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Luftwaffe View of Birmingham

Di.Poppitt

master brummie
ChrisM thank you for the link to Michael Clapham's obit in the Telegraph, it is our daily paper, but I don't always get to the obits and had certainly missed it. He was a character, and a very nice man and it is good to know more of his life.:)
 
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Beryl M

Guest
My sentiment exactly Jennyann - I like the German people we have German friends – It must be remembered they were fighting for their country just the same as we were:

Irwin Rommel he was very much admired by the British and was one of the most distinguished German field marshals of World War II.. . Known by the nickname ‘Desert Fox’ for the skillful military campaigns he waged on behalf of the German Army in North Africa. . The British classed him not only as a military tactician, but also as a gentleman, who treated British prisoners of war so well that he supposedly returned personal effects that had been stolen by Italian soldiers.

Then there was ‘Douglas Bader’ who was an inspirational leader and hero, not only because he fought despite having lost both legs in a pre-war flying accident. ... but because of his highly opinionated views that together with enthusiasm he inspired the adoration of many - When captured by German forces, he was treated him with the utmost respect- so much so that General Galland a German flying ace notified the British of his damaged prosthetic leg and offered them safe passage to drop off a new replacement which they did

Bader attributed his success to the belief in the three basic rules that had been tried and tested by earlier fighter pilots:
‘If you had the height, you controlled the battle.
If you came out of the sun, the enemy could not see you.
If you held your fire until you were very close, you seldom missed.
Quote; ‘Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you can't do this or that. That's nonsense. Make up your mind, you'll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything – go to school, join in all the games you can - go anywhere you want to but never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.’

Quote; ‘Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.’

There were so many brave men who died on both sides of war - some we don’t even know their names. . . .

‘After the battle, thick upon the plain the bodies of soldiers slain were lying-wounded were moaning in their greater pain for duty dying - In the last state in which all men are equal, resting at length together, hate defied, death its sequel.. . . All they had fought for - fleeting earthly gain they cared not that it may have been in vain. . . Equal at last’
 
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ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
For fellow anoraks only.....

To bring this thread back to the beginning - for the interest of fellow anoraks only – I have collected a few facts about the life of Hptm. Burchard Flakowski, the Luftwaffe pilot who sat aloft watching the night attacks on Birmingham and a few days later broadcast to the American nation describing them.

If anyone is interested in seeing this summary, could they please indicate and I’ll then post it.

Chris
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Thanks Chris. I would be most interested in reading these accounts by the German pilot.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Life of Burchard Flakowski

Sorry, Jennyann, there’s nothing additional here about what Hptm. Burchard Flakowski saw over Birmingham in November 1940. What little there is of the latter can already be read in the first posting in this thread. This is just about the man himself and what happened to him. But I’ll post it anyway, just to round off the thread.

BURCHARD FLAKOWSKI

1910
March 28th
He is born in Königsberg, East Prussia. His name is most appropriate for his later career as it can be loosely, and jokingly, translated as Burchard, Son of Flak (flak being the German for anti-aircraft fire).

1930s
As an adult he is over 6ft tall and unmarried. He lives in England for almost a year in 1930 where he becomes an amateur light-heavyweight boxing champion. At some stage, he joins the Luftwaffe whose existence, in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles, is announced in 1935. He trains as a pilot.

1939
Appointed Hauptmann (captain) in the Luftwaffe. His role and affiliation immediately after the outbreak of war on September 1st are unknown.

1940
April 9th
He participates in the Norwegian campaign. Awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class for commanding 'only the third Luftwaffe aircraft' to land at Oslo. This probably means only the third transport aircraft to land there. This is a Ju-52, loaded with six squadron ground crew of I/ZG76 and ammunition and it lands whilst the airfield of Oslo-Fornebu is still being defended by Norwegian troops. A number of Me-110 aircraft of that squadron have already landed there. Only later in the day when further Ju-52s arrive laden with airborne troops will the area be secured by the German forces. At this time Flakowski is described as an "instrument flying instructor" and it is possible that he is still formally attached to I/KGzbV 103, a transport unit, to whom the aircraft may also belong. Fairly shortly afterwards he transfers to a bomber unit, probably II/KG76.
Summer
With his bomber unit he takes part in daylight attacks on many British aerodromes and is awarded the Iron Cross, First Class for his role in these operations.
Summer/autumn
He participates in raids on many British cities including London, Bristol, Coventry, Southampton and Birmingham, flying either Do-17 or Ju-88A aircraft. As the Luftwaffe loses the Battle of Britain daytime air raids change to night attacks.
Early December
He is brought to Paris from his base (either Cormeilles-en-Vexin or Creil, both some 50/60km north of the city) to be interviewed by CBS for a short-wave broadcast to the American nation. He is described as a "commander of a bomber group" which could mean a Gruppe comprising some 60-70 aircraft or a Stafel of 10-15, although apart from the comment in the CBS interview no further documentary evidence of his role seems to have survived. In the interview he talks of the challenge of night flying and navigation, of what can be seen from above during night attacks on British cities especially Birmingham, the frequency of operations for individual aircrew, the quality of the Luftwaffe bombsight, the size of the bombing fleets used on British targets and attacks on marine targets. His most recent operation has been the previous Saturday, against Southampton – probably that of November 30th which had particularly devastating effects on the city. A record of this conversation which was scripted and of course tightly censored, survives. Another pilot, Lt. Peter Hinkeldeyn, from Schwerin, is similarly interviewed by a second US radio network.

1941
Unknown - but at some stage, possibly from the beginning, he is involved in the Russian campaign which begins on June 22nd 1941.

1942
January 8th
Operating from Orscha-Süd, midway between Minsk and Smolensk, he is posted missing in action near Staritsa, some 300km south-west of Moscow, together with his three crew members, Lt. Dankmar Meyer, Uffz. Hans Mewes and Ofw. Friedrich Wegner. He is flying a Ju-88A-4, ser. no. 2609.
February 14th
Whilst still missing he is awarded the DkiG (German Gold Cross, one rank up from the Iron Cross First Class) as a member of II/KG 76.

1945
He appears, still as a Hauptmann, on the Luftwaffe list of serving officers, since his fate has not been confirmed.

1945 – 2007
He remains missing.

Chris


(Sources of the above information to whom acknowledgement is gratefully made:
"Assignment to Berlin" by Harry S. Flannery - Michael Joseph Ltd., London, 1942; contributors to 12oclockhigh.net Luftwaffe forum; the Volksbund and several other websites. The information is not based on original research and therefore cannot be regarded as definitive but is believed to be mainly accurate).
 
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Wendy

Guest
Thanks for posting that Chris, I find it all so interesting to see information from both sides.
 
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