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Battle over Germany


cardboard_killer
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cardboard_killer

[Starting a new thread for all the up coming strategic bombing over the occupied territories and Germany itself.]

 

[80 years ago today] "The industrial centre at Kiel was also heavily and successfully attacked, eighteen tons of H.E. being dropped. Hanover was bombed by Blenheims and, in addition to some large fires, three terrific green explosions were seen by aircraft returning from Berlin. With the exception of one medium bomber, all our aircraft returned from these operations

 

On the 23rd/24th, 127 bombers were despatched; the largest number employed on any one night during the week. Of these, forty-eight attacked Berlin, the target being the inland port near Putlitzstrasse Station. A number of heavy bombs were dropped, together with over 10,000 incendiaries.

 

Several fires were started and bursts were observed, but cloud and thick haze were encountered over the target, which, combined with the heavy A.A. fire and searchlight glare, made it difficult to estimate results accurately.

 

The industrial centre at Kiel was also heavily and successfully attacked, eighteen tons of H.E. being dropped. Hanover was bombed by Blenheims and, in addition to some large fires, three terrific green explosions were seen by aircraft returning from Berlin. With the exception of one medium bomber, all our aircraft returned from these operations.

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Vertical night aerial photograph taken during a raid on Berlin, showing bombs exploding in the vicinity of the central cattle-market and railway yard (middle right), east of the city centre. The broad wavy lines are the tracks of German searchlights and anti-aircraft fire can also be seen. Also illuminated by the flash-bomb in the lower half of the photograph are the Friedrichshain gardens and sports stadium, St Georgs Kirchhof and Balten Platz. A mixed force of 49 aircraft took part in the raid, of which 5 were lost.

 

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An evaluation photograph of the bombing of Berlin. The RAF were not yet capable of matching the levels of destruction being delivered by the Luftwaffe on Britain.

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Bremspropeller
On 3/23/2021 at 12:15 PM, cardboard_killer said:

An evaluation photograph of the bombing of Berlin. The RAF were not yet capable of matching the levels of destruction being delivered by the Luftwaffe on Britain.

 

For the casual reader: North is down in this image.

 

The prominet road at the top is "Unter den Linden" with Brandenburger Tor just north of the "3".

The railway-station in the center is Friedrichstraße. The Reichstag is at the mid right-hand edge, farther north from "3".

 

"3" is today's US embassy.

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• A Gallup Poll shows that the people of Great Britain favour reprisal bombings of civilian areas of Germany by 53% to 38%, with 9% undecided. People in heavily blitzed areas are noticeably less in favour of reprisal bombing than those in areas which have escaped the worst of the raids. "

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sturmkraehe
On 5/3/2021 at 5:29 PM, cardboard_killer said:

[80 years ago today] "• A Gallup Poll shows that the people of Great Britain favour reprisal bombings of civilian areas of Germany by 53% to 38%, with 9% undecided. People in heavily blitzed areas are noticeably less in favour of reprisal bombing than those in areas which have escaped the worst of the raids. "

 

This tells long tales about the compassion of those who lived through the hardship of bombings and those who didn't have first hand experience.  

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cardboard_killer
21 minutes ago, sturmkraehe said:

 

This tells long tales about the compassion of those who lived through the hardship of bombings and those who didn't have first hand experience.  

 

Perhaps. No comparable poll is available for how the Germans felt in 1943-45, but I think there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the majority opinion was pro-reprisal bombing. The Nazi government certainly thought so, hence the wasted resources bombing England and then the V-1/V-2 programs; but perhaps that was a self-fulfilling prophecy for the government--their propaganda led the people to want what the government already thought they wanted.

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sturmkraehe
11 minutes ago, cardboard_killer said:

 

Perhaps. No comparable poll is available for how the Germans felt in 1943-45, but I think there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the majority opinion was pro-reprisal bombing. The Nazi government certainly thought so, hence the wasted resources bombing England and then the V-1/V-2 programs; but perhaps that was a self-fulfilling prophecy for the government--their propaganda led the people to want what the government already thought they wanted.

