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View Diary: The one, the only....Supermarine Spitfire (111 comments)

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  •  Excellent clip... (14+ / 0-)

    It's from a series called 'Foyle's War'. The Spit is anachronistic, of course, as this is supposed to be 1940. The only cannon-armed Spitfires - in the process of being withdrawn because of intractable gun stoppages - were with 19 Squadron at Duxford. This is a very famous Mk IX, of the Old Flying Maching Company, built in 1943, and a constant on the European air show circuit.

    'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

    by shortfinals on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 05:05:19 PM PST

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    •  I am pretty sure the film company's insurer (10+ / 0-)

      left fingernail prints on his chair arms when this was filmed.

      BTW, I once met a cropduster who claimed to be the first person to fly an F-86 under the Mississippi River bridge at Greenville, MS.  I have flown over that bridge many times and I am here to tell you there is not all that much room for error, especially with a jet.  

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 05:10:25 PM PST

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    •  "Foyle's War" is one of my favorites and it does (8+ / 0-)

      have a few bits about Spitfires in relation to Foyle's son the pilot. There are much more, some quite beautiful, Spitfire flying visuals in the fairly obscure movie Dark Blue World. That is about the tragic story of the Czech pilots that escaped to fly for the RAF and then to be imprisoned on their return home. If I recall something like four remaining Spits were used for "safe" visuals.

      Good film, but the visuals I most remember the Channel views that are featured as one is shot down. The colors are those I remember in the Channel under some conditions.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 06:31:57 PM PST

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      •  Interesting comment on the Czech airman... (11+ / 0-)

        ..who served in the Batlle of Britain. As with the Poles many were highly skilled with thousands of hours of experience. It is interesting that the one of the highest scorers in the Battle of Britain was a Czech, Sergeant Josef Frantisek, who had 17 kills in 28 days, whilst serving as a 'guest' in a Polish squadron of the RAF!

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:51:59 PM PST

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        •  The Poles particularly seemed to have a real (11+ / 0-)

          "killer" reputation once the British put them in the fight. They, and others from the Continent, had damn good reason. A pretty good crime/mystery/war novel series is James R. Benn's Billy Boyle series. In Rag And Bone the plight of the Poles in particular is brought to life. Boyle, a distant relative of Maime Eisenhower and Boston cop, is Ike's special investigator whose best friend is a Polish officer and nobleman. Rag And Bone puts him in the frame for a murder of a Soviet officer and that brings in the hopeless situation of the Poles fighting in Britain.

          The Soviets and Germans had divided Poland before Hitler broke the treaty and the Soviets, with their own "free Poles" had made it clear they were keeping Polish territory. It was a lose/lose situation for those free poles in the Western Allied forces. With Soviets being the German killing machine nobody was going to support them against "Uncle Joe" Stalin and the meat grinder coming from the east to chew up Hitler's dream.

          All the Eastern Europeans fighting from the Western Allied side were, knowing it then or not, in the same boat. Dark Blue World is told from a postwar prison in which those Czech airmen and others found themselves on return home. At least they weren't exterminated as were so many of the Soviet soldiers taken prisoner or even just cut off from "supervision" by the Soviet state.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:45:08 PM PST

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          •  The situation of the Polish Government in Exile... (6+ / 0-)

            ...in London was dire. The loss of General Sikorski (their Prime Minister) in a B-24 crash at Gibralter in 1943 was covered in mystery. I think that the way the Russian forces sat on the other side of the Vistula in 1944 and watched as German forces razed the Warsaw Ghetto to the ground and crushed the Warsaw Uprising (thereby eliminating the Home Army and the viable opposition to the coming Soviet rule), was terrible.

            'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

            by shortfinals on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:12:11 AM PST

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            •  That was a feature of the story in the book (4+ / 0-)

              Rag and Bone that I appreciated. The fairly dry historical facts got fleshed out in the story. The suspicions of the Poles in London that perhaps London had been complicit in that loss of General Sikorski and the growing knowledge that though they were fighting and dying for the Allies while if push came to shove the Soviets would get the favor is central to the mystery story. The focus is the Allied tilt to the Soviet propaganda and discounting the, for a change, accurate German story on the Katyn Forest discovery of mass executions.

