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  Home > Home Page Display >

  Operation Titanic plus two more unique films
Photo of a Boeing B-17 bomber and Yak fighters taken at a Russian base during Operation Titanic aka Operation Frantic Joe during World War 2.


 
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Operation Titanic
American Shuttle Bombing Missions to Russia
in World War 2

Plus two more unique films
All on one DVD
Regular Price $19.95
17th Anniversary $9.95
You save $10.00!


Availability:: Usually Ships in 24 Hours

Description Our DVD Specs
 

The Operation Titanic DVD: Three unique films

All three films with digital sound and video restoration c 2008

* Operation Titanic: Shuttle Bombing Missions to Russia (1944, B&W, 40:00) The problem: key Axis strategic assets were located so deep in Eastern Europe that they either could not be reached by Allied bombers or involved a lengthy round trip that exposed aircraft to heavy German attacks twice. The Russians were closer to these targets, but they were committed to tactical air support and lacked strategic bombers. The solution was “Operation Titanic,” aka “Operation Frantic,” one of the most audacious and least known strategic operations of the war. During the Tehran Conference, 27 November - 2 December 1943, the the Americans, British and Russians hammered out plans for a “shuttle bombing” campaign. This film tells that story.

U.S. 15 Air Force bombers and fighters based in Italy would bomb targets in the East, land in Russia, refuel & rearm, and then hit another target on the way back. 8th Air Force bombers based in the UK did the same. The Soviets provided three bases in the Ukraine; heavy bombers at Poltava and Mirgorod and the fighters at Piryatin. The US provided material to substantially upgrade them. The Fifteenth Air Force flew its first mission on 2 June 1944 when 130 B-17 Flying Fortresses, escorted by 70 P-51 Mustangs, bombed the rail yards at Debreczen, Hungary. The Eighth Air Force flew its first mission on 21 June when 123 B-17s bombed the Schwartzhelde synthetic oil plant at Ruhland, south of Berlin and 21 attacked the Elsterwerda industrial area. But, unknown to the Americans, a Luftwaffe He-177 followed the B-17s to the Russian base at Poltava and after midnight Luftwaffe aircraft attacked and destroyed 43 B-17s and damage 26.

Frantic flights continued into September with success, but the June 21st attack by the Luftwaffe on Poltava had revealed the Achilles heal of the operation. The Soviets lacked radar working with an organized air defense with night fighters to defend the bases, and they would not turn that role over to the Americans. That made the operation too risky and it was discontinued. But, despite some prickly spots, it marked the high point of East-West direct co-operation during World War II. In “Operation Titanic” you'll see unique scenes of Russian and American fliers and crews working together, shoulder to shoulder, life at their “secret bases,” along with exciting air action on the shuttle missions. After the War, this film was buried and forgotten during the Cold War. Directors who worked on films sympathetic to the Soviets (though this is no “Mission to Moscow”) could be black listed and Russians who had had close contacts with Americans during the War often ended up in the Gulag for that reason alone. So, nobody had much motivation to share their memories. We're lucky that “Operation Titanic” has been resurrected to tell this remarkable story.

Hochfrequenz Kriegsführung (High Frequency Warfare) (1944, B&W, 25:00, In German) We get many requests for World War II military films produced by the Axis, but other than a few newsreels, they are hard to find. We released “Sky Blitz” recently; “High Frequency Warfare” is our second. Developed by the Luftwaffe, this film showed the German people how high frequency signals were used in radio direction finding, signals jamming and radar detection. An attacking British bomber force is identified, their navigation signals are jammed, and fighters are vectored to intercept. Radar is employed to protect convoys in the Mediterranean, and radar jamming is used to cover the “Channel Dash” of the Battle cruisers Scharnhorst & Gneisenau during their escape from Brest. You'll see a working Luftwaffe air defense control room and contemporary equipment like Lichtenstein airborne radar. Most of the participants appear to be non actors. “I don't speak German, but I found it pretty easy to follow the plot. Seeing this film is like having a look inside another world.” Zeno

Low Level Photo Reconnaissance of Bomb Damage, Germany, May 9, 1945 (1945, B&W, 20:00) On May 9, 1945, the day after the German surrender, a B-17G of the 652 BS (Heavy Reconnaissance), 25th BG was dispatched on a far ranging mission to document bomb damage on key targets all over Germany from very low altitudes that would have been impossible during hostilities. These were special Flying Fortresses that were stripped of most armament and stuffed with gas so they could fly 12 hour weather missions over the North Atlantic. On this day, they carried 8th Combat Camera Unit cameramen with 16mm cameras who photographed what they saw through the Big B-17's perspex nose and the open waist gunner positions. You'll see remnants of the freak spring snow storm that fell the day before on the day of the end of the war in the ETO, surrounding partially bombed out factories near Weimer and Plauen and the almost intact Luftwaffe base at Bernburg, near the Czech border, along with many other locations. You can only guess at what was going through the heads of the men taking these pictures the day after their war ended and the German civilians who saw them fly overhead. A unique record.

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