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Old 21st August 2012, 05:44
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In General, What is Everyone Doing?

I'm trying to understand why such ultra-specific, super-detailed questions about Luftwaffe pilots, crash events and individual aircraft details are nearly all that is asked on this forum. (This is an honest question, please don't flame me.)

As for me, I'm working on a screenplay (for a major motion picture production company) circa late 1943 about the struggle for air superiority over Europe from primarily the German/Luftwaffe perspective. So details are wonderful, but some of the questions (and the amount of incredibly specific information that everyone seems to have in reply) is almost off the hook crazy. Wow.

Are people writing super detailed unit/pilot/aircraft histories? What's going on here?

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Old 21st August 2012, 08:29
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

Hi Bronc,

First of all you need to start with Members List; and check ages if indicated.
Most of us did start during the sixties when 12 or 14; reading "true stories" wrote by Galland, Rudel and consors. We did start, too, being modellers waiting/(hoping) to be pilot...

In the mean time Books started to be written but, with time, it appears that they weren't that accurate ...
So, a lot of members did start looking for archivs, to meet pilots etc... To search for new pictures and so on...
To make lists, to compile datas, to correct old stories, to rewrite what they wrote, to add details, to make profiles for themself and for other modellers and so on ...

Last week, an enthomologist did discover a new insect photographied in Borneo Island (or kind of) and made contact with the photographer. Through Flickr! he was able to confirm it was a new, non described, specie.

We do the same through eBay, through veteran sites, personnal blogs
through family album put in line by ex luftwaffe sons & grandsons.
Some are looking for familiars history...

Let's say many here are historians, writters, designer and or just amateurs. We are archeologists and, at least, one is a true archeologist.
Some are divers looking for wrecks. Others are researching wrecks in fields...

What else?

Yes, it's a world wide community!

You're question matches with thoughts I had couple of days ago. What happens here deserve to have a reportage on TV!!!

This is my little contribution to your question. I'm sure many are able to do better than I did.

Helpful? Cheers, Franck.

PS: And it's a friendly community!.. Well... normally .
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Old 21st August 2012, 11:01
Steve Coates Steve Coates is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

I think it's a fair question. The site is skewed towards operational issues, overly so in my view. In some ways this is an extension of the interest most of us developed in our earlier days. These days very little seems to appear which is related to type history which from my perspective is a shame as there is still a lot to be nailed down about various machines and productive avenues still to be followed. Perhaps most disappointingly, there is very little focus on aircraft production as the production failures of the pre-war and early war period pretty much sealed Germany's fate. We do lack a more rounded debate but it may well be that there are just too few folk interested in this aspect.
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Old 21st August 2012, 12:36
Brian Bines Brian Bines is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

Apart from what Steve and Franck have said I think to some case it is down to the old saying from little acorns large trees grow. In my case being 'older' nearly all of my school mates had dads who served in the war, this then extended to some school teachers, and on starting work a lot of the older guys also served. The wealth of wartime books also wetted the appetite for more info. which for a while was withheld from the public as secret. I was mainly interested in the Battle of Britain for which there was a wealth of information so I started to look into the Steinbock attacks for which there was very little. As wartime records became available to the public suddenly you could research details about raids and the crash your relatives told you about. In one case the Dornier Flying Pencil shot down at Bishops Court Chelmsford proved to be a He 111 and a crewman survived contrary to stories told by my mates dad. The advent of the home computer suddenly made so much info. available and put you in contact with others that it was possible to extend your interest a lot further. In my case it is the raids and the men that interest, the technical details and production figures of aircraft are secondary to this so TOCH suits me, there are other sites which appear to cater for those with a more technical interest. One thing I have noticed is that answers on TOCH lack a sometimes aggresive reply that I have seen on other forums,

Just My Thoughts


Brian Bines

Last edited by Brian Bines; 21st August 2012 at 14:52.
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:20
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Andreas Brekken Andreas Brekken is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

Hi, all!

The answer by Franck is more or less all covering, and although I did not start in the sixties (born late in the sixties...) my interest stems from the fact that both my grandfathers were involved in the fight against the German occupation of Norway, one of them later went on to spend the rest of his life as an aviation technician.

My ancestors on my father side came from a small community near the Lesjaskog lake, where several Gloster Gladiator fighters were destroyed, and close to the crash location of several German bombers. As children these remnants of the past and the stories told naturally spurred an interest.

Currently I am working on the following:

Two book projects - directed towards the operational units of Luftflotte 5 mainly.

Several articles - mainly these will be covering organizational issues - the one closest to completion will describe to my current knowledge the system for loss registration, recovery, repair and supply of aircraft

In addition I am collecting information on aircraft production - the collection is already vast but not entirely catalogued - aiming towards publishing (most probably online) information on this field.

In addition I have with a good friend of mine gone through the entire available collection of Luftwaffe loss records and entered most of them in a relational database for reference.

Andreas B
Ahhh... but I have seen the holy grail! And it is painted RLM 76 all over with a large Mickey Mouse on the side, there is a familiar pilot in front of it and it has an Erla Haube!
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:43
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ouidjat ouidjat is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

Hi All, Hi again Bronc,

Let me open my mouth again for a little break:
To make short
- Are people writing super detailed unit/pilot/aircraft histories? Yes (not me)
- What's going on here? Let's say Collectors' place.

