During the night of September 27, 1940, a Luftwaffe Ju 88 was damaged severely enough to make a crash landing on Graveney Marsh, Kent, England. The crew armed themselves with the aircraft’s machine guns as well as a sub-machine gun that they brought along. They made no effort to run away or to escape. They were going to fight.
When the London Irish Rifles arrived to take them into custody and to a POW (Prisoner of War) camp a gunfight broke out. That became known as the “Battle of Graveney Marsh.” To date that was the last time that a ground engagement with any foreign military and British troops took place on mainland Great Britain. Admittedly, it was not much of a fight. The Germans surrendered after one was wounded in the foot.
The London Irish Rifles suffered no casualties in the unanticipated skirmish. More importantly, the airframe was still intact with all its secrets and technology that could then be examined. The German crew did not expect that. They thought it would explode and self-destruct. However, British army Captain John Cantopher disarmed the demolition charges that were placed and activated by the aircrew before the gunfight. For that he was awarded the George Medal and rightly so.
The Ju 88 bombsight that was found proved beyond doubt that the Germans had stolen the USAAF Norden Bombsight and adapted it for their own use. This was suspected at the time but not proven. There is a largely forgotten spy story regarding this…
The Duquesne spy ring ran by a South African, Frederick “Fritz” Joubert Duquesne, obtained the bombsight in 1938 by compromising German born workers at the US Norden plant. Duquesne was described by Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO, the, Chief of Scouts, British Army, years before this, as “one of the craftiest men I ever met. He had something of a genius of the Apache for avoiding combat except in his own terms; yet he would be the last man I should choose to meet in a dark room for a finish fight armed only with knives. Next to Theron I believe Duquesne the greatest scout the Boers produced.” That says it all as Danie Theron was the greatest scout of the Second Boer War and is still revered. Theron, by the way, died young, 28 years old, during the war on 5 September 1900. He encountered seven members of Marshall's Horse whilst on a mission and tried to shoot his way out, succeeding in killing three and wounding the remaining four. But, he was known to be trapped somewhere on a small kopje (hill). The Brits shelled the area until he died. His great-great-niece, Charlize Theron became a famous Hollywood actress. Danie Theron also used the name “James Bond” whilst working behind enemy lines... the first use of that particular name in espionage as far as is known.
The FBI arrested the lot, including Duquesne. They were lucky they weren’t executed as it was demanded. However, they spent the entire war up to the 1950s in jail.
Despite the hype, the Norden bomb sight was never much good in actual service. It proved unable to fulfil any of its many claims of pinpoint accurate bombing. The manufacturer blamed mysterious high-altitude winds and the cloudy European weather for the failures, but tests showed that even under perfect conditions the average bomber crew could not hit what it aimed for. Expert crews did better but they were specially trained and in another class all together.
Mass saturation carpet bombing was thus the only viable option left for the heavy bombers even in daylight. To overcome the gross inaccuracy many hundreds of bombers were needed. This led to little empires created for the “Bomber Barons” like Carl Andrew Spaatz (born Spatz), Ira Clarence Eaker, and Arthur Harris of the RAF.
These officers became obsessed with the foolish idea that air power can win wars although this has actually been disproved in history in every conflict to date. You need infantry and armour to win a war. Air power alone will never win a war but you can certainly lose one if without air protection.
Another of the “Bomber Barons” that became notorious was Curtis Emerson LeMay with his “Bomb them back to the stone age” comment regarding North Vietnam. He later denied the statement but the USAF did drop more bombs on North Vietnam than what was used by all air forces in World War Two. Overall, they achieved nothing. SOE agents working behind enemy lines destroyed more trains and locomotives than what the tactical air forces could achieve with thousands of sorties. Another inconvenient fact.
