The War Illustrated No 108 Vol 5 October 10th 1941

October lOlh, 1511 The War Illustrated 191 iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii I WAS THERE! luiiiiiiiiiimmiiiiimimimiiimmimiiiiiiiiiiiiimimmiiiimiiiiliimiiiiuiiiiiir “This is my dear Spitzbergcn. This is our home. A ndor and I have a beautiful home and a beautiful child. Oh, God, why should there be Nazis I went on with my household work. Late in the afternoon A ndor came in from the mines. We had tea. The Canadians were busy. Everything was to goon normally there would be more news tomorrow. I took out the last letter I had received from my mother months ago. There was very little in it. Away in R oros, near Trondheim ,the Nazis were in possession. All the letter contained were little family details. But it did let us know that food was scarce, queues long. Spitzbergcn was beyond the war. We listened to the radio, some to Oslo, but most o f us to the Norwegian news from London. Wc did not always believe the news from London. But wc never believed the news from Oslo. That was Hitler talking. So wc were often puzzled. Days passed. The Canadians went about their own affairs and we carried on as usual—¦ went shopping, even had one or two little house parties. Lieu ten ant M a lin i n ,of the Red Air Forcc, described a Russian raid on Berlin in the following words :When we started for our raid on Berlin we knew that it would not be easy. By following strictly our mapped course we had to cover several thousand kilom etres under difficult weather conditions. Soon after we took off we were flying in clouds. Condi­tions were very unfavourable, as a large ozone f cloud stretched all along the route to Berlin. Over 70 percent o four flying time was spent flying blind about the clouds. Temperature dropped to 40 degrees below zero. On board it was completely dark except for the dim light shed by the instru­ment panels. When I looked down at the bank o f dense black cloud 1 could not help wondering whether we would be able to locate our target. We forged on through cloud and rain. According to our calculations we were AFTER RAIDING GERMANY this bomber pilot (seated in cockpit) landed his plane safely in a thickly wooded plantation when his petrol supply out.ran oI'k to ,British Official Then came the day we were told w'c were to sail for Britain. We could each bring 50 kilos o f luggage. Fifty kilos !What could 1 do with all our treasures, the hom ewe had built, and our lovely furniture? I was so sad, but my Marie was in great excitement. “Going to England !What fun!” A ndor and I talked it over. There was nothing else to talk about. “It is for freedom and rig h t,”he would reassure me. H e said it over and over again. Then the last day. There were more explo­sions as the Canadians went about destroying mines and machinery around Longyear. One big explosion I welcom ed.It drowned the crack o f a gunshot. That was the end o f poor Kiki. He had to be destroyed. One o f And o r’s friends did it for us. Poor Marie wept as Kiki was led away. M id-afternoon, A ndor placed our luggage outside the door. I had one last look round .All the things I left. Little treasures 1 had carried from Norway. And o r locked the d o o rand took the key. I never looked back. Now 1 am glad to be here. What we did’was right. We know it. already over Germ any, but we could see nothing but clouds. When our time reckon­ing indicated that we had reached our goal we were still not qujte sure o four bearings. However, there was no time to waste. With muffled engines I made for the target. Through the last layer o f ragged clouds we saw the ground. Below lay Berlin. I looked at the tim e—exactly 1.47. Everything in order and according to our calculations. Suddenly wc saw flickering lights flashing in front o f us—enemy fighters. Our navigator, Tkachenko, spotted two o f them ,and our wireless operator, M artyanov, saw three more. The Nazis had not seen us. What were we to do ?Hide in the clouds ?But this would mean missing our objectives. W e decided togo downright below the clouds— down to 2,700 feet. From that height we could sec the city quite clearly. Through a misty haze it looked alike huge field criss­crossed by ditch-like streets and squares. So far everything was quiet—no search­lights or A.A. guns. Our plane was the first to reach the target. The enemy had cither failed to notice us o r was biding his time to deceive us. At 2,700 feet I m anoeuvred in accordance with T k achenko's instructions to find our strategic objectives. Time was passing— 15520 Finally, T kachenko found what he was looking for. Our machine shuddered as a heavy bomb was released. Below, a dazzling explosion flared up. We were dropping very heavy bombs, and from the air we could clearly see how each bomb threw up a pillar o f fire. When our load had gone wc flew back into the clouds. Looking back, I could sec more flashes through the darkness. Our com radcs were already hard at work. Our return journey was uneventful. We climbed high and undercover o f cloud made for hom e.At our base we w'ere met by several comrades. “Well, what’s the news ?”“Everything in o rd er,” wc reported and I could not help adding, “Id on't suppose Berlin will sleep very well ton ig ht.” TV/Tuch more favourable weather conditions LYJ. werc cnj 0yc(i by the R.A .F. during the heaviest raid they had made on Berlin. A Squadron Leader o f a heavy bomber squadron said :This Soviet bomber crew has a fine record. Its members have taken part in twenty air combats and have bombed Constantza, Sulina and Tulcia. Photo ,British Official: Crown Copyright W c could sec the western defences o f Berlin —the flak and the searchlights— inaction when we were still 40 miles away. They seemed very busy, and we knew then that the earlier aircraft were already doing their stuff. Just south o f Berlin wc saw one o four bombers very lowdown and caught in a cone o f searchlights. Then an enemy fighter attacked him. I was busy keeping an eye on the flak and searchlights, but my crew said they saw tracer shooting between the Iwo air­craft, and the next thing they reported was that the fighter had gone down inflames. There were five big fires already going when w'e got to Berlin :big orange and red-coloured fires with masses o f smoke and flames, two o f them nearly in the ccntre o f the city. We could see buildings ablaze and flames coming out o f the windows. Conditions were absolutely ideal for bombing. The moon was so bright that if we had been flying at the same height in daylight we could hardly have seen more. Streets and buildings and railway lines— everything stood out absolutely clearly I even pickcd out the B randenburgcr Tor. There was not even a obit f haze to cover the city. Wc had our set target, which was one o f the big railway stations, but we could have bombed from just anywhere we liked we had the city at our mercy, as it were. W c got to Berlin about a quarter o fan h o u rafter midnight and we left at about a quarter to one. During that tim ewe saw a number o f other people bombing, and then we dropped our bombs. We were carrying one o f the new bombs. When it went off there was an explosion which lit up the sky. W chad a grand journey back—alm ost flak- and searchlight-free— but as we were nearing home the port engine failed. We threw out a obit f stuff to lighten the aircraft, and came along very nicely on one engine. When we got over the aerodrome that engine packed up too. I managed to inland afield, after encountering difficulties with a haystack and some telegraph wires. N o sooner had we landed than up came three Home Guards with rifles at the ready, but when they saw it was a Wellington every­thing was all right. When wc got back to the aerodrome and talked things over with the others who had been out, we agreed that this raid on Berlin was one o f the most suc­cessful wc had ever been on anyw here.—Soviet War News and Air Ministry News Service. We Came from East and West to Bomb Berlin During July and August 1941 Berlin was under fire from two sides, for the Red Air Force alternated with th e’R .A.F. in raiding the city. Here spokesmen of the two air forces describe their experiences.
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