And note Andreas motto: "Ahhh... but I have seen the holy grail! And it is painted RLM 76 all over with a large Mickey Mouse on the side, there is a familiar pilot in front of it and it has an Erla Haube!"
You have all in it: Passion, people history, technical aspect, colours ... The funiest one for me!

It's a good question, definitly. Let others continue.
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:40
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Nick Beale Nick Beale is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

What I'm doing: trying to piece together enough scattered fragments of information to produce a coherent narrative of whichever corner of aviation history intrigues me.

Because of: the mystique attaching to what, to someone brought up in 1950s Britain, was still "the other side." The war was every adult's frame of reference in conversation (everything was before, during or since the war) and there were bombsites all over town; I used to play in my grandparents' Anderson shelter. My uncles showed me their wartime scrapbooks and bomb-splinter collections. My Dad told me about when he was a cycle messenger in the Blitz and how (via a junior office job with the Air Ministry) he got flights in a Beaufighter and saw shot-up B-17s returning from a raid on the French Atlantic ports.
Nick Beale
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Old 21st August 2012, 15:06
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

Hello to all members! I guess Franck (Ouidjat) answered it and got the point....
We are all linked together (from different nationalities, ages, professions, etc..) to Military and Aeronautical History...
We do find on this Forum similars who share the same interests...on my particular case: Bomber and Coastal Command (PRU, etc...) activities....Of course..there are the Luftwaffe Specialists...the 8th AF has more to do with the field of interest you do have on WW2.
People who frequent this Forum range from "Professional Writers" (already acclaimed writers who published several books of Reference) and "sprog writers" (like me and others..who are inspired by the first ones as well as inspired by older writers....(particularly for myself...I was inspired by Martin Middlebrook, Hector Bolitho, etc...)...
Well I had to go now...but will have a go here later...
Quite a nice thread indeed....
Adriano Baumgartner
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Old 21st August 2012, 16:28
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

Then there are the 1%ers, the fringe element, those of us who swim against the tide, the outcasts, the non-Europeans. We are the tiny, tiny fraction of the whole who are not interested in the aircraft, their registration numbers (Werknummern) or their colors and markings. We might have been at one time back in the days of Royal Air Force Flying Review in the 50's and 60's, but after being awed by the pretty color profiles and the developmental history of the aircraft for a few years we moved on.

We, the outsiders, the outcasts, are interested in the organization and history of the Luftwaffe - not just the flying branches, but also the Flakwaffe, Luftnachrichtentruppe, Nachschubdienste and other components that comprised 95% of the Luftwaffe's manpower and 85% of its assets. We are also interested in the operations, the units, the officers, the airfields, the command and control, the strategic thinking and planning, and the air war over Europe in general.

So there are a few of us who don't fit the mold and share the mainline interests here, Bronc, but only a few.

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Old 21st August 2012, 17:17
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Marc-André Haldimann Marc-André Haldimann is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

An excellent question indeed.... Franck said it all, basically, and everybody will have his personal impetus. Here some elements for my personal drive...

It all started in my childhood, back in the roaring 60's, hiking with my father in the Swiss Alps to the spot he was in the morning of 13 July 1943, contemplating the twisted remains of Lancaster ED 531 PO-T, 467 RAAF Sqn, whilst a Swiss Army party removed the remains of the crew and started to clear up the crash site. He took pictures at that time, and as we were there in 1968, we still found odd bits and pieces from ED 531, including the flap indicator...

This moment was a fundamental one. My interest was continually fostered by the fact my dad was a meteorologist at the Swissair and this meant I've spent quite a lot of time with the flight crews, also in the cockpits of the Convair 440's and the Caravelles the company operated then. Some of them were former RAF "Heavies" pilots, and this brought near all their WWII histories , as translated and told by my dad. This kind of environment kept me going into a steady increase of literature and model building... With the passing of time, I "narrowed" down on the Luftwaffe, probably because having lost the war, it was less well documented especially so for the 1944 - 1945 period.

I became specially interested with the planes which flew in this last year of war, as documentation about this period was rare and wildly faulty in the 60's; in the early 70's the first books conveying corrected informations began to show up and, since then, their flow brings an unending wealth of new and surprising information.

Living in Switzerland and being not close to any important archive, I have to rely entirely on secondary sources. The value of forums like this one or LEMB, in English, or LBB in German, is thus immense for persons in the same position: here, noted aviation historians or archive buffs readily answer a wide variety of questions, most of them on the operational level, with primary sources at hand. So many unanswered demands were put here at rest...

My wished for focus is currently the Bf 109 late variants: so many built in around 18 months (estimates are around 20'000 planes) and so few documented. Having grown into an archaeologist, and knowing what importance visual documentation has, I try to move ahead in my aim to establish an open and evolutive photo database, broken down by manufacturers, of those elusive late war Messerschmitt (currently only 1679 pics strong, and probably will never be over 3'000 strong). Much help come from people visiting this forum, and the project takes shape.

As to the deeper background for my interest, it took me a full thirty years to finally understand why such an appeal for archaeology and the late war Luftwaffe: it was actually the strongest possible reaction against the inability of my mother to EVER talk to her only son about the horrors she had to endure as a teenager during the siege of Budapest in late 1944 and early 1945... Like many survivors, she just closed this part of her life for ever, not being able to cope with telling those harrowing times. Faced with this silence, my strive to bring again the Past nearer is such an evidence, isn't?


Last edited by Marc-André Haldimann; 21st August 2012 at 18:49.
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