The Luftwaffe Aims For Leicester


At the beginning of the war Leicester had been considered a relatively safe location, suitable for the reception of evacuees.

Later on in the War, there seemed to be no part of Britain that was excluded from the danger of the Luftwaffe.

Luftwaffe Tactics & Techniques.

Contrary to the popular belief that “Luftwaffe bombers circled round looking for trains to follow or chinks of light peeping through poor blackout preparation” the target maps below graphically illustrate just how meticulous the Luftwaffe was in its efforts to understand their objectives over enemy soil.

Every attack on the UK was planned down to the last detail. Each crew had their assigned target area/s with their appropriate levels of fuel, bomb loads & types, arranged to suit their intended targets; Even times over target areas were planned. Target maps, along with photographs, were issued to all Luftwaffe bomber crews prior to their mission.

Luftwaffe Targets In Leicester.

The pilots were ordered to aim for important infrastructure including:

  • Train stations, yards and and workshops
  • Hospitals
  • Gas works
  • Power plants
  • Factories
  • Warehouses
  • Mills
  • Textile industries

A burning gas main in the street with blast damage caused by the lone raider attack on Cavendish Road, Leicester, on August 21, 1940.

Luftwaffe Maps.

The maps below are two examples of such planning, drawn up by the Luftwaffe during January 1942, identifying targets within the city of Leicester1.

Primary targets were outlined in red and secondary targets in purple: (click to enlarge)

A Personal Accounts Of The Raids In Leicester.

Dennis Parker, from Leicester tells a story about his father at the time:

“Braunstone estate was built in the 1930s. My father worked on the Great Central Railway (LNER by then) and he used to tell a story that, one night he was on an engine outside Marlow Road shed when a string of incendiary bombs fell across the power station coal stacks. He then turned to his fireman and said “we are in for it now” but one by one each bomb was extinguished by the power station fire watch.”

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Book Recommendations.

If you are interested in War Time Leicester then we recommend the following books (Click on the images or links below)

Wartime Leicester

“This work tells the story of the war years in Leicester. It describes the meticulous planning of such men as Charles Keene, chairman of the Emergency Committee, and of the air raids that demolished many parts of the city – claiming 122 victims and injuring almost 300 more.”

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Thomas Kirkup is an engineer in the Royal Navy. Born and raised in Leicester he is fascinated by the city's long and varied history. He also hates to discus himself in the third person, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.

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