"What Do You Remember Most . . . ?"
Some years ago a certain Commandant of the Marine Corps – who shall remain nameless – was nearing retirement after a long and honorable career.
As his final day on active duty approached, one of the Commandant’s closest friends asked, “What do you remember most about your years as Commandant?”
The general thought for a moment, and then replied, “The smell of fresh paint,” recalling how often his visits to Marine installations seemed quite “incidentally” to coincide with lavish sprucings up of the post.
Very late on July 12, 1944, a Luftwaffe pilot based in the Netherlands took off in a specially equipped Junkers Ju-88G night fighter bound for a base in Germany, where some technical modifications were to be made to the aircraft.
Unfortunately, the young man was rather ill-trained. Misreading his compass, he flew west instead of east. After some time, he spotted an airfield, and, although unable to raise the air controllers on his radio, proceeded to land. To his great embarrassment, it turned out to be the R.A.F. base at Woodbridge, in Suffolk.
As some much amused R.A.F. men took the young man into custody, other airmen and an assortment of “boffins” (i.e., science types) were soon swarming over the aircraft. Of late the Luftwaffe’s night fighters had been unpleasantly successful, and the R.A.F. wanted to know why.
The reasons were quickly evident. The Ju-88G was equipped with two new pieces of electronic equipment, the SN-2 radar and the “Flensburg” homing device. The Brits quickly organized a series of tests to determine the capabilities and vulnerabilities of these equipments. It turned out that the SN-2 radar could be readily “foiled” by window, while the “Flensburg” device actually homed in on the tail warning radar installed in all Bomber Command aircraft, which were promptly disconnected.
So the unnamed pilot’s little mistake in navigation cost the Luftwaffe dearly.