Editorial – The Battering Ram

15 August 1942

South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 15 August 1942

The Battering Ram

Figures issued this week showing the development of the British air offensive against Germany and the occupied countries give a new conception of the “blitz” as many of our towns and cities know it. Most of the bombs are going to Germany now, and what London, Coventry, Bristol, Hull, Plymouth, Coventry, Sheffield, and a score of other British cities remember as a, “blitz” is now “just ordinary” by R.A.F. standards.

A load of five hundred tons or so of bombs is dumped as a routine operation.

The Luftwaffe never dropped a greater weight than this in their most intensive raids. Germany is reaping the whirlwind, and her cities and their citizens are being shown that night bombing as conceived by Great Britain is a weapon of terror and might indeed. Night after night the list of German towns left to smoke under the moon lengthens, or the number of visits to old targets battered with agonising regularity is increased. Swelling numbers and bigger planes have permitted a new technique vastly more devastating than the processional method by which the Luftwaffe filled a winter’s night with destruction.

To such good effect have the aircraft workers rolled out the bombers that our bomb tonnage is made to take its toll within the brief space of an hour or so, leaving the target stunned and smothered by a storm of fire and high explosive. The thousand bomber raids were marvels of compressed bombardment which ripped the heart out of the area on which they were concentrated. But stern and severe as the punishment of Germany is in this aerial warfare the broad lands of the Reich can absorb a great deal of this treatment and still carry on the war. The onslaught must be heavier yet, and will become so in the great softening process which is the preliminary ordeal of the Nazis.

There are indications that Germany will not be kept waiting very long before the next turn of the screw. Major- General Spaatz, United States Army air force commander in the European theatre of operations, made a statement on Monday which must have an ominous sound for those cars within the Reich which are permitted to hear it.

He said: “Within the immediate future operations in accordance with plans that have been in the making between the R.A.F. and the American air forces will commence.”

The pronouncement is bold enough, but it has a sinister ring; a most menacing significance for those who will be the objective of these operations. We know that air raids alone cannot win wars, but even now there is no precedent on which to judge the effect of a campaign such as the R.A.F. are waging day and night in Europe. The crescendo of this deadly battering may produce a startling climax. Very probably such a contingency features prominently in the Allied plans. It is at all events certain that Germany is marked down for the most terrible ordeal by bombing that any nation has ever suffered, and that before the war is very much older. Whatever happens it is difficult to see how this scourge can diminish for many months; indeed there is every sign that it will grow in virulence as the war progresses. What it can ultimately achieve is hidden in the future, but it can hardly do other than sap the war-making power of Germany.

As a complement to still more positive and trenchant attacks it is a deadly weapon indeed; a battering ram with power to breach the stiffest defences.