German bombers hit Paris

PARIS, June 3, 1940 (UP) - Waves of German bombing planes raided Paris today, killing 48 persons, damaging many buildings and narrowly missing United States Ambassador William C. Bullitt. One hundred and fifty-five planes took part in the raid.

Bombs fell in many parts of Paris and the vicinity but principally in the western part of the city. Bombs were said officially to have struck five schools and a temporary hospital, killing two male attendants.


The official report said that eight persons were killed in Paris, 37 in the outskirts and the remainder elsewhere. Fifty-four persons were injured in Paris and its suburbs and 95 elsewhere, making a total of about 200 casualties.

The Ministry of Education announced that 10 of those killed and 18 of those wounded were children. A bomb hit a school on the Paris outskirts.

The western and northern parts of Paris, in which German bombs fell today, include the fashionable Bois de Boulogne, the Auteuil race track and Neuilly, where many Americans live. The American hospital is at Neuilly. An unofficial report said an American was killed.


St. Germain, a suburb, lies due west of the capital, and Versailles to the southwest. Montmartre is in the northern part of Paris and beyond that is St. Denis.

Ninety-seven buildings were destroyed or severely damaged and 61 fires were set by the German raiders.

The official statement said that a total of 1,060 bombs fell on the Paris area, 83 of them landing in Paris itself.

Bullitt's escape came when a bomb, apparently a dud, plunged through the ceiling of the building where he was lunching with Air Minister Laurent Eynac. The bomb did not explode, although it plunged through only 10 feet or so from the American ambassador.

(The French censorship did not allow Paris dispatches to indicate where the air minister's luncheon was being given. Bullitt in a telephone call to Washington said the bombing was in the heart of Paris. The German wireless hinted that the Germans were striking at air headquarters of the French. This gave rise to belief the building may have been that of the Air Ministry.)

The German planes were forced by fiercely attacking French fighting craft and by anti-aircraft fire that dotted the sky with white puffs of smoke to fly at an altitude of probably 32,000 feet.


An Exchange Telegraph dispatch estimated six German planes were shot down.

(A Berlin dispatch said the German planes had attacked the airfield of Isay Les Moulinaux, near Paris, and other air fields near-by.)

For an hour the life of Paris was paralyzed by the raiding planes. Crowds hurried from the streets and offices to air-raid shelters. School children marched to underground shelters, some of them singing the national anthem. Trading was suspended on the Bourse. Subways were halted as the firing of heavy guns jarred buildings in the center of the city.

French squadrons battled the German planes over Paris but a number of bombs were dropped, apparently aimed at military objectives such as airfields around the capital. One bomb struck a seven-story apartment house, killing two persons. A number of fires were started and at least one factory was afire.

The raid on Paris was the first against any belligerent capital, although German planes previously had approached close to the city.

The luncheon being given by Eynac was resumed at another place when the raid ended. Bullitt declined to comment. The ambassador and others at the luncheon were showered with flying glass.

The first air raid "alert" was sounded at 1:18 p.m. and the German planes were greeted by the heaviest anti-aircraft barrage of the war, after which French fighter squadrons fought the invading craft above the clouds.


A second wave of bombers swept toward Paris at 1:50 p.m. and the all clear signal was not given until 2:18 p.m.

The Germans' bombs appeared to be aimed at points outside the city, falling in a "ring" around Paris.

Watchers in some parts of the city believed they caught occasional glimpses of the German planes, darting high over the capital, but for the most part only the mushroom puffs of white smoke from exploding shells could be seen.

The white puffs dotted the sky thickly directly over Paris during the most intense firing.

The population quickly cleared the streets, which had been crowded with workers returning from luncheon. The pigeons of Paris, aroused by the noise of guns, whirled madly in big flocks over the capital.

The bombers, in five waves of 25 each plus one wave of 30 planes, were forced to keep at a high altitude - around 30,000 feet - and it proved impossible for them to aim bombs accurately at military objectives from that height.

Whenever the planes came lower they were fiercely attacked by French fighters. (Here 12 words censored.)

Destruction was reported from 12 widely scattered places as a result of the poor aim of the Germans.


Half a million French school children were entering their classrooms as the first wave of German bombers arrived over Paris. They were herded to underground shelters and suffered no casualties.

Bombing of Paris was watched from the highest point of the city. Atop Montmartre (the hill on the right bank of the Seine River) flames and smoke from bombs bursting could been seen at points over a five-mile area.

At least 20 bombs fell on the western edge of the city. Others fell behind Le Bourget Field, on the northern edge of Paris. Five different fires, marked by columns of smoke, could be seen.

The thunder of anti-aircraft guns and sometimes the explosion of distant bombs echoed through the capital and shook buildings in the heart of the city.

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