WW2 destruction

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WW2 destruction

Postby Enzo » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:07 am

A lot of Hitler/WW2 stuff on TV lately. I have interest in that war. Many cities destroyed, Berlin bombed. London bombed. I am sure other English industrial cities and coastal defenses took bombings.

Perhaps our Scot brothers could inform me to the extent Scotland bore the brunt of air attacks? Nothing specific shows up in these TV shows. I plead ignorance. I do not know what industrial or military targets might have existing in WW2 era Scotland.
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Re: WW2 destruction

Postby tubeswell » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:44 am

Yeah I see a lot of it on Netflix. Growing up in '60s NZ, the legacy of WWII made a big impression on me, both in terms of commando comics, movies etc, and in terms of the attitudes at that time about nuclear M.A.D., and steady narrative we got through the media about our reliance on the US for peace in the South Pacific region and the elimination of threats to regional stability, especially the Vietnam conflict, which was playing out in nightly TV reports in all our living rooms- all guts and glory against commies, but all the more by my uncles' reminiscing tales of guts and glory against Hitler. One of my uncles was an Infantry Sergeant in NZ 24th Battalion - he was a Cassino Vet and had been in numerous battles in the Italian campaign, having been in the European war for 2 years and one month, being wounded twice and returning to the front line, and having been decorated for having captured a Panzer tank crew single-handedly by jumping onto the tank, pulling a pin out of a grenade and holding it through the hatch - ordering the tank crew to "Surrender or Die!". Eventually he ended up in Jayforce at the end of the Pacific war). Ah - those were the days!
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Re: WW2 destruction

Postby Lianachan » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:23 am

Enzo wrote:A lot of Hitler/WW2 stuff on TV lately. I have interest in that war. Many cities destroyed, Berlin bombed. London bombed. I am sure other English industrial cities and coastal defenses took bombings.

Perhaps our Scot brothers could inform me to the extent Scotland bore the brunt of air attacks? Nothing specific shows up in these TV shows. I plead ignorance. I do not know what industrial or military targets might have existing in WW2 era Scotland.

Yeah, you're unlikely to hear anything about Scotland being bombed. The portrayal of the WW2 bombing of Britain tends to get wrapped up in the narrative of the Blitz Spirit, about plucky Londoners keeping calm, looking after each other and getting on with it while London was being bombed. It's utter shite. Crime (and murder) rates in London soared and organised crime was rampant. Plus, as you say, many places other than London were bombed across the rest of the UK - including over 500 raids on Scotland. Clydebank got it worst when the town was bombed over 2 days - only 7 houses out of around 12,000 were undamaged, and about 4,000 were totally destroyed. Lots of industrial targets all across the country, such as the aluminium smelter at Fort William, were bombed. Military targets were bombed - the oil storage tanks at the navy base at Invergordon were bombed, for example, with one tank being destroyed (spot the gap!) in what sounds like a very daring raid by a single small aircraft. The first bomb fatality on British soil was on Orkney, the group of islands of the north coast of Scotland (and home to the UK's biggest navy base). Most big Scottish towns or cities were bombed, some repeatedly (Peterhead was the target of almost 30 raids). Regarding what targets there were, the Highlands were almost entirely a military zone, under military control and closed off to civilians (without the appropriate paperwork). Within that were other zones of even tighter control - the brick and concrete building by the far side of the road here was a military check-point, where there was a road-block. The bridge you can see up ahead was the boundary of the exclusion zone around the navy base at Invergordon, about 25 miles away. The entire region was studded with juicy targets. Even the seemingly ordinary and tranquil field behind my parents' house was used to store land mines, and guarded by Norwegian soldiers.

WW2 in the Highlands is one of my archaeological areas of expertise, I've surveyed old base sites, mapped airfields, gone looking for the sites of anti-aircraft batteries, helped run community projects, etc, and I could go ALL DAY on this subject - so I'll shut up.
Last edited by Lianachan on Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:40 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: WW2 destruction

Postby Lianachan » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:27 am

tubeswell wrote:Ah - those were the days!

Indeed, I don't envy them living in those times in the slightest.
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Re: WW2 destruction

Postby Heid the Ba » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:47 am

The first German aircraft shot down by an RAF fighter in WW2 was attacking the Home Fleet at Rosyth, just down the road from here. At least one of the German aircraft tried to bomb the Forth Bridge, which still stands and is part of my usual train commute.
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Re: WW2 destruction

Postby Heid the Ba » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:50 am

I had to look up Jayforce, it turns out to be a lot cushier than I thought it was going to be!
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Re: WW2 destruction

Postby Lianachan » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:53 am

It took me a few seconds to click, as I only knew it as "J-Force".

Regarding the bombing of Clydebank - there's an excellent site about it HERE, with accounts (some quite harrowing), maps, photos, etc...

They brought in this fireman, he had been injured by flying debris and his arm was split from wrist to elbow. They patched him up with what was available, it looked as if he had lost a lot of blood, he was really grimy and exhausted. After about twenty minutes he got up from the stretcher mumbled something about...being no bloody use lying here. He went back to rejoin his unit.


I really enjoyed doing the community stuff, was excellent to collect the memories from people while it was still possible to do so. The accounts of the bombing of Invergordon were superb, with many folk saying it was great because they got a couple of days off school.
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