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By Charles Irving

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Hajo Herrmann, holder of the Knight’s Cross, and still alive as the revised edition of this book goes to press, has more recently acted as the author’s brave attorney in many a stiff legal skirmish with the present German authorities – thirty years after these lines were first written. , et seq. ).  The reply of Weise showed that he had forgiven Hermann already: ‘th July . Top Secret Telegram to Major Hermann, Night Fighting Experimental Kommando, Mönchengladbach. Express my admiration of you and your men for the first magnificent success of your Experimental Kommando over West German industrial area, especially since on your own initiative you executed operation in the area most heavily attacked last night.

These control bunkers, aptly dubbed ‘battle opera-houses’ by the Luftwaffe personnel who worked there, served as clearing-houses for the information on Harris’ intentions that arrived from every source including the highly advanced German radio-monitoring units; but they were also the system’s Achilles Heel, because it was from here that the fighter controllers directed the airborne fighter formations by running commentary into the bomber stream. M. on October , , the Duty Officers in these western control bunkers were informed by telephone from the Paris Headquarters of Funkhorchregiment West – the Radio Monitoring Regiment – that the position was ‘Eagles five-hundred’.

S were well concentrated in the Billwärder district, one of the most densely populated areas of Hamburg’s inner city. M. when the All Clear sounded, a single one-minute siren tone, the bombers had dropped a further , tons of bombs. ’ The Selbstschutz included voluntary civil defence personnel, local air-raid wardens, etc. With  tons of incendiaries dropped, the proportion of fire-bombs was considerably higher than in the first main-force raid. Forty minutes after zero hour it was recognised that Germany’s first fire-storm had begun, the tornado of rising hot air sucking in fresh oxygen from all around, the resulting tempests reaching such hurricane strengths that they tossed entire buildings, railroad boxcars, vehicles, trees and people willy nilly into the searing inferNo Fires flashed through entire streets in seconds.

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