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A cartoon map of the Berlin Airlift (2)

Updated: Feb 29, 2020

This is the second post on the Airlift Taskforce Times Map. The first post can be found here.


The Berlin Airlift was organised by the Allied Forces after Russia blocked highway, railroad and water access to the Allied-controlled Berlin Sectors on June 24th 1948. A complicated logistic operation, which is depicted in detail on this humorous map


Let's have a look on Berlin. There are three airports in the city of Berlin: Tempelhof, Gatow and Tegel. Additionally, planes were able to land on the river Havel / Lake Wannsee.

American planes (from Rhein-Main Airbase or Wiesbaden Airbase) entered Berlin through the South Corridor, landed at Tempelhof Airport, and returned to their airbases through the Central Corridor.

British planes (from several airbases in the North-West part of Germany) entered Berlin through the North-corridor, landed at the RAF base Gatow, and flew back through the Central Corridor.

When winter fell, and the demand for coal increased, the capacity of these two Berlin airfields proved to be too small. The French assisted by building a completely new airfield in their Zone: Tegel Airfield, which was able to accommodate even the largest planes available. In addition, a new ground radar system was installed at Tempelhof, to increase the frequency of flights.


There was fierce competition between the airbases, especially between the 'bi-zonal' bases of Fassberg and Celle, as is shown on the cartoon map, but also in a cartoon published in the Taskeforce Times.




But it appears it was not only hard work. There seems to have been time for cruising the country, with American cars ('new cars! new cars!'), and 'dependents' arriving through Bremerhaven Port of Embarkation ('BPE'). Other serviceman, hopefully the ones without dependents waiting at home, are enjoying the 'Beer, Wine and Swine' with young German women.





There is much more to see and enjoy on this map. Future posts will focus on the depiction of German towns, road signs at the edges of the map, and the mouse and the whale in the river Rhine.


A coloured version of this map is held at the Persuasive Map Collection of Cornell University.


#coldwar #berlinairlift #aviation



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