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FReeper Canteen ~ The Berlin Airlift ~ Part 1: The Beginning ~ 28 November 2022
Serving The Best Troops and Veterans In The World !! | The Canteen Crew

Posted on 11/27/2022 5:01:50 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska

Our Troops Rock!  Thank you for all you do!
For the freedom you enjoyed yesterday... Thank the Veterans who served in The United States Armed Forces.
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~ Hall of Heroes ~

The Berlin Airlift
Part 1:  The Beginning

All info and photos from this website.

ArmyPatch small   Marine small   Air Force Seal   Air Force   Coast Guard Seal small (better)

The Berlin Airlift

At the end of WWII, a defeated Germany was divided amongst the victors, the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France. The Soviet Union took control of the Eastern half of Germany, the Western half was divided amongst the US, Great Britain, and France. Like the rest of the country, the capital city of Berlin, sitting dead in the middle of the Soviet-controlled Eastern half, was also divided into four parts, one half being Soviet controlled, and the rest divided amongst the others. A four-power provisional government, called the Allied Control Council, was installed in Berlin.  This union of governments was to control and rebuild the city of Berlin.


By 1948, it became apparent that the Western Powers (Great Britain, France, and US) plan to rebuild Germany differed from the Soviet Union's plan. Currency, German Unification, Soviet War reparations, and mere ideology were among the many differences the two sides had. There would be no compromise. As a result, Stalin wanted them out of Berlin.  In early 1948, tensions between the once former Allies climaxed.  On April 9, 1948, Stalin ordered all American Military personnel maintaining communications equipment out of the Eastern Zone (Soviet controlled Berlin).  Trains were halted on June 1and June10.  On June 21, the Soviets halted a US Military Supply Train and refused it passage to Berlin.  On the 22nd, they placed armed guards aboard, attached a Soviet engine and hauled it back to Western Germany.  In a final move to spurn the Americans, British, and French out, on June 24, 1948, all land and water access to West Berlin was cut off by the Soviets.  There were to be no more supplies from the West.  What was going to happen?  Where were the necessary supplies going to come from for the Occupation Forces?  For that matter, where were the supplies for the 2,008,943 Berliners going to come from?  It was a grave situation.

General Lucius Clay                          Sir Brian Robertson                             General Curt LeMay                       Brig. General Joseph Smith

The Allies were certainly not going to stand for this. Diplomacy failed, Ground invasions were planned, and World War 3 was on the brink of existence.  US Military Commander Lucius Clay had developed a plan by which an armed convoy through Soviet Controlled Germany would break the blockade.  This action would certainly create a war.

A Douglas C-47, the military version of the DC-3.  It is capable of hauling 3.5 tons of cargo.



However, British Commander Sir Brian Robertson offered an alternative: supply the city by air.  A daunting task.  Supplying the Occupation forces of 2,2679 was easy, but the entire population?  The only aircraft the Americans had available for the task were 5 year old Douglas C-47 Skytrains, which would only hold 3.5 tons each.  After some consultation, the decision was made: it was worth a try.  Earlier in April, US Forces airlifted in supplies to replace the ones being delayed by the Soviets.  This was what became known as the "Little Lift".  West Berlin had two airports, Tempelhof, which was Berlin's main airport and located in the American Sector, and Gatow, in the British Sector.  Supplies could be airlifted in by C-47 and there was nothing the Soviet Union could do about because, in 1945, someone had foresight.  On November 30, 1945, it was agreed, in writing, that there would be three 20-mile wide air corridors providing access to the city. These were unarguable. 

When the blockade began, the Soviets rejoiced, because they believed the Western powers had only one option, to leave Berlin.  But they underestimated the West airlift supplies.  Gen. Clay called upon General Curtis E. LeMay, commander of USAFE and asked him if he could haul supplies to Berlin.  LeMay responded, "We can haul anything".  Two days later Gen. LeMay called upon Brig. Gen. Joseph Smith, Commander of the Wiesbaden Military Post, and appointed him Task Force Commander of an airlift operation estimated to last a few weeks.  The only US aircraft initially available were 102 C-47's and 2 C-54 Skymasters.  On June 26, the first C-47's landed at Tempelhof Airfield, foreshadowing the great operation that was to come.  Smith dubbed the mission "Operation Vittles", because he said "We're haulin' grub."  The British called their part "Operation Plane Fare". 

It was determined that the city's daily food ration would be 646 tons of flour and wheat; 125 tons of cereal; 64 tons of fat; 109 tons of meat and fish; 180 tons of dehydrated potatoes; 180 tons of sugar; 11 tons of coffee; 19 tons of powdered milk; 5 tons of whole milk for children; 3 tons of fresh yeast for baking; 144 tons of dehydrated vegetables; 38 tons of salt; and 10 tons of cheese.  In total, 1,534 tons were needed daily to keep the over 2 million people alive.  That's not including other necessities, like coal and fuel.  In fact, the largest quantity of anything required was coal.  It wasn't needed to heat homes as much as it was necessary for industry.  In addition, there was limited electricity, because the city's power plant was located in the Soviet sector, so that was cut off, too.  It was determined that in total supplies, 3,475 tons would be needed daily.  A C-47 can haul 3.5 tons.  In order to supply the people of Berliners, C-47's would have to make 1000 flights each day.  Impossible. 