              This, from the CIA link above, sums the situation pretty well:

              The Katyn Forest massacre was a criminal act of historic proportions and enduring political implications. When Nazi occupation forces in April 1943 announced the discovery of several mass graves, propaganda minister Josef Goebbels hoped that international revulsion over the Soviet atrocity would drive a wedge into the Big Three coalition and buy Germany a breathing space, if not a victory, in its war against Russia. (A headline in the May 1943 Newsweek read: "Poles vs. Reds: Allied Unity Put to Test Over Officer Dead.") But Goebbels miscalculated. Despite overwhelming evidence of Soviet responsibility, Moscow blamed the Germans, and for the rest of the war Washington and London officially accepted the Soviet countercharge. When the Polish government-in-exile in London demanded an international inquiry, Stalin used this as a pretext to break relations. The Western allies objected but eventually acquiesced. Soon thereafter, the Soviet dictator assembled a group of Polish Communists that returned to Poland with the Red Army in 1944 and formed the nucleus of the postwar government. Stalin's experience with the Katyn affair may have convinced him that the West, grateful for the Red Army's contribution to the Allied military effort, would find it hard to confront him over Poland after the war.

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:42:41 AM PST

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    •  Good show Foyles.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, ivy redneck, Wheever

      wasnt it Foyles son in the Spit?

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 08:29:38 PM PST

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    •  I noticed this, too. Heh. (3+ / 0-)

      And I'm telling my wife, "see those 20mm cannon? that's all wrong for 1940 because blahblah..." And she's all "yes dear. Whatever."

      Foyle's war was just a terrific series. Too short, though. I could have watched another 10 seasons of it!

      "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

      by Wheever on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:51:48 AM PST

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      •  then look for the next series (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe, Wheever, shortfinals

        there're doing one more: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/...

        47 is the new 51!

        by nickrud on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:44:02 PM PST

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        •  That is good news! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wheever, terabytes, shortfinals

          The series did a good job of weaving some of the threads of such things as the SOE rivalry with MI6 and the oft neglected flip side of the coin of "we are all pitching in to win" that is a common myth. There and in the U.S. there was plenty of corruption and taking advantage of wartime shortages for black-market activity and other such nefarious activity.

          It is damnable, but highly targeted, searchable digital archives are replacing the microfilmed newspaper archives in libraries. Anyone spending time researching wartime events in those archives will find the little "crime" stories along side the big war stories that involve ration coupon counterfeiting, black-market activity and murder putting to rest the myth of some sort of all marching together for victory.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:02:06 PM PST

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        •  Ooh! So awesome! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortfinals

          Such a terrific and understated series. I can't wait!

          "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

          by Wheever on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:44:52 PM PST

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    •  What About "Piece of Cake?" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terabytes, shortfinals

      I recall seeing this footage in "Foyle's War" but I often wondered if it had been resurrected from the earlier series "Piece of Cake," the story about an RAF Spitfire squadron which had been deployed to the Continent to participate in the Flanders Campaign, May 1940.  Like the later "Band of Brothers" about the American 101st Airborne Division, the series showed the attrition which occurs in war, with losses every day gradually grinding down the unit.  By the end of "Piece of Cake," the squadron had only one pilot from the initial deployment still flying.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:52:17 PM PST

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      •  Of course, 'Piece of Cake' tended to make the ... (0+ / 0-)

        ..average aviation historian wince....as there were NO Spitfire squadrons based in France during 1940!

        Spitfires did provide an escort to Prome Minister Winston Churchill's aircraft when he visited France on 16th and 31 May, 1940. They also faught over Dunkirk, but all the RAF fighters based in France were either Hurricanes or a few Gladiators, and therein lies the problem.

        At the time of the series, there were not enough flyable Hurricanes to make the shooting of the series credible.

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:38:41 AM PST

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