German Gothas carried out their first raid since 1 November on England. The raid was notable for the first large scale use of a new incendiary bomb (392 out of 420). The raid also took place later than usual, as the raiders arrived in the early hours of the morning between 0200 and 0430.
The raid caused over £100,000 worth of damage, killed 8 and injured 28.
Sheerness was attacked first at 0218. In all 24 bombs hit the town killing four people, injuring 12 and wrecking various buildings. Around 0335 three bombs hit Dover causing minor damage. Margate suffered three separate attacks killing one woman, injuring another, and damaging houses.
Other bombs fell at Manston airfield, Garlinge, Graveney, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Ramsgate, Darenth, West Thurrock, and Purfleet causing only minor damage.
Six Gothas reached London, and 267 bombs were dropped all over the capital. 108 of these fell south of the Thames killing one and injuring five. North of the Thames, three major fires were started near Liverpool Street Station, Whitechapel Road and at Henry Street, causing major damage.
RFC units flew 34 sorties but without intercepting any of the raiders. However, the AA guns were more successful. One Gotha, was hit over Canvey Island and made a forced landing on a golf course close to Rochford airfield. The crew survived but the aircraft was accidently set on fire and destroyed by an inspecting British officer. Another Gotha, crash landed at Sturry near Canterbury. The crew destroyed their aircraft before surrendering. Another Gotha failed to return and was presumed lost over the sea. Three more were damaged when they crashed on landing in Belgium.
Later German documents suggest that, despite the extensive damage, the raid was considered a failure. Major Freiherr von Biilow wrote:
“The bomb was a complete failure. During two night raids on England, on the 31st of October and the 6th of December, 1917, large numbers of these bombs were dropped, both times with no success. The sound idea of creating panic and disorder by numbers of fires came to nothing owing to the inadequacy of the material employed.”