A Bit of Alternate History

I have mentioned this before, but I really enjoy history. I find it fascinating that many times there is such a monumental shift that originated from such a simple thing.

I enjoyed the move Battle of Britain many years ago. IIRC the box office take was disappointing, but in an era before CGI – the Heinkels, Spitfires, and Messerschmidts you saw were real.

Well, the “Messerschmidts” were actually “Buchoons“, which were 109s built in Spain under license. How to tell? Well, first of all the allies destroyed virtually every DB605 engine in Germany after the war. It was an interesting design, being inverted for better CG and servicing. You can tell them easily because the exhaust stacks are in the lower third of the cowling, since the engine was “upside down“. To my knowledge there are only 2-3 original Me109s flying in the world today. The Buchoons had a conventional V12 engine with the exhaust stacks in the upper third of the cowling. Which the “Messerschmidts” have in the movie.

Anyway, back to the movie, what I do know about the battle was factually correct; that Hitler and Goring’s plan to invade Britain, Operation Seelowe (Sealion),  depended on the Luftwaffe defeating the RAF. And when they shifted their strategy from bombing the airfields to bombing English cities, it gave the RAF breathing room and the additional distances meant that the bombers had less support from the fighters.

A part that I found somewhat amusing was their showing an aborted Luftwaffe night raid in bad weather and the decision by the Heinkel squadron commander, a “Major Brandt” to jettison their ordnance over what they thought was the English countryside, which turned out to be the London docks.

Bombers did not land with armed bombs for obvious reasons. Whether it was simple “artistic license” to portray the commander as Brandt, or this also was factually correct I have never been able to learn. In any event Churchill directed the RAF to bomb Berlin in retaliation, the Berliners, with their own sense of humor remembering Herman Goring’s promise that if Berlin were ever bombed “they could call me Herr Meyer”, which the Berliners dutifully did.

I can say that the times that I have been “lost” never seemed to have bothered me as I know I will eventually find the destination.

Anyway.

I enjoy works of fiction that use actual historical characters and through a few twists of fate, have a much different history. One book I enjoyed years ago was The Fatherland, where by 1964,  “The Greater German Reich stretches from the Rhine to the Urals, and keeps an uneasy peace with its nuclear rival, the United States. As the Fatherland prepares for a grand celebration honoring Adolf Hitler’s seventy-fifth birthday and anticipates a conciliatory visit from U.S. president Joseph Kennedy and ambassador Charles Lindbergh, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb…”

Charles Lindbergh and  Joseph Kennedy were if not outright Nazi sympathizers before the war, not enemies either. That’s one example how the author used historical characters and facts to a different alternative.

Anyway I just joined Amazon Prime specifically to see two of their streaming programs, The Grand Tour and The Man In the High Castle. In the latter, it is set in 1960s in an America that  lost WW2. The Japanese are running the western half of the country while the Nazis are running the eastern half.

That was factually, I believe, the Axis plan.

I’m only on episode 3, but it is proving entertaining. There is espionage, resistance, and American SS officers.

Once America got her industrial might in full steam, looking at the invasion fleet for Iwo Jima, or the capability of the B29, not to mention “The Bomb”, thank God the Axis didn’t  prevail.

But it is entertaining.

2 Comments

Filed under History

2 responses to “A Bit of Alternate History

  1. Great info. Lucky me I discovered your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have book marked it for later!

  2. Pingback: Great Screenwriting vs. Sloppy Screenwriting | The Lexicans

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