Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
Here are a couple of paragraphs from the biography of an US pilot Lewis Wells, in charge of a B-17 (“Flying Fortress”) sent to bomb Berlin on that day.Years after the deed was done, his radio operator, James Henrietta, said the following:
“We mostly hit military targets — tank plants, airfields, what have you. But there was only one time . . . and it still bothers me to this day. It was the second time we went to Berlin [Feb. 3, 1945]. This morning here we got up and went to the briefing room and the officer came out who usually briefed oil targets and when we saw him we thought, “Oh my god, what have we got this morning!” And he pulled back the cover on the map and there was only one string – to Berlin.
“And he says, “Well fellas, if I were you I’d carry my sidearm with me today, because if you go down over the target you are going to need it because the target is the center of town – arms, legs and assholes.”
And he put it just like that. In other words, there was no military target there, it was just kill whomever you can get, you know? It was just to demoralize.
“When we came off that target and were on our way back there was a steady stream of planes still coming in as far as you could see across the continent. As our group turned out, though, there wasn’t another bit of flak that came up out of Berlin.
“And they carried bodies out of there for weeks after. And it was . . . and this one bothered me for a long time. In fact it still does. When I think back on it I spent all night just thinking about it. I’m thinking we’re bombing out a lot of people who maybe were helpless victims. You know what I mean?”
(found through the grandson of Mr Lewis Wells)