Timewatch: Bloody Omaha - BBC2, 06 Jan, 21:00

#1
Like most docus of D-Day, this claims to have ‘new’ information? You can listen to/download an MP3 podcast of a discussion about the programme, and/or read a transcript at http://www.open2.net/timewatch/2008/bloodyomaha_extras.html

Though they say they’re ‘disclosing’ the American casualty figures of the time were expressed around 50% below actual, and, 500 Rangers designated as Pointe du Hoc reinforcements were diverted to the beach where they effected a break through, IMHO, the best prospect seems to relate to a recently unearthed German battery? Well, I don’t suppose the unearthed battery has anything to do with the Time Team effort, and re the other points, don’t we already know those?

As Programme Consultant, Simon Trew RMA Sandhurst, points out; “Omaha Beach is a big place. It’s 7,000 metres long [4.35 miles in old money] and the idea that events on Omaha hinge upon the arrival of 500 or thereabouts Rangers at a particular time or place would be an exaggeration.

So what we’ve got in this programme is not the complete story of Omaha Beach. It pretty much ignores, as it has to, the events at the eastern half of Omaha Beach, where very few of 29th Division soldiers go ashore and no Rangers go ashore, and yet things are unlocked there in terms of breaking through the German defences and so forth.”


Personally, the most interesting docu on Omaha so far has been the one dealing with what happened to all the Sherman DD tanks for that sector.

Perhaps, as Timewatch are a British company, producing for the BBC, which is paid for by the British viewing public, next time we might have, say, the story of how 1 Cdo Bde landed at Sword, knocked out Quistreham strongpoints, and fought their way over 4 miles cross-country to link-up with our Airborne at Pegasus – and arrived only a few minutes late.

Oh yes, good news for the ‘toys for boys’ fraternity, the programme is presented by Richard Hammond. :pale: Again a personal opinion, but I actually like to hear serious military history from someone who knows what they’re talking about, like Simon Trew – or if you must have a public media figure, Charles Wheeler. What, he won’t come out any more? Did you asked him, he’s only 84? OK, Fidler-Simpson then, he’s only 63. :wink:

No.9
 
#2
Or Richard Holmes? What's he doing nowadays?
 
#3
Absolutely nothing wrong with Richard Holmes, first class. Just think with these type of docus he's become more associated with WWI. Then again, someone who is excellent in military narration, has stacks of stage and camera experience, but has yet to combine the two in presentation is Robert Powell. :wink:

Re Richard Holmes, other than his work at Cranfield Uni., I haven't read of any film/TV projects but I hope there are some.

No.9

[edited after brain engaged :roll: ]
 
C

cloudbuster

Guest
#4
No.9 said:
Perhaps, as Timewatch are a British company, producing for the BBC, which is paid for by the British viewing public, next time we might have, say, the story of how 1 Cdo Bde landed at Sword, knocked out Quistreham strongpoints, and fought their way over 4 miles cross-country to link-up with our Airborne at Pegasus – and arrived only a few minutes late.

No.9
Couldn't possibly happen. What would our European neighbours think if we were to show that we were once capable of popping across the English Channel and showing them how it's done?

And, as you say, they produce for the BBC, who seem to want to concentrate on products for the under-fives, (both mentally and physically).
 
#5
No.9 said:
Absolutely nothing wrong with Richard Holmes, first class. Just think with these type of docus he's become more associated with WWI. Then again, someone who is excellent in military narration, has stacks of stage and camera experience, but has yet to combine the two in presentation is Robert Powell. :wink:

Re Richard Holmes, other than his work at Cranfield Uni., I haven't read of any film/TV projects but I hope there are some.

No.9

[edited after brain engaged :roll: ]
I agree. As long as he gets his FECKIN HAIR CUT !!!!!!!!
 
#6
Oh.... hang on.... do you mean the fella that played Jesus, or the one that played the Vet??? :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
#7
”What would our European neighbours think if we were to show that we were once capable of popping across the English Channel and showing them how it's done?”

You talking military or football cloud? Ooo, (sharp intake of breath), true though init? I think the Euro respect for the forces is there well enough. In fact, the Beeb could probably sell the programme to the Froggies as both the French Troops of No.10 Cdo were attached to No.4 Cdo for the invasion and tasked with their own patch to clear along the coast on the edge of Quistreham around the casino. Course, the Septics probably wouldn’t want to cough-up much for it – after all, they wouldn’t be in it.

Perhaps the Beeb could repackage it for them as ‘Mr Punch goes to war’, and add the strap line ”That’s the way to do it!”. :jocolor:


You’re right the first time Dave, the bloke who play JC, and a detective with Jasper Carrott,


and married the blond in Pans People. You must remember them? Dance routines like Baby Doll, the Schoolgirls and Johnny B Goode. :lick:

Who’s ‘the Vet’ then? The bloke who did the Sun ads at 300 mph, or the one who married my French teacher? :?

No.9
 
#9
Blazing_spanners said:
DavetheApe said:
Oh.... hang on.... do you mean the fella that played Jesus, or the one that played the Vet??? :lol: :lol: :lol:
You mean Robert Powell then.
I thought that bloke who played a vet in "All Creatures etc" was called Robert Powell, but he's Robert HARDY I think. Early onset forgetheimers kicking in......
 
C

cloudbuster

Guest
#10
No.9 said:
I think the Euro respect for the forces is there well enough. In fact, the Beeb could probably sell the programme to the Froggies as both the French Troops of No.10 Cdo were attached to No.4 Cdo for the invasion and tasked with their own patch to clear along the coast on the edge of Quistreham around the casino.
My bold. A small item that all too frequently gets overlooked. I forget the figures but there were quite a large number of well-motivated blokes keen to get back on home turf and sort out the lodgers.

