HOME SECURITY SITUATION
Until the last two days of the period no attacks were made upon this country.
On the afternoon of the 29th bombing and cannon-fire occurred at Eastbourne, where residential property was damaged and where there was one fatal and 17 serious casualties.
On the morning of the 30th bombs did some damage in the residential area of Exeter, where 16 people were killed and 17 seriously injured. Several places in the surrounding district were machine-gunned but only slight damage was done.
From the Home Security Situation Report for the week ending 30th December 1942, as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/32/46
There was no military purpose behind these raids, the Blitz had completely failed to bomb the British into submission – so further attacks against civilians now were merely for the purpose of harassment. These minor ‘nuisance’ raids, which could prove devastating to local communities, were a continuation of the larger ‘Baedeker raids‘ which had been targeted at some of Britain’s towns that were noted for their heritage and architecture.
Recent research has uncovered how much the British knew of the attitudes of German airmen at the time. German prisoners were interrogated as a matter of course but more intelligence was uncovered by covertly recording their private conversations. Talking amongst themselves, they revealed their genuine attitudes.
The research shows how much some of the men enjoyed their role. It was not possible to establish which particular attacks they were talking about:
ESCHNER: Our KOMMODORE arranged on various occasions a day-time attack for us as a special treat – on shipping and suchlike. He intended this as a special favour for us … So we started-myself in front, and I found a ship which was outside a small harbour near Lowestoft – there were two ships there with only one guard ship. There was a cloud bank at 5-600m. I could see the ships from a distance of 10 km. I wanted to do a gliding attack and had already got into the gliding angle and attacked; the boat was hit; they opened tire, I opened the throttle and was off. That was great fun.
BUDDE: I’ve taken part in two intruder patrols attacking houses. No, only intruder patrols. Whatever we came across; country houses on a hillside made the best targets You flew up from below, then you aimed – and crash! There was the sound of breaking windowpanes and the roof flew off. But l’ve only done that with the 190, twice in attacks on villages.
At the Market Place, there were crowds of people and speeches were being made. They ran like hares! That’s great fun! It was just before Christmas. We had no losses on that
HARRER: I take my hat off to our mines, when they go off they raze everything to the ground, they knock down 80 houses I have had friends, who in an emergency – that is they should have dropped their mines in the sea – have dropped them on a small town, and they have seen how the houses were lifted up and fell apart in the air. The mines only have quite a thin wall, a light metal shell. And moreover they have a much better explosive than all our bombs.
When such a thing drops on a block of houses it simply vanishes, just falls to pieces. It was the greatest fun.
v. GREIM: We once made a low-level attack near EASTBOURNE. When we got there, we saw a large mansion where they seemed to be having a ball or something; in any case we saw a lot of women in fancy-dress, and an orchestra. There were two of us doing long distance reconnaissance. We turned round and flew towards it. The first time we flew past, and then we approached again and machine-gunned them. It was great fun!
There was growing concern amongst the intelligence communities of all the Allies as to how they were going to change the attitudes of ordinary Germans after the war had finished. The evidence that the Nazis had induced a complete contempt for the life of anyone who was not German was mounting.