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Remembered Today:

Attack of the Zeppelins


pippin
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Just a heads up for UK users On Monday 26 August 8.00PM 2013 Channel 4 documentary: Attack of the Zeppelins.

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Starring me as an RFC Officer - and a VERY convincing William Leefe Robinson VC!

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I'm really looking forward to seeing this programme.

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Well, most of Rob ended up on the cutting-room floor, and the depiction of Zeppelins were suspect and in CGI. The CGI BE2c was terrible - the bracing wires were as prominent as the struts! The problem with any CGI is that in the end it is just fancy artwork so you can never be sure it is correct. Like most history documentaries on TV, the producers were obsessed by the need to have moving images. Therefore when dealing with a period from when there is very little movie footage, they have to either use what there is even if it is only barely relevant, or use CGI .

The target audience was unclear. Much of the history was extremely basic. But the discussion on Buckingham ammunition and incendiary bombs was in-depth and very interesting to the enthusiasts like us, but I suspect of little interest to the non-specialist.

They didn't make clear that Robinson's victim was a Schutte-Lanz not a Zeppelin; I'm sure the featured experts must have told the producers that, but it didn't make it into the script.

The best we can say is that it is good that public awareness of the airship war is being promoted.

By the way, they also didn't mention that the explosives expert, Major Peter Norton, who was in a wheelchair, is Peter Norton GC, who was awarded the George Cross in Iraq for the incident in which he lost a leg and an arm. But maybe he requested not to be defined as anything other than an explosives expert.

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Well as per usual, not available in Area I.

If anyone notices if/when it shows up on youtube give a holler please.

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I quite enjoyed most of it but, almost inevitably I suppose, there was one bit that had me yelling at the TV. The narrator was describing what happened when a bullet penetrated a pressurised gas-bag - "oxygen rushed in" he said. Is basic Physics too much to ask in a serious documentary?

Keith

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I think we all need to bear in mind that when a production company makes a documentary for a commercial TV channel - it needs to be, well, commercial. That means it can't be a programme tragetted at experts and specialists, it has to be made for the mass viewing market, with a general interest in history. Therefore it has to engage and be educational as well as, for want of a better word, entertaining. Those of us with deep interest in any subject will buy and read books to give the detailed analysis we require. But, as any publisher will tell you, factual historical books do not sell in huge numbers. A book by a specialist publisher might perhaps sell two or three thousand copies. A book by a mainstream publisher - if they are prepared to take the subject on (which is often not the case) - may, with good promotion, sell 10 times as many. But the TV doc last night reached an audience that averaged out at about 1.4million viewers (figures from British Audience Research Board). It is probably fair to say that the majority of those 1.4million people knew very little about the air war over Britain in WW1 - but now have a far wider understanding of this part of the war as we approach the centenary of the conflict. And what I think is particularly interesting amidst these figures is that almost 50,000 of those viewers were children who before last night probably knew nothing whatsover about Zeppelins - and now know rather a lot. And maybe they might be tempted to find out more - and maybe even read a book!

And I for one had never seen exactly what a German WW1 incendiary bomb could do, or seen a Buckingham bullet fired.

All in all, the doc used the latest techniques available to engage its audience in military history, throwing in a bit of science along the way. As a result 1.4million people know something about WW1 that they didn't know before. Surely we shouldn't complain about that?

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Well as per usual, not available in Area I.

If anyone notices if/when it shows up on youtube give a holler please.

I understand it was part funded by the NOVA channel in the US and will appear there under the slightly more gaudy title "Zeppelin Terror Attack". I don't know when.

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Found the programme very interesting and picked up some new facts (never looked into this side of the war before in detail) - for example never new the Germans dangled a man below the Zeppelin when cloud obscured visibility - what a terrifying job that must have been!

Well worth watching.

Ant

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I really enjoyed the programme. Before I'd seen it the only accounts I'd read about Zeppelin attacks had been of a few against a few coastal targets in the North east of England and how a biplane that took off from Redcar was unable to reach the height of the airship when it tried to attack it. I also liked that they came to my home town of Middlesbrough to find out how sausage skins were used in the making of the aircraft. :thumbsup:

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Aspern is right of course, that the important thing is that people are educated about the Zeppelin war, especially young people. I did say that:

The best we can say is that it is good that public awareness of the airship war is being promoted.

Antony reminds me that the programme mentioned the cloud car, in which a man was dangled under clouds several hundred feet below the airship to spot the target. I'm pretty sure that that footage was from Howard Hughes' 1933 film "Hells Angels", that could be described as one of the first blockbusters. In it, the airship captain cuts the man in the cloud car loose when under pursuit by fighters and then orders his crew to jump out to their deaths to save weight: none of which ever happened in real life.

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I'm pretty sure that that footage was from Howard Hughes' 1933 film "Hells Angels", that could be described as one of the first blockbusters. In it, the airship captain cuts the man in the cloud car loose when under pursuit by fighters and then orders his crew to jump out to their deaths to save weight: none of which ever happened in real life.

Hi Adrian

Yes, definitely from 'Hells Angels'. I think that is a great movie scene as the evil 'pantomine' German commander orders his men overboard, and they salute him, before jumping to the deaths - for the Fatherland. I wonder if Hughes got his idea for that scene from the (unmanned) sub-cloud car jettisoned over Essex in 1916, and which hung suspended from the roof of the Imperial War Museum until the recent renovation work began. I do hope it will return.

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Just seen it on-demand, thought it rather good with some very good graphics etc

David

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I also liked that they came to my home town of Middlesbrough to find out how sausage skins were used in the making of the aircraft. :thumbsup:

Hah, when it comes to stereotypical sausage stories about Germans, folk always believe the wurst... :doh:

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Did anyone else notice the CGI cow at the end of the sausage skin segment? Somehow its front legs were on BACKWARDS!

I went back and double checked it..definitely on backwards with "knee" joint on the rear which made it look very weird....until it blew up of course which was REALLY strange! :blink:

It must have been one of those villainous, dastardly German secret weapon Cows. Could it be one of the Kaiser's secret C1 cowbombs?

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Did anyone else notice the CGI cow at the end of the sausage skin segment? Somehow its front legs were on BACKWARDS!

It appeared to have rickets but I was quite entertained by the inflatable cows used to fill the Zeppelins.

I thought the program was very good.

Craig

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- for example never new the Germans dangled a man below the Zeppelin when cloud obscured visibility - what a terrifying job that must have been!

Well worth watching.

Ant

Hi Ant

It was mainly really a German army airship thing - the Navy didn't go for them. Known as a Spahkorb (with umlaut over the a) they were individually designed by the crews. One jettisoned over Essex near Manningtree during raid of 2/3 September is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum and was on display hanging from the ceiling until the current renovations commenced. If you do a search on Google Images for 'German Spahkorb' you'll find lots of images.

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It was err OK......

Recorded it, watched and then deleted it. Did some one say on the programme that bombarding London from Zeppelins would make Great Britain come out of the war ? A ridiculous statement.

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It was err OK......

Recorded it, watched and then deleted it. Did some one say on the programme that bombarding London from Zeppelins would make Great Britain come out of the war ? A ridiculous statement.

I think the statement was only made as an assertion of Strasser's expectations from the campaign, not as one of fact. Civilian resistance to attacks of this kind hadn't been tested at that time, so it mightn't've seemed so ridiculous then.

Regards,

MikB

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Aspern,

will have a look. Have learnt a lot - always assumed a Zeppelin was a Zeppelin - didn't know there were other 'brands' - you learn something new every day.

Ant

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