Play / pause Attack on The Tirpitz

Attack on The Tirpitz

  • Maurice Bennett
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon

Transcript

You see, that part of Norway

was kind of asleep because nothing ever happened there.

You know, at Bardufoss, that little airport.

So, the people at the tower probably

had no idea what was going on.

Ehrler went to, was at the airport before we did

because he was getting ready to fly back to Alta.

And while he was there, it happened that the,

that Ulrich told him that they'd just reported

that there were noise of aircrafts south of Bardufoss.

Ehrler took off immediately,

but his radio didn't work.

Captain Dorr, Group Commander, comes in.

We wasn't sure whether they were going

to attack the airport,

or whether they wanna go to the Tirpitz.

But, evidently, when he saw that

they're a little bit to the right of the airport,

he assumed they were going to the Tirpitz.

We were at the Officers' Mess,

and we heard the alarm go at the airport,

which was very close by.

We jumped in the car immediately and drove over there.

And that's when Ehrler was taking off.

And then we gave the car to Gayko,

that he could drive way down,

because all the planes were at the other end of the airport,

and we we were at the starting part of the airport.

(clearing throat)

And then we went to the office,

and Ulrich, who was, Corporal Ulrich,

who was in charge that morning,

was the one who had just heard that it was motor noise,

airplanes, south of Bardufoss.

And so then Dorr made him find out

were they really flying to Bardufoss,

and do we have to defend the airport,

or are we going to, do we have to go to Tromso?

Because they just minutes, or a minute or two ago,

they had heard that Ehrler was taking off.

So, to let's us JU-52 that was coming,

fly in and landed down the hill.

And, so, there was another five minutes lost.

And, all I can tell you,

I have it written down here,

because after 70 years, it's very difficult

to say exactly at what time did who start.

As far as I can remember, and bring together

out of all the reports that I have,

Ehrler started at 9:25.

At 9:30, parts of the 9th Squadron started.

Dorr started at 9:36 when they were all out,

and I started at 9:39.

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