Bomber Command has been busy bombing German forests, among other targets: the Black Forest on Monday night, the Hartz [sic] in north-west Germany and the Grunewald north of Berlin on Tuesday night. According to the Air Ministry communique, issued last night and reported here in The Times (4), 'military targets [were] concealed' in these forests; 'Many fires were started which later caused explosions'. It's interesting to contrast these British attacks with a 'most determined' German one on presumably similar terrain, a big Scout camping ground, as reported on page 9, described in the headline as 'Destruction typical of the Nazi mind': 'Scout property is evidently classed as a military objective in the Nazi mind'. In each case it is assumed that bomber forces have perfect aim and perfect knowledge: each bombfall is further proof of each side's essential nature, be that good or evil.
This is part of a two-sided propaganda war. Hitler made a 'powerful and moving' speech (according to Reuter) yesterday at the Berlin Sport Palace. As he was opening the winter relief campaign, he began by scorning Britain's naval blockade:
We knew in advance that the great friend of humanity, as in the Great War, would attempt to starve women and children, and we prepared ourselves for it.
But his rhetoric reached a higher pitch when he moved on to the bomber war:
The R.A.F. bombs Germany at night not because it can do so effectively, but because it is unable to fly over the Reich by daylight. The British drop their bombs indiscriminately and without plan, on civilian residential quarters, on farms, and villages.
For three months I did not reply, because I believed they would stop, but in this Mr. Churchill saw a sign of our weakness. The British will know that we are now giving our answer night after night. We shall stop the handiwork of these night pirates. The hour will strike when one of us will break, and that will not be National-Socialist Germany.
Dr. Goebbels is also doing his part. Last night, 'many' German wireless stations (whether domestic or English-language is not clear) put out a story (3) that a Polish bomber crew flying for the RAF on a mission to Berlin landed at Warsaw instead.
The airmen said that in London they had come to realize the hopelessness of the struggle. They were prepared to give the German authorities any information in their power provided they were allowed to go free.
An assurance to this effect, the story ended, was accordingly given to them by the German authorities.
But, states The Times, Berlin was not raided on the night in question (2/3 September), only two aircraft failed to return and both had British crews, and Polish bomber squadrons in the RAF 'are not yet equipped with aircraft which could carry out a long-distance raid of this description'.
Back to Britain. Yesterday Fighter Command fended off a big German force of 200 bombers and fighters over Kent and the Thames estuary which were 'making for aerodromes and factories' (4). Particularly noteworthy was 'the rout of the new Messerschmitt Jaguar fighter-bombers', which had 'formed close protective rings against the R.A.F.'. This tactic availed them not at all: two Hurricane squadrons accounted for 12 Jaguars between them, and a Spitfire squadron shot down another 12 without even taking a hit. Here's the 'record' of 9 Hurricane pilots who bagged 6 Jaguars in total:
NUMBER 1 saw smoke belching and the final crash.
NUMBER 2 watched his enemy's cockpit burst into flames.
NUMBERS 3 and 4 silenced the rear gunners of their Jaguars.
NUMBER 5 made both engines and the fuselage of his enemy catch fire.
NUMBERS 6, 7, and 8 saw their opponents crash.
NUMBER 9 left his Jaguar with splinters flying off it.
It does sound like a 'Bad day for Jaguar fighter-bombers', as the headline put it.
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