The Dam Busters

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Möhne Dam, Germany

I have just been watching The Dam Busters movie again, having read Wing Commander Guy Gibson’s book "Enemy Coast Ahead", which he wrote in 1944 (Gibson was killed in a plane crash before the end of the war).

This is two images taken 20 years apart, fiddled around with and then cobbled together. A damaged photo of the Möhne Dam in Germany, which was taken during a visit in 1989, and a photo of a Lancaster bomber stuck on to it (it is actually PA474 wearing the colours of the Phantom of the Ruhr taken last year). I think I have the proportions right.

I tried versions which showed the cutaway bomb bay for the bouncing bomb, and also one with streaks of tracer bullets (which Gibson described as red, green and yellow) arcing up from the towers to the Lanc, but neither looked right.

For details of the raid please follow the link below to wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chastise

32 comments on “The Dam Busters
  1. Tech Owl says:

    You’ve worked the shot well Ian. The matching works and the textures and light fit closely.

  2. rob of rochdale says:

    Yay, you’ve made a good job of this!

  3. Mark McKie says:

    You’ve done a fine job here mate.

  4. Corwin's Trumps says:

    Great movie, but I’ve never read the book.

  5. pasujoba says:

    Great effort Ian,

  6. FlyRedBaron says:

    Excellent photo simulation. Must be similar to what a Wehrmacht Sentry might have seen seconds before the bombs went off.

  7. C J Paul (chris) says:

    nice job ian. give us a look back into history…thanks man

  8. andyholmfirth says:

    Sure does look realistic !

  9. mickb6265 says:

    just noticed this..really nice,ian…love the idea,too…i,m back at this dam in september plus the gravesites and 3 of the crash sites..hopgoods and astells plus holdens ems canal one..the one i really do want to get into is the burpee crash..on the night-fighter base..

  10. Ian D B says:

    thanks very much everyone, was rather unsure about this. very much appreciate the feedback.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickb6265/]

    thanks Mick, I knew you were off there this year to do your project (what a great thing to do!), was wondering when. Look forward to seeing them!

  11. mickb6265 says:

    i,m truly up for it,ian…my big ambition for the year..i,m aiming to use the infra-red one a lot plus real early morning light and more atmosphere and less tourists about ect…go for the real places souls..

  12. Neal. says:

    You done good, a fave film of mine too.

  13. Reflective Kiwi %-) says:

    Gosh how interesting! I saw a fantastic documentary on TV about it a few months ago which compellled me to get the old original moviec out. How amazing that you have been there! Did you know that Kiwi Director Peter Jackson is in the process of working on a remake at the moment. I’m sure it will be fantastic too! Can’t wait to see it! %-)

    Thanks for stopping by the other day with your lovely comment and the reference to the Football… I thought you might be interested in the photo I’ve uploaded today! %-)
    Ted's New Zealand Herald News Flash..... All Whites Grab Historic Result...

  14. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/32955908@N04/]

    Yes, very much looking forward to it. Stephen Fry is doing the screenplay. Big question is over what they will call Gibson’s dog. Normally I would be adamant that the producers should stick to reality, not change history just to suit our attitudes now… but this is about the only occasion I might go back on that.

  15. redrocker_9 says:

    Very well put together Ian, I think the blue tones work well here too.

  16. Billy Currie says:

    Great work, I would never have guessed this was a composite, very nice

  17. **Hazel** says:

    This is an amazing simulation, very atmospheric!

  18. SolarScot. says:

    i know what you mean a bout the dog Ian,but look what they did with Churchill took the cigar out of his mouth! and youd have to stop Eltoon John singing Honky Cat if we get too P.C anyway your pic is fab and the inventiveness of us Brits should never be forgotten

  19. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/solarscot/]
    Aye, you’re right John. I hate the idea of sanitising history too. Perhaps they should stick with it; it is our sensibilities which have to deal with it, and we are capable of so. If it offends us, tough luck. It’s how it is.

  20. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    love this — has great impact. glad you "fiddled"

  21. Gary Shield says:

    Nicely done Ian, great film too. I bought it when we stayed at Castleton a few years ago

  22. *Psycho Delia* says:

    great fiddling. love this film too

  23. pasujoba says:

    Found this shot taken in 1977 by an unknown photographer of a re-enactment of the raid .
    Its very grainy unfortunately , but I think it shows how close Ians is to reality …in fact Ians looks better than this
    IMG_0786

  24. Ian D B says:

    hey, that’s cool Paul, thanks for adding it!

    Was this taken at Ladybower in the Peak District? The movie was filmed there, and 617 Squadron trained for the raid over Ladybower Reservoir because the scene looks very much like the Möhne reservoir.

  25. pasujoba says:

    It says Mohne Dam but I suppose it could well be Ladybower Res.
    It would make more sense cos a 34th anniversary is a strange one to celebrate ……whereas the Queens Jubilee in ’77 could give a more logical reason to re-enact the training and film in the UK

    Indeed the hills seem bigger on the shot I posted and as yours defo is of Mohne Dam it seems mine may be a fraud

  26. Ian D B says:

    Sorry, I said Ladybower, meant to say Derwent, Labybower’s the one next to it. But it’s a fascinating shot, didn’t know they’d done this. Would love to have seen it. 1977? I was more interested in my mate’s Star Wars Digital Watch which I borrowed off him in return for a go with my Stretch Armstrong.

  27. het broertje van.. says:

    More then brilliant this one Ian!!!

    Janwillem

  28. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    It hits the mark for me, very well done indeed!

  29. airplaneguy38 says:

    Looks great, all thats missing is the flak

  30. cgullz says:

    great work in compiling the shot, cool discussion thread too.

    Thankyou for sharing

    with the War Stories Group

  31. pasujoba says:

    Thankyou for sharing

    with the War Stories Group

  32. sixty8panther says:

    Awesome. It was a daring and really intricate mission. Hard to believe the amount of variables that were involved. I’ve read about it in a few books and once watched a show on the whole mission & all the prep that went into it. The mine’s precise reverse spin was crucial IIRC.

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