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The Berlin Airlift is often...

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by brndirt1, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    mis-represented as a USA operation alone, and while the US maintained the largest portion of the deliveries there was a major section covered by the RAF and this should NOT be ignored. One of the portions (not mentioned directly here) is salt. The British flying boats were uniquely positioned to carry this caustic mineral, and carried the bulk of the salt to Berlin. Hat's off to all these brave airmen who forced Stalin to back down and lift the blockade.

    Goto:

    http://www.archive.org/details/berlin_airlift_TNA


     
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I well remember a C-54 appearing at Duxford's Flying Legends some years back, accompanied by the 'Candy Bomber' himself : quite a character ! :cool:
     
  4. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    View attachment 15806
    German citizens demonstrate against Communism on 9-9-1948 during the Berlin airlift. Republic Square, Berlin, The Reichstag. 2 German casualties killed by Soviet security forces.
    Impressive building, even with all the damage. Source: The Atlantic.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I think this probably did more to cement our relations with the new Germany and to heal the wounds of war than all the conventional diplomacy combined.
     
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  6. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    According to Wiki...

    A total of 101 fatalities were recorded as a result of the operation, including 40 Britons and 31 Americans,[4] mostly due to crashes. Seventeen American and eight British aircraft crashed during the operation.

    The Berlin Airlift officially ended on 30 September 1949, after fifteen months. In total the USA delivered 1,783,573 tons and the RAF 541,937 tons, totaling 2,326,406 tons, nearly two-thirds of which was coal, on 278,228 flights to Berlin.[67] The RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) delivered 7,968 tonnes of freight and 6,964 passengers during 2,062 sorties.
     
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  7. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I wonder why "helping" our fellow humans always seems to work better in changing their minds toward yourself than trying to "bomb them, kill them, or intimidate them"? Huh, wonder why that is.
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Brings to mind the other big airlift during war...over Holland. Airdrops to the starving Dutch.
     
  9. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I'm reading a book by Col. Wolfgang W.E. Samuel - "I Always Wanted To Fly". It is about the 'Cold War' with the first 3rd of the book relating stories about the Berlin Airlift and the pilots who flew the C-47's and C-54's. There are some good anecdotal stories explaining what they went through. One was the Russians were asked to remove a tower that impeded an approach, getting a negative answer a few days later the French blew it up with dynamite flown in on a flight. Asked by a Russia officer "How could you do such a thing"? the French replied, " With Explosives"!
     
  10. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Berlin and the cold war days were an enigma in themselves..A different surreal world...Any Brits remember the train thru East Germany to Berlin...and mp's locking the carriages...?
     
  11. leccy1

    leccy1 Member

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    It was on the approach to Tegel Airport. the French built the runway during the blockade and the Soviets erected the mast to restrict the approach. So the French General Jean Ganeval ordered it to be blown up on the 16th Dec 1948 after the Soviets had refused to remove it.

    When I was at RAF Gatow the Officer who took us for induction said that it happened in Kladow on the approach to Gatows runway, I have only ever heard of the one at Tegel other than his comment so presumed he was confused when talking to us Pongos.
     
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  12. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    You sure it wasn't the old pongos that got confused....It was a normal thing for a pongo to be confused in my day. When where you at Gatow Leccy?
     
  13. antfreire

    antfreire Member

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    It did not work out with Stalin.
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I recall reading that the landing and taking off time tables for planes were very tight. Doing this for months, what a massive job!
     
  15. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I should dig out the book by Col. Samuel, it mentioned the air-traffic and tight scheduling of arrivals and departures. It I remember correctly it was three to four planes a minute and on adjoining runways. Also the approach flightpath was between buildings! The landing was so difficult and restricted that if you missed your landing on the first try you throttled up and returned to base without unloading.

    edit: I was a 'tad' off on the 3-4 per minute thing.

    "In August, General William Tunner, a veteran of supply runs during World War II over the Hump (between India and China), arrived to direct and standardize operations to increase efficiency and safety. He discouraged flying heroics, saying that " a successful airlift is about as glamorous as drops of water on a stone." And the new flying regulations reflected this, leaving little room for error. Airplanes took off every three minutes, around the clock. They maintained that interval throughout the 170-mile (274-kilometers) flight, not veering an inch from the prescribed route, speed, or altitude. When they arrived in Berlin, they were allowed only one landing attempt. If they missed it, they had to transport the load back to base. When each plane landed in Berlin, the crew stayed in the plane: a snack bar on a wagon gave them food, and weathermen arrived in jeeps with weather updates. As soon as Germans unloaded the last bit of cargo, the plane would take off. Back at base, there was a 1-hour 40-minute turnaround allowed for ground crews to refuel, reload, do preflight preparations, and perform any required maintenance, which was considerable as the engines experienced rapid and excessive wear from the short flights. Tires also experienced extreme stress from the heavy loads and hard landings
     
  16. leccy1

    leccy1 Member

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    Sorry for late reply, I was there for the draw down, end of 1992 to 1994, stole me own piece of the Berlin wall.

    Us Sappers were never confused. We just had a huge amount of fun (just how many bars can you have on a single RAF Station, party every night somewhere).
     

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