Balloonatics: Operation Outward – a balloon knocks out a power station near Leipzig, 12th July 1942

By Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

12th July, 2022

Honest injun it did! Well, according to Wikipedia anyway. It says

On 12 July 1942, a wire-carrying balloon struck a 110 kV power line near Leipzig. A failure in the circuit breaker at the Böhlen power station caused a fire that destroyed the station; this was Outward’s greatest success.


Amazing! Just shows what bit of ingenuity can do. And at no risk to air crews as it was unmanned.

You can read about it yourselves it is quite fascinating. I had no idea that this went on, although I found out earlier this year so I was aware.

Wikipedia says ‘…they had an economic impact on Germany far in excess of the cost to the British government.’

Rather like all the silly lockdown measures which mucked up the economy and people’s businesses, and the wasted useless PPE and vaccines etc., as opposed to saying to people “‘flu’s coming round as usual we recommend you boost your vitamin C and D” which would have been much, much cheaper and actually effective.

Anyway, I thought I would do a post on the operation as it is very unusual although you will see there have been some other attempts with something similar by other countries.

Quotes from main Wikipedia link unless otherwise stated. I suggest you read the article and refer to my selected passages and comments as desired. If you don’t want to do that, what are you doing here? Still, suit yourself.

1          History and development

It was proposed that bomb laden balloons could be launched from France. Their position would be tracked by radio triangulation and the bombs would be released by radio control when the balloon drifted over a worthwhile target. This plan was never put into action; objections included that “attacks of this nature should not be originated from a cricketing country”

So it just wasn’t cricket what? ‘I say chaps, Jerry is a blighter but we must play up and play the game don’t ch yer know. Give him a fair innings too, let him have his turn.’

Of course this makes no allowance for the fact that the Nazis usually like to build something more expensive and complicated like a rocket, or a very, very big gun.

Or even a whopping great tank called a ‘Maus’, which means mouse! You can look it up.

The Air Ministry initially produced a negative report, possibly because the Ministry of Aircraft Production felt balloons would be ineffective weapons and would consume too many resources.

The Ministry of Aircraft Production was initially run by Lord Beaverbrook. I suggest you look him up. He was, among other things, a press baron. Not, quite frankly a good man, and more to the point perhaps arrogant.

I wonder if he thought it was too cheap and if the government realised it would be cheaper than bombers his department would not get much money. And if proper records weren’t kept, where did the money go exactly?

He should be compared to Stafford Cripps who took over. Again I suggest you look him up.

I see an article comparing Beaverbrook to Pratt Handcock (sic).

Or to translate that for the common man, never was so much money spent and wasted for something utterly pointless. Masks etc. don’t work against Covid 19, a.k.a the ‘flu since re-branding in 2020.

I see ‘The Admiralty took up the idea with more enthusiasm.’ Well, the Navy knows about wind and how to apply it as they are sailors, unlike Beaverbrook who was just windy and uncontrollable, a law unto himself as such men are.

The Admiralty concluded that the balloons could short circuit power lines and with the aid of incendiaries cause forest fires to distract German manpower and resources.

Of course forest fires have been occurring in the States. Have the Nazis/communist been behind this?

Yes. Via their cronies of course.

We can’t blame one source, it is a combination of ignorance, mismanagement, greed and deliberate attacks. But don’t blame the Chinese all the time, look to your own house and what is within. The enemy is everywhere and seeks distract you and to divide and conquer.

Carrying on

The Admiralty concluded that the balloons could be produced at very little cost; many of the important parts already existed as surplus materials and despite the needs of conventional barrage balloons, there was plenty of hydrogen gas with which to fill the balloons. The balloons could be used with a small number of British personnel who would face minimal risks.

Takes the Royal Navy to think things through properly. Lateral thinking used, cheap at the price, effective, and lives at very low risk.

2          Design

The balloons used were surplus weather balloons of which the Navy had a stock of 100,000 all carefully stored in French chalk.

Which shows something French can be useful, apart from their wine and cheese! And Gien pottery and Le Creuset cast iron. My wife and I have some of these.

But not their bureaucracy. We have enough of our own. And they can certainly keep Emmanuel ‘God, is he still with us!’ Macron.

Back on subject, apparently these balloons were to carry the following: wire, beer, jelly, socks, lemon, and jam!

Which is a list of 6. Part of 666 perhaps??

2.1      Wire

To short circuit the power lines.

2.2      Beer, jelly and socks

The Germans like beer. Make them drunk perhaps.

I don’t know about Jelly; did the Jerries like Jellies? Make them wobble.

