Attacks on the British Home Front

Zeppelins, shelling from ships, Gotha bombers, WW2 bombings, V1, V2

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  • Created by: Sian
  • Created on: 08-06-12 11:43

Attacks from the Sea (WWI)

- German ships shelled Hartlepool and Scarborough on the east coast of Britain in December 1914
- This caused over 500 civilian casualties
- People began to fear a German invasion
- The raids united the British people in their hatred of the Germans
- The government used the raids in propaganda posters

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- The first zeppelin air raid was in May 1915
- This was significant because World War One was the first war to involve civilians at home
- The Royal Naval Air Service started flying night patrols and the raids had finished by October

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Zeppelin Advantages

- Zeppelins could fly at higher altitudes than planes
- They were almost totally silent
- They dropped bombs on unsuspecting targets
- They scared people - they were a terror weapon
- Combined, these things made them difficult to attack using conventional weapons
- They kept the home defence busy trying to destroy them

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Zeppelin Disadvantages

- They were difficult to steer, especially in high winds
- They were filled with highly flammable hydrogen gas
- They were easy to spot
- Their bombing was innaccurate and they caused relatively few casualties
- They were expensive - the cost of constructing the German fleet of 115 zeppelins was five times the cost of the damage they caused

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Gotha Bomber Advantages

- The Germans replaced zeppelins with the more successful Gotha bomber planes
- Gotha bombers caused a higher death toll
- The raids kept aircraft, anti-aircraft guns and personnel busy, preventing them from being used to attack the Western Front
- They caused mass panic, scaring civilians

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Gotha Bomber Disadvantages

- They were easily identifiable, making them easy to spot
- They failed to destroy significant military targets
- Although they caused panic at first, morale did not crack
- Britain responded by forming the RAF
- Gotha bombers were large targets, with wingspans of 24m
- The average fighting life of a front line bomber in 1917 was two weeks

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Bombing Raids

- Advances in technology meant that bombing raids had more impact
- They were designed to destroy morale and force Britain into submission
- London was bombed every night from 7th September 1940 to 2nd November 1940, in particular the industrial areas
- Bristol, Southampton and Plymouth were also heavily bombed because of their links to the sea. Plymouth was targeted on 10 January 1940 because of its naval base
- Coventry was hit in Novermber 1940 when the Germans dropped incendiary bombs on the wooden, historical streets
- The North was also affected - large cities such as Manchester and Liverpool suffered huge losses
- From May 1941, the raids became increasingly infrequent as Hitler concentrated on the Soviet Union

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V1 Bombs

- V1 bombs were set off from Germany and flew unaided to Britain
- They ran on rocket fuel and could destroy entire streets
- They made a sound, earning them the nickname 'doodlebugs'
- The sound was the first warning of an incoming V1
- If the sound stopped, civilians on the ground knew that the bomb had run out of fuel and they had seconds to move before it hit the ground
- The V1s were set off from specific launch points
- After the British destroyed these launch points, the Germans stopped using V1s...

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V2 Bombs

-... and started using V2s - the upgrade
- V2 bombs travelled faster than the speed of sound, so gave no warning of their imminent arrival
- V2s could be guided with more accuracy so they were set off from mobile launch points
- They could also destroy entire streets

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