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[1][2] Several historical buildings suffered various extents of damage, including the Royal Palace of Milan, the Teatro Lirico, the Basilica of San Lorenzo, San Giorgio al Palazzo and the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. Follow us on social media to add even more wonder to your day. At the beginning of 1943 the Italian anti-aircraft defenses, which had proved not to be very effective, were joined by German Flak batteries. © 2020 Atlas Obscura. [1][2] This resulted in about 80 tons of bombs falling over the heavily populated suburbs of Gorla and Precotto; 614 civilians were killed, among them 184 children, 14 teachers, the school director, 4 janitors and a health assistant[4] of the "Francesco Crispi" elementary school, which received a direct hit while the children and school personnel were going downstairs to the air raid shelter. The first bombing of 1944 took place in the night between 28 and 29 March, when 78 Vickers Wellington of the RAF MAAF bombers attacked the Milano Lambrate railway station. Every weekday we compile our most wondrous stories and deliver them straight to you. The bombing caused massive fires in many parts of Milan; the fires drew air from the surrounding countryside, creating winds that reached a speed of 50 km/h, an event that usually heralded a firestorm, which however did not materialize (owing to the humid climate, in addition to the previously mentioned urbanistic traits typical of Italian cities, and the fact that the raid was heavy but not very concentrated). Milan was not bombed for several months thereafter, but in spring 1944, with the progress of the Italian Campaign, a new bombing campaign was started, this time by USAAF (by day) and RAF MAAF (by night). The participation of Italy in the Second World War was characterized by a complex framework of ideology, politics, and diplomacy, while its military actions were often heavily influenced by external factors. 1944–1945, the USAAF bombings and the Gorla tragedy, Giorgio Bonacina, "La RAF cancella intere città", on "Storia Illustrata" n. 172 – March 1972, "Storia di Milano ::: Bombardamenti aerei su Milano", "Milano, un libro racconta la città devastata dalla guerra (Milan, a book recalls a city devastated by war)", Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bombing_of_Milan_in_World_War_II&oldid=984905855, World War II operations and battles of the Italian Campaign, Aerial operations and battles of World War II by town or city, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 22 October 2020, at 20:11. 504 bombers (321 Lancasters and 183 Halifaxes) took off from English bases, and 478 of them reached Milan and dropped 1,252 tons of bombs (670 explosive bombs and 582 incendiary bombs), including 245 4,000-lb blockbusters and 380,000 incendiary devices, over the city. One of the tunnels’ most fascinating secrets is a series of gates that could hermetically seal off chambers, protecting citizens during the use of poison gas. [6] Overall, about one third of the buildings were destroyed or had to be subsequently demolished; the ruins were used to create the artificiali hill known as Monte Stella. [1][2] Most of those who were still in Milan evacuated the city on August 13. Categories. The bombings mainly targeted the city's marshalling yards and factories, but inaccuracy in bombing often caused severe damage to residential areas and civilian casualties. [2] The discovery has allowed researchers to expand their understanding of World War II and open up a time capsule of life underground during the night raids on Milan. Countless minor air attacks, mainly strafing and bombing actions by fighter-bombers and light bombers, took place throughout the autumn of 1944, the subsequent winter and the spring of 1945; trains, vehicles, modes of transport and more generally targets of opportunity were attacked. Like us on Facebook to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders. At least 400,000 people, more than one third of the population, were left homeless. On the night of 13/14 August, three bombers dropped bombs and propaganda leaflets; the target was again the Caproni plant which however was not hit, while several buildings along a few streets were, with 15 killed and 44 wounded. No purchase necessary. The discovery has allowed researchers to expand their understanding of World War II and open up a time capsule of life underground during the night raids on Milan. We depend on ad revenue to craft and curate stories about the world’s hidden wonders. No more raids were carried out during the rest of 1943, and life in the city was slowly resumed. Diocletian divided the Roman Empire, choosing the eastern half for himself, making Milan the seat of the western half of the empire, from which Maximian ruled, in the late 3rd and early 4th century AD. More than 20 former air raid shelters are now undergoing restoration work, in order to preserve these strange relics from World War II. [6] [1][2] Large parts of the city centre were set ablaze; 600 buildings were destroyed, with 161 victims and 281 wounded among the population. Answer 1 of 4: Hello all, Planning a travel to Italy at the beginning of Sept. Milan is an absolute behemoth of a city and has the most populated metropolitan area in Italy with 1.3 million people, and 3.2 million in the wider area surrounding central Milan. Search options. There is information on cemeteries, memorials, museums and practical information for visiting the area, plus details of the several trips I have made to these fascinating WW2 sites. [2], The last heavy bombing suffered by Milan took place on 20 October 1944. [1][2] The headquarters of the Corriere della Sera were hit again and partly destroyed; among the public and historical buildings that suffered heavy damage were the Sforza Castle, the Natural History Museum, the Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte and Palazzo Sormani. To learn more or withdraw consent, please visit our cookie policy. The former fortress and residence of Milan's most powerful rulers is now a campus for some of the city's best cultural institutions. Have fun! [1], Although a reliable and complete count has never been made, it has been estimated that at least 2,200 people were killed in the bombings of Milan; the second heaviest death toll in Northern Italy (Bologna suffered 2,481 casualties). Nonetheless, on 24 October 1942, 73 Avro Lancasters dropped 135 tons of bombs, including 30,000 incendiaries, over the city, in a rare case of RAF diurnal bombing. [1][2] 183 people were killed. [1] An exclusive waiting room built for the royal family in the 1920s is hidden in Milan’s central station. [1][2] Schools had to close down, and more citizens evacuated the city. [1][2], On the night of 12/13 August, Bomber Command launched its heaviest raid on Milan and any Italian city. Consider supporting our work by becoming a member for as little as $5 a month. [1][2] Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers Nov 17, 2020. Sign up for our newsletter and enter to win the second edition of our book. Vorbunker/Führerbunker -Berlin. This section of the site contains articles and information on the Italian Battlefields of Anzio, Monte Cassino and the Gothic Line. The only two survivors were students, Noemi Cappellini and Antonio Skomina, both 7 years old at the time, who both refused the orders of the nuns to remain in the air raid shelter. As the main economic and industrial center in Italy, and the country's second largest city, Milan was subjected to heavy bombing during World War II, being the most bombed city in Northern Italy and one of the most bombed cities in the country. On the night of 7/8 August 1943, 197 bombers took off from bases in England to carry out a simultaneous bombing of Milan, Turin, and Genoa. The enigmatic sculpture hides above an escalator in a Milan metro station. [2] Although the cathedral was not hit during this raid, Harris's decision to centre the raid on a major religious building drew criticism from his superior, Charles Portal and some members of parliament. I have just published a new book titled A TRAVEL GUIDE TO WORLD WAR II SITES IN ITALY. 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