German bombing map of Manchester, 1941

This German map of Manchester dates back to the Second World War. It is one of a series of maps used by German bomber pilots in their night-time missions over Britain. Only the most obvious features are included on the map: towns, railway lines, major roads, woodland etc. The map’s bright colours helped the pilots to pick out details at night – remember pilots would have had to read the maps in dark aeroplanes.

Note the areas marked in red and yellow. These were the target areas for the mission. Dock areas such as Portsmouth and Southampton were regular targets for the German Airforce, and were heavily bombed during the course of the war. On this map, the yellow circle surrounding the area just outside Oldham, is marked with the words ‘Achtung. Deutsches Gefangenenlager in Oldham-Leeds’. This alerted the bomber pilots to a prisoner of war camp which was holding German soldiers – obviously an area that was to be avoided during the mission.


Taken from: Luftwaffe map, generalstab
Date: 1941
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: Maps Y415