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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)

Page 41

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
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

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