Thursday, April 22, 2010

THE REAL GERMAN HELICOPTER

WHERE EAGLES DARE is arguably one of the best war movies ever made; written by the great action novelist Alistair MacLean. The action opens with a covert airborne infiltration into a high alpine pasture in the middle of winter - from a JU-88 in cool winter camo with a SWASTIKA on the tail, no less! This is the first unorthodox plot twist thrown out at the audience - before the movie even gets started - and the whole thing just gets better from there.





If you've got the time, watch all these clips.


The only aspect of this film bothered me is the German helicopter . . .






Even as a kid I knew the chopper featured in the castle scenes was a post-war Bell Bell 47 "whirlybird" (military nomenclature H-13):


Korean War-era Bell H-13 Souix performing medevac with 2 wounded UN troops.


It wasn't until later in life I discovered the Germans actually had helicopters during World War II, and not just experimental prototypes, either; they were operational!





This knowledge absolves Alistair MacLean and the film's producers of any wrongdoing and puts WHERE EAGLES DARE high up in the running for STORMBRINGER'S Best War Film of All Time.

Your comments are welcome, as always - particularly any nominations for Best War Films.


Enjoy,

Sean Linnane



.

20 comments:

  1. The designer of the helicopter, Anton Flettner, claimed that the Gauleiter of Lower Silesia, Karl Hanke, made his escape from Breslau in one of Flettner's helicopters in May 1945.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ju-52, not Ju-88. Ju-88 was a twin engine med. bomber. But yeah, I agree with you that this is oen of the best movies ever.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tell you what: even on a full moon night the Alps wouldn't look like that scene. Too bright. Of course, it's a camera trick: shot in full daylight with a dark blue filter to simulate darkness. Pretty effective.

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  4. The one at the beginning being flown on exhibition INSIDE the arena is being flown by a woman. Germany even had female test pilots.

    The last ones look like Apaches. Reportedly they out maneuvered Focke Wulf 180s in combat trials.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Best War Films?

    Here are most of my favorites, all of which I own and have watched with my grand sons many times over the years.

    I wanted them to know that War is not glorious, nor noble in kind but that it is what it is.

    Beyond Terrible, Beyond Imagination.

    These movies and others plus my tales from long long ago and far away gave them perspective (or at least as much as you can get) about what war and service to their Republic really would be and mean.

    They went anyway. I hope that they return, with their shields and not on them.

    Papa Ray

    When We were Soldiers
    The Big Red One
    The Guns of Navarone
    Das Boot
    Northwest Passage
    TORA!TORA!TORA!
    From Here to Eternity
    Bridges over TOKO-RI?
    Battle of the Bulge
    Braveheart
    Gungadin
    Lawerence of Arabia
    Sands of Iwo Jima
    The Longest Day
    The Last of the Mohicans
    Zulu
    Tears of the sun

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here are most of my favorites, all of which I own and have watched with my grand sons over the years.


    When We were Soldiers
    The Big Red One
    The Guns of Navarone
    Das Boot
    Northwest Passage
    TORA!TORA!TORA!
    From Here to Eternity
    Bridges over TOKO-RI?
    Battle of the Bulge
    Braveheart
    Gungadin
    Lawerence of Arabia
    Sands of Iwo Jima
    The Longest Day
    The Last of the Mohicans
    Zulu
    Tears of the sun

    There are a few more but I got to run.

    Papa Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i whould only replace the last one with black hawk down

      Delete
  7. The first german helicopter in the clip, the Focke-Achgelis, turned out to be pretty much a dead end, but the Flettner intermeshing rotor configuration lived on through a number of Kaman designs, from the HH-43 Huskie through the current K-Max lifter. They look a little odd, but work quite well.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ok helicopters 101 first document flight two french brothers 1907 (there is also a spainard and a russian work on helicopters tru the 1920) most ealier helicopters where unstabile and did not fly very high or very far. a german had good sucess with the fuke-wulf fw6 in 1939. the germans did use helicopters in WWII but in limited numbers and mostly for observation, transporting wounded and moving supplies. due to the bombing by the allied forces production was in very limited numbers. Igor Sikorski (russian born naturalize US citizen) first us helicoter flight in 1939 model VS-300 led to the R-4. the R-4 was the first mass produced helicopter in the world. the VS-300 was the first helicopter that inspired and is what we know as helicopter design to this day. My grandfather work for Igor and flew helicopters for free air america. he started in the pan am flying boat also designed by Igor Sikorsky. my grandfather has told me stories about helicopters and their use in WWII and up to the black hawk (he work on the designs for the blackhawk from concept to flight). stormey i have a couple of books and real old articles on the subject if you need. bells first flight was of a helicopter was in december 1942. Bell was originaly an aircraft manufacture and started developing helicopters in 1941. have fun; From my cave watching for trolls some where on the east coast Skullhead

    ReplyDelete
  9. Papa Ray has good taste. Here are some that I would add:

    -Master and Commander (best ever)
    -300
    -A Very Long Engagement (Yes, it is a love story, and a detective story, but fantastic WWI scenes)
    -Inglorious Basterds (Opening scene is superb)
    -They were Expendable (The Duke)
    -Casablanca (Like America, Rick is neutral at the start but guns down a Narzi by the end (Dec 7, 1941))

    ReplyDelete
  10. Casablanca is my Favorite Film of All Time - there are so many sub-plots, the story is terrific, and I really identify with Rick.

    I watch it at least once a year.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Victors, and, for sheer rock 'n' rolling non-stop action, 1941.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I was taken to see the film as a birthday treat when it came out. I have the DVD.

    If you have not seen it I strongly recommend "Ill Met by Moonlight" starring Dirk Bogarde and set in Crete concerning the capture by the British of a German General.

    ReplyDelete
  13. For me, the best war-film ever is Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". It's not historically very accurate, but seeing the war "just in passing" through the eyes of three greedy gangsters who only care about retrieving a lost stash of gold really, really, really makes you understand the pointlessness of war...
    Clint Eastwood is in that film too, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Several of the real German helicopters from the WWII era look very similar to the Bell helo. Why didn't the movie company go a step further in the film, with all the money they have to spend on these things, and get or manufacture a Real working replica for the movie? It would have made the movie all that much more authentic. Perhaps it just wasn't able to fit in the budget after all.

    ReplyDelete
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