I have commented before on the term ‘Coventrate’ before. Indeed Brett Holman has noted its appearance several times over at Airminded. However, I have yet to note, and perhaps Brett will know better than I do, it exact origins. What we do know it that the Germans came up with the term and here some interesting evidence from General der Jagdflieger Aldof Galland as to its origins:

Coventry became a symbol of German night attacks of the period. German propaganda invented and adopted the verb “kiventrieren” – “to Coventrate” – to describe the maximum amount of destruction to be obtained by night attacks.[1]

This comes from an article written by Galland at some point in the late 40s or early 50s while he lived in Argentina and was translated into French and appeared in Forces Aeriennes Francaises before being translated by the Air Historical Branch. The file from which the article comes from comprises of translation of captured enemy documents most of which emanate from the VIII Abteilung of the Luftwaffe’s Air Staff, which was the German Air Historical Branch. It is an interesting view of the Battle of Britain and fits the German interpretation of including the Blitz into its narrative of the battle as a fifth phase whereas for most british historians the battle and the Blitz are two distinct entities.

[1] The National Archives, AIR 20/7707, The Battle of Britain by General Adolf Galland, p. 31.


One thought on “To Coventrate

  1. ‘kiventrieren’? I believe the German term is either ‘Coventrieren’ or ‘Coventrisieren’?

    All the best


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