Monday, March 23, 2015

The Hell of War

Two pieces of related information.

I once knew an elderly woman who, during the Second World War, lived in a small German village. She told me that the locals could distinguish a German aircraft from one of the Allied air forces. They could also tell from the drone of the engines if it carried bombs.

As sometimes happened, Allied planes missed their targets and headed back to England with a full bomb load. As an aircraft would never attempt a landing with bombs aboard, the practice was to dump them in the Channel.

She told me that on one occasion they heard approaching their village a plane returning from a mission over Berlin or Frankfurt, but still carrying bombs. It flew over her village. No harm done. Over the next non-strategic village, it dropped its bombs killing some of the inhabitants.

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In the 1950's, my summer job was with the Air Regulations branch of the Canadian Department of Transport.  I assisted the inspectors, all of whom were veteran pilots.I learned that one of them did not drop the bombs of an aborted mission in the channel. He ordered, "As long as they land somewhere on German soil."

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