Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, March 9, 2018

100 Years Ago: Gotha Raids on Paris Accelerate

A Gotha Bomber Ready for Take-Off

Between January and September 1918 the German Gotha bombers flew 483 separate sorties over Paris.  March 1918 featured an acceleration in the bomber raids on France's capital. A Gotha raid on Paris on 8 March 1918 resulted in the death of 13 and the injuring of 50 from over 90 bombs dropped. Another raid, on 11 March, caused the death of 34 and injury to another 78 persons.  Ten raids in total were mounted against the city during the peak of the air raids, between 8 March and  1 July.

Damage on Lille Avenue, Paris, from the 29 March Raid

The bomber missions were supplemented in late March with fire from the secret Paris Gun located 75 miles away in the forest north of Laon.  When the first shells landed, the city's air raid sirens where sounded—no one could conceive of an artillery piece that could  fire from behind the enemy's lines, the closest of which was over 50 miles from the city.


  1. Which were more destructive, German attacks on Paris or London during WWI?

  2. Good question! I am not sure of the answer but it would include not only the physical damage and people killed, but the resources in terms of troops and equipment (guns and airplanes) kept behind for defense.

    1. I'd like to know about those as well.
      It's an interesting comparison.