Allied soldiers preparing leaflet-balloons

The balloon method

It wasn't just the RAF that did spread leaflets. There were also the so-called Balloon-Units of the British Army. The prevailling West-winds over Europe made the use of balloons possible. German fighter airplanes shot down as many as they could, but most did get through.

One drawback: lots of leaflets didn't get on the exact target place. In my collection there is a leaflet aimed at France. But the specific leaflet was found in Tilburg (in the south of the Netherlands)!!!

A leaflet balloon consisted of the balloon with a package of leaflets tied underneath. In the leaflets was a small hole through wich a rope was led. A special fuse caused the rope to burn on a calculated moment. The leaflets dropped.
Shortly after that, an explosive charge destroyed the balloon.

I know of one occasion that a balloon came down in the south of the Netherlands with the leaflets still tied underneath it. A couple of young boys found it and removed some of the leaflets (By the way: The leaflets were of a postcard type with a forged German postage stamp affixed!!!). After the removal of the leaflets, the boys went of to get some friends and show them their balloon. They just were away from the balloon a few meters as it exploded with a loud bang. They got away without injure (but with a deep respect for propaganda balloons)!!!

The picture shows how a balloon is prepared for take-off in Belgium (end of 1944). The balloon itself can't be seen. Just over the leaflet package you can see the sack that was pulled over the leaflets to protect them against rain. On top of the leaflets is the curved, slow burning, fuse that burnes the leaflet-holding rope.
In the background you can see two other balloons being prepared!

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Leaflet campaigns Italy:
"A typical souvenir"

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Propaganda leaflets of the second World War

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Copyright 1996-2008, Hans Moonen, The Netherlands.
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