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Bombing of Sofia in World War II: Wikis

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Destruction in Sofia in 1944 after the bombing as photographed by Tsanko Lavrenov

The Bulgarian capital of Sofia suffered a series of Allied bombing raids during World War II, from late 1943 to early 1944.

Bulgaria declared a token war on the United Kingdom and the United States on 13 December 1941. The Southern Italy-based Allied air forces extended the range of their strategic operations to include Bulgaria and other Axis allies in 1943.

Contents

Raids

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14 November 1943

The first air raid of the Bulgarian capital was carried out on 14 November 1943 by 91 B-25 Mitchell bombers. 47 buildings and structures were destroyed, 59 civilians and military men were killed and over 128 were injured.

24 November 1943

A new bombing followed on 24 November, this time executed by 60 B-24 Liberator aircraft. 87 buildings in the vicinity of the Central Railway Station were destroyed with 5 people dying and 29 being wounded.

10 December 1943

The 10 December raid was carried out by 120 aircraft. About 90 bombs were released over the Hadzhi Dimitar, Industrialen, Malashevtsi and Voenna rampa quarters, another 90 hit Vrazhdebna Airport and the nearby villages. 11 people were killed during the bombing.

20 December 1943

One of the most destructive raids followed on 20 December the same year, with over 113 buildings being razed to the ground, the belt line being cut off, over 64 people being killed and another 93 injured.

30 December 1943

A day bombing in the Sofia railway junction area was executed on 30 December 1943, claiming 70 victims and injuring 95.

10 January 1944

Sofia suffered another bombing on 10 January 1944, carried out consecutively by American (during the day) and British (during the night) aircraft.

Destruction of the historical downtown of Sofia on March 30, 1944 as photographed aboard an american bomber. Sources: Stara Sofia Lost Bulgaria

30 March 1944

The most severe bombing of Sofia ever occurred on March 30, 1944. Some 370 american heavy bombers flied upon Sofia destroying 3575 buildings. The casualties were relatively modest due to the preliminarily evacuation of the civilians. The target of the bombing, as the image clearly depicts, were neither military installations, nor armed forces, but the very historical downtown of the city of Sofia.

17 April 1944

This bombing is known as "the black Easter"(the second day of Easter) for the citizens of Sofia.Raid was carried out by 350 bombers(B-17 and B-24)with accompanying 100 fighter planes-Mustangs and Lightnings.About 2500 bombs were dropped over the target-railroad marshaling yards. 749 buildings were totally destroyed.

Consequences

The bombing raids in 1943-1944 resulted in the death of 1,374, with an additional 1,743 being injured. 12,564 buildings were damaged (of which 2,670 completely destroyed). 60 motor cars and 55 trailers were also destroyed.[1]

Among the historic buildings were several schools and hotels, as well as the State Printing House, the Regional Court, the Small Baths, the National Library, etc. These were not restored in their original appearance. The Bulgarian National Theatre, the Bulgarian Agricultural Bank, the Theological Faculty of Sofia University, the Museum of Natural History, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and other buildings were damaged but subsequently reconstructed.[1]

Although the bombing included a large number of aircraft, its effectiveness was low due to the excellent organization of the Royal Bulgarian Air Force and air defence services and the quick evacuation after the first raid.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Kiradzhiev, Svetlin (2006) (in Bulgarian). Sofia 125 Years Capital 1879-2004 Chronicle. Sofia: IK Gutenberg. p. 196. ISBN 954-617-011-9.  

External links


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