Posted: July 24th, 2008
Bombing Nazi Dams
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Video for this episode is currently unavailable. Sorry for the inconvenience.

In the spring of 1943, nearly 150 highly decorated pilots were ordered to report to a Royal Air Force base in England to begin preparations for a top secret Allied raid. In complete secrecy, the team trained to master the dangerous art of high speed, low altitude night flying. On May 16th, 133 of the airmen boarded 19 modified Lancaster bombers. Each aircraft carried a top-secret weapon — a newly-invented bouncing bomb — designed to shatter Germany’s major dams, stem the flow of water to the Ruhr valley’s steel factories, and, ultimately, undermine the enemy’s ability to produce weapons. In a matter of hours, four of the targeted dams were hit and two destroyed, more than 1,000 Germans killed on the ground, and countless factories and homes left in shambles. The raid took its toll on the airmen — 53 men were lost. Nevertheless, the mission was deemed a success and boosted morale throughout the Allied forces. The mysterious bouncing bombs were the brainchild of Allied aircraft designer Barnes Wallis. How did Wallis come up with this unlikely weapon? How did losing his marbles make it all work? What did he go through to make it functional, and how did the elite airmen ensure its successful deployment?

  • Bill

    This is a very interesting topic and would be even more so if the episode was actually present to be viewed. Chop-chop PBS

  • Bubba

    I agree Bill, I would love to see this episode!

  • Scott

    I agree. I’ve done some other research on the topic using wikipedia and google video. It sounds fascinating.

  • Von

    When might (roughly) this Video be made available??? I check it at least weekly & have yet to see any update info regarding its release or why it isn’t available.

  • Robert

    I come back every week also hoping that the video is available but disappointed each time.
    This is an excellent topic because the mission was very costly to RAF Bomber Command in seasoned Air Crews losed; But nevertheless a brave and daring attack led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson.
    This episode is still very important to learn more about Barnes Wallis because he has fascinated me since I first saw the movie “The Dam Busters” many years ago.

  • Kelly Whitehall

    Depending on how interested you are in this WWII topic, there is a VERY good DVD available thru, or, or’ Choice)… “DAMBUSTERS: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION”. Includes 3 1/4 hours of history, interviews with surviving mission pilots, archival film of testing and preparations, AND actual RAF Bomber Command color footage of an actual night attack on Berlin. It’s absolutely incredible and around $30.

  • Barry Hames

    I’ve heard and seen some evidence to the effect that Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame was or is going to do a re-make of the original ‘Dambusters’ movie. Does anyone have any information?

  • Bill

    here it is Nov. 3 2010 and still it’s not available, what’s up PBS!!!
    there are people who would like to watch this episode.

  • Kit

    Don’t leave us hanging. It is 2011 where is this video

  • Mike

    We are all still waiting.

  • Trisha

    Yes, please… we’d love to see it.

  • Anna

    Please make this video — Bombing Nazi Dams — available, or at least, post an update to when the episode might conceivably be accessible. I keep checking to no avail… P.S. I am an ardent fan of your website :)

  • Tim

    I got to see this video on PBS when it was shown and it was very amazing. I had never heard of such a thing. The engineering that went into the design of the bomb itself and the precise timing that had to be achieved in order to make it work was amazing considering the tools that they had to work with. Hope it will be available again someday.

  • Denis

    I am waiting too.

  • Erick

    I saw this episode on You Tube although it was not posted with its original title; anyone interested might find it doing a quick search on the site.
    Wish you luck guys, being an military aviation enthusiast I enjoyed greatly this episode.

  • Dan

    Still waiting thanks Erik

  • Anna

    Waiting, waiting, waiting … still waiting… ;)

  • Juliet Copping

    Paragraph writing is also a fun, if you be familiar with after that you can write or else it is complicated to write.

  • marsha hart

    Where is the video? ….. lol ….. Progressive TV at it’s finest

  • Pamula Liggins

    Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

  • JC

    They showed this episode on my PBS at 2AM on Sunday morning…lucky enough to catch it. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC SHOW!!!! Everyone should see it. The engineering work is truly fascinating.

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