 

Maybe you're right. I don't know and I am not sure if there is any historian that took a deeper look into this.

 

For sure Nazi-Germanry was a dictatorship while Britain was already a democracy. As such, there had been much less possibility to express one's opinion freely in Germany although the Nazi leadership made some effort to obtain public approval - by intimidation, manipulation or populistic measures as far as I understand. 

 

My reply was more related to my general observation that those who have own experience of suffering are usually less prone to wish this to others and I believe this holds true for many folks around the world. It is mostly observants who are mostly filled with feelings of revenge. Obviously this is not to be generalized to any individual.

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• 114 Wellington bombers attack Cologne and Münster. Sergeant-Pilot James Allen Ward of No.75 (New Zealand) Squadron receives the Victoria Cross after his aircraft is hit by a Bf-110, starting a fuel tank and engine fire. Sgt Ward, the co-pilot, volunteered to climb out a hatch, tethered by a rope. Kicking holes in the fabric covering for hand and foot holds, he is able to smother the fire with an extinguisher he carried with him.

- Shortly after this exploit, Churchill summons the Sergeant to No.10 Downing Street. The shy New Zealander stammers his answers to the prime minister's questions. Seeing his discomfort, Churchill says to him:
 

  • “You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence.”
  • Ward manages a “Yes, sir.” Prompting Churchill to reply,
  • “Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours.”

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Sergeant Pilot Ward in his Wellington. He will command his own Wellington and be killed in a raid over Hamburg in September, one day after orders are approved to send him home. "

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cardboard_killer

[Not quite Germany, but . . . 80 years ago today] "• The pilot of an RAF Blenheim is court-martialed after raiding the Le Havre area at very low altitude and sending his bomb load into a railway tunnel. Pilots have been ordered to avoid targets that are primarily civilian. "

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cardboard_killer

[Not quite Germany, but . . . 80 years ago today] "• Thirty-six RAF Blenheims conduct a low level attack on a concentration of shipping spotted at the Rotterdam docks. Four bombers are shot down and the surviving pilots claim sinking 17 vessels massing 97,000 tons. There are actually no confirmed vessel losses this day, though several are damaged along with port facilities.

 

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Rotterdam raid 16 July 41 from the dorsal turret of a Blenheim

 

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The pictured Blenheim IV is shot down today shortly after the photo was taken with the loss of all aboard"

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] [from wikipedia] "No. 601 Squadron RAF was the only British unit to use the Airacobra operationally, receiving their first two examples on 6 August 1941. On 9 October, four Airacobras attacked enemy barges near Dunkirk, in the type's only operational action with the RAF. The squadron continued to train with the Airacobra during the winter, but a combination of poor serviceability and deep distrust of this unfamiliar fighter resulted in the RAF rejecting the type after one combat mission.[4] In March 1942, the unit re-equipped with Spitfires.

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601 Squadron Airacobra I. The long-barrelled 20 mm Hispano-Suiza cannon Hispano is clearly shown, as are the .303 wing guns"

 

[The RAF is active bombing Germany and occupied areas; here is today's sorties] "During the day, the RAF sends 25 Blenheim bombers on sweeps along the French coast and north of there. The planes all return to base after attacking a few ships.

After a maximum effort on the night of August 5th, the RAF returns to the same three cities - Frankfurt, Mannheim, and Karlsruhe - with smaller follow-up raids after dark. All of the raids target railway yards.

The RAF sends 34 Whitleys and 19 Wellingtons against Frankfurt. The RAF loses 2 Whitleys and 2 Wellingtons.

The RAF sends 38 Welling against Mannheim. All of the planes return.

The RAF attacks Karlsruhe with 38 Hampdens. One aircraft fails to return.

RAF Bomber Command also sends 38 bombers (21 Hampdens, 11 Wellingtons, and 6 Whitleys) against the Calais docks. The bombers have difficulty finding the docks and only 14 are able to drop their bombs over the target. One Hampden fails to return."