DavetheApe, you got there in the end. (Why do I keep getting this image in my head of Christopher Timothy with his arm up the arrse of a cow?)
 
#11
cloudbuster said:
No.9 said:
I think the Euro respect for the forces is there well enough. In fact, the Beeb could probably sell the programme to the Froggies as both the French Troops of No.10 Cdo were attached to No.4 Cdo for the invasion and tasked with their own patch to clear along the coast on the edge of Quistreham around the casino.
My bold. A small item that all too frequently gets overlooked. I forget the figures but there were quite a large number of well-motivated blokes keen to get back on home turf and sort out the lodgers.

DavetheApe, you got there in the end. (Why do I keep getting this image in my head of Christopher Timothy with his arm up the arrse of a cow?)
No, no, no.... Robert Hardy... how many times, eh??? :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
#12
Robert Hardy wouldn’t be a bad choice, Dave. A quality actor who's presented quite a few historical docu's, though usually medieval related. An authority on the longbow apparently.

No.9

Bet he can drive in a straight line too. :twisted:
 
#13
#14
I have no problem (at this stage) with Hammond presenting the programme.

Clarkson has shown that if someone not usually associated with such topics has a real interest then his "name" can draw people in who otherwise wouldn't bother.

Maybe Hammond will attract the middle-aged women who fantasise about him? Many of them probably have husbands who'd like to visit Normandy but whose wives veto the idea. You never know, it might just be what those blokes need? :wink:
 
#15
Fair enough, so the programme wants to attract 'day time' viewers through some pretence of 'military history'. So the intention is to get hordes of neo blue-rinsers to go and see where some Americans died? An alternate to New York city? Good stuff. Should be presented by Richard and Judy, or, turned into a musical with Westlife and Borat, and Grande Duchess Stephen Fry (for any accidental serious bits and not to exclude the Gay community. :thumright:

Roll-over Alan Taylor

No.9
 
#16
Must admit that i try to get to Normandy every year, and i know where the new bunker was found (but i'm not telling). And i do think it was about time something was done about the assault on Ouisterham, Merville and such like because if we dont we are going to get a generation of kids that think the Amercans won eveything from Agincourt onwards.
 
#17
Jolly good battlefield tour as well!
 
#18
Perhaps a problem ark, is that producers have to make something that will attract the widest audience possible – no one intentionally wants to broadcast/be associated with viewing flops. Here you come up against ’give the public what they want’ as opposed to what you want them to have – assuming of course that what you want them to have is worth having, and then who is the arbiter – the viewing figures?

The Normandy invasion is probably the leading thumbnail of WWII and in reality, if you went into detail and perspective, merits a long series like ‘The World at War’, all to itself. To compact that into 50 minutes viewing time can only produce a thumbnail.

However, if you assume Joe Public knows the overview – dangerous maybe when the likely prime educational factors are Hollywood and computer games – you can elect to focus on one or two aspects. Then, unless you have a genuine opinion changing revelation, you have to choose whether to risk dealing with a little known aspect, or sticking with a popular one. As most are probably aware of what Hollywood has selected, the ‘safer’ bet is Omaha, Omaha, Omaha. First American deviation is their para drop, and first British is Pegasus.

Sword is likely to get a brief look, but as for Gold, Juno and Utah, all the preparation (including the COPPs landings and DPUs), slim chance.

156’000 odd first landed and they keep plugging the same few. Over, and over, and over, and over.........(ad nauseam).

No.9
 
#19
Most TV historical documentaries - including British - are now produced with the US cable market in mind, which is why they seem to be so spam-centric. Good example is the "ten best tanks/fighters/guns" type of programme: recently there was one such programme on UK terrestrial TV, with a modified version by the same production company screening on Discovery Channel. The satellite version had exactly the same "talking head" interviews, etc - it just added in another 2 or 3 US equipments to the "top ten" list...

With Omaha, the US popular history industry is constantly trying to find ways of excusing the (initial) disaster - bit like the huge popular mythology that has been built up around Pearl Harbour. People like Ambrose have done their best to blame it on the British involvement, the weather, the tide, the geography, etc, etc. The fact that it mostly seems to have boiled down to one German soldier in a good enfilade position with an MG causing most of the casualties is not satisfactory enough for the popular glorifiers.

(That interview with the rather innocuous German soldier (what was his name?) was by far the most revealing and insightful explanation for the Omaha casualties - what else really needs to be added?)
 
#20
4(T) said:
Most TV historical documentaries - including British - are now produced with the US cable market in mind, which is why they seem to be so spam-centric. Good example is the "ten best tanks/fighters/guns" type of programme: recently there was one such programme on UK terrestrial TV, with a modified version by the same production company screening on Discovery Channel. The satellite version had exactly the same "talking head" interviews, etc - it just added in another 2 or 3 US equipments to the "top ten" list...

With Omaha, the US popular history industry is constantly trying to find ways of excusing the (initial) disaster - bit like the huge popular mythology that has been built up around Pearl Harbour. People like Ambrose have done their best to blame it on the British involvement, the weather, the tide, the geography, etc, etc. The fact that it mostly seems to have boiled down to one German soldier in a good enfilade position with an MG causing most of the casualties is not satisfactory enough for the popular glorifiers.

(That interview with the rather innocuous German soldier (what was his name?) was by far the most revealing and insightful explanation for the Omaha casualties - what else really needs to be added?)
Franz Gockl, if memory serves. Had a captured Czech MG and shite loads of ammo. Only stopped when the MG was hit by a bullet/shrapnel. He made loads of French pals in the area, and goes back every year to see them! He was, I think, 17 at the time.
 

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