Thursday, 9 April 2015

#WW2 End Of Phoney War - On This Day Denmark & Norway Invaded By Germany #OperationWeserubung

Today in 1940 Denmark was invaded and captured by German forces - notably 170th & 198th Infantry Divisions. Norway was also attacked, Egersund and Arendal captured without any resistance.

#WW2 The Messerschmidt Bf 109 or #Me109 One Of the Biggest Hoaxes Of The Second World War

Me109 found at:

The Me-109 first saw action with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War 1936 proving itself a useful fighter aircraft. Four months before the beginning of The Second World War, the Me-109 was declared to be a record holder of 469.22 m.p.h.

This was not an Me-109, it was an Me209VI, but the F.A.I (Fédération_Aéronautique_Internationale) had not been told. They can't have looked very hard either.The aircraft looks totally different.
Me209 VI found at:
The standard Me Bf109 flew at 340 mph. The Hurricane 327 mph. The Spitfire 355 mph. (Information from Battle Of Britain 1940 )

At the outbreak of the Second World War the Germans had some useful propaganda - declaring they had the world's fastest fighter aircraft. The Battle of Britain would help dispel the myth.

My Favourite #WW2 Escape Films

My last post about the forthcoming escape film featuring famous amputee pilot Douglas Bader had me thinking.
There is nothing to beat a good escape film, especially when the escapees are successful, so here are some of my favourites:

The Great Escape (1963). I have to put this one in first, why? Because this is the first one I remember watching as a child with my Dad. It has a start studded cast, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, David McCallum etc. The story is based on the escape from Stalagluft III and a well organised set of prisoners headed by 'Big X' played by Attenborough. They plan to get hundreds of prisoners out of 3 tunnels and are constantly causing their German guards problems, as all good Allied prisoners should.
The One That Got Away (1957). This is a great film based on the escape of Luftwaffe pilot Franz Von Werra who is played by Hardy Kruger. Von Werra proves a very troublesome prisoner for the British, and attempts escape many times, including trying to steal a Hurricane from an airfield.

The Wooden Horse (1950). This film is based on events from the same P.O.W camp as the Great Escape. The Allied prisoners used an excersise horse for cover in an excersise yard. The idea was simple. Two men were carried underneath the horse to the yard, the horse put down and the men dug a tunnel out. Easy. The Germans never thought to check under the horse. It was made on a low budget and starred Leo Genn  and Anthony Steel also featuring many amateur actors.

The Great Escape II (1988). This sequel to the Great Escape starred many actors including Ian McShane, Christopher Reeve and Donald Pleasence. It tells the true story of the fate of the captured prisoners from Stalagluft III and the investigation after the war. This is a very good and under-rated film, that sticks more to the real story than the first Great Escape film did.

As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me (2001). Starring Bernhard Bettermann This film is about a German prisoner of war held in a Soviet Union gulag. He has been sentenced to  25 years hard labour for 'crimes against partisans'. He escapes from the camp and endures much hardship across the Soviet Union to Turkey via Iran. This is a brilliant story of endurance and triumph of the human will against all odds.

Last but not least, The Password Is Courage, (1962), this film stars Dirk Bogarde and is based on the true story of  John Castle's memoirs  as a prisoner under the pseudonym Charles Coward. He proves a real thorn in the side of the Germans and attempts to escape many times, disguised as a german soldier, digging tunnels etc. He also helps sabotage a labour camp much to the amusement of fellow prisoners and distress of the guards. A must see film.