Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Danger of Air Raids

It is only natural that my gentle readers, Londoners especially, might feel particularly fearful of air raids, given the current climate. This was not always so. When the war began, one had no more fear of Boche bombs falling over England than of a lightning strike. Indeed, the latter seemed far more likely than the former. Such naive views were clearly displayed even in our own newspapers, as the following, amusing sketch demonstrates.

But even in a time of such naivete with regards to the dangers posed by the Hun and his fleet of bombing aeroplanes, one can find certain knowledge of the advances in technology which led to our present situation. Indeed, in that very same sketch, one can see the ape-like Hun clinging to a bomb of new design.

The Roland bomb-dropping apparatus, designed by the Luftfahrzeug-Gesellschaft, weighs a mere fifteen pounds, but is capable of dropping three bombs of substantial power atop the heads of innocent British women and children. Moreover, it is easily refilled, enabling the devious Hun to perform many bombing raids in a single evening. Note the similarity in appearance between the Roland bomb-dropping apparatus, and the bombs being held by the Teutonic ape in the aforementioned sketch.

These and other methods have been used by the Boche to drop bombs on our soldiers and civilians alike. However, it has long been the Zeppelin which posed the greatest threat to civilians, living far back from the front. The range of the German airships, coupled with their great bomb-carrying capacity has long sent Londoners scurrying into tube tunnels, desperate to escape the incessant bombardment. New advances in aeroplanes, including our own Sopwith Comic night-fighters have sent many a Zeppelin down in flames. But now, the threat of aerial bombardment has changed shape yet again, in the form of advanced Hun technology in the accurate delivery of their deadly cargo.

The Goerz rangefinder, as pictured below, is the newest in a long line of Teutonic technological developments aimed at sapping the will of the British citizen to pursue this war to its conclusion.

This device is designed to compensate for the natural drift inherent in dropping a bomb from an aeroplane. As aeroplanes move through the air with a great deal of speed - some one-hundred miles to the hour, in many cases, the bombs themselves are imparted with that same speed on the moment they are dropped. The result is that they travel not straight down, as those ignorant of aeronautical matters might imagine, but rather in a curving trajectory, seen here in this diagram.

In order to compensate scientifically for this phenomenon, the Boche have mounted their Goerz bombsights in a great number of Gotha aeroplanes - the very machines which have lately wrought such devastation on the innocent inhabitants of London. One can see from this diagram, the position in which the Goerz bombsight is mounted, thus allowing the Hun bombadiers to effectively drop their bombs on their favored targets - Hospitals, Churches, and Primary Schools.

How then are our demure young ladies and innocent children to be protected? Well, barring the timely intervention of our Sopwith Comics, the government has produced the following announcement, to allay public fears and to minimize casualties in the event of a Boche air raid:

The results of last night's air raid bear out the importance of persons in the open taking the best available cover as soon as they know a raid is proceeding. The comparative lightness of the casualties may be attributed in large measure to most persons having been under cover. Persons in the open run greater risks than those under cover, and when the simple precaution of going indoors and, wherever possible, moving to a lower floor affords a greater chance of safety, it is folly to remain in the open out of curiosity or bravado.

Moreover, the government would have you understand clearly the following procedure in the event of an air raid:

As soon as it is clear that a raid is proceeding take the best available cover near at hand by entering the nearest building. Do not wait for the explosion of bombs, as one never knows where the next one may fall.

A doorway or open archway, though some protection, is not good cover, as it does not give security from fragments of a bomb exploding on the ground or flying debris. It must also be remembered that injuries are sometimes caused by our own gunfire, and this can only be avoided by taking cover.

If you are in a building on an upper floor, go downstairs in order to have the best available cover overhead. Avoid positions under skylights, and do not look out of the windows, but keep where you will be out of the line of fragments of metal or debris, which may enter by a window or a door if a bomb should explode outside.

So there you are. Keep under cover, keep a stiff upper lip, and remember to beware the Hun in the Sun.

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