During World War 2, what was 'Operation Moonlight Sonata'?
On the night of November 14th 1940, the Luftwaffe attacked Coventry. The bombing of Coventry was seen as the biggest test of British resolve up to this stage of the Blitz. Known as ‘Operation Moonlight Sonata’, over 400 bombers attacked Coventry that night and in the early morning of November 15th 1940.
Coventry was an important engineering and manufacturing city before World War Two and the factories based there played an important part in supplying Britain’s military in the early months of the war. For example, Alvis made armoured cars while Aero manufactured important parts for the RAF. Many of the workforce within the city lived very near to the factory they worked at, so any attack on the factories was bound to hit homes as well.
The Luftwaffe had made a very thorough reconnaissance of the city and knew where the most important factories were. Planning for the raid on Coventry was equally as thorough as the Luftwaffe planned to be as destructive as was possible. Their plan was for a east to west flight over the city followed by a west to east attack. The intention was to create a firestorm within the city that would destroy factories and totally break the morale of the people there.
By the time the attack was over, 75% of all buildings in the city were destroyed; 33% of all factories were destroyed and 50% of all homes. Most people had to exist without water, gas or electricity.