Posts

Eighty years ago, the Luftwaffe hands the British a contemporary propaganda coup and a permanent day of commemoration

Image
As though anxious to give British propaganda a second chance to make good the weak exploitation of the first bombing of Buckingham Palace, the Luftwaffe obliged again and this time there was no fumble. The King and Queen were in residence and the bombs fell close to their appartments. Queen Elizabeth immediately saw the advantage and confided, "I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face." The Royal couple were picture inspecting the damage together with the prime minister. The damage would have been even greater had one of the bombs detonated. To cap it all the Heinkel 111 which had dropped the bombs was shot down by an RAF Hurricane piloted by air ace Sgt. “Ginger” Lacey, although this was not immediately publicised.The Battle of Britain reached a climax when the Luftwaffe staged its largest daylight raids on Britain. The day started with an unpleasant surprise for Sir Keith Park, commanding 11 Group Fighter Command, arguably th…

Eighty years ago, the Battle of Britain takes its final turn and Vichy begins the hunt for scapegoats

Image
The Battle of Britain entered its final phase when the Luftwaffe switched its emphasis to bombing British cities, London above all, from attacking RAF aerodromes. There is no single, clear explanation for this change in strategy. Unlike the RAF which had an unshakeable faith in the decisive value of bombing enemy cities, the Luftwaffe was far more pragmatic. It could have been just that the Germans did not feel that their strategy up to then was working and just wanted to try something new as a means of winning air superiority, the crucial precondition for a successful invasion. The Royal Air force had suffered severe attrition, but at no point were unable to mount a serious defence. The picture is compplicated by the weakness of Gerrman intelligence which constantly exaggerated the level of success against Fighter Command. The Luftwaffe might simply have hoped to reduce the levels of casualties that it was suffering by switching to new and larger objectives. To begin with the raids …

Eighty years ago, Roosevelt makes a gesture of support to Britain and another Balkan domino falls

Image

Eighty years ago, the air war begins to change direction and Stalin settles an old score

Image
As the Luftwaffe continued its attempts to gain air superiority over South East England, the Battle of Britain started to take a new turn. German planes started to bomb outlying parts of the Greater London area. Little damage and few casualties resulted; there was no obvious purpose. The raids did, though, provide a magnificent public justification for the RAF to bomb Berlin. The German capital lay at the extreme end of the range of RAF bombers, but 81 reached the target area. Air raid warnings sounded but no significant damage was done. The British claimed, naturally, that only military targets had been attacked and that this was by no means a reprisal for bombing London. There was a material propaganda or psychological impact. Herman Goering had claimed that if an enemy plane bombed Germany at all he could be called Meyer: Meyer was a common surname amongst Jews. Contrary to legend the bombs on Berlin did not immediately provoke the all-out attack on London soon to be called the Bli…