University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

Sights in Antwerp,   pp. 50-52 PDF (729.4 KB)


Page 51

There is very little, if any, bomb damage in Brussels with the
exception of the airport. The Belgian people, after our invasion,
said:
"We never believed you were coming but then when we saw
what you brought with you in the way of tanks, equipment, mo-
torization, etc., we realized why it took you so long to get here."
Antwerp, with a population of about 400,000, has handled
3,500,000 tons of American supplies. Col. Noble told us that
during one of the worst V-bomb raids they had a munition ship
alongside the dock. They moved it into the stream instead of
keeping it alongside the pier, as an explosion here would have
literally wrecked the entire town. Two hours after they had moved
the ship and placed a flour ship alongside the pier, a V-bomb hit
and destroyed the flour ship.
We passed a theatre in which a V-bomb exploded one Saturday
afternoon and killed 500 people.
Saw a floating chapel in one of the harbor basins. The Gen-
eral Motors plant, their largest assembling plant in Europe, was
completely wrecked, while the Ford plant, directly across the
street, was untouched. Officers facetiously tell you that Ford em-
ployees must have been flying the airplanes that wrecked the
General Motors plant.
Many thousands of engines and airplanes were being assembled
for the Japanese theatre. We visited six huge basins that accom-
modate up to 35 ships at one time. Went aboard a German
E-Boat, the pens of which we saw a few days before in Le Havre,
and examined the engine-room in which the big motors total 60
cylinders. The E-Boats have two torpedo tubes at the bow.
We examined a captured unexploded buzz bomb-it looked like
a small airplane with wings on the bomb, and a seat for a suicide
pilot.
The port installation at Antwerp is indeed another tribute to
our engineers and our transportation men who so effectively
reconstructed the damage and made the port responsible for short-
ening the war by 6 months.
Motoring back to Brussels in the late afternoon we passed a
51


Go up to Top of Page