The aim of the Allied Forces was to prevent the use of the transport network and airfields at Foggia. The transport network was an important focal point in the deployment of German and Italian troops used to counter the attacks in Southern Italy and the Allied invasion of Sicily in July (Operation Husky). Some commentators say that the raids were too large and caused high levels of deaths and casualties amongst the civil population (about a third of the population were killed.. The air raids continued after an armistice had been signed between the Allies and Italy due to the concentration of German forces in Foggia who were not party to the armsitice.
The city of Foggia has been insigned of the Italian gold medal for civil value on November 22, 1959 for having suffered 20,298 victims, and of the Italian gold medal for military value on April 25, 2007.
Foggia was attacked on nine occasions. Thousands of homes, the airport, the railway station, squares, streets and residential quarters were totally devastated. After the raid of August 19, 1943 which made over 9,000 victims, the British prime minister Winston Churchill stated "Foggia has been Coventrated", in reference of the destruction suffered by the city of Coventry in the Coventry Blitz of November 14, 1940.
The chronicle of the bombing of Foggia was written by Luca Cicolella in a book called "...e la morte venne dal cielo" ("...and death came from sky"), published in 1973 and 1983, which contained also the Report made by the Monsignor Fortunato Maria Farina and sent to the Pope Pius XII.
For a short period Foggia became been a ghost town in which looters sought after valuables worn by the casualties and burgled abandoned buildings.
Chronology of events
- May 15, 1943: Allied forces occupy Tunisia.
- May 28–30-31: destruction of the airport and railway station of Foggia. (462 civil victims)
- June 21: second air raid. (91 civil victims)
- July 10: Allied forces deploy in Sicily.
- July 15: air raid on the railway station. (1.293 civil victims)
- July 22: another air raid on the railway station, with
- July 25: fall of fascism.
- August 16: air raid on the surroundings of Foggia.
- August 19: air bombing over all the city. (9.581 civil victims)
- August 24–25: thousands of bombs launched over the city, also during night, until the morning of 25. (971 civil victims)
- September 8: declartion of the armistice between Italy and the Allies.
- September 9: smaller air raid. (21 civil victims)
- September 17–18: last air raid on the city of Foggia. (179 victims)
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