Nuremburg Was 'Laid Flat'

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Title

Nuremburg Was 'Laid Flat'

Description

A newspaper article describing an attack on Nuremberg. It is annotated 'No 9 27/8 1943'.

Temporal Coverage

Language

Type

Format

Three newspaper cuttings

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This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

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Identifier

SWilliamsonF1311249v10003-0013, SWilliamsonF1311249v10003-0014

Transcription

NUREMBERG WAS ‘LAID FLAT’ [inserted] No 9 27/8 1943 [/inserted]

[boxed] ‘German [missing word] H.Q. [/boxed]

Few towns, even in Germany, can ever have received so shattering a blow in 40 minutes as medieval Nuremberg, the Bavarian “holy city” of the Nazi Party, which was the target of the vast armada of bombers that roared for more than an hour over South-East England late on Friday.

The result was summed up in one pregnant sentence by a rear-gunner on his return. He said: “ I reckon we knocked the whole place flat.” Here is the story of this great raid as told to the Sunday Express by the men who made it.

‘We’ve finished the job properly’

By EDWARD J. HART, [italics] Sunday Express Air Reporter [/italics]
A Lancaster Bomber Station, Saturday.

NUREMBERG, centre of some of Germany’s most vital war industries, was a seething bonfire when our very strong force of four engine bombers left the scene. Crews returning at dawn brought glowing descriptions of the effects of their heavy bombs and incendiaries.

[2 maps]
[italics] “The searchlights be[missing letter]ween Mannheim and Frankfort were five-deep in a continuous be[missing letter]t – just like a flare-path,” said the skipper of “ R for Robert,” back [missing letter]rom Nuremberg. “Anybody caught by them would have a job to get out.” [/italics]

A solid red core of leaping flames, with columns of jet black smoke billowing up to 15,000 feet and visible 150 miles away, was the word picture painted for me by Flight-Sergeant John Crabb, of Glasgow, navigator of “S for Sugar,” making his twenty-second raid on Germany.

“I never imagined a town could burn like that,” declared the rear gunner of “A for Apple,” Sergeant Harry Smith, a Cardiff man, on his 37th raid.

Weather conditions were very favourable for the raiders. They had clear skies all the way and excellent visibility over the target.

Packed area

Despite an exceptionally large force of enemy night fighters, the attack was completed to schedule.

It lasted from 12.30 a.m. till 1.12 a.m. Lancasters, Stirlings and Halifaxes took part in it.

IN 42 MINUTES OVER THE TARGET THEY DROPPED ABOUT 1,500 TONS.

“I reckon we knocked the whole place flat,” said Sergeant Fred Lamble, of Leeds, rear gunner in “C for Charlie.” It was his 19th operation. “We’ve finished the job properly,” he added. “There’ll be no more Brownshirt parties in that part of Germany.”

Lamble seems to have had a thoroughly enjoyable night. “We had our first bit of fun about ten miles inside France on the way in,” he said.

“Illuminations”

“It would have done your heart good to see our fighters – bags of them – banging away at locomotives; pumping in their tracer bullets against a vivid background of blue searchlights. It reminded you of the illuminations in Blackpool – lovely to look at.”

NUREMBERG, HE SAID, WAS A GOOD RUNNER-UP TO BERLIN. ITS FIGHTER DEFENCES WERE HEAVIER THAN BERLIN AND COMPARABLE WITH PEENEMUNDE.

“With plenty of fire, smoke, flak and searchlights it was everything you could wish for,” he commented.

Only one thing marred his joy. In vicil [sic] life he was a concert singer. Over the target he had promised the crew the baritone solo of the Prize Song of “The Meistersingers of Nuremberg” but just as he started the intercom system failed.

Fierce combats

Lamble refuses to believe it was accidental.

Other crews brought back stories of fierce combats with night fighters. Gunners of “D for Donald” had two encounters.

Mid upper gunner Sergeant Harry Wilkins, a former municipal clerk at Hull, said a Ju.88 passed just above him while they were making their bombing run. He fired at it, but did not see the result.

His skipper, Flight-Lieut. Robert Munro, a New Zealand farmer on his 65th operation, told me: “I’ve

BACK PAGE, COL. THREE

[page break]

(Continued from Page One) [inserted] No 9 27/8 43 [/inserted]

NUREMBERG ‘LAID FLAT’

never seen so many fighters in South Germany before.”

Sergeant William Walton, of Perth, rear-gunner of “J for Johnnie,” damaged an Me.109 just north of Nuremberg.

“I saw him coming in on the port quarter about 500 yards away and gave him a five-second burst,” said Walton.

Captain of “J for Johnnie,” Flying Officer Bruce Smeaton, of Manchester, who left school to join the R.A.F., reported a heavy concentration of searchlights.

“They nearly caught us going in and coming out,” he said. This was his eighteenth trip. He was in the Berlin raid.

Flying Officer Kenneth Coates, skipper of “R for Robert,” said the searchlights were five deep in a continuous belt – just like a flare path. “Anybody caught by them would have a job to get out,” he told me.

Flight Lieutenant Gobbie, who took part in a previous raid on Nuremberg, is also of the opinion that the old town has really “had it” this time.

Several crews saw friendly torches winking at them as they passed over France. They agreed that London’s black-out last night was far from good.

“It shook me rather badly,” one officer said.

One of the Lancaster squadrons taking part in last night’s raid was the first to drop bombs on a German target in this war. On September 4, 1939, six of its Hampden light bombers attacked the naval installations at Brunsbuttel.

Lights full on

The Squadron’s commander, Wing-Commander P.W. Johnson, A.F.C., gave me this summary of the Nuremberg raid:-

“I would definitely assess it as a major success. Nuremberg is a difficult target to find. It was very heavily bombed, and fires were started on the best and brightest scale. There is no doubt that the enemy night fighter effort has increased tremendously in recent weeks, but our defence against it is improving all the time.”

The station senior intelligence officer adds this footnote:-

“It was a very successful attack with well concentrated fires. Our crews encountered hundreds of fighters, many of them with navigation lights full on. This is quite a new departure. I cannot attempt to explain it. It makes an obvious target for our boys, but it may be intended as a decoy.”

IT IS OFFICIALLY STATED THAT 33 BOMBERS ARE MISSING FROM THE RAID – A SATISFACTORY PROPORTION CONSIDERING THE SIZE OF THE OPERATION. THE GERMANS, CLEARLY AS PROPAGANDA, CLAIM THAT 62 WERE SHOT DOWN AND SAY THAT “THIS WAS PROBABLY ONE-QUARTER OF THE WHOLE FORCE.”

The enemy communiqué describing the raid rather contradicts this by describing it as “a terror attack by strong British formations,” and says that it caused casualties among the population and heavy destruction in residential areas.

The German radio added: “Irreplaceable historical monuments of cultural value, including some parts of the Old Town Wall, and numerous churches fell victims to the high-explosives of the terror planes.”

Citation

“Nuremburg Was 'Laid Flat',” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/38141.

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