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The Blitz

oldMohawk

master brummie
This video clip was on the forum in another thread - it's a bit of Luftwaffe propaganda - but maybe it was during one of the nights I spent in an Anderson shelter.

Note
Unfortunately the owners of the video have removed it from Youtube
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Although a propaganda clip Oldmohawk, I was immediately struck by the very young Luftwaffe pilots doing the same job as our RAF men. And thank God we triumphed. But it also made me think back to when I went on a school exchange visit to Germany in the mid- sixties. The exchange showed me how the family I stayed with, and the people I met were just like us, getting on with their lives. They were very kind and considerate towards me and I came home with a very different view of Germany - but I suppose that was the aim of the exchange programme. Such programmes do nothing to justify all the lives that were lost, but it did open my eyes a little. And on a lighter note, our briefing before going out to Germany literally did contain the words 'don't mention the war' - seriously. Viv.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Hi Viv - Although the Germans dropped a bomb on our house when I was in it, the only other language I ever learnt was German and I worked closely with a German company visiting more times than I can remember. We often discussed the war and one old guy I knew had been on captured on the eastern front, but he escaped and walked all the way back to his home in Germany.
oldmohawk
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
That's interesting Oldmohawk. Strangely enough the subject of war never came up, despite staying in Cologne with still some evidence of bombed out buildings even into the 60s. But then I could only just about make myself understood in German, so discussing politics and military history was at that point way out of my league. I might in any case have found it a bit unomfortable had it come up having a father who was in Bomber Command during the war. But doubtless the German family was similarly briefed to foster better relations. Who knows. Viv.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Bombing Census Map of Birmingham Nov to Dec 1940
The map shows the extent of German attacks on Birmingham in November and December 1940, produced by the Research and Experiments Department of the Ministry of Home Security.
The photo below needs zooming in to show red dots which presumably mark where the bombs fell, but some of them seem to follow the route of streets for example see Coventry Rd in Bordesley Green and I'm not sure even the Luftwaffe could do that !
There is a large jpg file showing the map in this link TheBig Map

Map
 

jjj.3679.abc.com

master brummie
the planes usually went after percific targets such as the gas works or ammunition factories and railways so if you happened to live near one of these you would be bombed more than other districts.
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
During WW2 bomb aiming was very 'hit or miss' hence the large amount of houses destroyed which were not normally the target, this was particularly so on night raids. Now of course they can literally guide a missile directly on to the target, so avoiding civilian casualties. Eric
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
I've possibly posted something about this previously or at least a link to it. But it's quite interesting.


Harry W. Flannery was CBS correspondent in Berlin for a year from October 1940. The USA was of course still neutral at that time. Whilst on a trip to occupied Paris in November 1940, not long after the first major air raids on Birmingham, he was given the opportunity to interview a Luftwaffe bomber group commander, "Captain" Burchard Flakowski. The interview was broadcast live to the American people via shortwave radio. These are abstracts from the interview.​



Flannery: Captain Flakowski has taken part in the air war over Norway and England, in flights recently over London, Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, and Southampton.............How black is an English blackout? Can you see anything?

Captain: England is blacked out well. But one can always see something.

Flannery: That means that ordinarily you can see very little. In that case, how can you find your objectives?

Captain: We find our objectives by accurate navigation and by thorough preparation beforehand. One can always see certain landmarks - rivers and so on - and from these one can determine the definite target.

Flannery: Can you see your objectives at night? How do you know when you hit your target?

Captain: Yes, of course, you can see your objectives at night. It's easy to see the objectives if there's some blaze down there. Usually we drop flares first. In Birmingham, for instance, I saw several hundreds of goods wagons near the central station, lighted by a blaze of fire set by a previous plane. It was easy to hit this target, and my rearguard saw the goods wagons thrown about in all directions.............

Flannery: How about mass attacks? How many planes did you use over Coventry?

Captain: Well, the German Command said five hundred.

Flannery: How many were used over Birmingham, Bristol, and the other cities recently attacked?

Captain: About the same. Just about the same.

Flannery: How much damage would you estimate was done in Coventry, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton?

Captain: My opinion is that these cities attacked must be almost - as far as the military objectives are concerned - destroyed. For instance, I flew over Birmingham the morning after the bombing. I could see that at least the east side - where several big factories are - was all on fire. And I saw the station burning, too. You could see the blaze for about a hundred miles away.


Flakowski was lost in Russia about 18 months later.

