Chronology of the Berlin Airlift

During the Berlin Blockade and the Airlift in the years 1948 and 1949, one can find a great deal of data and many events worth mentioning. So much so, that we can only provide you with a selection here.


June 19-29: All land, rail and water connections between the western zones of occupation and Berlin are blocked.
Juni 21-28: On average 38 American airplanes per day fly to Berlin in order to supply the American troops in the city.
June 25: The first British airplanes are transferred from England to Wunstorf.
June 25: Official beginning of the American “Operation Vittles”.
June 28: The Americans and British fly in the first goods destined for the population of Berlin – a total of 268 tons* on this day.
July 9: Three fatalities in conjunction with the first deadly accident, as an American C-47 crashes in the vicinity of Wiesbaden.
July 27: The first chartered flight by a British private airline company takes part in the Airlift.
July 29: General William Tunner arrives at Wiesbaden and sets up headquarters.
August 12: With 707 flights, over 4,724 tons of supplies are flown into Berlin. In so doing, the Anglo-American air fleet surpasses the 4,500 ton mark for the first time, representing the targeted minimum daily tonnage requirement for the city.
Sept. 19: The RAF’s (Royal Air Force) first fatal accident. Five people die in a crash at Wunstorf.
October 14: Establishment of the Combined Airlift Task Force (CALTF) under the American General William Tunner as Supreme Commander, and the British Air-Commodore Merer as Deputy Commander.
November 5: The first airplane lands at the new Tegel airport, constructed in only three months.
December 16: French combat engineer units detonate the tower of a Soviet-controlled radio transmitter that had been obstructing the flight path into Tegel airport.


February 18: The 1,000,000th ton* since the start of the Airlift reaches Berlin.
February 26: On this day, more than 8,000 tons are flown to Berlin in 902 flights.
March 11.: The Royal Air Force (RAF) flies the 50,000th civilian out of Berlin.
April16: The absolute highpoint of the entire Airlift is achieved in the so-called Easter Parade. In 1,398 flights, more than 12,940 tons are flown to Berlin within 24 hours, so that on average an airplane loaded with supplies landed every 62 seconds.
May 12: The blockade of Berlin is lifted. Automobiles and trains can again travel into the city. The Airlift to Berlin is nonetheless continued.
June 26: The Airlift continues until ample reserves exist in the city.
July 2: The 2,000,000th ton is flown to Berlin via the Airlift.
August 1: The official deconstruction of the Airlift facilities begins.
Sept. 30: Last Airlift flight to Berlin by the U.S. Air Force.
October 6: Last Airlift flight to Berlin by the British RAF.

* All figures mentioned in the chronology in tons are in U.S. short tons (1 short ton = 907 kilograms)