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

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 07:51 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

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.
This type of "tank" it was
http://i43.tinypic.com/9ia6h5.jpg
A Sanitätsdienst.Kfz. 251/8, mittlerer Krankenpanzerwagen Ausführung C, ("Medical Corps vehicle 251/8, middle-seized ambulance halftrack, model C")
0 Replies
 
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 07:59 am
@Setanta,
No argument with that at all.

The Germans had their notorious Einsatzgruppen and no doubt the Soviets had the same.
The reason I first raised all this was that the tone of this thread was inferring, as far as I could see, that the nasty and unfeeling RAF had come over for no reason and intentionally killed civilian women and children.
I was just trying to put all this into some kind of context. The majority of the German population at the time were either assisting, condoning or conveniently ignoring their savage murdering bastard countrymen who were at that precise time killing civilian men women and children in their millions.
I was attempting to balance things, before the RAF ended up being vilified here as war criminals or suchlike.
A bloody good job was done that night, as far as I am concerned. It's just a shame that follow up "ordinary" bombing missions weren't carried out as the repairs were being carried out.
It may have shortened the war considerably.



The sun has just come out!
Excuse me folks, I have some very leggy beans I need to plant.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 08:12 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

The Germans had their notorious Einsatzgruppen and no doubt the Soviets had the same.
The Einsatzgruppen was under the operational control of the Higher SS Police Chiefs in its area of operations and not under command of the Wehrmacht, but often received assistance from the Wehrmacht.
The largest mass shooting perpetrated by the Einsatzgruppen took place on 29 and 30 September 1941 at Babi Yar: a total of 33,771 victims.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 08:14 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:
It's just a shame that follow up "ordinary" bombing missions weren't carried out as the repairs were being carried out.
It may have shortened the war considerably.
Of course the bombings went on. In the area of the Möhne Lake, too.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 08:29 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:
The majority of the German population at the time were either assisting, condoning or conveniently ignoring their savage murdering bastard countrymen who were at that precise time killing civilian men women and children in their millions.

Well, neither a simple "yes" or "no" would be correct.
Actually, the vast majority of Germans of that time didn't know what the Einsatztruppen did. And the majority of Germans even weren't aware of the existence of such "troops".

Since I've read a lot of documents and (original) sources of these "troops", I still wonder what kind of persons they were: during there relatively short 'duty' in the Einsatztruppen killing cold-hearted dozens of children, then on duty as policeman helping handicapped children to cross a street.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 08:52 am
@Lordyaswas,
There is certainly no doubt that both sides bombed indiscriminately. I find no use in the "he did it first" kind of argument in history. In a bizarre sort of way, Hitler's obsession with the theory of the Italian Giulio Douhet, about strategic bombing as an attack on the enemy's ability to make war, and a weapon of terror worked out well for the Allies. (In England, the same concepts were articulated by Hugh Trenchard, sometimes called the father of the Royal Air Force.) One night in August, 1940, fewer than 100 RAF bombers bombed Berlin. Militarily, the exercise was as useless as teats on a boar. Psychologically, it was an incredible coup.

People tend to think of Hermann Göring as a fat clown wearing comic opera costumes for uniforms. While he certainly had a love of silly pomp, most people don't realize that he was an intelligent and experienced military aviator. In July, 1918, after the death of Richtoffen's successor, Göring took over "the Flying Circus." He wasn't popular, but he was effective.

Attacking the RAF fields, and taking out RAF Fighter Command was his idea, and his lieutenants implemented it effectively. Most people who can realistically assess the situation in the summer of 1940 will admit that the RAF was virtually on its knees when the RAF bombed Berlin. But it worked a treat with that idiot Hitler (the best friend the Allies had in occupied Europe). He ordered the switch to bombing cities in the UK, and that literally saved the day for Churchill. Göring's plan would have been to knock out the air defenses and then knock out the aircraft factories in southern England. He came damned close to achieving his plan when Hitler ordered the switch in targets.

