Culture Magazine

Our CBS Radio News Man in Berlin Endures an Air Raid

By Sfalcont

One of the best sources of information about daily life in the Third Reich is Assignment to Berlin by Harry W. Flannery, a CBS Radio Correspondent sent to Berlin to replace William Shirer although their tenure overlapped for a few weeks so Shirer could show the ropes to Flannery.

On this particular evening, Shirer accompanied Flannery to the broadcast studio and the two men arrived early enough to dine at a nearby restaurant. They had just begun to eat dinner…

 
…when the alarm sounded. It was a startling, annoying, frightening sound, like the long drawn-out wail of a giant cat, rising and then falling … I listened to the first notes of the alarm and then resumed eating. I was planning to finish the meal, but Bill, as a veteran, cautioned me to act. ‘Better forget your dinner tonight,’ he said.

 
Although the broadcasting studio was across the street, Shirer insisted they leave immediately or we might get caught in the restaurant and not be able to leave and go to the studio. (It was illegal to be outside on the street during an air-raid). Flannery:

 
As we went into the street the anti-aircraft guns were already cracking. ‘Keep alongside the buildings,’ Bill cautioned, ‘and then, when we get to the best point, we’ll run as fast as possible across the street. The shrapnel is more to be feared than the bombs.’

 
Shrapnel, in this case referring to the fractured bits of the anti-aircraft shells, was a real danger during air-raids in World War Two. It was even more dangerous in areas where there were large concentrations of anti-aircraft guns such as Berlin. The Germans defended themselves with Fliegerabwehrkanone which translates as air defense cannon. That being too long a word even for Germans, they abbreviated it to “flak” which became the generic term for anti-aircraft fire in WW Two. If you have ever used or heard the expression, “I got a lot of flak,” that’s where it comes from.

Our CBS Radio News Man in Berlin Endures an Air Raid

B-24 emerges from flak area with its No. 2 engine smoking.

 
In an air raid on a major city like Berlin, few of the flak batteries would actually be firing at specific planes; rather they would be firing a pattern of shells set to explode at various heights creating a “box.” RAF bombers would have to fly through this “box” of exploding shells to reach their target. ‘Since what goes up, must come down,’ once the shells exploded, the fragments, or shrapnel, would fall back to earth. A small piece of a shell could easily kill you. Because of this, no one was allowed to be outside during an air raid. In various memoirs one reads not only of people being killed but of buildings sustaining heavy damage from falling shrapnel.

Like many words, shrapnel takes its name from a person, in this case, Henry Shrapnel (3 June 1761 – 13 March 1842), a British Army officer who served in the Royal Artillery. He invented a spherical exploding shell filled with musket balls (or shrapnel) which was designed to explode among enemy troops and kill lots of them. It worked quite well. Almost two-hundred fifty years later, Colonel Shrapnel has been forgotten but his name lives on as a description of deadly fragments caused by artillery shells.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Healthy Cauliflower Pizza!

    Healthy Cauliflower Pizza!

    ‘Can pizza ever be healthy?‘, you may be wondering, as I also did once upon a time. But being a normal human being, I absolutely adore the occasional pleasure o... Read more

    7 hours, 12 minutes ago by   Fitnessontoast
    DIET & WEIGHT, FASHION, FITNESS, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, LIFE COACH, LIFESTYLE
  • How Utilities Are Trying to Slow Down Rooftop Solar

    Utilities Trying Slow Down Rooftop Solar

    GR: Utility companies don’t want you to save money by adopting solar power. Utilities that should earn their public status by working for the common good,... Read more

    7 hours, 24 minutes ago by   Garry Rogers
    ANIMALS & WILDLIFE, BOOKS, ENVIRONMENT
  • 8 Leadership Lapses Every Business Owner Must Avoid

    Leadership Lapses Every Business Owner Must Avoid

    Even entrepreneurs who have built many startups, or sold their last one for millions of dollars, know they make occasional people leadership mistakes. Read more

    8 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

    What Underlying Cause Addiction?

    Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of... Read more

    8 hours, 21 minutes ago by   Lisaorchard
    LIFESTYLE
  • Massive Cards

    Massive Cards

    This last year I had less and less time to draw as my research project advanced. It’s sad, but I always knew that it would be difficult to combine science and... Read more

    8 hours, 45 minutes ago by   Matteofarinella
    COMIC BOOKS, ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Favourite 39 - Swimwear Edition

    Photo Favourite Swimwear Edition

    Summer is often a hard time for plus size people, and swimwear is often a big part of that anxiety. Here i have 13 gorgeous ladies showing you that no matter... Read more

    8 hours, 51 minutes ago by   Boo_brown
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • Odeon: The Gallery

    Odeon: Gallery

    I did this at the Metrocentre cinema for Dunkirk in IMAX.Cool Tables! The staff are fantastic in the bar area and you are given a number with the screen you... Read more

    10 hours, 11 minutes ago by   Caz
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES

Magazines