The World War II Photo of the Week
for 16 October 2000


Helping Build the Devil's Mountain

   A photo of Berlin taken from a B-17, April 1944, provided by Bruce Ford. Bruce writes: "This is a photo that my father, George Ford (born 1921) took from his airplane over Berlin in April, 1944. He was a U.S. Army Air Corps B-17 bombardier based in Ipswitch, England with the 94th Bomb Group (note the Flying Fortress at right-center). (He passed away on February 18, 1998 in his hometown, Longview, Texas.) He flew 50 missions over Europe. He captioned this one in pencil on the back, "Seeing Europe courtesy of the 94th." He was helping to create the rubble which mostly women workers gathered together in postwar Berlin to form the pile known as Teufelsberg ("Devil's Mountain"). I'd call it "Creating the rubble pile for Teufelsberg, April 1944." I think this view is centered between the Panke River and the Sommerbad at Volkspark Humboldthain in Wedding Bezirke, just north of downtown Berlin; the terrain features in the photo look very similar to a current map of that area. (Look for yourself here — enter the following coordinates: Langengrad: 113.3835748, Breitengrad 52.5469150.) The scene is most clearly viewed at the smallest scale. However, the modern-day large-scale aerial shot, taken from a much higher altitude, is still recognizable. The ballpark-shaped area looks like the Sommerbad (royal summer baths), a distinctive landmark. I could be wrong.  I am not an aerial photo-interpreter." Photo courtesy Bruce Ford.


Continuing in a devilish vein, we provide this War Pool photo of Lt. Col Louis Houck, age 27, commander of a 9th Air Force fighter group waving for "contact" after donning his "devil's helmet" for a mission against the Nazis. From the Webmaster's collection.


... and continuing in a bombardier's vein, here's 1st Lt. Ralph G. McConnell, a 50-mission veteran of strikes over Northern France, Belgium, and Holland, occupying his position in the nose of his B-26 Marauder. Photo dated January 19, 1943 by the Office of War Information (London). From the Webmaster's collection.

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