Berlin, Richard E., 1894- / Diary of a flight to occupied Germany, July 20 to August 27, 1945.
Entering Germany, pp. 41-42 PDF (501.3 KB)
is full of unexploded bombs, mines, etc. This explosion created a terrific blast, throwing debris 100 feet into the air and leaving a circular crater 50 to 75 feet in diameter. Here one receives a definite impression of the devastation of a bomb when it hits a building. Planes were strewn all over the fields indicating intense aerial engagements. One sees German as well as American and British fighter planes on the ground. We flew over the Ardennes forest, which was a scene of heavy fighting last winter. Entering Germany We entered Germany at the little town of Zulpich, which was completely smashed and knocked out. The pilot detoured, taking us to Cologne, on the Rhine. We circled the city altitude about 100 feet. Cologne is rubble and shambles except its magnificent historic cathedral which, from the air, miraculously seems un- touched. The bridges over the Rhine were destroyed and here we got our first view of the complete destruction of a large city. Flying up the Rhine for a few minutes, we saw beneath us ruined bridges, sunken barges-all the wreckage of war. The roads were smashed, bridges over the autobahn (main highway) were all out. Most of this damage was done by the retreating Germans. We flew over the city of Wuppertal badly mangled. To the left we could see the complete wreckage of Dusseldorf. Passing the little towns of Witten and Bochum, we flew directly over Dort- mund-not so badly damaged. The countryside, green and beau, tiful, is well cultivated and there is very little hurt to farms and country. As in all Germany, the major damage is to the cities. Flying northwesterly over the town of Kamen, we crossed the autobahn. Thousands of bomb craters dot the landscape; all telephone and electric light lines seem to be out. In the city of Hamm the industrial section is badly hit but repairing seems to be getting the factories back in order. Underneath us we could 41
This material may be protected by copyright law (e.g., Title 17, US Code).| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright