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BBC Programme : Battle of Britain - The True Story

Auld-Yin

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#1
This programme, based on James Holland's excellent book of the Battle (reviewed here) is being shown on BBC on Wednesday. We were asked if we would preview the programme and write a review of it. Without giving too much away Pararegtom has done just that. So to whet your apetites:

Battle of Britain – The Real Story

When you see that James Holland is involved in a project, you know that it will be fully researched, full of insight and very watchable, “The Battle of Britain - the real story".

This film will not disappoint and covers all aspects of the Battle of Britain, not only the aerial war. Starting at Trent Park, North London, where captured Luftwaffe pilots were taken for questioning and secretly bugged, before being sent on to POW camps. Then the interviews with surviving RAF and Luftwaffe pilots, and the famous question which aircraft was better, the British Spitfire or the German M109E, the facts and results will astound you. The Pilots of both sides talk of the imminent Invasion of Britain and how this will affect the outcome of the war. The genius of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding in organising the infrastructure of fighter command, and taking the battle to the enemy.

Then to Dover and Portsmouth, discussing the Naval side of the Battle of Britain, the effect of the attacks by u boats, on convoys and the British/Commonwealth trawlers converted to fighting ships, with before unseen footage of the S -130 Schnell Boats.

The interviews with 2 Female factory workers, 1 British and 1 German, gives the viewer an understanding of the work conditions and pressures from bombing raids that civilians were under, in the dark days of the summer in 1940.

James discovers the diary of a young Luftwaffe pilot at the Tagebuch Archiv. This provides a stunning insight into the life on German airfields and illuminate the human aspect of a Luftwaffe pilot, countering the common representation of Nazi automatons.

In my review I have covered just a some of the fascinating, topics that James and his team of experts cover. The film is well worth watching for many reasons, be it to pay homage to "The Few" on this the 70th anniversary or you are interested in military history. Battle of Britain the real story will entertain you and inform you.

Pararegtom

BBC 2 Wednesday 22 September 20:00 (21:30 in Scotland)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00txmkk
 
#2
Thanks for the heads up. It's a must-watch. I wonder if they'll show my favourite Battle of Britain picture?

The Brylcreem Boys have an iconic place in British culture: zooming about in Spitfires over the Garden of England, taking the fight to the Nazi beast, 175,000 of whom were massing in French ports waiting for air supremacy so they could board the invasion barges.

Of all the photographs of the Battle of Britain one stands out for me: Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC, taken during September 1940.



The exhaustion on his face. His eyes look like they've been punched. His hair blown about by propeller wash. The set of his mouth and jaw – a determined man doing his duty. His extreme youth: a squadron leader at twenty-three.

On the right of the picture is George Unwin, one of the most aggressive and successful fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain. He was twice awarded the DFM, one of only 60 men to receive the double award during the Second World War.

George Unwin, the son of a Yorkshire miner, refused initially to apply for a commission, preferring to fight as a flight sergeant. In the end he relented but his working class roots failed to impress the snobby selection panel.

A colleague then told him that an interest in horses might help, so at his next interview he waxed lyrical about his love of all things equestrian. He failed to mention that he was referring to pit ponies at his father's mine. But the snobs were persuaded and he became a pilot officer in July 1941.

The Face of the Battle of Britain
 
#4
Given current hysteria about a few excitable Muslims with beards, it's worth recalling that seventy years ago 175,000 heavily armed Germans, with supremely high morale - they'd just rolled over most of Europe - were massing in French ports 20 miles from Dover waiting to board the invasion barges once the RAF was knocked out. I think that makes the modern anti-Muslim crew, shivering behind their Daily Mails, making up lies about a "Muslim Caliphate" to deliciously frighten themselves, look a bit cowardly and un-patriotic. They should get a grip and remember what a real national emergency looked like.
 

Pararegtom

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Auld-yin Why is it being shown in Scotland, at 2130 so you can get home from the pub, or the tinternet signal thingy is backword up there in the hills?
 
#7
Thanks for the heads up. It's a must-watch. I wonder if they'll show my favourite Battle of Britain picture?
Just to add some info to that amazing photograph. Brian Lane was killed a year after it was taken, shot down over the North Sea, 13th Dec 1942 but George Unwin survived the war, won a DSO flying in Malaya to go with his DFM and Bar and retired as a Wing Commander in 1961.

He died from natural causes at the age of ninety three in 2006.

The fortunes of war summed up in a single pic.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#8
Auld-yin Why is it being shown in Scotland, at 2130 so you can get home from the pub, or the tinternet signal thingy is backword up there in the hills?
Cheeky Barsteward :) And you told me you were an immigrant Jock in London as well :eye:

The real reason it is shown at a later time up here north of the Wall is that we are all good boys and are allowed to stay up later than the southern pooftahs :meditate:

In all seriousness though, tonight is the night so either watch or set your recorders as it is touted as a great programme, showing the BoB from the German angle as well.
 
#9
Given current hysteria about a few excitable Muslims with beards, it's worth recalling that seventy years ago 175,000 heavily armed Germans, with supremely high morale - they'd just rolled over most of Europe - were massing in French ports 20 miles from Dover waiting to board the invasion barges once the RAF was knocked out. I think that makes the modern anti-Muslim crew, shivering behind their Daily Mails, making up lies about a "Muslim Caliphate" to deliciously frighten themselves, look a bit cowardly and un-patriotic. They should get a grip and remember what a real national emergency looked like.

and why is it never mentioned that when the Germans were building up their fleet of invasion barges the Bleinum (spelt wrong, sorry) light bomber crews would destroy them the very next day.

then do it again the next day


and the next


and again etc.


