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Flyby PC

OT A little bit - Escape from Colditz

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Apologies if this has been said before, but I recently watched a program featuring the construction of the glider built in Colditz in WW2 by the British POWS.

 

The program went ahead and built a full size replica of the glider, stuffed a dummy in the cockpit and some remote controls and 'pinged it' off the roof of the actual Castle using the weighted bath as a catapult launch just as the original escapers had planned.

 

 

Spoiler alert - Don't read more if you don't want to know....

 

Bit of dip at first, which might have had a very high 'pucker' factor for the pilots at take off, but as the speed got up, the lift improved and it comfortably sailed around 2 miles and landed safely out side the castle. They had less room to make a landing because of modern buildings encroaching, but they answered the question. So would the glider built from matresses in the attic actually have flown? Yes. Definitely.

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A great story - these men were of the right stuff!

I have found the 3 parts on YouTube, so I post the links here for all to watch it.

 

Part One

 

Part Two

 

...and here comes Part 3:

 

Part Three

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.

 

I remember watching a movie about this back in the 1970's. As I recall, in true Hollywood fashion, they flew the glider and escaped in the film version.

 

Great stuff this!

 

.

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How annoying it must have been for the German prison guards and officers to be forced to watch over such creative POWs. No escape idea seems to have been too crazy for them.

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Well, maybe it was entertaining for both sides in this otherwise so dull "Castle Wolfenstein"?

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(Spoiler)

 

Only problem I remember from when I watched it was that they tested the launch using the original plans and found that the Glider wouldn't have been able to get up to enough speed for takeoff with a single pulley system, so they had to gear it to get more speed on launch, and use metal strips to counter the friction from the launch ramp - but obviously the prisoners wouldn't have been able to run the speed tests to work that out for themselves, so would have probably fallen off and died - which they didn't seem to mention much again afterwards. :blum:

 

But then it would have been a boring program if they decided to give up half way.

 

It also didn't help that they were the same people that made that Dambusters program previously, which annoyed me somewhat as seemingly the whole point of the program was to see if the bouncing bomb idea would work - of course it ruddy worked, they did it you muppets! :lol:

Edited by MikeDixonUK

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Well said Mike, I had the same thoughts about the bath issue, and it's a burning question we'll never know whether the real POWs were alert to the problem. I suspect if you have the expertise to build a glider, you're going to know it's required take off speed, but without testing, it does seem to be something you might not recognise until too late. On the upside however, you'd have a real pilot at the controls who'd react faster than a remote controlled servo controlled from a distance.

 

I'm very happy in one big respect however, and that there is proof it could have been done. That alone gives credit to the men who built it, that they weren't complete lunatics, but level headed and truly inspired servicemen quite dedicated to their successful escape. It wouldn't surprise me if they even had a plan for getting the glider back for the next pair.

 

Another question occurs, and that if I imagine I was a German guard who discovered the escape, would I intervene to stop them, or let them crack on out of sheer curiosity. If any escape plot deserves to be successful, you'd have to take your hat off to this one.

 

 

I also have a chuckle about the possibility of a bath filled with water clattering to the ground as a test. I can just hear the guards - "Look, we know you're up to something!"

They'd never guess what.

Edited by Flyby PC

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Ah, well er, you see Hans, it is Hans isn't it? Yes well old chap, er - you see fire drill old boy, fire drill - lot of bombing going on these days you see, brits are doing it, yanks are doing it, ruskies are probably doing it too, they don't like to be left out, what - so chances are there's bound to be a fire at some point so you see we figure it'd be for the best if we were prepared for these sort of things, so we came up with a system of transporting the emergency water from the top floor to the ground floor, because you never know where there's going to be a fire now do you, you have to out wit these things old boy, clever blighters fires. Now imagine Hans if there were to be a fire and you'd taken away our emergency fire equipment and some of us chaps bought the farm - now the commandant wouldn't like that now would he old chap? Smells of incompetence - and we can hardly have that can we, so someone's going to have to answer for it - zip, russian front, if you get my drift, Hans old chap.

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My favorite bit of new information was that they hid valuables (money, maps, etc.) in cigar tubes that they would insert in their ..... well, nevermind. Curiously enough, the cigar brand was "Upman"

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Bang goes another illusion - I had always thought, those chaps were sitting so upright and straight,

because they were the stern type of men who never bow down so easily...

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Bang goes another illusion - I had always thought, those chaps were sitting so upright and straight,

because they were the stern type of men who never bow down so easily...

Yes, well...that too!

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