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Berlin, Richard E., 1894- / Diary of a flight to occupied Germany, July 20 to August 27, 1945.

Coal and food famine,   pp. 82-84 PDF (741.4 KB)

Page 82

In contacts with the Russians, American officers are treated
with extraordinary civility. There is bowing and saluting, pro-
crastinating and procrastinating till the Americans are worn out
and fail to accomplish what they requested.
Saturday, August 11
Met with the generals in the morning, who explained the civil
administration of Berlin.
Lunched with Major General Gavin, Commanding General of
82nd Airborne Division. He lives in a beautiful "liberated" house
of Berlin. I am told he is the youngest Major General in the Army
-36 years of age. A jumping paratrooper, he made 6 jumps dur-
ing the Bulge of the past winter in Holland and Belgium. His men
admire him, as he is a fighting soldier.
Gavin explained the physical conditioning of the Airborne
troops-marching the men for 18 hours simulating actual warfare
. . . hardships undergone, etc. He showed us a huge sterling silver
tureen captured from the Germans. It is a ceremony among the
parachute divisions to drink on occasions from a receptacle of
this type nick-named "Prop Blast." One who jumps from an
airplane feels the blast from the propeller; therefore, the beverage
in the punch bowl is said to give one a jolt like the "Prop Blast."
Coal and Food Famine
Visited General Draper, Deputy in Charge of Industry for the
Army of Occupation. The General tells us, as does everyone else,
the big problem in Germany is coal. Transportation normally
is 30% by water on the rivers and canals; now the barges are
sunk. The Ruhr is the principal coal producing section, but the
Germans can expect no coal from the Ruhr this year. It ordinarily
produces 130,000,000 tons, the Saar 50,000,000 tons. The Ruhr
formerly had 400,000 miners, 75% of whom were slave laborers.
It is now on a 10% production schedule, using prisoners of war.

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