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "After dark, the Soviets sends bombers to raid Berlin in the first Soviet air raid on the capital of the war (the British have been bombing Berlin since 25 August 1940 and the French first bombed it on 7 June 1940). This is Operation B (for Berlin), and it is the brainchild of Lt. Gen. Semyon F. Zhavoronkov and approved by Soviet Admiral Nikolay G. Kuznetsov. Stalin has given the final approval necessary for the operation.

The fifteen twin-engined Ilyushin DB-3T torpedo bombers of the 1st Torpedo Bomber Regiment of the Baltic Fleet (yes, it is the Soviet Navy that makes the attack) fly from Kagul airfield on the island of Saaremaa off the Estonian coast. The planes travel over 600 miles (1000 km), and all return safely. Damage is light - the planes carry less than 1000 pounds of bombs each because of the distance, and some fall relatively harmlessly in the suburbs - but the attack is trumpeted by Soviet propaganda. The Germans are taken by surprise and first ascribe the raid to the RAF, but later learns the truth.

 

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Path of raid

 

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Colonel Evgeniy N. Preobrazhenskiy, commander of the Soviet 1st Torpedo Bomber Regiment, inspects one of his Ilyushin DB-3T bombers prior to the first Soviet raid against Berlin on August 7-8, 1941.

 

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Colonel Evgeniy N. Preobrazhenskiy, who led the 1st Torpedo Bomber Regiment, talks with navigator Pyotr Khokhlov, who flew on Operation B’s first mission against Berlin on August 7-8, 1941."

 

 

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Not to be outdone by the Navy, the Soviet Air Forces bomb Berlin with Yermolayev-2 long range diesel engine medium and Tupolev TB-7 four engine heavy bombers. One Tupolev is shot down by Soviet AA batteries and numerous engine failures force most to abort. The TB-7s will be withdrawn, and after the death of designer Vladimir Petlyakov, renamed the Pe-8. The Charomskiy M-40 engines will be replaced with Mikulin AM-35s and they will be returned to service but production will remain a low priority compared to tactical and medium bombers.

 

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Yermolayev-2

 

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Petlyakov-8"

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today]

 

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"A Bristol Blenheim Mark IV of No. 226 Squadron demonstrates the effectiveness of its camouflage as it flies over the English countryside, 18 August 1941."

 

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"Quadruple Lewis gun on an anti-aircraft mounting, 18 August 1941."

 

"During the day, the RAF sends 39 Blenheim bombers on a series of coastal sweeps over Holland and a Circus mission over Lille and Marquise. The pilots claim to sink two trawlers and to bomb Lille, for a cost of one Blenheim.

By prior arrangement between the RAF and Luftwaffe, the RAF successfully drops a spare prosthetic leg for captured RAF Wing Commander Douglas Bader while flying over St. Omer airfield. The Germans are somewhat nonplussed when the charitable gesture is followed by the RAF planes attacking the airfield.

After dark, RAF Bomber Command attacks Cologne and Duisburg. These cities both have been bombed recently so these can be considered follow-up raids.

The RAF puts 62 bombers (42 Hampdens, 17 Whitleys, and 3 Wellingtons) over Cologne. The RAF loses 5 Whitleys and a Wellington. The attack achieves little. . ..

The RAF puts 41 Wellingtons over Duisburg, losing two planes. The weather is clear, so the attack on railway yards is a success.

There is a minor raid by 11 Whitleys and 7 Wellingtons to Dunkirk, and one training sortie over Europe, both without loss.

The Luftwaffe sends a few bombers across to raid the Tyneside and Teesside areas. These are pinprick raids that occasionally hit a populated building, tonight West Hartlepool suffers a tragedy when an ambulance depot is hit with 23 people killed and 45 injured. In addition, about 100 people are made homeless. In Norton, bombs hit a house on Benson Street, killing three people, while next door three others are killed."

 

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Sergeant Wacław Giermer of No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron in conversation with a nurse while recovering in a hospital, 18 August 1941. On 8 July 1941 while escorting a bomber raid on Lille in France Sergeant Giermer shot down an attacking Messerschmitt Bf 109. His Spitfire IIB (RF-F, P8247) was also damaged and his elbow smashed by the Messerschmitt's canon shell. Although attacked again and again by the enemy aircraft he fought his way back across the Channel where he emergency landed at RAF Manston.

 

[The Butt Report is released on this day, although it had been held up by Churchill for a number of days while he studied it]

 

Quote

The report was initiated by Lord Cherwell, a friend of Churchill and chief scientific advisor to the Cabinet. David Bensusan-Butt, a civil servant in the War Cabinet Secretariat and an assistant of Cherwell, was given the task of assessing 633 target photos and comparing them with crews' claims.[1][2] The results, first circulated on 18 August 1941, were a shock to many, though not necessarily to those within the RAF, who knew the difficulty of night navigation and target finding.[3]

Any examination of night photographs taken during night bombing in June and July points to the following conclusions:

  1. Of those aircraft recorded as attacking their target, only one in three got within 5 mi (8.0 km).
  2. Over the French ports, the proportion was two in three; over Germany as a whole, the proportion was one in four; over the Ruhr it was only one in ten.
  3. In the full moon, the proportion was two in five; in the new moon it was only one in fifteen. ...
  4. All these figures relate only to aircraft recorded as attacking the target; the proportion of the total sorties which reached within 5 miles is less than one-third. ...

The conclusion seems to follow that only about one-third of aircraft claiming to reach their target actually reached it.[4]

Postwar studies confirmed Butt's assessment, showing that 49% of Bomber Command bombs dropped between May 1940 and May 1941 fell in open country.[5] As Butt did not include those aircraft that did not bomb because of equipment failure, enemy action, weather or which failed to find the target, only about 5% of bombers setting out bombed within 5 mi (8.0 km) of the target.[6]

 

https://etherwave.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/butt-report-transcription-tna-pro-air-14-12182.pdf

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today, near where I now live] "The presentation of diplomas by Mr Paul Riddle to Royal Air Force cadets of the first course, Class 42-B, at Embry-Riddle Company [Arcadia, Florida, USA]. The cadets wear the white flash identifying air crew in their caps. Shirts and trousers are USAAC issue."

 

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© IWM (TR 80)

 

Royal Air Force cadets take a break from the hot Florida sun beside Stearman PT-17 primary trainers provided by the USAAF and painted in that services bright yellow and blue trainer colours.

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© IWM (TR 89)

 

Royal Air Force cadets loading a torpedo onto an Albacore aircraft during training at Riddle Aerodrome.

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© IWM (TR 85)

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ST_Catchov
On 8/18/2021 at 10:28 PM, cardboard_killer said:

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"A Bristol Blenheim Mark IV of No. 226 Squadron demonstrates the effectiveness of its camouflage as it flies over the English countryside, 18 August 1941."

 

What blasted Blenheim? :huh:

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "On a routine Roadstead mission over Ostend on 18 September 1941, RAF Hurricanes and Spitfires escorting Blenheim bombers of No. 88 Squadron encounter Focke Wulf Fw190 fighters for the first time. The encounter is fairly routine, with the eight Fw 190As of II./JG 26 shooting down two Blenheims at the cost of one of their own. The lost Luftwaffe pilot is Hptm. Walter Adolf, whose body washes up on a Belgian beach a few weeks later. Adolf finished with 45 victories and becomes the first combat casualty in the Fw 190.

 

Other RAF missions today include six Hampdens of RAF 5 (Bomber) Group sent to Abbeville, the headquarters of top Luftwaffe squadron JG 26. Another 11 bombers head to Rouen. The weather is very poor over England, with ground-haze over France, so only the bombers heading to Rouen actually make their bombing runs.

After dark, RAF Bomber Command sends 55 Wellingtons to bomb Karlsruhe. It is a dark night, however, and only 37 bombers can find the target, and their accuracy is poor. Another 10 Wellington bombers attack Le Havre without loss.

 

The air war over the Continent is slowly picking up, but it can fairly be called about even between the two sides at this point. The appearance of a completely new Axis fighter comes as a complete surprise to the British. They desperately want to get one of the new planes to test, but that does not happen until June 1942."

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