First, I would like to thank you for your visit. In Spaceship Harvey you'll find posts and links which interest me and, hopefully, you as well. This blog will mainly - but not always - concentrate on topics of general interest such as current events, sports, national and international political news. I'll also include off the cuff stuff which have nothing to do with anything and stuff that I just make up. This blog will also carry my personal opinion on a variety of subjects of interest to me, ranging from military history to politics, environmental wackos, dangerous animals and religious nuts. As you will see my opinions will sometimes be controversial, but I make a lot of stuff up. Profanity and abusive language will not be tolerated- that includes the use of gratuitous insults but no topic is off limits. Unlike many other blogs Spaceship Harvey will contain my views on the subject, not just a copy and link to a news item - unless I post a lifted article that I liked. This blog encourages feedback by use of the comment link.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Eight Air Force Pilsen Mission

By mid-April 1945 the war in Europe was rapidly winding down. The Soviets were fighting in the suburbs of Berlin and had occupied much of the eastern region of Germany to the north and south of the city. From the west, American and British forces were moving swiftly across central and southern Germany. Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s Third Army was closing on the Czechoslovakian border. It was obvious to all that the final collapse of German ground forces was only a matter of days away.

Still, the air war continued unabated. Bombing missions were being flown nearly every day, although substantive strategic targets were harder to find. While the Luftwaffe still had a large number of fighters, many of them Messerschmitt Me-262 jets, it lacked sufficient fuel and experienced pilots to seriously oppose the Allied bombers. Allied fighters controlled the skies over Europe, but German anti-aircraft defenses were still murderously effective. The U.S. Eighth Air Force was therefore faced with the problem of identifying targets of sufficient strategic importance to warrant risking airmen’s lives.

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