By Philip Vickers
The notorious SS Das Reich department was once resting in Montauban, South West France while the Allies invaded Normandy in June 1944. whilst ordered to hurry North, they bumped into a chain of French Resistance, SAS and SOE delaying activities. This ruthless department reacted violently and their reprisals culminated within the bloodbath at Oradour. This publication tells the tale of these heroic and tragic days from the British, French and German viewpoints.
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Additional resources for Das Reich: 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich": Drive to Normandy, June 1944
Dowding’s Battle of Britain Despatch highlighted another constraint on installation eﬃciency: ‘So far as our Fighters were concerned, the wing tanks in the Hurricane were removed and covered with a fabric known as Linatex which had fairly good self-sealing characteristics. The reserve tank in the fuselage was left uncovered as it was diﬃcult of access, and it was thought that it would be substantially protected by the armour which had been fitted. ’20 Although there were a number of factors that aggravated pilot burn injuries (pilots often discarded goggles and gloves that would otherwise have protected their hands and eyes, and their clothing was often impreg48 RECONSTRUCTION MAKE-UP 27/7/04 10:56 Page 49 WAYNE'S G3 WAYNE'S G3: WAYNE'S JOBS:8907 - GRE T H E B U R N I N G B LU E nated with oil from assisting ground crew with rapid aircraft turnarounds), the Dowding Despatch alludes to the possibility that certain aspects of fighter design itself may have made the problem of fire worse.
Gillies went to Park Prewitt Hospital in Basingstoke, Mowlem to Hill End in St Albans, Kilner to Roehampton, 56 RECONSTRUCTION MAKE-UP 27/7/04 10:56 Page 57 WAYNE'S G3 WAYNE'S G3: WAYNE'S JOBS:8907 - GRE A B OV E A L L , A L I V E and McIndoe to East Grinstead and the RAF. In addition to the designated military casualties, all four were expecting to deal with the predicted mass civilian casualties of German bomber attacks. As few of Sir Archibald’s private papers survive there is no way of knowing when he became aware of the scale of the problem of burn injuries.
As soon as he released the pin he fell out of his Hurricane. He estimated that it took him 15–20 seconds to get out but that he could have been quicker but for the trouble with his release pin. His severe burns were obviously aggravated by the extra time spent in the flame-filled cockpit of his aircraft. David Hunt, a New Zealander, had experienced a similar problem with a jammed cockpit but his father owned a company that manufactured axes that could withstand high temperatures and voltages, and who insisted that his son mount one in the cockpit of his Hurricane.
Das Reich: 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich": Drive to Normandy, June 1944 by Philip Vickers