5
   

'Dam Busters' - 60 years ago, the Möhne Dam was bombed

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 12:46 am
It's 70 years ago now ...

http://i40.tinypic.com/2nm0yv9.jpg
http://i39.tinypic.com/315mz5d.jpg
http://i41.tinypic.com/e0jqdw.jpg

And 45 miles away, on the same day ...
http://i40.tinypic.com/bhaur7.jpg
0 Replies
 
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 01:20 am
Total war, Walter. It does what it says on the tin.

Germany first waged it, and then got it returned in spades. It sounds harsh, considering all the lives that were lost because of this raid, but the civilians in Poland, Czechoslovakia and especially Russia had already experienced this suffering (and far worse) many times over by this point of the war, at the hands of the Germans.

Brilliant British inventiveness by the way, was "Upkeep" (bouncing bomb) and fantastically brave and audacious flying.


Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 01:30 am
And for those who wish to think that the raid was ineffective....

"In James Holland's recent book, Dam Busters: The Race to Smash the Dams, he states that "it is time to put the record straight". He insists that the damage was "absolutely enormous" and it was "an extraordinary achievement".

He points out that every bridge for 30 miles below the breached Mohne dam was destroyed, and buildings were damaged 40 miles away. Twelve war production factories were destroyed, and around 100 more were damaged. Thousands of acres of farmland were ruined.

Germans instantly referred to it after the raid as the "Mohne catastrophe". Even the cool Speer admitted that it was "a disaster for us for a number of months". German sources attribute a 400,000-tonne drop in coal production in May 1943 to the damage caused......."

Full article..
www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22510300
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 01:45 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

Brilliant British inventiveness by the way, and fantastically brave and audacious flying.

The bomb ...
http://i42.tinypic.com/64o6m1.jpg
... and how it was done
http://i44.tinypic.com/dh4zkm.jpg
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 02:01 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

He points out that every bridge for 30 miles below the breached Mohne dam was destroyed, and buildings were damaged 40 miles away. Twelve war production factories were destroyed, and around 100 more were damaged. Thousands of acres of farmland were ruined.

Germans instantly referred to it after the raid as the "Mohne catastrophe".
The word "Möhnekastrastrophe" is used here as a name for the civil damages. And reminds of the 1.600 civilian deaths due to the attack.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 02:20 am
@Lordyaswas,
http://i39.tinypic.com/21enqtx.jpg
Quote:
The topographical similarity between the Upper Derwent Valley and the Ruhr Valley of Germany led to the dams being used as a practice environment for the Lancaster bombers of the 617 Dam Busters Squadron in 1943 before their attack on the Ruhr dams. The Dam Busters film was subsequently filmed at the Derwent Dams, and the area sees occasional commemorative flypasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Source for text:wikipedia
0 Replies
 
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 02:43 am
Regarding your last but one post Walter,

does it also "remind" of the numbers that were there purely as slave labour? Being subjected to inhumane treatment whilst being forced to work all the hours under the sun for the German war machine?
You don't happen to have the death rate for those women and children slave/prisoners in the months before the raid, do you?

From what I've read and watched, it seems likely that this raid played a small but significant part in disrupting the German war machine, possibly enough to tip the balance in favour of Overlord.
Imagine what would have happened if the raid hadn't happened and the German war machine had remained in full swing, leading to the Normandy landings being repulsed?
Ifs and ands I know, but not beyond the realm of possibility.

For one, you'd probably be driving a Trabant, if your name had been on the list for long enough.

And secondly, we wouldn't be worrying about those camp workers because they'd have all been starved/beaten to death 69 years ago and their ashes would probably be helping the collective farm production.


It would be interesting to see a thread commemorating the invasion of Russia, and all the things meted out by the German shock troops on civilians during the advance to Moscow. Maybe then we can put this into some kind of proportion.


War is horrible. Total war is foul and despicable. Instigators of such tactics have no defence when equal retaliation is heaped upon them.
In the ideal world I would like to think that the RAF would have liked to warn those people beforehand, as I am positive that nobody on that mission wanted civilians to be killed.
In the ideal world.....
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 02:48 am

I've seen that dam, and there isn't a scratch on it.

And they serve very nice cake in the tearoom, too.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 03:03 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

does it also "remind" of the numbers that were there purely as slave labour? Being subjected to inhumane treatment whilst being forced to work all the hours under the sun for the German war machine?
You don't happen to have the death rate for those women and children slave/prisoners in the months before the raid, do you?
The "inhabitants" of the camp 5km away the dam weren't all "slave labourers" (mainly from the Ukraine) but quite a lot of women with babies and toddlers as well.
As far as it is known, all in the camp died - 800.
Yes, those deads are remembered - the main memorial service today is been hold there, at the memorial place for those poeple
http://i42.tinypic.com/2zphw7r.jpg
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 03:08 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Hi Walt

This was on our TV News today, because there is to be a flypast of a Lancaster bomber, and a Spitfire, at Derwentwater.