It was never effective. As a form of terror warfare, it didn't work because after a while, people's minds are numbed to the constant fear--this was as true of Germans when they were being bombed as it was of the Brits. As an attack on the enemy's resources for making war it also didn't work because the Germans never had any genuine heavy, long-range bombers. By the standards of the USAAF and the standards of RAF Bomber Command once they had the Lancasters, the Lufwaffe's bombers were medium bombers, with a medium range. The United States Army Air Force's VIII Bomber Command already was operating with B17s and B24s which could reach Germany and Austria from airfields in England. When the RAF got the Lancasters, they could do the same. By contrast, Hitler was only ever able to bomb England while he still held Belgium and France. After the invasion of France, the Germans were pushed steadily back until only the relatively ineffective V weapons could reach England.

The First and the Last, Adolph Galland's war memoir is not just interesting, it's instructive. He and Hitler cordially hated on another, and Galland despised Hitler for his ignorance. Galland eventually became the commander of the Luftwaffe's fighter forces, and he was always at loggerheads with Hitler. Messerschmidt's jet was ready in a proven prototype in March, 1943. It could have absolutely devasted the USAAF's day time precision bombing doctrine, and at a time when the doctrine was not wholly supported by American air officers--it could have done so as a fighter. Hitler sent them back to the drawing board because he wanted bombers.

When it finally did go into service, it really screwed with bombing missions over Gemany. It was not deployed as a fighter until April, 1944, and then it was as a training Kommando. In July, an ME 262 jet shot down an RAF Mosquito. Later in July, 1944, the jets were released for active service in Germany's air defenses. Tail gunners in bombers pretty much shoot at the enemy in the same way as anyone shoots at a moving target--you lead them. It took a little while, but they got accustomed to the higher speed jets. But waist gunners had a different calculus altogether. You can't lead an enemy fighter who is on a more or less parallel course to yours, because if your aircraft is doing 250 miles an hour, the bullets from your machine gun are also moving forward at 250 miles an hour as they move outward. Gunners learned to actually fire at the rear of the enemy fighters, or a little bit behind it. They never really effectively adjusted to the jets. The great saving grace was Hitler's obsessive pigheadedness. Galland doesn't have a single good thing to say about him.

In early 1942, the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen along with escort craft "ran" the English Channel from Brest to their home bases in Germany. It was the first time any hostile navy had sailed through the English Channel since the Anglo-Dutch wars of the 17th century. Galland states that he kept 50 fighter air craft overhead at all times, and that it wasn't that hard to do. Had Göring been allowed to pursue his attack on Fighter Command in 1940, not only was an invasion possible, by using their navy and Galland's technique with fighter cover, it's success was probable. Englishmen should thank god that their German enemy was that idiot Hitler.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 08:57 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I'm just going by what top brass, including Speer and Barnes Wallis both said after the event.

From Wikipedia, for instance....
"In his book Inside the Third Reich, Albert Speer acknowledged the attempt: "That night, employing just a few bombers, the British came close to a success which would have been greater than anything they had achieved hitherto with a commitment of thousands of bombers."[25] However, he also expressed puzzlement at the raids: the disruption of temporarily having to shift 7,000 construction workers to the Möhne and Eder repairs was offset by the failure of the Allies to follow up with additional (conventional) raids during the dams' reconstruction, and that represented a major lost opportunity.[26] Barnes Wallis was also of this view; he revealed his deep frustration that Bomber Command never sent a high-level bombing force to hit the Mohne dam whilst repairs were being carried out. He argued that extreme precision would have been unnecessary and that even a few hits by conventional HE bombs would have prevented the rapid repair of the dam which was undertaken by the Germans."
www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chastise
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 08:59 am
@Setanta,

Quote:
Englishmen should thank god that their German enemy was that idiot Hitler.


