Russian air raids devastate Estonian towns

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09. March 1944

Russian military leadership was preparing for a new general assault near Narva. Part of these preparations were fierce air attacks on Estonian towns:

on March 6, 1944, Narva's historical central town was completely destroyed, on March 8, planes bombed Jõhvi and Tapa, in an attempt to destroy railway junctions. On the night of March 9, two-wave attack was launched on Tallinn, around 250 planes targeting the city.

Around 2000 bombs were thrown onto the residential areas situated between Lasnamäe and Old Town. These destroyed 8000 houses, among those the church of St. Nicholas, the weigh house, and national opera house "Estonia", where at that time Eduard Tubin's ballet "Kratt" was performed.

Around 500 people died, 25,000 lost their homes. Especially fierce air raid struck Tartu (see image) in the end of March, destroying most of the newer central town, together with "Vanemuise" theater house.

  • Sources: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
  • Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006
  • Image sources

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