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Op Banner photos - some memories for the old and bold

wheel

LE
The story I heard about cinders was as follows.
Improvised incendiary comprising of balloons full of petrol hung over the ring of an electric cooker, ring turned on, depart with a nonchalant whistle and cheery gait, several minutes later satisfying whoosh as the petrol ignites

Cinders version, hang balloons over a gas ring, turn on gas ring, depart covered in flames.

I believe that to be true.
Petrol in balloons thats a new one on me. Also I do not think there was mains gas in Strabane - Tyrone late 70s.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Belfast suffered one of the biggest one night death tolls of the Blitz, after London and Liverpool. The defences were shockingly limited as it was assumed the Luftwaffe would not travel all the way across the air defences of Great Britain to reach Belfast, but they did. Knocked the shipyards and the aircraft factories for six and caused huge destruction to housing.

One of the most famous consequences of the Blitz on Belfast was that fire engines from the Free State (as was) rushed north to help extinguish the blaze, which was a humanitarian gesture amid the then ongoing cold war between north and south.


The Clydeside Blitz was worst in Scotland, West coast so had to cross the entire country.
Only 8 undamaged houses out of over 12000
 

wheel

LE
Oh well, sounds like yet another urban myth. Amused me then, thought that it may be true still amuses me now.
I was working out in Czech Republic a few years ago. Got chatting to CEO of the multi national company, turns out his family was from Strabane. He recalled the Ciders escapade.
 
Rather thought the South had refuelling sites for The Kreigsmarine and had a pro Third Reich policy, what with the catalogue of nastiness we Mainland Brits had subjected them too!
A recurring source of debate but I have never seen anything to convince me it was true.

There was pre war intelligence activity though it seems....


 
I spent an awful lot of time inspecting soldier's PPWs, a .22 Walther pistol. It was quite a useless weapon, and often stopped after one or two rounds.

Back in the day I often fired the Erma .22LR copy of the Walther. I found it a delightful little pistol and never had any issues with stoppages. It was accurate too - on the range anyhow. I coveted it greatly, alas t'was not mine. You could easily pop it in your shirt pocket.

However. I wouldn't have liked to confront a country lane-full of masked Boyos with it, no matter its cute factor.
 
The Clydeside Blitz was worst in Scotland, West coast so had to cross the entire country.
Only 8 undamaged houses out of over 12000
What were the defences like in Clydeside? Were they minimal like they were in Belfast?

One of the very few criticisms of the administration in Stormont that is equally and vehemently shared by Protestant and Catholic alike is that the doddery old fools couldn't properly defend Belfast in the Blitz leading to appalling devastation. Now anyone who has read my posts will know I have little love or sympathy for the Orange Order government in Stormont (for that is in effect what it was) but actually that is one of the few criticisms of it that is least justified.

Air defence was 100% within the remit of Westminster, Stormont didn't have a fighter command or ack-ack guns at its disposal, if London said in its wisdom that Belfast was unlikely to be attacked, well they were the experts and who was Stormont to say otherwise? What could they do, send B Specials up to arrest the Luftwaffe?

Some would say the civil preparations for the raids could have been better organised and that would be a valid criticism but in that regard Belfast was the same as most other UK cities, the civil contingency preparations in Belfast on paper were not much different from any others and broke down and fell apart in the initial shock of the raids, same as everywhere else.
 

HE117

LE
What were the defences like in Clydeside? Were they minimal like they were in Belfast?

One of the very few criticisms of the administration in Stormont that is equally and vehemently shared by Protestant and Catholic alike is that the doddery old fools couldn't properly defend Belfast in the Blitz leading to appalling devastation. Now anyone who has read my posts will know I have little love or sympathy for the Orange Order government in Stormont (for that is in effect what it was) but actually that is one of the few criticisms of it that is least justified.

Air defence was 100% within the remit of Westminster, Stormont didn't have a fighter command or ack-ack guns at its disposal, if London said in its wisdom that Belfast was unlikely to be attacked, well they were the experts and who was Stormont to say otherwise? What could they do, send B Specials up to arrest the Luftwaffe?

Some would say the civil preparations for the raids could have been better organised and that would be a valid criticism but in that regard Belfast was the same as most other UK cities, the civil contingency preparations in Belfast on paper were not much different from any others and broke down and fell apart in the initial shock of the raids, same as everywhere else.
The problem across the board with air defence was that aircraft development had shot ahead of Anti Aircraft technology, and that it was technically much easier to build aircraft and bombs than anti aircraft guns..

AA gunnery is really difficult, both from the ballistics and infrastructure perspectives. It is very much the same problem as tank or naval gunnery in that you are trying to hit a small moving target at long range. In a similar vein, air to air gunnery is also technically challenging from a perspective of weight, hit and kill probabilities..

Naval gunnery was in statis between the wars, although there were improvements in mechanical computation, range finding and fire control, which clearly influenced the design of heavy AA. The Brit approach to AA was almost completely lifted from Naval practice, which was significantly different to the German or American practices. Not that sure it was particularly effective in the end, however hindsight is always 20-20!

What did improve was the air to air capability, and the centralised warning and planning infrastructure which proved to be very responsive and generally allowed us to learn on the job..

I often wonder whether it was the UK expertise in analogue computing that was behind post WW1 naval gunnery that boosted our expertise in the late war 2 and post war computing capability.. ?

But yeah.. Belfast and Clydeside were examples of "they only need to be lucky once" and "the bomber will always get through"!
 