Initially, Gen. Clay determined that, with the limited number of airplanes available to him, he could haul about 300 tons of supplies a day, the British effort, was estimated to be capable of 750 tons a day.  This leaves a 2,425-ton deficit daily.  Realizing that this kind of tonnage could not be achieved using C-47's, Gen. Clay and Gen. LeMay made requests for more C-54's, for they could carry over three times more cargo than C-47's.  On June 27, an additional 52 Skymasters were ordered to Berlin.

A Douglas C-54 Skymaster.  It was capable of hauling 10 tons, almost
3 times as much cargo as its predecessor, the C-47.

 This particular C-54 called "Spirit of Freedom" TM, is currently operated
by the Foundation as a flying museum about the Airlift.


On June 28, President Truman made a statement that abandoning Berlin was out of the question.  He then ordered US B-29 Superfortresses to be stationed at British airfields to show the Soviets that the Western powers were not taking this lightly.  We would not abandon these people!

By July 1, C-54's were slowly taking over airlift flights, and they were operating 24 hours a day.  Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfort was made exclusive C-54 base, and Wiesbaden was a mix of C-54's and C-47's.  To accommodate these two different aircraft, General smith established a block system, giving the bigger, faster C-54's priority.  They were also given radio codes to identify each type and the direction it was going.  C-47's going East to Berlin were called "Easy", returning C-47's traveling West, were called "Willie".  C-54's had the names 'Big Easy' and "Big Willie".  Aircraft were also given a spacing of three minutes apart. 

The size of the operation had to be increased in order to sufficiently supply this city and keep these people going.  It needed to be commanded by someone who had expertise in air transport.  That man came in the form of Maj. General William H. Tunner.  He was revered as "The transportation expert to end all transportation experts" by LeMay.  Tunner had previously established the Ferrying Command in WWII, and successfully organized and commanded the "Hump" operation into China near the end of the war.  His reputation was not falsely earned.  Tunner hated to see airplanes parked on the ramp not being utilized. This was a waste to him.  He longed for efficiency and was about to set the standard for all that followed.

....Continued next week.....


Please remember the Canteen is here to honor, support and entertain our troops and their families.  This is a politics-free zone!  Thanks for helping us in our mission!

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: berlinairlift; canteen; military; troopsupport
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1 posted on 11/27/2022 5:01:50 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska
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To: MoJo2001; 007; 1 FELLOW FREEPER; 11B3; 1FreeAmerican; 1stbn27; 2111USMC; 2LT Radix jr; 300winmag; ..

~ The Berlin Airlift ~ Part 1: the Beginning ~


Showing support and boosting the morale of
our military and our allies' military
and the family members of the above.
Honoring those who have served before.


CLICK FOR Current local times around the world

CLICK FOR local times in Seoul, Baghdad, Kabul,
New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Anchorage

To every service man or woman reading this thread.
Thank You for your service to our country.
No matter where you are stationed,
No matter what your job description
Know that we are are proud of each and everyone of you.

To our military readers, we remain steadfast
in keeping the Canteen doors open.

The FR Canteen is Free Republic's longest running daily thread
specifically designed to provide entertainment and moral support for the military.

The doors have been open since Oct 7 2001,
the day of the start of the war in Afghanistan.

We are indebted to you for your sacrifices for our Freedom.

Posted daily and on the Music Thread
for the enjoyment of our troops and visitors.

2 posted on 11/27/2022 5:29:30 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: The Mayor; PROCON; mylife; mountainlion; Publius; Jet Jaguar; ConorMacNessa; ...

Hello Veterans, wherever you are!!

3 posted on 11/27/2022 5:40:38 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: Kathy in Alaska

My dad was assigned to Rhine Main in 1964 while in the USAF. He had several luftwaffe counterpart coworkers. We met and socialized with their families. The parents had still fresh memories of the Berlin Airlift and expressed a huge amount of gratitude to their American friends. We felt very welcomed.

4 posted on 11/27/2022 5:42:25 PM PST by pfflier
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To: Kathy in Alaska

Our Daily Bread

November 28, 2022

Walk with Me
Read: Titus 2:11–14

The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. Titus 2:11

A few years ago, a popular song hit the charts, with a gospel choir singing the chorus, “Jesus walks with me.” Behind the lyrics lies a powerful story.

The choir was started by jazz musician Curtis Lundy when he entered a treatment program for cocaine addiction. Drawing fellow addicts together and finding inspiration in an old hymnal, he wrote that chorus as a hymn of hope for those in rehab. “We were singing for our lives,” one choir member says of the song. “We were asking Jesus to save us, to help us get out of the drugs.” Another found that her chronic pain subsided when she sang the song. That choir wasn’t just singing words on a sheet but offering desperate prayers for redemption.

