Newspaper cutting - RAF knock fight out of 11,000 Nazis



Newspaper cutting - RAF knock fight out of 11,000 Nazis


Article including b/w photograph of damage to E-boat pens. Explains that successful result with low allied casualties at le Havre was result of good coordination between the RAF and the army. Describes elements of coordination.




One newspaper cutting with b/w photograph and text


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E-boat pens at Le Havre wrecked by 12,000lb. bombs. The picture shows the depth of penetration of the bombs through ferro-concrete protection.


BEHIND the capture of 11,000 Germans at Le Havre, at a cost of 400 Allied casualties, lies a story of perfect co-ordination and planning between the R.A.F. and the Army in the final assault on the port. The story is told to-day by the Ministry of Information.

A brigadier of the 51st Highland Division – they and the 49th Infantry Division were the first to enter Le Havre - said:
"We found that it is not necessary to kill the enemy to storm positions. An assault from the air – providing it is sufficiently devastating - soon knocks the fight out of them. At the taking of Le Havre the R.A.F. preliminary bombardment saved our Division many lives."

Just As They Wanted It
The G.O.C. the British Forces of the First Canadian Army said, in a message to Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, of Bomber Command: "All ranks have the highest praise for the remarkable accuracy of the bombing and the timing of every attack."

He added that on September 10, when Bomber Command dropped more than 5,000 tons, the targets were hit "just as the Army wanted it."

Le Havre fell on September 11.

The bombing was particularly effective on the outskirts of the town, where the enemy had fortified himself in considerable strength. So demoralising was the air attack that he was in no shape to resist the dash of the Allied Infantry.

Close Bombing
Two key points were singled out for special attack from the air, one area near the village of Fontaine la Mallet, one and a half miles outside the town, and another locally known as "The Fort."

Inspection of these areas soon after surrender revealed what lay behind a Highlander's laconic comment on the prisoners: "They only had to be collected."

At times bombs fell only 2,000 yards ahead of our own troops.

Evidence of devastation was especially striking at "The Fort." Walls had caved on all sides and the roof was open to the sky. Pianos, tables, chairs, cupboards and other furniture had been smashed to matchwood.

Personal belongings were scattered everywhere. Photographs of German wives and sweethearts, bathing snaps and pay-books mingled with tattered copies of local papers and official documents.

The most successful raid on the docks appears to have been that of June 14. Wharves and dock installations received a terrific hammering and special attention was paid to the E-boat pens with block-busters.

Concrete roofing more than 12ft. thick had been slashed through the centre, exposing a cross section of the foundation rods which had been forced from the rivets. Behind the pens, on one of the main highways of the dock, all the buildings had been levelled to the ground. Dock railways had been similarly served.

Huge cranes leaned drunkenly into the water. Here and there the hull of a sunken vessel broke the surface. Winches, cables and vehicles were inextricably mixed and once-spacious warehouses were left only bare frames.


“Newspaper cutting - RAF knock fight out of 11,000 Nazis,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 13, 2024,

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