Scotsmen too, do so. But don't forget it was Hitler who caused the war. No Hitler, no war. Shame it turned out so badly for him.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 09:07 am
@McTag,
I'm not sure that "no Hitler, no war" is a reasonable position to take. Hitler didn't invent the "Stab in the back" myth or the "Versailles Diktat" myth, he just exploited them. I suspect that had there been no Hitler, there would have been some different militarist nationalist avid for war.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 09:16 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

There is certainly no doubt that both sides bombed indiscriminately. I find no use in the "he did it first"........

This isn't about indiscriminate bombing, Set. This was possibly the most well planned and precise bombing raid in the war at that time.
Civilian casualties were probably mulled over at length, but the possible vast and lasting damage to the war machine outweighed the other factors.
At that time it must also be stated that neither the USA nor Russia really took Britain's claim to be an effective ally seriously. This was one way of proving to Stalin (and the yanks) that Britain could strike effectively at Hitler and be a real pain in his metaphorical arse.

As far as the "he did it first" argument, I was not referring to indiscriminate bombing, but to the act of waging total war. The "he did it first" argument stands up well as regards to this, as it then opens the way for retaliation to be equal in its totality, if need be.
The agressor can't complain afterwards, or try to make out they are victims of unjust action, as seems to be inferred by the earlier pages of this thread.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 09:20 am
@Lordyaswas,
I don't really see anyone in government as victims. The victims were the people on the ground, who didn't attack and couldn't defend against the enemy.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 09:22 am
@Setanta,
Agreed.

0 Replies
 
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 09:28 am
On a brighter note, the beans are in and I swear one of them gave a loud sigh of relief. They've been sitting in small pots for a week longer than intended, due to the unexpected cold weather.
Harvested about 50lb of the buggers last year, and was still using them at Christmas! Hoping for about the same amount this year, as half a ton (well, several buckets) of really good 'orsey dung was dug into their trench over the winter.
Oo-arrr!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 09:35 am
I grew up that way--we grew our own beans, peas, sweet corn, pop corn, carrots, radishes, horseradish, asparagus, tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, raspberries (both kinds), apples, peaches, cherries . . . it's hard off the top of my head to list everything we grew and harvested. I hated the hard work at the time, but when i went away to college and ate in a cafeteria for the first time, i truly appreciated what i was by then missing.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 10:13 am
@Setanta,
Remove the sweetcorn and popcorn from that list, and add redcurants, blueberries and figs and that's what I have going on.
No wonder I have bandy legs. Couldn't stop a pig in an alley, me.....
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 10:21 am
It's a god-awful lot of work, but there is just nothing to compare to the taste and quality of your own home-grown food.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 12:32 pm
@McTag,
McTag wrote:

This was on our TV News today, because there is to be a flypast of a Lancaster bomber, and a Spitfire, at Derwentwater.
There was a flyover at the dam today, by the English de Havilland Moth Club "The Staggers" from Berkhamsted, Herts.

http://i42.tinypic.com/35a1uzk.jpg

http://i40.tinypic.com/10pmvds.jpg
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 12:46 pm
@Setanta,

Quote:
I'm not sure that "no Hitler, no war" is a reasonable position to take.


I didn't get where I am today by taking up reasonable positions. Wink

We're grateful to AH too, for deciding to attack the Soviets when he did.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 12:49 pm
My previous post contains an error: I should have written the Derwent Reservoir instead of Derwentwater. Different place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAexuth4IC8

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22554314
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 May, 2013 03:08 pm
Just adding that on the very same day, the Eder lake's dam was destroyed as well. (And again, with dozens of civilian and of "slave labourers" died. [Numbers vary between 100 and more than 800])
The reparation works here lasted longer than at the Möhne - the effect was minimal, though (beside the

However, Operation Chastise couldn't break the dams of the Sorpe, Lister and Ennepe lakes. (Sorpe and Eder were attacked, Lister wasn't found.)
 

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