A thousand-plane raid on the German city of Cologne was launched by Great Britain on May 30, 1942.   Although the event was only 90 minutes, almost 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped delivering a devastating blow to the Germans’ medieval city as well as its morale.

he first 1,000 bomber raid by the RAF was codenamed Operation Millennium, Cologne was chosen as the target

he first 1,000 bomber raid by the RAF was codenamed Operation Millennium, Cologne was chosen as the target

Air Marshal A.T. (later Sir Arthur) Harris, commander in chief of the Bomber Command, planned Operation Millennium. It was his goal to prevent significant losses of Royal Air Force bombers by concentrating air attacks in massive bomber raids, overwhelming the enemy by numbers and delivering decisive, crippling blows. Harris would need to beef up the relatively small number of 416 “first line” aircraft needed, though; to those he had to add second-line and training squadron bombers, thus creating an aircraft force of 1,046.

Official portrait (photograph) of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris

Official portrait (photograph) of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris

On the night of May 30, Cologne was besieged: 600 acres of the city sustained heavy damage, 45,000 Germans were left homeless and 469 were killed. The chemical and machine tool industries, the main targets of the raid, were rendered useless. The cost to the British: 40 bombers, or less than 4 percent of the total that participated.

Cologne

Cologne

Cologne Germany WWII

Cologne Germany WWII

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who approved the raid, telegraphed President Franklin Roosevelt the next day: “I hope you were pleased with our mass air attack… there is plenty more to come.”

Enchanting photograph of Aerial View Of Cologne Cathedral Germany today

Enchanting photograph of Aerial View Of Cologne Cathedral Germany today

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One response

  1. Birgit says:

    I have been gone for a couple of days-Birthdays-Good Ole Bomber Harris-not my favourite. I am glad that the Cathedral was undamaged. He was behind Dresden-My mom lived through that one.

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