Sheffield Blitz book shows a German Dambusters-style raid could have wiped out city

The Sheffield Blitz left nearly a tenth of the city’s population homeless in December 1940 but a new book shows there was an even bigger threat on its own doorstep – one that could have allowed the Luftwaffe to wipe much of the city off the map.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 4:27 pm

A new edition of Sheffield’s Date With Hitler, which chronicles the devastating two-night bombing raid, tells of the formidable resources that were brought in to protect the city from a repeat of the Sheffield Flood of 1864.

Although the legendary Dambuster raids provided a morale boost to the war effort, the War Cabinet – far from celebrating – were more concerned about the Germans adopting their own ‘bouncing bomb’ technology and using it to destroy Sheffield.

Hundreds of military personnel were stationed in the area, smoke was pumped out over dams to disguise them, massive chain-like structures hung across the water to stop low-level bombing and hundreds of boats were put on standby to rescue residents.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Atkinsons on The Moor after the Blitz hit Sheffield

Author Neil Anderson said: “The Sheffield Blitz killed and wounded over 2,000 people and left the city crippled but a successful raid on one of the dams could have caused death and destruction on a scale not seen since 1864 when the wall of Dale Dyke Dam was breached and 700 million gallons of water poured through the heart of Sheffield, destroying everything in its wake.”

The tenth anniversary edition of Sheffield’s Date With Hitler also includes details of the Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail and exhibition.

The book is available from www.retrobookoffers.net for £19.95, plus P&P.

Strines Reservoir during World War Two with defences in place against low-level bombing