Eighty years ago this week Britain's Aspidistra transmitter attacks German morale and night-fighter control
The British black propaganda radio station Soldatensender Calais (Calais soldiers' station) made its first transmission. It was part of the Political Warfare Executive and used the high power Aspidistra transmitter to send a clear signal, primarily to occupying troops in France but it was also popular in Germany. It was run by the gifted propagandist Sefton Delmer and presented itself as an official German station, even broadcasting speeches by Hitler. Amongst its attractive programming of light music and sports news, it slipped in defeatist messages. Most famously it claimed that units in France which showed up well in drill and presentation were more likely to be sent to the Russian front so as to encourage sloppiness.
The RAF launched a heavy raid on the city of Kassel; now that most large cities had been attacked Bomber Command was turning its attention to smaller ones. 1,800 tons of bombs were dropped including a high proportion of incendiaries which ignited the second firestorm after Hamburg. Over 5,000 people were killed and 61% of the buildings destroyed making 91,000 homeless. German fighter defences were disrupted by Operation Corona in which German-speaking RAF personnel impersonated German ground controller to send confusing false instructions. Corona, too, employed Aspidistra
The Red Army captured the city of Melitopol, almost the culmination of the Dnieper offensive that had pushed the Germans back over the river. This cut off the German XVIIth Army on the Crimean Peninsula from land supply although it continued to be supplied over the Black Sea.