German Messerschmidt 110, was a
failure as a bomber escort but was turned into a superb
50 years ago they were young
men with a mission - to defend the German homeland from the
allied bomber crews they called "terrorflugen"...terror-flyers.
They shot down allied pilots by the score, many of them
Canadian... When he was 25 years old, Martin Becker was one
of the German aces. He has 58 kills to his credit, 58 allied
bombers with 7 aircrew each.
German fighter squadrons had bases all over Europe. They
developed advanced radar to warn them when the bomber
streams were approaching. They went after the Americans came
during the day, the Canadians and the rest of the RAF at
night. The lumbering bombers were easy prey. The Germans had
a harder time finding the bombers at night, until they
developed a new secret weapon - tracking radar antennae
fixed to the nose of their fighters. This radar would allow
the fighters to close in for the kill at night completely
undetected by the bombers, then they would use another
secret weapon, an upward firing gun called "schrage musica",
slanting music. Scientist Freeman Dyson tracked such
developments from Bomber Command headquarters.
In spite of the horrendous losses his bomber squadrons were
taking, Air Marshall Harris was determined to press home his
attack against German cities. The Supreme Allied Command
ordered Harris to redirect his attacks to precise military
targets, in preparation for "Overlord", the planned allied
invasion of Europe, but Arthur Harris would have none of it.
In the end, Harris got his way. His campaign to destroy
German cities would continue, with a devastating cost to his
own air crews.