Over two thirds of these crews did not return. One of the major reasons that the germans did not cross the channel was because they COULDN'T at that time.


Also there was Operation GREEN. An airborne invasion of north west Northern Ireland to occur the same time as sea borne forces landed along the south coast of England to cause confusion and split the Britsh forces and force us to fight on two fronts.


Have a good look at the real OPERATION SEA LION, the planning was very good.
 
#10
The thing is they didnt hit the ports day after day, nor did they with Blenheims, which most at the time were on night defence, yes the bombers did but they also had other tasks, Operation Green was pie in the sky, and relied Totally on the RAF being destroyed. Sealion was a non starter, wasnt planned well, and relied on the RAF and Navy being destroyed.

The German Paras would have caused havioc and confusion, i give you that. Their Army seeing what they were landing in, would have been in a slightly sea sick condition, and if they hadnt captured a port withing 48 hours would have withered.
 
#11
The thing is they didnt hit the ports day after day, nor did they with Blenheims, which most at the time were on night defence, yes the bombers did but they also had other tasks, Operation Green was pie in the sky, and relied Totally on the RAF being destroyed. Sealion was a non starter, wasnt planned well, and relied on the RAF and Navy being destroyed.

The German Paras would have caused havioc and confusion, i give you that. Their Army seeing what they were landing in, would have been in a slightly sea sick condition, and if they hadnt captured a port withing 48 hours would have withered.
Different Blenheims, the Fighter Command ones were Mk.1Fs, which had been converted to fighters with the addition of a machine-gun pack and later AI radar. No.2 Group of Bomber Command were using Mk.IVs, mainly on day-bombing tasks. See the chapter in Max Hastings' Bomber Command on 82 Squadron, Norfolk, 1940. Whitleys, Hampdens and Wellingtons were also used in raids (mainly at night) on the so-called "Blackpool front".
 
#12
also check out 'FORGOTTEN VOICES OF BOMBER COMMAND' one of them describes going back to sink the barges time and again and the losses that they suffered.
 
#13
The thing is they didnt hit the ports day after day, nor did they with Blenheims, which most at the time were on night defence, yes the bombers did but they also had other tasks, Operation Green was pie in the sky, and relied Totally on the RAF being destroyed. Sealion was a non starter, wasnt planned well, and relied on the RAF and Navy being destroyed.

The German Paras would have caused havioc and confusion, i give you that. Their Army seeing what they were landing in, would have been in a slightly sea sick condition, and if they hadnt captured a port withing 48 hours would have withered.



The planning was well done .... they just did not have the resourses in place to knock out the RAF and the NAVY at that time.

Plus Major Adolf Galland who was commanding a Sqn of 109 fighters during the Battle of Britian (went on to command the post WW2 luftwaffe and had 142 CONFIRMED enemy planes shot down and also was adviser to the 1962 (62- 63 ish) film Battle of Britain) publiclly said that although the plan was sound there was no way that the German fighter force would defeat the RAf in the time allowed. Then when asked what would he need to achieve his objectives he replied:

"Ein Gruppe Spitfire."
 
#14
The planning was well done .... they just did not have the resourses in place to knock out the RAF and the NAVY at that time.

Plus Major Adolf Galland who was commanding a Sqn of 109 fighters during the Battle of Britian (went on to command the post WW2 luftwaffe and had 142 CONFIRMED enemy planes shot down and also was adviser to the 1962 (62- 63 ish) film Battle of Britain) publiclly said that although the plan was sound there was no way that the German fighter force would defeat the RAf in the time allowed. Then when asked what would he need to achieve his objectives he replied:

"Ein Gruppe Spitfire."
During the War to Goering? Or post war in interviews?

Anyway the spitfire was not so superior to the Bf109E that it would have given the Germans any advantage. We had radar and geography on our side. That's why we won. The Luftwaffe was designed for tactical close support of a continental land army, not for striking a long range strategic blow against another island nation from the air.
 
#15
During the War to Goering? Or post war in interviews?

Anyway the spitfire was not so superior to the Bf109E that it would have given the Germans any advantage. We had radar and geography on our side. That's why we won. The Luftwaffe was designed for tactical close support of a continental land army, not for striking a long range strategic blow against another island nation from the air.
walt, in his autobiography, Galland wrote that the quote was to Goering during one of his visits to the front. Goering had been tearing strips off his squadron commanders and decided to try and be nice. He had asked them what they needed. One of them replied that he wanted a more powerful Bf109 which Goering said was on the way, Galland said he wanted a squadron of Spitfires. Goering left in a huff. Galland explained that he didn't actually want a squadron of Spitfires only the advantages that they had such as fighting over home territory, more fuel etc.
 
#16
walt, in his autobiography, Galland wrote that the quote was to Goering during one of his visits to the front. Goering had been tearing strips off his squadron commanders and decided to try and be nice. He had asked them what they needed. One of them replied that he wanted a more powerful Bf109 which Goering said was on the way, Galland said he wanted a squadron of Spitfires. Goering left in a huff. Galland explained that he didn't actually want a squadron of Spitfires only the advantages that they had such as fighting over home territory, more fuel etc.

Yes, spot on the 'More powerful' fighter was to FW 190a which was starting to be produced. Galland had seen it fly and stated that if his fighter gropu had them they may have had more success, however as rightly pointed out they did not have radar the same way we did.
 

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