12 November 2012

German Town Destroyed During Operation Varsity

Image size: 1600 x 1244 pixel. 536 KB
Date: Saturday, 24 March 1945
Place: Hamminkeln/Wesel, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Photographer: Unknown

Photographed from an 8th Air Force Consolidated B-24 Liberator operating in support of the British 6th and American 17th Airborne Divisions engaged in Operation Varsity, this German town, in the path of General Montgomery's armies crossing the Rhine, has been torn by the passing battle. Hardly a building stands undamaged. As part of Field Marshall Sir Bernard Law Montgomery's 21st Army Group's Operation Plunder, these two divisions were air-dropped around the towns of Wesel and Hamminkeln. The B-24s of the 8th Air Force's 2nd Air Division came in around 200 feet (60 meters) to drop ammunition, food and supplies to the paratroopers. The largest one-day airborne operation in history, some 1500 aircraft and gliders participated. Wesel and Hamminkeln were heavily damaged by pre-invasion air bombardment and artillery shelling.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) NRE-338-FTL(EF)-2802(6)

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