Bombing of Frampol

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Frampol before (left) and after (right) the German Luftwaffe bombing raids, September 1939

The Bombing of Frampol occurred 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 was completely destroyed — only two streets remained untouched, including some houses on the outskirts.[3] Frampol was destroyed by the bombers of Luftwaffe's 8th Air Corps, under General Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen. According to Polish historians Pawel Puzio and Ryszard Jasinski no units of the Polish army were stationed in Frampol and the town did not have any military facilities.

The first German reconnaissance plane appeared over Frampol on 9 September 1939 taking reconnaissance photographs of the location then on 11 and 12 September the town was bombed. The first raids did not cause any significant damage, but the subsequent bombing on 13 September completely destroyed the town. The Luftwaffe likely selected Frampol for an experimental bombing since the town had an extensive market square with a grid plan, making it appear as a large bullseye, and there were no anti-aircraft units located at Frampol.[4] According to historian Norman Davies 125 bombers dropped 700 tons of explosives during bombing, which lasted for several hours. Furthermore, German fighter pilots trained strafing techniques on refugees who were trying to flee from the city. Frampol lost 90% of its buildings and 50% of the population became casualties.[5] After the bombing, on 18 September, a German reconnaissance plane again appeared over Frampol to take photographs of the destruction.

Historian 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] Also, in his book, Eyes on the Sky, Wolfgang Schreyer wrote: "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."[4]

The bombing of Frampol plays an important part in the short story "The Little Shoemakers" by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

See also[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. ^ a b Dariusz Tyminski and Grzegorz Slizewski, "13 September 1939, the town of Frampol" in the Poland 1939 - The Diary of Luftwaffe Atrocities.
  5. ^ a b Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory, p. 297, Norman Davies, 2006.

Further reading[edit]

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

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