As a reaction to this, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to switch its attacks to the sustained bombing of London and in so doing, ironically relieved the pressure on the RAF Fighter Command and effectively, in the longer term ensured Germany's defeat in the Battle of Britain.
The periods when Britain was under air attack take four distinct phases:
THE FIRST BLITZ OR NIGHT BLITZ
This covers the period from 7th September 1940 (Black Saturday) to the night of 10th/11th May 1941 and included a period from 7th September 1940 of 57 consecutive nights when London was bombed. On the first day alone, over 400 Londoners were killed and over 1,600 injured.
The raids varied in intensity and of course, other cities were attacked as well, but it was always London that the Luftwaffe returned to and always London that bore the brunt. The night of 10th/11th May 1941 saw the heaviest raid on London, when 515 bombers dropped over 900 tons of bombs on the city, killing 1,364 and seriously injuring over 1,600.
Although Londoners weren't to know it at the time, this was the last major raid on the city for over a year but by this time, some 21,500 Londoners were already dead.
THE BAEDECKER RAIDS
Although there were sporadic attacks by small numbers of aircraft in the meantime, London remained quiet until early to mid 1942, when in retaliation for the RAF's bombing of the historic city of Lubeck, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to attack Britain's historic cities such as Bath, York, Norwich, Exeter and Canterbury.
In addition to these heavy raids outside the capital, London was also harassed by so-called ‘Tip and Run’ raids usually undertaken by fighter-bomber aircraft operating singly or in small numbers. The Baedecker raids lasted until about June of 1942 whilst the ‘Tip & Run’ attacks continued sporadically throughout 1943, by which time a further 1,600 people had been killed across the country.