Jedan sat koji je promijenio rat
In the late evening of August 17, 1943, a fleet of 600 R.A.F. heavy night bombers roared out across the North Sea. The next day, the British Air Ministry's Communiqué recorded that the research and development station at Peenemünde, Germany, had been attacked.
Behind the deliberately vague language of that Communiqué lies one of the most dramatic stories of the war. Unknown to all except a handful of men, R.A.F. Bomber Command had won an aerial battle which was a turning point of the war. It remained a secret, however, for almost a year, until the first robot bombs began to crash on London. By the spring of 1943, the Allied air offensive had opened gaping wounds across the face of Germany and, to beat back our bombers, the Nazis decided to concentrate on the production of fighter planes.
Ubrzo, sa svojom bombarderskom snagom smanjenom na nekoliko stotina zastarjelih strojeva, Luftwaffe nije uspio prodrijeti u britansku obranu, osim oštrih napada. Ali ostale su leteće bombe i rakete velikog dometa kojima su se zadovoljili zahtjevi njemačkog naroda za odmazdom bombardiranja. Kad bi se ovo oružje moglo masovno proizvesti na vrijeme, omogućili bi Nijemcima napad u zraku bez korištenja njihovih dragocjenih bombardera ili zrakoplovaca.
The decision was taken. Orders went out from Hitler to complete quickly the experimental development of the flying bombs and rockets and to rush them into production. The main development centre for these weapons was the Luftwaffe research station at Peenemünde, tucked away in a forest behind the beach of the Baltic Sea, 60 miles north-east of Stettin and 700 miles from England.
Into Peenemünde went the best technical brains of the Luftwaffe and the top men in German aeronautical and engineering science. In charge was the veteran Luftwaffe scientist, 49-year-old Major-General Wolfgang von Chamier-Glisezensky. Under him was a staff of several thousand professors, engineers, and experts on jet-propulsion and rocket projectiles. These scientists were set to working around the clock, for Hitler hoped to unleash his “secret weapons" during the winter of 1943-1944.
Entuzijasti su vjerovali da će tajno oružje odlučiti o ratu u roku od 24 sata. Realističniji Nijemci nadali su se da će barem poremetiti britansku ratnu proizvodnju i odgoditi invaziju ili možda prisiliti saveznike na prijevremenu invaziju teško obranjene obale Calaisa s koje će Nijemci lansirati svoje novo oružje. Pa čak i ako se ne bi pokazali presudnima, odmazdi bombardiranjem ojačali bi njemački moral i kasnije bili korisni u pregovaranju o kompromisnom miru.
By July 1943, British intelligence reports had definitely located Peenemünde as Germany's chief spawning ground for robot bombs and rockets, A file of reports and aerial reconnaissance pictures was placed in the hands of a special British Cabinet committee, which suggested that the R.A.F. grant Peenemünde a high priority in its bombing attentions. Air Chief Marshal Harris decided to stage a surprise raid during the next clear moonlight period.
The German had become careless about Peenemünde. R.A.F. night bombers frequently flew over it on their way to Stettin and even to Berlin, and Germans working at Peenemünde used to watch British planes pass overhead, secure in the belief that the British did not know of Peenemünde's importance. A Special reconnaissance photographs for the raid were taken with great care to avoid Warning the Germans that the R.A.F. was interested in Peenemünde. They were made during routine reconnaissance flights over Baltic ports, to which the Germans had grown accustomed. These photographs enabled planners of the raid to pick out three aiming points where the most damage would be done.
Prvi je bio dnevni boravak znanstvenika i tehničara.
Drugi su se sastojali od hangara i radionica u kojima su se nalazile eksperimentalne bombe i rakete. Treće je bilo upravno područje - zgrade koje su sadržavale plave otiske i tehničke podatke.
