Sheffield retro: Newly uncovered Nazi maps show Hitler targeted schools and hospitals in Blitz 'terror' attack

“The maps make more sense of the pattern of the raids and suggest the Luftwaffe were fixated on a terror raid”

A year-long research project into the German bombing of Sheffield in December 1940 is challenging long-held beliefs about the reason for the raids.

Neil Anderson’s new ‘Sheffield’s Date With Hitler’ reveals new insights and evidence about the Sheffield Blitz that re-writes decades-held assumptions.

His rigorous research saw him delve into an extensive array of historical documents, survivor accounts, and previous analyses to construct a comprehensive account of the events leading up to, during, and following the fateful nights of the Blitz on December 12th and 15th, 1940.

The primary motivation for the Luftwaffe's Operation Crucible has traditionally been understood as an attempt to cripple Sheffield's armament production capabilities located in the city's East End.

However Neil Anderson’s findings introduce a significant twist to the narrative.

“I was always baffled by the pattern of bombing and the fact it hit suburbs like Totley, Dore and Millhouses – miles away from the East End. There was hardly a Sheffield suburb that wasn’t hit and there was widespread damage to schools, hospitals and railways.

“Though the second night of bombing did hit more of the armament factories it was with nothing like the ferocity that was expected and production was only briefly curtailed at a few places.”

His breakthrough came with the discovery of World War Two German bombing maps specifically detailing Sheffield.

These maps, which were thought to have been smuggled out of Germany following allied victory in Europe, clearly designate schools, hospitals, railways, and urban centres as the primary targets.

“The armament factories are clearly marked” says Neil Anderson, “but they’re only down as secondary targets. These maps make more sense of the pattern of the raids and suggest the Luftwaffe were fixated on a terror raid – designed to terrorise the Sheffield population into submission.”

The Sheffield Blitz killed and wounded over 2,000 people and made nearly a tenth of the city homeless. Over 300 planes attacked on the first night with nine hours of sustained bombing.

The biggest single loss of life took place at the Marples Hotel in Fitzalan Square.

The collector’s edition of ‘Sheffield’s Date With Hitler’ contains rare photos, first-hand memories from survivors, maps of where the bombs dropped and more.

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