>>>I don't know if this helps anyone with the issue of the dove
but it might contribute to the understanding of what Eliot might
as he stared up into the skies over London at this time.
I also hope this post doesn't sound patronizing in any
way. I saw the opportunity
to make use of an esoteric knowledge and "hobby"
that I doubt will pass my way
again soon--those dusty WWII history books
seem a little more valuable and
the time spent pouring over them a little
Thank you very much for sharing all that - I myself
know less about the 'technical' aspect of the Blitz, and my post was partly
meant to have somebody like you come forward with more details
about bombing tactics.
More specifically, thanks for the info on
low-flying bombers that not only dropped bombs but also used machine gun (this
is how the dove's 'flickering tongue' makes sense, I guess).
On the issue of night/air raids: I think Eliot
mostly had the latter in mind - see, after all, 'the ending of interminable
night'. Insomnia was widespread, of course, it wasn't just the air-raid wardens
who lacked sleep. I think most of Little Gidding was composed after the
Luftwaffe decided to concentrate on night raids. You mention September
1940. The shift may have come a little later, but it became clear fairly quickly
that daytime raids involved too many losses.