Germany decreed January 30, 1943 —the ten-year anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power—as a day of celebration. Berlin would host rallies, and Reich Marshal Hermann Goering’s address from the Air Ministry building would be broadcast throughout the Third Reich.
Elements of Britain’s Royal Air Force would also be in attendance: In an attack unlike any before or since, the British sought to silence Nazi leadership with a loud aerial intrusion designed to humiliate. Under gray skies, a trio of speeding de Havilland Mosquito bombers from No. 105 Squadron entered Berlin’s air- space at precisely 11 a.m.—the moment Goering was scheduled to begin speaking.
When the bombs and the British engines intruded on the broadcast of Goering’s speech, radio engineers cut his feed and scrambled for safety. A bewildered German public instead heard the cacophony of bombers, which was soon replaced on their radios with a crackly recording of marching band music. It was more than an hour before a furious Goering returned to the airwaves.
Hours later, Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels hailed the Nazi faithful at Berlin’s largest indoor sports venue, his address also set for broadcast. Three more Mosquitos, this time from the RAF’s No. 139 Squadron, appeared on cue. Still, Goebbels continued his speech, and this time the anxious audio engineers stayed with the broadcast. Though one Mosquito went down under fire, the United Press lauded the success of the “daring raid” that proved the Allies could hit practically anywhere at any time.