OLD TIME RADIO - 1 CD - 4 mp3 - Total Playtime: 1:57:42
Battle Stations, a series of dramatizations showing how America's armed forces slowly but surely are defeating the Axis on the seas, will be presented in four weekly broadcast over WIBA starting at 7:30 tonight. The first two programs will tell of the Battle of the Atlantic. They will describe how the army air forces and the civilian air patrol, with but a flimsy handful of weapons, swept the German submarine from American waters. The first program also will show how our sea and air power grew from a mere threat to a battering ram of destruction. Famous "firsts" such as the launching of a seaplane from a warship, global flights, dive bombings, skip bombing technique, lighter than air pioneering and polar flights, will be dramatically portrayed.
As indicated above, the four-installment Battle Stations! production from NBC's Department of Special Events would highlight the considerable advances made by the United States Navy in its efforts to defeat the Axis navies over five oceans. The first two presentations were a two-part arc describing The Battle of The Atlantic. Part 1 of The Battle of The Atlantic describes the overall threat faced in the Atlantic shipping lanes by Nazi Germany's infamous 'wolfpacks' of submarines and their initial, devastating destruction of thousands of merchant marine freighters and 'Liberty ships' delivering troops and war materiel to and from Europe. Narrated by Raymond Edward Johnson of Inner Sanctum fame, the writing is superb, the transitions and vignettes crisp and effective, and the sound shaping absolutely top-notch.
In Part 2 of The Battle of The Atlantic, the series fleshes out the human element of the deadly Battle--its consequences and its triumphs--on both sides of the battle. April 1943's estimate of Nazi officers and enlisted taken or dead in the Battle of The Atlantic were at least 12,000. This installment also addressed the personalities of the quickly evolving Nazi command structure. Highlighting the battle's putative turning point, The Showdown in April, the production creates a fascinating and suspenseful account of the seminal moment in The Battle of The Atlantic that disclosed The Navy's relative success in the sea battles. The point at which The Allied Navies could destroy more Nazi U-boats per month than Germany could still build was a cause celebre on both sides of the Atlantic. Narrated by Jackson Beck, the second installment of The Battle of The Atlantic showed the great advances in The Navy's recovery of its sea power supremacy following the devastation of Pearl Harbor. Citing 'TM' as the most important single element of The Navy's growing supremacy, 'Trained Men' proved the success of both the tangibles and intangibles of World War II.
The final two installments of Battle Stations! addressed The Navy's growing Air Arm. Part 1 addressed the history and background of Naval Aviation, dating from 1910. From the earliest days of The Navy's small contingent of aviation resources--primarily land-based bombers or reconaissance planes--The Navy's frustration in convincing the War Department of the viability of launching bi-planes or fixed-wing aircraft from a ship shows the determinedness of its most visionary commanders. The installment segues into the first primitive naval platforms for launching planes from ships. The U.S.S. Birmingham was the designated platform for The Navy's first attempts to conduct a successful sea launch of an aircraft.
Employing an inclined platform for launch, the initial thinking was that the incline aided in attaining sufficient air speed for a successful launch. November, 1910 is related as the seminal period establishing The Navy's sea-launched Air Arm. The next key element of the concept was proving the ability to recover a sea-launched or land-based aircraft. The U.S.S. Pennsylvania was selected as the target platform for the successful experiment. This accomplished, Naval Aviation began to gain respectable traction with the hide-bound Naval Admiralty of the era. The Curtis hydroplane was the next transitional element in naval aviation. Quickly realizing that a catapult of some sort would be the only viable propulsion mechanism to launch a hydroplane from a destroyer or other escort ship, steam powered catapults removed the last technical hurdle in a viable Naval Aeronautic Service--during the span of only 10 years of development.
Dive bombing was the next hurdle, overcome in 1919 with technical innovations in bomb release technology. The next demonstration would be a successful trans-Atlantic flight. NC-1, NC-3 and NC-4 were designated as the three most viable aircraft. NC-1 and NC-3 succeeded in crossing the Atlantic--NC-4 had been grounded for technical problems.
The U.S.S. Enterprise, during December 6, 1941 was fortunately at sea on a secret mission during the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941. Launching a total of 18 planes during the secret tests, the events of the following day, showed the importance of recovering both the Sea Arm and Air Arm of The Navy.
The final installment of Battle Stations! addressed the heroes of the Navy's Air Arm during World War II. Opening with the Navy Flier's Creed, the introduction shows the resolve and dedication of the young men and women of The Navy's Air Arm:
''I am a United States Navy Flyer.
My countrymen built the best airplane in the world
and entrusted it to me. They trained me to fly it.
I will use it to the absolute limit of my power.
With my fellow pilots, air crews, and deck crews, my plane
and I will do anything necessary to carry out our tremendous responsibilities.
I will always remember we are part of an unbeatable combat team--the United States Navy.
When the going is fast and rough, I will not falter.
I will be uncompromising in every blow I strike. I will be humble in victory.
I am a United States Navy flyer. I have dedicated myself to my
country, with its many millions of all races, colors, and creeds.
They and their way of life are worthy of my greatest protective effort.
I ask the help of God in making that effort great enough.''
As Scouting Squadron No. 6 nears Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, it's confronted with Naval Aviation's first opposition from Japanese dive bombers and fighter planes.
As fliers aboard the U.S.S. Wasp near Nazi-occupied Malta, they're confronted by numerically superior Air opposition, and yet they triumph.
A Navy PB-Y employs dive-bombing tactics on a target of opportunity.
Naval Blimp crews show their continued importance as part of a coordinated coastal defense force. With their ability to flush submarines to the surface--and report on their movements--the Blimp component of World War II's Naval Air Arm proves its continued value throughout the War.
Those who fly on Navy wings are shown to be some of World War II's most effective assets throughout the prosecution of the War.
The entire four-installment arc of Battle Stations! stands as one of the finest two-hour documentaries on the history of The Navy produced during World War II. It's a tribute to both The Department of The Navy and NBC's Department of Special Events that they managed to mount such an enduring tribute to The Navy's Sea and Air Arms with such consistent production quality and fascinating content throughout. Supported by America's finest voice talent from both coasts, the New York-based production continues to be a stirring, inspirational account of The Navy's struggle to compete for resources with The Army, while diversifying itself enough to not only preserve its own rich history of contributions to America's defense, but create an even more important and enduring force for the protection of America and it's allies in the process.
This brief series is a fascinating patriotic documentary that should be a must listen for everyone who's ever either served in the Navy, may be contemplating a career in The Navy, or who's had loved ones and family who've served in The Navy. Indeed, for anyone else curious about Naval traditions or history, this fascinating series is as compelling as anything else produced during the World War II era, with the possible exceptions of The Pacific Story and The Man Behind The Gun.
Principal Actors: Raymond Edward Johnson, Jackson Beck, John Dehner, Ben Wright, Barton Yarborough.
Text From Digital Deli Too
Battle Stations 43-08-05 (1) The Battle of the Atlantic
Battle Stations 43-08-12 (2) The Eastern Sea Frontier
Battle Stations 43-08-19 (3) The Navy's Air Arm
Battle Stations 43-08-25 (4) The Air Arm in World War I
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