Today’s Scripture reading describes their experience well. In Christ, our God has appeared to offer salvation to all people (Titus 2:11). While eternal life is part of this gift (v. 13), God is working on us now, empowering us to regain self-control, say no to worldly passions, and redeem us for life with Him (vv. 12, 14). As the choir members found, Jesus doesn’t just forgive our sins—He frees us from destructive lifestyles.

Jesus walks with me. And you. And anyone who cries out to Him for help. He’s with us, offering hope for the future and salvation now.Sheridan Voysey

What do you need Jesus to change in you today? How desperate are you for Him to do it?

Dear Jesus, I need You. Forgive my sins, free me from destructive habits, and change me from the inside out.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 33–34; 1 Peter 5

5 posted on 11/27/2022 5:44:59 PM PST by The Mayor (“Love the Lord your God,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39))
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To: pfflier
WOW! Your family was able to share some history first hand.

We thank both you and your Dad for your service to our country.

6 posted on 11/27/2022 6:11:13 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: The Mayor

Good evening, Mayor, and thank you for today’s sustenance for body and soul.

Now it’s a new week and back to work. Stay warm!

7 posted on 11/27/2022 6:20:20 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: Kathy in Alaska

Evening, Kathy. Love the history lessons!

8 posted on 11/27/2022 6:23:03 PM PST by MoochPooch (I'm a compassionate cynic.)
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To: Kathy in Alaska

That was some well-written and well-edited history. Thank you.

9 posted on 11/27/2022 6:27:48 PM PST by Monterrosa-24 (To the barricades !!!)
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To: MoochPooch

Good evening, Mooch...The Berlin Airlift is a piece of history that needs to be remembered and retold.

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and good weather.

We are in single digits for a few days, but we have a little snow on the ground. A bit more snow would be nice to protect the pipes as the 6+” we had is mostly gone.

10 posted on 11/27/2022 6:47:00 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: Kathy in Alaska

Staying warm is job number one here.
Thank you for the nightly threads Kathy!
God Bless my friend

11 posted on 11/27/2022 7:03:01 PM PST by The Mayor (“Love the Lord your God,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39))
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To: Kathy in Alaska

I was in the air traffic control facility (RAPCON, radar approach control) at Tempelhof. We worked approach control for Tegel and Gatow. Mostly we just cleared them for a visual approach, and sent them on their way. We controlled the 3 corridors going into West Berlin. The Russians generally stayed out of the corridors, but we had one radar scope, dedicated to keeping an eye on the Russians, so they couldn’t try any crap, and lie about it. 🤪😆

12 posted on 11/27/2022 7:03:51 PM PST by Mark17 (Retired USAF air traffic controller. Father of USAF pilot. USAF aviation runs in the family )
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To: Monterrosa-24

Good evening, Monterrosa-24...glad you enjoyed Part 1 of The Berlin Airlift. 3 more parts to come over the next few weeks.

13 posted on 11/27/2022 7:12:25 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: Mark17
Good evening, Mark17...We worked approach control for Tegel and Gatow.

Keeping an eye on the Russians was a good plan! LOL!

14 posted on 11/27/2022 7:37:46 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: Kathy in Alaska

Hello, Kathy,

This is a great article. THANKS. I knew about the event, of course, but, I am astonished by the numbers involved! A logistical Herculean task. It was a mind boggling accomplishment requiring literally an army of participants, and co-ordination. Not just the “Can Do!”, mindset of the American and British Air Forces, but, their “Will Do!”, dauntless determination to accomplish the the very same Air Forces that had bombed Germany back to the stone age! As our beloved Jarheads say, “YOUR BEST FRIENDS, OR YOUR WORST ENEMIES!”



15 posted on 11/27/2022 7:38:19 PM PST by TigerHawk (The Raised Middle Finger in the Clenched Fist of the World!)
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To: Kathy in Alaska

My favorite Christmas story.

16 posted on 11/27/2022 8:03:03 PM PST by luvie (🇺🇸The bravery/dedication of our troops keeping us safe & free make me proud to be an American.🇺🇸)
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To: TigerHawk

Glad you enjoyed Part 1, TigerHawk. Herculean task is a very good description.

Yes, we are snug in houses that have our heat restored. LOL!!

17 posted on 11/27/2022 8:06:13 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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To: Kathy in Alaska


18 posted on 11/27/2022 8:31:55 PM PST by Silentgypsy (In my defense, I was left unsupervised.)
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To: Kathy in Alaska; luvie; HiJinx; AZamericonnie; Jet Jaguar; SandRat; laurenmarlowe; beachn4fun; ...

Greetings to all at the Canteen!

To all our military men and women, past and present,

for your service!

19 posted on 11/27/2022 8:53:50 PM PST by radu (God bless our military men and women, past and present)
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To: Mark17
And we thank father, air traffic controller, and son, pilot, for their service to our country.

20 posted on 11/27/2022 9:04:48 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska ((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~))
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