When the Soviet Air Forces bombed Tallinn (23)
Today marks the anniversary of the March Bombing of Tallinn. On Mar. 9, 1944, the Soviet Air Forces dropped 3068 bombs on the city after saboteurs had blown up the fire brigades’ pumping stations.
Three days earlier, on Mar. 6, 1944, the Red Air Force had practically annihilated the town of Narva, where German and Soviet forces had been fighting already since February, and would continue until August.
The attack on Tallinn was an extension of the Soviet campaign. The bomb raid included 300 Soviet planes that dropped explosive as well as incendiary bombs, did heavy damage to the city center and completely destroyed much of the city’s suburbs, which were mainly built of wood.
As saboteurs had blown up the fire brigades’ pumping stations, fighting the fires proved near to impossible. 757 people were killed immediately, 659 injured. More than 20,000 lost their homes.
The damage to military installations or factories crucial to the German war effort was minimal. A fuel deposit burned out, and a cable as well as a plywood factory was destroyed.
The March Bombing, as well as dozens of similar raids against cities in the area that would later become part of the USSR or known as the Eastern Bloc, are seen today as evidence of the USSR’s strategy to destroy the morale of the local civic society and pave the way for invasion and annexation.
The churches of Tallinn will ring their bells at 7.15 p.m., which is the time when the bombing began on Mar. 9, 1944.