bombing

Jul

24

1943

Operation Gomorrah – German night-fighters are duped

hamburg bombing


24th July 1943: Operation Gomorrah – and the German night-fighters are duped

What was to be done? The uncertainty of the ground stations was communicated to the crews. Since this game of hide-and-seek went on for some time I thought: To hell with them all, and flew straight to Amsterdam. By the time I arrived over the capital the air position was still in a complete muddle. No one knew where the British were, but all the pilots were reporting pictures on their screens. I was no exception.

Jul

22

1943

The Red Army goes on to the offensive after Kursk


22nd July 1943: The Red Army goes on to the offensive after Kursk

A grayish yellow cloud arose in front of us, as if created by a hurricane. Heavy rounds whistled overhead and crashed into the artillery positions behind us. It sounded like a frog concert, except with a lot of horrible tones. Shrapnel, tree limbs and clumps of earth hissed through our fruit orchard. Wounded cried out in a way that went to the marrow of your bones: “Meddicccc!” During all of this, we were only on the outskirts, better said, we were between two storms of iron and gunpowder.

Jul

3

1943

A new bomber pilot encounters the skies over Germany

Lancaster engines


3rd July 1943: A new bomber pilot encounters the skies over Germany

The bombs dropped. McLaughlin swung the wheel to port as the bomb-doors closed. Gradually the searchlights and the barrage fell behind us. A sense of relief pervaded me; elated phrases bubbled in my thoughts, and I put my hand to the microphone switch on my mask to utter them. I turned to McLaughlin. His posture was unchanged, his eyes looked back serenely, pale blue, slightly bloodshot. I left the mike switch off, the thoughts unspoken, and bent to take the readings on the fuel gauges.

Jun

25

1943

Guyanian navigator blasted into the sky over Holland


25th June 1943: Bomber navigator blasted into the sky over Holland

The German fired a long volley and a jet of tracer spat out towards us. Addison, from his tail turret, returned fire immediately. The fighter climbed a little and veered off to the right, bringing him into the field of fire of the mid-upper gunner, Sergeant Geoffrey Wallis, who immediately opened fire. Everything was happening very fast. All hell had broken loose.

Jun

24

1943

Australian Lancaster crew bale out over Belgium


24th June 1943: Australian Lancaster crew bale out over Belgium

We could see Wuppertal, ablaze, in front of us and still ten miles away. Dozens of searchlights speared skywards around the familiar box barrage of exploding anti-aircraft shells. Green and red target indicators confirmed the presence of our Pathfinder force. Heavy bombers were as thick as flies, thankfully all going in somewhat the same direction.

Jun

9

1943

Yugoslav leader Tito wounded in Luftwaffe attack

9th June 1943: Yugoslav leader Tito wounded in Luftwaffe attack

One of the commanders of the Escort Battalion and several of his men lay dead; Tito, wounded by a bomb splinter in the shoulder, lay under the body of his Alsatian dog ‘Tiger’, who had thrown himself across his master at the second of the explosion; and I hobbled out, my left boot blown away, and limping with a slight leg wound.

Jun

8

1943

Round the clock bombing pounds Pantelleria

8th June 1943: Round the clock bombing pounds Pantelleria

The Pantellaria rehearsal went according to plan. The air bombing was an impressive sight, and the reply of the batteries to the fire of the cruisers was wild in the extreme. It looked as though the Italian gun-control arrangements had been knocked out. The reception of the M.T.B.s at the harbour entrance was feeble enough, and had we had a few hundred troops in landing-craft I believe we could have taken the island there and then.

Jun

5

1943

Home leave in bombed out Germany

5th June 1943: Home leave in bombed out Germany


As I neared Marianne’s home, I braced myself against a reality I already sensed. Then I was standing before the heap of charcoal that had been the house. Its chimney poked into the air like a warning nger. Around it lay smashed bricks and blocks, black with soot; steel beams bent in the heat of the re; jumbled debris of all sorts. Then I saw the sign stuck in the rubble. Somebody had written in red: ALL MEMBERS OF THE HARDENBERG FAMILY ARE DEAD.

May

30

1943

Bombers kill 21 children during Sunday School

30th May 1943: Bombers kill 21 children during Sunday School

I declined and walked home with the WVS lady as I just wanted to get home. From the four avenues where I lived (First, Second, Third and Main Avenue) a pair of twins, a boy and a girl, were killed in my avenue and another girl killed in Third Avenue. Altogether 21 children died that day and 3 Sunday school teachers.

May

25

1943

Goebbels alarmed over the Dortmund raid

25th May 1943: Goebbels alarmed over the Dortmund raid

One can now see what a very short-sighted proposal it was of Goering’s to evacuate bombed-out people to Burgundy and other sections of occupied France. In Dortmund, between eighty and a hundred thousand people are homeless. Let the Reich Marshal go to Dortmund himself and propose that they evacuate to France!