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Keeling, Ralph Franklin, 1901- / Gruesome harvest
(1947)

Chapter I: War devastation,   pp. 3-6 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 4

GRUESOME HARVEST
"The Americans were blasting out a path for a forward drive.
"Man and beast shuddered in their tracks. Whole towns were
disintegrating. Life seemed to disappear from the scene. It was
the most terrifying destructive force of warfare Germany has ever
seen. And it was a symbol of what was to come as the U. S. 1st
Army unloosed this shattering blow within the borders of Ger-
many.
"For an hour and a half more than 2,000 bombers and hun.
dreds of guns pounded the German countryside, making the earth
dance before this mighty man-made force. When the heavies and
mediums were not making the earth quake for miles around, our
massed artillery was giving them hell out there. They were firing
at an average rate of one round every 15 seconds, blasting every
conceivable obstacle in our path. Minefields went up as though
touched off by an electric switch....
'"In the center of that frightful scene, the Germans were en-
trenched as a 'human wall'. They were dug in foxholes and inside
houses of 'fortified towns.' Many died without knowing what had
hit them.
"Having seen brave men and wild beasts crack as they do some-
times in the grip of a terrible earthquake, I could have sworn
there would be no opposition when the zero hour came.
"Yet, when our tanks and doughboys went over the top after
the barrage, as in the battle of Verdun, there were Germans still
alive and they fought us with violence." 4
Great though it was, the destruction resulting from ground
fighting pales in comparison with that caused by our gigantic
air raids. The two atom bombs dropped on Japan may have
been more dramatic, but they could hardly have been more
destructive than the millions of phosphorous, fire, and "block-
buster" bombs dropped on Germany. Near the end we were
using 1 1-tonners which crews said caused their planes to
bounce up over 500 feet when the huge 25-foot missiles were
released, sending up "a tremendous pall of black smoke and a
fountain of debris" which "dwarfed the terrific explosions of
the six-ton 'earthquake' bombs."
During the war, more bombs by weight were dropped on
Berlin alone than were released over the whole of England.
So great was the ruin that General Eisenhower was con-
strained to say:
"I have seen many great engineering jobs during the war-such
as the clearing of the port of Cherbourg-but I just wouldn't
know where to begin to rebuild Berlin." a


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