bombing

Dec

8

1943

The trials of a new USAAF Bomber Group in England


8th December 1943: The trials of a new USAAF Bomber Group in England

Vulnerability to German fighters. The early planners had so admired the B-17, which, when first designed, could defend itself quite well, by its speed and altitude, that fighter escort was assumed to be unnecessary. They forgot that fighters could improve too. During the first year of combat, American bomber forces took tragic losses. Available fighters were too “short-legged” to follow the bombers all the way in to far away targets that had to be destroyed.

Dec

3

1943

‘Orchestrated Hell’ – Murrow reports from over Berlin


3rd December 1943: ‘Orchestrated Hell’ – Murrow reports from over Berlin

I looked down, and the white fires had turned red. They were beginning to merge and spread, just like butter does on a hot plate. Jock and Buzz, the bomb-aimer, began to discuss the target. The smoke was getting thick down below. Buzz said he liked the two green flares on the ground almost dead ahead. He began calling his directions. And just then a new bunch of big flares went down on the far side of the sea of flame and flare that seemed to be directly below us. He thought that would be a better aiming point. Jock agreed and we flew on.

Dec

2

1943

Mustard Gas disaster in Bari harbour


2nd December 1943: Mustard Gas disaster in Bari harbour

We were not left long in doubt. Bombs began to rain down: the chatter of 20mm guns and the louder booming of the 40mm and 4.7’s joined the cacophony. Outside our door a pom-pom opened up and all hell seemed to be let loose. Occasionally the old ship would shudder as a near miss shook the water. Then a bomb fell just off the starboard bow to be followed up by an incredible welter of noise as one landed just off the port quarter. The Cypher Office collapsed on top of us, flames shot up where a second before had been steel plating.

Nov

26

1943

Troopship Rohna sunk – over 1000 US troops lost


26th November 1943: Troopship Rohna sunk – over 1000 US troops lost

What with the swells pushing me around, and doing the same to the others nearby, it wasn’t long before we were becoming separated. The calls for help were faint and shouts for assistance were becoming fainter as the distances widened. My attention was focused on that ship I was trying to get to, and as the darkness became deeper, I was beginning to wonder if I would make it before she moved away.

Nov

25

1943

Goebbels alarmed as Berlin struggles to recover


25th November 1943: Goebbels alarmed as Berlin struggles to recover

The English therefore got away pretty cheaply with this attack. Conditions in the city are pretty hopeless. The air is filled with smoke and the smell of fires. The Wilhelmplatz and the Wilhelmstrasse present a gruesome picture. There was nothing to be done except to press everybody available into service and wait for rain, which came later in the day.

Nov

23

1943

Terror of devastating air raid on Berlin


23rd November 1943: Terror of devastating air raid on Berlin

We had hardly got there when we heard the first approaching planes. They flew very low and the barking of the flak was suddenly drowned by a very different sound – that of exploding bombs, first far away and then closer and closer, until it seemed as if they were falling literally on top of us. At every crash the house shook. The air pressure was dreadful and the noise deafening. For the first time I understood what the expression Bombenteppich [‘bomb carpet’] means – the Allies call it ‘saturation’ bombing.

Nov

18

1943

RAF Bomber Command begins the Battle of Berlin


18th November 1943: RAF Bomber Command begins the Battle of Berlin

For the first time I experienced the flak, the searchlights, the fires, the bombs bursting on the ground and the Lanc shaking when the flak was close. I saw the brilliant colours of the target markers on the ground and experienced the long, long wait over the target while the bomb-aimer identified the target and gave his instructions to the pilot. I felt the great lift of the Lanc when the bombs were released and then the two minutes flying on straight and level for the camera to check where our bombs had gone.

Nov

17

1943

Luftwaffe fighter ace Knoke meets Reich-Marshal Göring


17th November 1943: Luftwaffe fighter ace Knoke meets Reich-Marshal Göring

Göring makes a most peculiar impression. He wears a unique kind of fancy grey uniform. His cap and epaulettes are covered with gold braid. Bulging legs emerge from scarlet boots of doeskin. The bloated, puffy face makes him look to me like a sick man. Close up, I am forced to the conclusion that he uses cosmetics. He has a pleasant voice, however, and is extremely cordial to me. I know that he takes genuine interest in the welfare of his aircrews.

Nov

16

1943

USAAF knocks out Nazi nuclear plant


16th November 1943: USAAF knocks out Nazi nuclear plant

Bombs were dropped from 14,000 feet at 1212 hours. Photo analysis on return showed that 29.5 tons of bombs were dropped on the Norsk Hydro Nitrate Plant three miles east of the secondary with only 2.5 tons dropped on the hydro-electric plant. This was unfortunate, as the bombing was excellent. Using the center of the large centrally-located building as an MPI, the 392nd had 37 percent of its bombs within 1000 feet and 85 percent within 2000 feet.

Nov

6

1943

Below decks on a troopship under torpedo attack


6th November 1943: Below decks on a troopship under attack

Sitting on or standing by our bunks listening to the hammering of guns outside didn’t make things any easier for us. If there was anybody in that compartment that hadn’t prayed in earnest before, like myself, for one, they prayed now. It was the most helpless feeling I’d ever experienced, and as it turned out, the only time I felt this way throughout the campaign.