Secret map reveals routes of WW1 German bombers

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A map that shows the paths of 16 German aeroplanes as they flew into London during a First World War air raid has been published for the first time.

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The official map, which was not for public consumption, shows the route of the aeroplanes as they flew across Kent and Essex into the capital during an air raid on 6 December 1917.

During this night raid, fire engines had to be called from as far afield as Wembley and Twickenham to attend a fire in Shoreditch.

To view an enlarged version of the map, click here or on the image

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The map has been published in a new book by Dr Peter Chasseaud, Mapping the First World War.

Published by Collins in association with the Imperial War Museums (IWM), the book features more than 150 maps, primarily from the IWM.

Many are being published for the first time since the First World War.

The book also reveals a previously unseen German aerial photograph of the Victoria and Albert Docks on the Thames. The photograph, taken in May 1918, shows ships in the Victoria and Albert dock, and the George V dock under construction.

The book also includes The Daily Mail map of Zeppelin and aeroplane bombs on London, published in January 1919. It shows the site of every bomb dropped on the capital during the war.

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Published to mark the centenary of the First World War, the book tells the story of the conflict through a collection of historical maps, photographs and commentary from Dr Peter Chasseaud, a historian of military cartography.

It includes small-scale maps showing country boundaries and occupied territories, as well as large-scale maps of key battles and offensives.

Dr Chasseaud told historyextra: “This is probably the first book that looks at the course of the First World War on all the different fronts, using maps and aerial photographs.

“The maps really point out the importance of technological innovation during the war.

“A lot of people think the High Command were stupid and didn’t know what they were doing, but in fact a lot of them were using the latest technology and developing new technology to produce maps.

“The maps were crucial in terms of artillery targeting, as they helped intelligence gathering.

“They enabled planes to acquire information and go behind the front line, and therefore predict when a new German offensive was coming.”

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All images © IWM