National Geographic : 1949 May
601 U. S. Air Force. Official Roaring into Tempelhof, Airlift Pilots Look Down upon Roofless Fire-blackened Ruins Ninety minutes by air from Frankfurt, Tempel hof is one of three fields where trucks meet incom ing planes and speed their life-giving cargoes to 2,100,000 Berliners threatened by cold and famine. In hundreds of USAF and RAF attacks on Berlin during World War II, many bombs aimed at Tem pelhof missed their mark and smashed buildings surrounding the airdrome. Between the shattered structures are dark patches of ground where rubble has been cleared to make way for vegetable gardens. Major landing hazard is a 7-story apartment building (not shown in picture) which looms up just as pilots let down to hit the runway (upper right). Another obstacle is a 400-foot brewery smokestack which remains standing despite Allied raids and the earlier efforts of Marshal Hermann Goering to remove it when Tempelhof was a Luft waffe base. Tempelhof's administration building (center) contains 5,000 offices. Connecting with it and forming an arc at one end of the field are dozens of waiting rooms, shops, and hangars where C-54s and larger planes can park under cover. When the airlift started, engineers warned that Tempelhof's single runway would not last more than 60 days under the pounding of heavily loaded planes. Bulldozers, graders, and other heavy ma chinery were shipped to Frankfurt and cut up with oxyacetylene torches. Then the pieces were flown to Tempelhof and welded into the machines that built two more runways and began a new airfield at Tegel, in Berlin's French sector.