As for socks, well, I suppose this was to ‘sock it’ to them as the saying goes!

2.3      Lemon and jam

Lemon to make the Germans sour. Turn them into sour krauts!

Jam to get them into a sticky mess of course.

3          Deployment

The actual balloon releases took place at the Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club.

This is in Suffolk by the coast on the east of England.

The first launches took place on 20 March 1942. Within days, the British were receiving reports of forest fires near Berlin and Tilsit in East Prussia.

Tilsit is in what is now I understand technically a detached part of Russia and has been renamed. Anyway, it was around 870 miles in a straight line form Felixstowe which is a considerable distance.

This link gives a bit more information

I note ‘Balloon operations could be hazardous, and there were many incidences of launch crew requiring hospital treatment for burns caused by exploding balloons or by mishandling incendiary payloads. The WRNS were equipped with “flash-proof jacket & hood (½ mica & ½ fine copper gauze over the face) + protective cream on hands and fire-proof black gloves”.

Unlike Covid 19 where the wearing of full PPE has been hazardous to nurses and doctors etc. and completely pointless as I mentioned.

Here’s the breakdown of the payloads extracted from the main Wikipedia link.

4          Effects

The wire balloons seemed to have had great success. The Germans tried to shoot down the balloons which used precious fuel and other sources.

The electricity supplies were frequently interrupted.

Then there is the indirect cause of the destruction of a power station. Which perhaps vindicates the chaos theory. Launch a balloon and somewhere you shut down a locality.

In the case of Covid 19 rename the ‘flu and shut down the world. At least shut down some countries, especially those who fought against the Germans in WW2.

It has been very difficult to assess the effect of the incendiary devices, but it is reasonable to assume something useful will have come from them.

5          End of the operation

Well, they reached 1,000 balloons in August 1942 and even got up to 1,800. They were suspended when large scale air raids on Germany were undertaken for I hope obvious reasons.

Mass launches were reduced in May 1944 in the prelude to D-Day due to increased Allied air activity. There was also the issue of tackling the V1 flying bombs.

Summary and conclusions

Well, despite the ‘It’s not cricket!’ cry from some, a cheap crude but effective weapon was used at minimal risk to service personnel.

It will take another post to look at the effectiveness of the aircraft bombing campaign against Germany, but how many lives were unnecessarily lost because somebody thought that bombers were the way to go.

And how much was it fuelled by the greed of those who made money out of the war? Much I am sorry to say.

But nothing changes. The same goes on today. As I have said, the war in Ukraine is as much fuelled by the same, coupled with a largely ignorant populace as to what is really going on.

Indeed, all wars are much about that. It is written

‘You crave what you do not have; you kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.’

It is not just wars of guns, tanks and planes but medical wars too. As I mention at the beginning think about all that wasted useless PPE and vaccines etc., causing more harm than good (in the case of vaccines, no good at all only a foolish perception of good).

Anyway, this Covid 19 war is on the turn as I have said before. In North Africa, Rommel, the Rome-el or Rome angel, is stalled and digging in with his army.

There will be some more attempts by him to break through but they will fail.

The war in Russia seems to be going well for the Nazis but it will be their death knell at Stalingrad.

The Japanese were starting to struggle and had by and large reached their furthest extent in their conquests as far as I can gather.

So look up, things are improving, evil is stalling in this Covid 19 war, but there is still much still to do and this time the work must be complete.

Take heart everybody, angels seen and unseen!

P.S. I thought perhaps you might like this.

NENA | 99 Red Balloons [1984] (Official HD Music Video)

This was one of the songs in the ’80s to make a point about the brinkmanship and paranoia/hysteria surrounding the issue of war. The song talks about Nena and the listener buying 99 Balloons in a shop and letting them go, for fun. These balloons show up on the radar as unidentified objects and both sides scramble planes and go to full alert to counteract a perceived nuclear attack, when in fact it is the most childlike of things, a bunch of balloons.

Or if you are a child or have a child like heart like me why not this?

The Wiggles: Dance With Your Balloon | Kids Songs

Author: alphaandomega21

Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector'sson. When not posting pages or paging posties, trying to be a good husband, and getting over a long term health issue, I am putting the world to rights. I have nothing better to do, so why not? But of course that includes dancing, being funny (in more than one sense), poking fun at life, poking fun at myself, deflating the pompous, reflating the sad. Seeking to heal the whole of the soul (and body where possible). In short making life as good as it possibly can be for others as well as myself. You can't say fairer than that. But if you can, please say. People need to know.

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