Chris
 

john

master brummie
During WW2 bomb aiming was very 'hit or miss' hence the large amount of houses destroyed which were not normally the target, this was particularly so on night raids. Now of course they can literally guide a missile directly on to the target, so avoiding civilian casualties. Eric
I remember my Dad telling me about a bomb being dropped by the railway line by the Old Walsall road it missed the railway but hit a main gas line somewhere by the G.K.N is now. It lit the area up as the flame was about 50ft high and it took them days to put it out as they couldn’t turn the gas off as it would have caused a backblast.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
I have been in Bewdley museum today, well worth a visit. I was shown down their air raid shelter that was built during WII for the staff working in the post office.

The guide said that the German's would fly across the Channel, across Somerset until they hit the Bristol Channel, then turn North East and follow the River Severn, counting the bridges until they reached Bewdley.

They would turn right, straight to Birmingham, Smethwick and Coventry.
 

bramwell

master brummie
I lived in Burbury St during the war, opposite Lucas , which was never hit . One night a bomb was dropped (before the siren had sounded) in Bridge St West. demolishing 30 houses. I don,t kow how many people were killed.
 

David Weaver

gone but not forgotten
My best mate, who is German, and while I was being bombed in Aston he was soon to be bombed in Berlin. We often exchange stories about our boyhoods, two boys of the war now brothers in old age. David Weaver from Aston.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
In fact the first RAF raid on Berlin came only a couple of weeks after the Luftwaffe first attacked Birmingham - in August 1940. It was a mere pinprick compared with what was to come from 1942 onwards and the ordeal which London, Birmingham, Coventry and other cities were just starting to suffer and would continue well into 1941. I'm not sure how much Berliners were even aware of it - it may have been used by the Nazis as a propaganda subject - but the vast majority of the population (like your friend, David) would have seen nothing of the effects. The psychological effect on the regime was however significant and it has neen argued that it was the reason for the Luftwaffe switching much of its resources on to more city bombing and away from the British air defence system, the latter being critical to our success in the Battle of Britain.

I have the impression (although I may be wrong) that far less personal reminiscence about being at the receiving end of bombing raids has been recorded in Germany than it has here, as in this thread for example. If I'm right, I suppose it is understandable. Has your friend ever written anything, David?

Chris
 

David Weaver

gone but not forgotten
In fact the first RAF raid on Berlin came only a couple of weeks after the Luftwaffe first attacked Birmingham - in August 1940. It was a mere pinprick compared with what was to come from 1942 onwards and the ordeal which London, Birmingham, Coventry and other cities were just starting to suffer and would continue well into 1941. I'm not sure how much Berliners were even aware of it - it may have been used by the Nazis as a propaganda subject - but the vast majority of the population (like your friend, David) would have seen nothing of the effects. The psychological effect on the regime was however significant and it has neen argued that it was the reason for the Luftwaffe switching much of its resources on to more city bombing and away from the British air defence system, the latter being critical to our success in the Battle of Britain.

I have the impression (although I may be wrong) that far less personal reminiscence about being at the receiving end of bombing raids has been recorded in Germany than it has here, as in this thread for example. If I'm right, I suppose it is understandable. Has your friend ever written anything, David?

Chris
Hello Chris, my mate and I just sit and talk like old men do. I'm the writer and take notes but have an unwritten agreement with him that some stories will die with us. The Russians were not nice to his mother when they took over Berlin but as he says nor were the Germans in Russia. Enough to make you cry really, but it doesn't alter the fact that when I was bombed in Aston I would never have thought all the years later I would be prepared to call a little German boy sitting over the channel 'Brother' but I do. He is a magnificent man and I'd give my all to do anything for him and so would my kids.s Regards, Kind David.
 

paul stacey

master brummie
This is not as unusual as you think David, the English and Germans do share an infinity with each other, I spent a lot of time in Germany and had many friends , most are dead now, one was from Hamburg, they suffered very badly in the allied bombing campaign (rightly so in my opinion), anyway he told me a story. They were waiting for the Russians who were on the Elbe at Berlin, stragglers from Berlin were telling stories of the Russian attrocities and everyone especially his mother were very frightened and were going to flee with what they had left (not much). they had lost family and friends in the bombing. This morning he was in the cellar they lived in when he heard his mother screaming and shouting, he rushed up and found his mother with a neighbour she turned and said, "son we are saved, the English are here".!!!!!!!!!!
paul
 

David Weaver

gone but not forgotten
Yes, the same thing happened to my mate but it was the Americans that arrived. They handed out food parcels but were ordered back over a river the next day to hold the position. The Russians immediately moved in as the Americans departed. The curse of war I suppose and for my mate a very short lived celebration. Regards, and thanks, David
 
S

Stitcher

Guest
aa.jpg
Not a very good image but I have scanned it whilst it is framed and glazed, this is always on the wall in our back room.
 

Valois

New Member
Hello,
I've only just joined this site and am not sure how it works. I would like to know more about your photo of Freer Rd. It think it is almost certainly of my parents' house. They were bombed out, I think, some time in 1942. David
 
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