The night of August 17 was selected because the moon would be almost full. The bomber crews were informed only that Peenemünde was an important radar experimental station; that they would catch a lot of German scientists there, and that their job was to kill as many of them as possible. After the briefing, a special note from Bomber Command headquarters was read aloud:
"Izuzetna važnost ovog cilja i nužnost postizanja njegovog uništenja jednim napadom impresionirat će se svim posadama. Ako napad ne uspije postići svoj cilj, morat će se ponoviti narednih noći - bez obzira na to u okviru izvedivih granica, žrtava ".
Nearly 600 four-motored heavies took off and roared down on Peenemünde by an indirect route. Peenemünde's defenders, apparently believing that the bombers were headed for Stettin of Berlin, were caught napping. Pathfinders went in first, swooped low over their target and dropped coloured flares around aiming points. Bombers using revolutionary new bombsights followed. Scorning the light flak, wave after wave unloaded high explosives and incendiaries from a few thousand feet on the three clearly visible aiming points.
Za manje od sat vremena područje je bilo gotovo neprekidna vatrena traka.
Kad je posljednji val bombardera odletio kući, njemački noćni lovci, koji su uzalud čekali Berlin, sustigli su ih, a izgubljen je 41 britanski bombarder - mala cijena za jednu od najvećih ratnih zračnih pobjeda.
The next morning a reconnaissance Spitfire photographed the damage. Half of the 45 huts in which scientists and specialists lived, had been obliterated, and the remainder were badly damaged. In addition 40 buildings, including assembly shops and laboratories, had been completely destroyed and 50 others damaged. In a few days news of even more satisfactory results began to trickle in. Of the 7.000 scientists and 'technical men stationed in Peenemünde, some 5.000 were killed or missing. For, at the end of the raid, R.A.F.blockbusters combined with German explosives stored underground had set off such a 'tremendous blast that people living three miles away were killed.
Glavni znanstvenik von Chamier-Glisezenski umro je tijekom racije.
Reports drifted out from Germany that he had been shot by agents or jealous Gestapo officials. Two days after the attack the Germans announced the death of General Jeschonnek, the Luftwaffe's chief of staff and a young Hitler favourite, who had been visiting Peenemünde, Then the Nazis admitted that General Ernst Udet, veteran aviator of the first World War and early organiser of the Luftwaffe, had met death under mysterious circumstances. It seemed likely that Udet, as head of the technical directorate of the German Air Ministry, had also been in Peenemünde.
Nazi reaction to the raid was violent. Gestapo men quizzed survivors and combed the countryside for ‘traitors who might have tipped off the RAF to Peenemünde's importance. General Walther Schreckenback, of the black-shirted secret-service, was given command of Peenemünde, with orders to resume work on the flying bombs and rockets. But all Germany's plans had to be recast. With Peenemünde half destroyed and open to further attack, new laboratories had to be built deep underground. (According to Swedish reports, these have been constructed on islands in the Baltic.)
Nakon što su izbrisani najbolji znanstvenici i stručnjaci, morali su se naći novi ljudi koji će nastaviti s razvojnim radom.
Kao rezultat kašnjenja, nacisti nisu mogli lansirati svoje tajno oružje prošle zime; i imali su poteškoća u njegovanju njemačkog morala kontinuiranim savezničkim zračnim napadima.
Nijemci su dodatno zaustavljeni savezničkim zračnim napadima tijekom proljeća letećih rampi za lansiranje bombi i raketa u Pas de Calaisu i tvornicama dijelova. Tako je ljudima rečeno da je tajno oružje zamišljeno kao protu-invazijsko oružje, a sprema se za miniranje saveznika u lukama i na plažama.
Dan D, međutim, uhvatio je Nijemce i dalje nespremne. Tek sedam dana nakon što su saveznici napali Normandiju, prva leteća bomba pala je na London.
If Peenemünde hadn't been blasted as and when it was, the robotbomb attacks on London doubtless would have begun six months before they did, and would have been many times as heavy. London communications, the hub of Britain and nerve centre of invasion planning and preparation, would have been severely stricken. The invasion itself might have had to be postponed.
Napisao Allan A. Michie British Digest oko 1945. godine
Footage of Peenemünde: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN4M1p_tTKU