14 October 2011

You Up There - We Down Here - Luftwaffe Anti-Aircraft Assistants vs. Allied Bomber Crews

In 1944, entire German school classes were deployed as anti-aircraft gun assistants (Luftwaffenhelfer) to support the heavy Flak defending Germany and Austria. These schoolboys were drilled in the use of the 88mm Flak gun to support the soldiers of the Wehrmacht battling the allied bomber streams. The author, Gerhard Oberleitner, was one of these boys, and was deployed near St. Valentin, Austria, to protect the local tank production works, one of the biggest in the Reich.

Letters, reports, documents and above all, the author’s complete diary and photographs do much to support this detailed and extensive account. He describes how it was in the final two years of World War II, both on the ground and in the air, manning the guns and systems of the 7th German Anti-Aircraft Brigade. The author has also carried out research into the operations of bombers of the 15th US Air Fleet - the foes that his unit were opposing, thus providing an insight into both the lives of the schoolboy troopers “down here” and the bomber crews “up

Extracts of the book can be read here.

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