and a half years ago they have boasted of the havoc wrought by the Luftwaffe and of the terror it inspired. They have gloated over what they did to Warsaw, Rotterdam, and Belgrade. They even made films of some of their greatest crimes for the delectation of patriotic Germans and as a warning to other nations to be careful not to incur the displeasure of the master race. It was part of German diplomacy abroad to exhibit such films in order to terrorize neutral countries into compliance with every German demand. HITLER himself threatened that the cities of England would be “wiped out” if the British people continued to stand up to him. By a long series of terror raids he did his best to carry out his threat, and there is hardly a city in Great Britain which does not bear the marks of his savagery. Now that the striking power is passing from the Luftwaffe to the R.A.F. Germany will begin to realize the folly she committed in entrusting her destinies to him and his comrades in crime.


The streets of Canterbury were strewn with rubble and filled with fire pumps, many of which were brought from surrounding districts, yesterday after the Germans had made what they described as a “reprisal” raid on Sunday night.
Some 50 enemy aircraft flew overland, about half that number attacking the city. Three were shot down, one over the coast and two over their own aerodromes.
Among the casualties were the town clerk and his wife, who were trapped in their damaged house. Both were extricated, but the town clerk died on the way to hospital, where his wife now lies injured.
The fire services and Civil Defence, helped by neighbouring districts, worked magnificently and the fires were soon under control. Fire caused considerable destruction in a shopping centre and residential property suffered in the indiscriminate bombing. Two churches, a newspaper office, and two schools were among the buildings destroyed.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs. Temple, who were in Canterbury during the raid, are safe. The Archbishop visited people in the town yesterday and inspected the damage.
The Air Ministry and Ministry of Home Security report yesterday morning said:-
Shortly after midnight enemy aircraft made a raid on a town in south-eastern England. Most of the damage caused was in a shopping and residential district, in which some fires were started. A number of casualties have been reported.
Three raiders were destroyed during the night, one off our coast and two over enemy aerodromes in occupied territory.


“'Reaping the whirlwind',” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 21, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20832.

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