RAF Bomber Command visits the 'Big City'
17th January 1943: The second of two attacks deep into the heart of Germany to bring the war closer for everyone in Berlin
RAF Bomber Command targeted Berlin on the 16th/17th and 17th/18th January for the first attacks on the German capital in over a year. Arthur 'Bomber' Harris, commanding RAF Bomber Command, told his men:
Tonight you are going to the Big City. You will have the opportunity to light a fire in the belly of the enemy that will burn his black heart out.
But it meant that the force of Lancasters and Halifaxs had to fly way out across the north German plains straight into some of the heaviest flak in the Reich.
Sergeant Robert Raymond1 was an American volunteer serving in the RAF. He knew that the 'tremendous propaganda value' of hitting Berlin was good for morale. After eight hours of sleep following the first raid, when his load included a 4,000 lb 'blockbuster' bomb, he went back to do it all over again on the night of 17th.
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