Bombing of Frampol

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Frampol before (left) and after (right) the Luftwaffe bomb attack

The Bombing of Frampol happened during the German invasion of Poland in 1939. On 13 September, the town of Frampol, with a population of 4,000, was bombed by the German Luftwaffe as a practice run for future missions. Over 60%[1] to 90%[2] of the town's infrastructure was destroyed; only two streets remained untouched, plus a few houses.[3] Frampol was destroyed by bombers of Luftwaffe’s 8th Air Corps, under General Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen. According to Polish historians Pawel Puzio and Ryszard Jasinski, there were not any units of the Polish Army in Frampol, and the town did not have any military facilities.

The first German reconnaissance plane appeared over Frampol on September 9, 1939. It took some photos, and on September 11 and 12, there were bombings of the town, but they did not cause any significant damage. The Luftwaffe chose Frampol for the experimental bombing probably because the town had an extensive market square, with a grid plan, making it appear as a large "bullseye". Furthermore, there were no anti-aircraft units at Frampol. According to Norman Davies 125 bombers dropped 700 tons of explosives during bombing, which lasted for several hours. Furthermore German fighter pilots trained strafing techniques on people who were trying to flee from the city. Frampol lost 90 % of its buildings destroyed and half of the population of 3,000 as casualties.[4]

On September 18, another German reconnaissance plane appeared over Frampol to snap photos of the destruction.

The bombing of Frampol plays an important part in the short story "The Little Shoemakers" by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Also, as Norman Davies writes in "Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory": Frampol was chosen partly because it was completely defenceless, and partly because its baroque street plan presented a perfect geometric grid.[5]

"Frampol was chosen as an experimental object, because test bombers, flying at low speed, weren't endangered by AA fire. Also, the centrally placed town hall was an ideal orientation point for the crews. We watched possibility of orientation after visible signs, and also the size of village, what guaranteed that bombs nevertheless fall down on Frampol. From one side it should make easier the note of probe, from second side it should confirm the efficiency of used bombs." - Wolfgang Schreyer's book "Eyes on the sky" (Augen am Himmel).[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frampol Gmina Page
  2. ^ (Polish) Historia Frampola on the official pages of the town
  3. ^ “Frampol” - Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Volume VII
  4. ^ Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory - page 297, Norman Davies, 2006
  5. ^ Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory - page 297, Norman Davies, 2006
  6. ^ Dariusz Tyminski and Grzegorz Slizewski, "13 September 1939, the town of Frampol" in the Poland 1939 - The Diary of Luftwaffe Atrocities.

Further reading[edit]

  • (Polish) Mieczysław Cieplewicz, Eugeniusz Kozłowski et al. (1979). Wojna obronna Polski 1939. Warsaw, Wydawnictwo MON. ISBN 83-11-06314-1. 

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 50°40′25″N 22°40′05″E / 50.67361°N 22.66806°E / 50.67361; 22.66806