To counter the bombers, general blackouts were introduced across Europe except in neutral countries like Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland. As a navigational obstruction method, blackouts proved to be ineffectual in the extreme. It was a nuisance more than a practical war measure designed to make the population feel that their government was looking out for them. Aircraft did not need, even at the time, visible light to fly safely at night. As long as the pilot was trained in instrument flying he would get where he wanted to go by navigating with the stars above him, visual sights like a river and major roads, even railway lines, and dead reckoning based on speed and direction taking in account time travelled and wind direction. Radio beams to assist with navigation and later, radar, helped too.
Oddly, the German Luftwaffe, in their drive for as many pilots as possible, had relatively few instrument rated ones able to fly safely at night. This would prove detrimental in September 1940 when the London Blitz started after the RAF, on Churchill’s direct instructions, bombed Berlin three times in a row, to relieve pressure on RAF airfields during the Battle of Britain. Churchill desperately wanted Hitler to order the Luftwaffe to bomb London. Knowing this would gain sympathy with the Americans who were still neutral and remove all prospects of peace as well as unite the civilian population. As far as Winston S Churchill was concerned, the bombing of London would ensure victory. But the Luftwaffe was not taking the bait. To say that he became frustrated with this is putting it mildly. The entire 1930s he predicted mass bombing attacks on London and other cities. But it was not happening. And it was not happening because the Luftwaffe was ordered not to attack British civilians, Hermann Göring, head of Luftwaffe, June 30, 1940, “The war against England is to be restricted to destructive attacks against industry and air force targets which have weak defensive forces. The most thorough study of the target concerned, that is vital points of the target, is a pre-requisite for success. It is also stressed that every effort should be made to avoid unnecessary loss of life amongst the civilian population.”
Churchill knew this from the Bletchley Park codebreaking effort. He knew that Hitler prohibited terror air attacks on Britain. He also knew the Luftwaffe targets in advance and thus could ensure that he was not around. And so Hitler’s hand had to be forced. The best way was to bomb Berlin and cause German civilian casualties. It was a calculated risk that succeeded and saved Fighter Command, and almost certainly the war. He said to US Ambassador Joseph Kennedy in June or July 1940: “You watch, when Adolf Hitler begins bombing London and bombing towns in Britain like Boston and Lincoln, towns with their counterparts in the United States, you Americans will have to come in, won’t you, you can’t just stand aside and watch our suffering.” Well, they did not come in until after Pearl Harbour.
When a few German bombs strayed onto London dockside during the Battle of Britain, the British justification used to this day is “that they bombed us first” despite the ban on the Tu Quoque defense. It was not a deliberate attack and against orders. But Churchill had his excuse to be abused thoroughly. He ordered the RAF to attack Berlin, and so they did, as we know, three times in a row.
Hitler replied to Churchill’s shenanigan’s during a speech regarding the RAF air raids on Berlin, “The other night the English had bombed Berlin. So be it. But this is a game at which two can play. When the British Air Force drops 2,000 or 3,000 or 4,000 kg of bombs, then we will drop 150,000, 180,000, 230,000, 300,000, 400,000 kg on a single night. When they declare they will attack our cities in great measure, we will eradicate their cities. The hour will come when one of us will break – and it will not be National Socialist Germany!”
Terror bombing now became the norm. As we know, it was Nazi Germany which was bombed to pieces by the Allied bomber barons culminating in the 1945 Dresden bombing, unnecessarily, at the end of the war. Between 35,000 and 135,000 civilians were killed by the Allied bombings of Dresden. The firestorms created there and in Hamburg earlier is still talked about today. But the first Air Force to bomb an open city/civilian targets on purpose was neither the Germans nor British Forces, it was the Soviets during the Finland/Winter War in 1939 that holds that “honour.” History shows us that terror bombing came directly from Winston S Churchill. He did not even inform his Cabinet of his decision. We know why not, they would have objected as they did when he starved Bengal, wanted to use poison gas and arrived drunk for meetings. Another blog, another conversation, soon, I hope, perhaps an entire book. I like exposing the 33-degree Freemason and Druid for what he really was.