One of Packy's wife's relatives worked on the design and construction of the Lancaster. Apparently they had to add two more engines to make it go.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 03:59 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

It would be interesting to see a thread commemorating the invasion of Russia, and all the things meted out by the German shock troops on civilians during the advance to Moscow. Maybe then we can put this into some kind of proportion.
I have more than hundred letters my father wrote when advancing Leningrad/St. Petersburg and Moscow. But since he was a member of a medical company, his views might be biased. (He was the only "doctor" in some regions.)

http://i44.tinypic.com/2zgytly.jpg
http://i41.tinypic.com/8vqcgp.jpg
Routes drawn ('as it happened') by my father (student of medicine half of a year and the other half sergeant with 1rst company, Medical Services 57, 6th Panzer Division ( Army Group North for Leningrad, Army Group Center, where it fought in the Battle of Moscow and the Rzhev-Vyazma Salient.)
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 04:12 am
Yes, it would be interesting to compare the German advance to east with the Russian advance to the west a few years later. No saints on either side.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 04:43 am
@Setanta,
A case of dishing it out first and getting it back again, maybe?

I think the Russkies had a reason to be a tad stoked up. They maybe went a bit crazy and their leader was as mad as Hitler, but straight after the atrocities in Russia, they weren't going to show any mercy.

Again, total war.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 05:04 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Publish them, Walter. It would be marvellous to read something about saving life and respecting humanity during the Barbarossa campaign.
Was he in the Wehrmacht?

Did he help patch up both sides?



From "All Hell Let Loose" by Max Hastings.......

"The senior officers of the Wehrmacht flattered themselves that they represented a cultured nation, yet they readily acquiesced in the barbarities designed into the Barbarossa plan. These included the starvation of at least thirty million Russians, in order that their food supplies might be diverted to Germany, originally a conception of Nazi agriculture chief Herbert Backe.
At a meeting held on 2nd May 1941 to discuss the occupation of the Soviet Union, the army's armament planning secretariat recorded its commitment to a policy noteworthy even in the context of the Third Reich:

1. The war can only be continued if the entire Wehremacht is fed from Russia in the third year.

2.If we take what we need out of the country, there can be no doubt that many millions of people will die of starvation.

Barbarossa was therefore not merely a miltary operation, but also an economic programme expected to encompass the deaths of tens of millions of people, an objective which it partially attained."

Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 05:16 am
Walter says:
"The "inhabitants" of the camp 5km away the dam weren't all "slave labourers" (mainly from the Ukraine) but quite a lot of women with babies and toddlers as well. "

Excuse my ignorance, Walter, but could you tell me how many of the 800 were there voluntarily?

Who were these women and children living in the camp? Volunteers of some kind?

To my mind, if they are in a labour camp with their children during wartime under a Nazi government, I would probably lay a bet that they weren't there for a suntan or spa treatment.

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 06:54 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

Excuse my ignorance, Walter, but could you tell me how many of the 800 were there voluntarily?

Who were these women and children living in the camp? Volunteers of some kind?
I don't think that they were voluntarily.
Some were POW's (mainly Russians). Others were "re-settled".
The females and children mainly were in this group.

They worked on farms, households, factories etc.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 06:56 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

To my mind, if they are in a labour camp with their children during wartime under a Nazi government, I would probably lay a bet that they weren't there for a suntan or spa treatment.
You had no other choice between 1933 and 1945 as to live under a Nazi government in Germany.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 06:59 am
@Lordyaswas,
My father told me that he sealed the red cross on his armoured vehicle, because he didn't want to be a prime target for the Russians.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 07:19 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:
Was he in the Wehrmacht?
Yes. First company of a medic battalion in the 6th Tank Division. And medical faculties of the universities of Münster, Jena and Würzburg (the latter two, two trimesters [= shortened semesters] only.


Lordyaswas wrote:
Did he help patch up both sides?

I think that's what you do as a non-combatant medic in an armed force.
What I do know is that he acted as a family doctor in some villages (though he hadn't finished his studies at all): he got some (religious) presents from the locals.


[He was promoted to surgeon-lieutenant after his approbation in early 1945. Became a POW on March 29, two weeks after getting his doctor degree and two days after his marriage. Became at the end of 1945 leading interior surgeon in the American-French Military Hospital, POW department, Cherbourg/France. In early 1948, family doctor and head of an ambulatory in Douai/France - both as POW.

He wrote about 400 cards and letters as POW - those will be archived in the departmental archive of Manche; some will go on display in the Musée de la Libération Cherbourg, others will be on display at the Mémorial de Caen.

Those letters from Russia still have to be transcripted: I'm sure that my father became a doctor due to his handwriting. Wink )
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 07:48 am
@Lordyaswas,
Well, given that the Soviet Union had invaded Finland, and when they signed their non-aggression pace with Germany, invaded Poland, i have less sympathy for them than one might have if they only saw them as hapless victims.

No clean hands on either side.
 

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