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Author Topic: Not winning the war  (Read 1476 times)

NFMike

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Not winning the war
« on: January 13, 2013, 11:47:01 PM »


We often wonder at how internet forum threads drift off topic - or are more often propelled off - but I find this happens in my life too. Maybe it's just me.


For example, I gave up modelling trains going on a year ago and changed to boats. That (re)introduced warships to my life and with the odd reference on here to, eg, TV progs I took a bit of interest in some other war subjects. Specifically I've recently watched a DVD about the north Atlantic U-boat actions, the Tankies programme (though not seen the second half yet) and the one about Malta a couple of days ago.


Something I've come away with from all three of those is the feeling that in all these theatres we 'won' in the face of substantial negligence or incompetence on both sides. Effectively the winner was the least hopeless or luckiest rather than anyone being especially good. I'm not talking here about individual people or units, more the 'managers' who simply failed to really get a grip, with the odd exception. Is that just me being cynical, or that the programmes have been that way inclined?


Wasn't there a famous line about "wars are lost not won"? (I googled it but came up with nothing.) There should be.

Norseman

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 01:46:29 AM »

"Maybe this was how you stayed sane in wartime: a handful of noble deeds amid the chaos.  
 Scott Westerfeld -Leviathan

I wonder if we couldn't salvage something noble from amongst the chaos of battle, then could we ever bear to remember a war at all?

The 12 men killed in the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyor were:
Merchant Navy
Bosun (Petty Officer I) John B. Dobson Mechanic (Petty Officer I) Frank Foulkes Assistant Steward David R. S. Hawkins Mechanic (Petty Officer II) James Hughes Captain Ian H. North, DSC Mechanic (Petty Officer II) Ernest M. Vickers
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
First Radio Officer Ronald Hoole Laundryman Ng Por Laundryman Chan Chi Shing
Royal Navy
Chief Petty Officer Edmund Flanagan Air Engineering Mechanic (R) Adrian J. Anslow Leading Air Engineering Mechanic (L) Don L. Price

In the 'public' memory they may hardly remain because it is the noble actions of others resulting directly from the loss of the helicopters aboard that allow us to compartmentalise that tragic event. The longer the war then the greater the chaos 

Dave
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dpbarry

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 06:27:24 PM »

Aye..and when you look at it now, who is running most of Europe and who is kissing "bottom" >>:-(



Declan
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raflaunches

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 07:25:20 PM »

I have often commented on similar documentaries on TV, usually by the BBC or Channel 4. The problem is they make these films but do not give the full account of the event. The Malta documentary on BBC 2 is a good example, if you read the book which the film was supposed to be based on half the events and key figures are not mentioned because the documentary only lasted 1 hour, to do the book justice it would have to last at least 5-6 hours to get a true understanding of what the Axis forces were upto and what we were doing to counter them. The average person's interest in this subject only lasts an hour so that's what the producers aim for and have to miss out lots of information which could explain your feeling that the people in charge didn't know what they were doing- not say that some of them probably didn't!
The Black Buck Raid which was aired on Channel 4 last year was based upon the excellent book 'Vulcan 607' however if they had included all the incidents that the RAF made the public would not quite believe it. War is full of luck and incompetence but you have to take it with a pinch of salt if you watch the average documentary about the wars. The best example of someone who appeared to be a complete idiot would be Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, when he signed the famous treaty and announced peace in our time he knew he was committing political suicide buying the UK time to build up her forces. Unknown to many he ordered into production more fighter aircraft for the RAF and set up the home chain radar stations. But it's the stupidity of saying peace in our time he is most remembered for.
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Jonty

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 09:40:02 PM »

These programmes are rarely researched properly. In the Malta one we had the presenter point out two Oerlikon cannon from a Spitfire embedded in the ground. Actually they must have been Hispanos; other countries may have used the Oerlikon as an aircraft gun, but Britain never did.
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roycv

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2013, 10:27:31 AM »

Taking up an earlier point about threads going off original, I watch mainly docs on cable when time permits but now I have HD TV it seems that the doc makers have more blurred images than before.

There does seem to be an obsession with WWll, which is OK so long as we all learn something new.  The Desert war is highlighted at the moment but no one has commented on the ground radar sets used by the allies in the desert.  I believe they were manufactured in either S. Africa or Australia after visits from scientists from the UK showing TV / radio manufacturers how to put already existing parts together in a different way and make radar sets.

I was watching the other night when reference was made to huff huff sets (High Frequency Direction Finding).  I am pretty sure they showed the wrong detection aerial system though.  These were used to detect U-boats transmitting to base and with a couple of HF/DF sets in operation on separate ships could triangulate and pin point the U-boat position.

I have enjoyed the Tank documentary as it does take you through the development of these machines, high lighting the design pros and cons.
regards Roy
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Circlip

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 12:27:24 PM »

Quote
showing TV / radio manufacturers how to put already existing parts together in a different way and make radar sets.
And then after WW2, showing instructions of how to convert the displays into TV sets.
   Black and green, not black and white.
  Regards  Ian.
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roycv

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 12:41:04 PM »

Hi Circlip, I was doing my radar training at RAF Yetesbury, long time back now!
Anyway there was a guy there who used to make TV's from radar bits etc.  i.e. purloined from the RAF and he was finishing his National Service.
All the security knew he was taking at least 1 TV / spares home with him, they searched his car but to no effect.
Then he had a puncture as he was passing the guardroom, RAF Police went out to watch!  Thats when they found all the electronic parts in a large cavity for the spare wheel.  I was a distant on-looker to the proceedings.  How he got the TV screen out I do not know.
regards Roy
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Circlip

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 01:09:05 PM »

EF 50 IF strip? {-)
 Once had a tour of the Mullard valve plant in Preston and was told how they caught one guy "Smuggling" valves out  tied together as a string in the petrol tank of his motorbike. Glass capsuled OC71's were just coming onto the market and were converted to OC71P's by scraping the black paint off.
  Regards  Ian.
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roycv

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Re: Not winning the war
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 06:17:18 PM »

Hi Ian I still have a bag full of never used OC 42's.  I don't throw away anything, well only electronic bits, now.  The last time I tossed out 3 carrier bag fulls of valve associated components maybe 20 years ago now.  About 3 months later I had the pleasure of going behind the scenes at Bletchley Park and the guy I spoke to had just got one data stream of the Colossus working and was looking for just the bits I had thrown out.

So someone some where is just waiting for my bag of OC 42's!
regards Roy
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