This is coolbert:
"lieutenants think tactics, generals think logistics!!"
Sixty years ago now, the Berlin Airlift had commenced.
A crisis with profound ramifications:
* The first battle of the Cold War!
* An end to whatever lingering animus still existed between the occupying Allied powers and those German nationals living under their [allies] control!!
"an·i·mus - – noun 1. strong dislike or enmity; hostile attitude; animosity."
"The Berlin Blockade (June 24, 1948 – May 11, 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War."
"On June 12, 1948 the Soviet Union declared that the Autobahn, leading into Berlin from West Germany, was "closed for repairs." Three days later, road traffic between the sectors was halted, and on June 21 all barge traffic into the city was stopped. Finally, on June 24 the Soviets announced that due to "technical difficulties" there would be no more rail traffic to or from Berlin. The following day, they announced that the Soviet sector would not supply food to Berlin's western sectors"
An attempt to starve the allied occupied sectors of Berlin into submission. An attempt that would be countered by a massive airlift of hitherto unimagined proportions!
The statistics of the Berlin Airlift are truly amazing. TO SUPPLY THE ALLIED SECTORS OF BERLIN WITH THE NEEDS FOR EXISTENCE - - ALLIED AIRMEN HAD TO FLY IN - - DAILY:
"646 tons of flour and wheat, 125 tons of cereal, 64 tons of fat, 109 tons of meat and fish, 180 tons of dehydrated potatoes, 180 tons of sugar, 11 tons of coffee, 19 tons of powdered milk, 5 tons of whole milk for children, 3 tons of fresh yeast for baking, 144 tons of dehydrated vegetables, 38 tons of salt and 10 tons of cheese. In total, 1,534 tons were needed daily to keep the over 2 million people alive. Additionally, the city needed to be kept heated and powered, which would require another 3,475 tons of coal and gasoline."
WHAT I AM SURE THE SOVIETS HAD DEEMED IMPOSSIBLE WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY ALLIED AIRMEN AND THE RESOLUTENESS OF ALLIED LEADERS!! BACKING DOWN WAS NOT AN OPTION!!
Originally solely a British and American operation [The Airlift], later included French aircraft and aircrews from a multiple number of nations.
"Alongside the British and U.S. personnel were aircrews from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa."
AND, GERMAN NATIONALS RESIDING IN THE ALLIED SECTOR OF BERLIN, WHO CONTRIBUTED IN A BIG FASHION, AIDING IN THEIR OWN SURVIVAL BY CONTRIBUTING MANPOWER [WOMAN POWER TOO]!
German nationals to include:
* "Crews unloading [the aircraft] and making repairs at the Berlin airports"
* "ex-Luftwaffe ground crews [maintaining aircraft].
* "Women construction workers building a new runway."
Allied aircraft running the Soviet gauntlet were subject to, and had to endure, a variety of measures thrown at them by the Soviets. Measures to interfere with the aircraft while in flight, even to the extent of causing crashes if possible!!
"Starting on August 10, they [Soviets] started harassing aircraft in the Airlift, and after one year, 733 incidents had been reported."
Measures to include:
* "Soviet fighters to buzz the cargo aircraft"
* "shoot into the air near them [intercepting Soviet fighters.]"
* "Balloons were released in the corridors"
* "flak [anti-aircraft artillery] was fired randomly"
* "searchlights were shone on the aircraft."
* "a fake radio beacon on the same frequency as Tempelhof"
EACH OF THESE "MEASURES" JUST OF THEMSELVES ARE AN EGREGIOUS ACT OF INTERFERENCE WITH TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT THAT ARE GRAVE VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW. A CAMPAIGN OF THIS NATURE [ON THE PART OF THE SOVIET] CAN BE CONSIDERED TO BE NOTHING LESS THAN ACTS OF WAR!!!
There is a melodramatic but very good movie of the Airlift from the period . Called "The Big Lift"! If you have not seen it, I highly recommend!
"Experiences of two Air Force sergeants during the 1948 Berlin Airlift."
It should be obvious that the Soviets NEVER thought the allies would act in such a resolute manner as they did. OR, that the airlift could be successful. Those persons still alive from sixty years ago that flew in the airlift have a lot to be proud of. Stood tall when it counted!!
Labels: Berlin Airlift