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Image by Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
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WWII BARRAGE BALLOON ANCHORS [STORMONT ESTATE BELFAST]-151417
Image by infomatique
A barrage balloon is a large kite balloon used to defend against aircraft attack by raising aloft cables which pose a collision risk, making the attacker’s approach more difficult. The design of the kite balloon, having a shape and cable bridling which stabilise the balloon and reduce drag, meant that it could be operated in higher wind conditions than a spherical balloon. Some examples carried small explosive charges that would be pulled up against the aircraft to ensure its destruction. Barrage balloons are not practical against very high-flying aircraft, due to the weight of the long cable required.
The Belfast Blitz consisted of four German air raids on strategic targets in the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, in April and May 1941 during World War II, causing high casualties. The first was on the night of 7–8 April 1941, a small attack which probably took place only to test Belfast’s defences. The next took place on Easter Tuesday, 15 April 1941. Two hundred bombers of the Luftwaffe attacked military and manufacturing targets in the city of Belfast. Some 900 people died as a result of the bombing and 1,500 were injured. High explosive bombs predominated in this raid. Apart from those on London, this was the greatest loss of life in any night raid during the Blitz.
The third raid on Belfast took place over the evening and morning of 4–5 May 1941; 150 were killed. Incendiary bombs predominated in this raid. The fourth and final Belfast raid took place on the following night, 5–6 May. In total over 1,300 houses were demolished, some 5,000 badly damaged, nearly 30,000 slightly damaged while 20,000 required "first aid repairs".