Re: German food supplies

Andrew Clark wrote:
"Dave Smith" <adavid.smith@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote

The starvation and mass deaths in Holland in the winter of 1944-5 was entirely due to the illegal German refusal to allow civilian power generation or movement of goods and supplies within the occupied part of Holland, as a reprisal for a railway strike.

The rail strike did not occur until the Market Garden landings near Arnhem, and the Germans dealt harshly with the people responsible for that, not that it was unlike the Germans to take reprisal against the innocent. They had started stripping Dutch factories of everything useful looting farms of their feed and animals a month before. They took river barges, railway rolling stock, locomotives, just about everything they could take. The Germans had little enough food for themselves, and they took everything they could. In order to hinder Allied advances by land they flooded vast areas of the lowlands.

Allied food relief was sent by air and road after 21 Army Group threatened the German administrators with being hanged post-war for war crimes. Despite the ceasefire, some USAAF bombers (unarmed) were shot down.

I have heard and read of several accounts of the food drop but never heard anything about Germans downing any of the planes. FWIW, an account from one of the participants from RAAF 460 Sqd. indicates that the Australian crews were wary of the German promise not to fire on them but were pleased to see that they had kept their word. An account from an airman in 625 Sqd. RAF indicates that they heard that one of their Lancasters had a few bullet holes from ground fire, but he reported no losss.

One of the most detailed accounts is from an airman on one of the crews that did a test run before the formal agreement. They had to fly down a narrow corridor. They saw AA guns aimed at them and tanks with their main guns aimed upward. None of them fired but when they got back to base they did se bullet holes in one of the planes.

An article in Legion magazine reports that despite the truce a few of the Lancasters and B-17s had a few bullet holes. it reports only one plane lost, apparently hit by ground fire near Ijmuiden. It caught fire halfway back to England and crashed in the North Sea, killing all but two of the crew.