Friday, August 21, 2015

Operation Crossbow

Today on Far Future Horizons we present the true story behind Operation Crossbow, the secret Anglo-American intelligence operation against Adolf Hitler’s development and deployment of his Vergeltungswaffen or V-Weapons namely the V 1 flying bomb and the V 2 rocket. We also explore the role of Britain’s ultimate fighting flying machine –the Spitfire as a spy plane.

The successful outcome of Operation Crossbow came at a crucial time for it insured the successful outcome of Operation Overlord – The D-Day allied invasion of Nazi occupied Europe.

Crossbow was the code name of the World War II campaign of Anglo-American"operations against all phases of the German long-range weapons programme—operations against research and development of the weapons, their manufacture, transportation and their launching sites, and against missiles inflight". The original 1943 code name Bodyline was replaced with Crossbow on November 15, 1943. Post-war, Crossbow operations became known as Operation Crossbow as early as 1962, particularly following the 1965 film of the same name.

The BBC documentary being presented today tells the little-known story about how the Allies used 3D photographs to thwart the Nazis' super-weapons, Vergeltungswaffen, before they could devastate Britain.

The heroic tales of World War II are legendary, but Operation Crossbow is a little known story that deserves to join the hall of fame: how the Allies used 3D photos to thwart the Nazis' weapons of mass destruction before they could obliterate Britain.

This film brings together the heroic Spitfire pilots who took the photographs and the brilliant minds of RAF Medmenham that made sense of the jigsaw of clues hidden in the photos. Hitler was pumping a fortune into his new-fangled V weapons in the hope they could win him the war.

But Medmenham had a secret weapon of its own, a simple stereoscope which brought to life every contour of the enemy landscape in perfect 3D. The devil was truly in the detail and, together with extraordinary personal testimonies; the film uses modern computer graphics on the original wartime photographs to show just how the photo interpreters were able to uncover Hitler's nastiest secrets.

Operation Crossbow and other BBC documentaries can be purchased direct from the BBC's online shop.

BBC Operation Crossbow

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