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 Post subject: F/122 and F/123 Squadrons in new book on BESATZUNG DORA
PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:08 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:40 am
Posts: 8
Location: Sydney, Australia

My new book on the Karl Ritter Nazi propaganda film BESATZUNG DORA (The Crew of the Dora, 1943) is now available on ebay.com and through Amazon Books.

The book is entitled THE MAKING OF THE CREW OF THE DORA.

It follows the script writing, planning, filming and then the aftermath of the film being banned by Goebbels due to changes in the war fronts after Stalingrad.
BESATZUNG DORA was the only feature film of the Third Reich filmed on active war fronts during WWII. It was also the very last contemporary feature film showing WWII combat, despite the war lasting another 2 1/2 years. By then, Goebbels decided that such military action films were not appropriate in Germany's fourth grim war year, and he pushed lighter entertainment and escapist films for the beleaguered population.

Karl Ritter spent some six weeks in May/June 1942 at Buc to gain insight into the distance air reconn squadrons, the men, and JU88–D aircraft and equipment, to make his film script, still being written, as authentic as possible. The book reproduces from Ritter' s diary some sketches he made of the plane, exterior and interior, as well as the cockpit seating arrangement.

The film was partially shot on location at the Versailles–Buc Luftwaffe airbase for four weeks in August 1942 (F./123 under Major Gerhard Kopper) and thereafter for four weeks in the Oblast Leningrad Luftwaffe airbase located at Gostkino(Goßtkino (near Luga) inside the Soviet Union in October 1942 (F./122 under Capt. Richard Taubert). North Africa was meant to be the third active war front filmed, but by then Rommel's Enigma codes had been broken by the British and his withdrawal and then defeat closed the front off to Ritter and ius 45 man film crew and cast. Instead, they went to Rome for a month in November 1942 and shot the desert crash–landing scenes on the beach at Castel Forsano and recreated the Tobruk scenes in the famed studios of Mussolini's Cinecitta. The special effects and trick cameraman employed for the crash–landings in BESATZUNG DORA was Theodor Nischwitz, who worked at Ufa film studios, and on pioneering trick photography effects for Ritter's STUKAS (1941) as well as MÜNCHHAUSEN (1943) and actually worked on Wolfgang Petersen's DAS BOOT (1980) before he died.

Ritter held pilot licence #121 in the world (issued 1911), having built his own Euler in 1910/1911, and due to being a young married officer in WWI had been forbidden to fly in the German campaigns. He was enrolled as a consequence in the infantry and survived two Battles of the Somme and three other meat grinder battles and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class in 1916 and 1st Class in 1918. His rank in WWII was Major of the Luftwaffe, and occasionally he was called to duty in those yeasr (particularly in September 1939, serving for a month in Kolberg, in 1943 inside Germany, and in 1945 in the Protektorat/former Czech territory, where he was captured by the Red Army and sent east on a march to the Gulag, from which he escaped and made it back to family hiding in Lower Bavaria after a harrowing 24 day walk on foot through Partisan and Soviet lines.

The book uses 50,200 words out of Ritter's unpublished diary to follow his film from start to finish in 1942/1943. Included are 90 Fotos/Sketches/Maps etc, mostly unseen until now. The book represents the first time that a Third Reich feature film has been followed in this way, from primary sources. Two photos were reproduced from the archives of the Aircrew Remembrance Society, U.K. courtesy of Melvin Brownless.

The book is available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Crew-Dora- ... 0980861235


Order fulfilment will be from California via Airmail to the UK/Europe.


William Gillespie

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