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German Newspaper Account (Voelkischer Beobachter)
The Voelkischer Beobachter newspaper, the self-described "Fight sheet" of the Nazi movement, published an article entitled, "Air battle over the Watt Sea: 17 enemy planes shot down in the vicinity of Wilhelmshaven." German war correspondent Felix Gerbais described the battle and its aftermath. Here are some translated excerpts:
An air battle of exceptional ferocity took place on the 26th of February in which fighters and marine flak artillery emerged victorious with seventeen enemy airplanes shot down.
Wilhelmshaven was the target of the attacking formation of U.S. bombers. The city on the Jade Bay, which has had to withstand several night attacks in the past two weeks, was now targeted for a daylight bombing attack in good visibility. But fighters and marine flak artillery destroyed the enemy's plan, knocked the opponent back, and gave the Americans an idea of the striking power of our aerial defense. The air battle that was fought here ranks as one of the biggest days in the German bay, where once thirty-six enemy bombers were shot down by the Schumacher squadron. This time it was seventeen "four-motors" that found their end in the course of less than an hour. Outside in the Watt Sea, in the swamps, in the meadows, and in the marshes - everywhere lay the rubble of destroyed enemy machines. Already they are covered by the incoming tide or buried deep in the swamp. A flyer reported that the sky at the time was so speckled with white parachutes that one might have assumed that the enemy was dropping paratroopers if it had not been for the firebrand of crashing machines which left no doubt as to their origin. Trucks with prisoners drove quickly through the streets. Out of all regions, captured Americans were rounded up by the police, civil authorities, and military installations.
While enemy planes were hunted and shot down outside the approach to the city, on the coast, and above the Watt Sea and the Ems River, a few of them managed to reach the city of Wilhelmshaven. Encircled by the exploding shells of the marine flak artillery, the bombers indiscriminately unloaded their bombs. Again apartment houses here collapsed, again people were left homeless, and again, almost without exception, civil and public establishments were hit. Above the residential areas bombers were again severely attacked by the marine flak artillery.
As the last enemy bombers reached the wide sea and our fighters flew back to their air bases, we drove to the city of Wilhelmshaven. The population has gone through a lot in recent days. Many times they have been named in armed forces reports as a target of British bombers. But the people have held "their front." They are standing firm on ground made dear by battle and pain. Most of all, they are happy about the success of our fighter pilots and flak artillery gunners and are grateful to them for the battering of the enemy air forces.
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