Belgium / Story
In preparation for the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, numerous targets were attacked in Western Europe to prevent the supply of German troops towards the new front. Leopoldsburg also suffered the consequences of this Allied bombing campaign.
On the night of 27-28 May 1944, 331 aircraft from RAF Bomber Command flew towards Leopoldsburg for a bombardment of the Beverlo Military Camp. 267 Halifax and 56 Lancaster bombers were escorted by eight Mosquito target designators. The formation of bombers faced repeated attacks by German night fighters along the way, and 10 bombers were lost in the process along the entire route, about 3% of the total number of aircraft that night.
The mission report described the bombing as a successful operation. The targeting was very precise and the damage to military installations extensive. On the ground, many hundreds of people, even outside the village, had noticed the impact of the bombing. An eyewitness from Wijchmaal, 12 km from Leopoldsburg, stated:
"Leopoldsburg became the target of a terrible bombardment. Everyone in Wijchmaal had got out of bed and stood in the clear night to watch the spectacle. Masses and masses of flares floated above the Camp and illuminated the military cantonments (sic) then the bombardment began."
Although the bombardment was a success according to Bomber Command, a lot of the bombs had missed their targets. They had landed on the village itself resulting in 19 civilian casualties. Some 300 German soldiers died in the camp. Also among those affected was the Technical Institute of Our Lady's Visitation which suffered heavy damage.
Diestersteenweg 3, 3970 Leopoldsburg