The problem across the board with air defence was that aircraft development had shot ahead of Anti Aircraft technology, and that it was technically much easier to build aircraft and bombs than anti aircraft guns..

AA gunnery is really difficult, both from the ballistics and infrastructure perspectives. It is very much the same problem as tank or naval gunnery in that you are trying to hit a small moving target at long range. In a similar vein, air to air gunnery is also technically challenging from a perspective of weight, hit and kill probabilities..

Naval gunnery was in statis between the wars, although there were improvements in mechanical computation, range finding and fire control, which clearly influenced the design of heavy AA. The Brit approach to AA was almost completely lifted from Naval practice, which was significantly different to the German or American practices. Not that sure it was particularly effective in the end, however hindsight is always 20-20!

What did improve was the air to air capability, and the centralised warning and planning infrastructure which proved to be very responsive and generally allowed us to learn on the job..

I often wonder whether it was the UK expertise in analogue computing that was behind post WW1 naval gunnery that boosted our expertise in the late war 2 and post war computing capability.. ?

But yeah.. Belfast and Clydeside were examples of "they only need to be lucky once" and "the bomber will always get through"!
I recall a scene from the World at War, a bunch of old geezers sitting in a pub in the East End discussing the first days of the Blitz. Apparently on the very first day there was no anti-aircraft fire at all, I may be wrong I think this was for fear of hitting friendly aircraft. Anyway one old boy said that on the second night all the guns let rip and that had a hugely cheering effect among the civilian population, it was only later chatting to one of the gunners that the old fella was told they never hit a damn thing, it was all purely for morale purposes.

I have no idea how true that is but I suppose if they couldn't defend London, Belfast wasn't going to stand any better chance.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
I recall a scene from the World at War, a bunch of old geezers sitting in a pub in the East End discussing the first days of the Blitz. Apparently on the very first day there was no anti-aircraft fire at all, I may be wrong I think this was for fear of hitting friendly aircraft. Anyway one old boy said that on the second night all the guns let rip and that had a hugely cheering effect among the civilian population, it was only later chatting to one of the gunners that the old fella was told they never hit a damn thing, it was all purely for morale purposes.

I have no idea how true that is but I suppose if they couldn't defend London, Belfast wasn't going to stand any better chance.
Just the noise of AA fire could cause problems:

 
What were the defences like in Clydeside? Were they minimal like they were in Belfast?

One of the very few criticisms of the administration in Stormont that is equally and vehemently shared by Protestant and Catholic alike is that the doddery old fools couldn't properly defend Belfast in the Blitz leading to appalling devastation. Snip/
Snip/
I have no idea how true that is but I suppose if they couldn't defend London, Belfast wasn't going to stand any better chance.

Doesn't stop you fcuking moaning about it, though.
 
Anyway one old boy said that on the second night all the guns let rip and that had a hugely cheering effect among the civilian population, it was only later chatting to one of the gunners that the old fella was told they never hit a damn thing, it was all purely for morale purposes.
I don't know about the date, but I read somewhere, years ago, that WSC himself, on one occasion gave the order for that very thing to happen, and for that reason.
 
I don't know about the date, but I read somewhere, years ago, that WSC himself, on one occasion gave the order for that very thing to happen, and for that reason.

Flak is a very potent psychological weapon, in that it makes the purveyor feel better, and leaves the recipient slightly less comfortable in going about his business.
 
The Clydeside Blitz was worst in Scotland, West coast so had to cross the entire country.
Only 8 undamaged houses out of over 12000
Which is an astonishing statistic, unless 'damage' includes just a broken window. That said, the sainted BBC has reported that Hull (with London) 'was the most heavily bombed city in the UK, with 95% of its houses damaged'. When I lived near Hull I was told that in the news Hull was never named in wartime news broadcasts, it was just 'a city in the north east'.


I have also been told (can't remember by whom) that, per head of population, more bombs fell on Lowestoft than any other town/city. Apparently it was a handy place to jettison bombs without having to go all the way inland.

Not meant to start a pissing competition, BTW.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I don't know about the date, but I read somewhere, years ago, that WSC himself, on one occasion gave the order for that very thing to happen, and for that reason.
There was something on about Coventry about ten years ago. Churchill realised that British sang-froid and stiff upper lip weren't working and the people were turning against the war. So he ordered measures to suppress reporting and counter it.
 
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AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Which is an astonishing statistic, unless 'damage' includes just a broken window. That said, the sainted BBC has reported that Hull (with London) 'was the most heavily bombed city in the UK, with 95% of its houses damaged'. When I lived near Hull I was told that in the news Hull was never named in wartime news broadcasts, it was just 'a city in the north east'.


I have also been told (can't remember by whom) that, per head of population, more bombs fell on Lowestoft than any other town/city. Apparently it was a handy place to jettison bombs without having to go all the way inland.

Not meant to start a pissing competition, BTW.
They bombed me granny in Boldon Colliery (the village, not the pit, obviously).

Just saying. Oz wasn't special.

Edit. Boldon you stupid fúcking cúnting twátting speelchucker.
 
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syrup

LE
There was something on about Coventry about ten years ago. Churchill realised that British sang-froid and stuff upper lip weren't working and the people were turning against the war. So he ordered measures to suppress reporting and counter it.


On the World at War episode mentioned earlier they said Churchill visited the East End.
He stood up in his car and shouted we can take it.
Allegedly he was told exactly what they were taking and they couldn't take much more of it and they weren't happy.
The gunners were ordered to point straight up and fire regardless if they could hit targets or not.
The feeling described was right now were hitting back.
 

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