Historical Naval actions that would make good movies?

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Karl Heidenreich
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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:28 pm

Maybe an european co production (British-Spanish) could bring to the screen Benito Pérez Galdós´ "Trafalgar". The book is a literature jewel with a lot of humor and insight. We can count the French out of the project because the book blames the defeat on the French (as it undoubtly was). Not being a "naval classic" as Hornblower or else it gives the chance for an epic battle scene.

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Postby Gary » Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:22 pm

Force Z.

Prince of Wales and Repulse deserve some recognition although how you would turn a British defeat into a movie with a good ending...............I dont know.
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Postby Orville H. Larson » Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:47 pm

These two: Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (November 13, 1942), and the Liberty ship STEPHEN HOPKINS v. German raider STIER (September 27, 1942).

The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal? Besides being the seagoing equivalent of a Pier Six brawl, the USN prevented the Japanese from bombarding Henderson Field, thus maintaining the Marines' toehold on the island.

HOPKINS v. STIER? When did you ever hear of a merchant ship--with one four-inch gun manned by a green Armed Guard gun crew--fatally damage an enemy raider (six 5.9-inchers, torpedoes et al.) in a vastly unequal battle? (Not only was HOPKINS fighting STIER, she was taking machine gun fire from TANNENFELS, too.)

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Postby RF » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:41 pm

Orville H. Larson wrote:These two: Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (November 13, 1942), and the Liberty ship STEPHEN HOPKINS v. German raider STIER (September 27, 1942).


HOPKINS v. STIER? When did you ever hear of a merchant ship--with one four-inch gun manned by a green Armed Guard gun crew--fatally damage an enemy raider (six 5.9-inchers, torpedoes et al.) in a vastly unequal battle? (Not only was HOPKINS fighting STIER, she was taking machine gun fire from TANNENFELS, too.)


There was a film made during WW2 of the story of the recovery of the tanker San Demetrio, after it was attacked in the HX-84 convoy by Scheer, which I suppose would be similar.

But how would Stier and Gerlach be portrayed in such a movie??
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Postby Orville H. Larson » Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:21 am

A most provocative question, RF!

STEPHEN HOPKINS went down after taking a hellacious pasting from the combined fire of STIER and TANNENFELS, but not before inflicting fatal damage on STIER, her principal antagonist. Captain Paul Buck was the better man who commanded the worse ship.

This is what Captain Gerlach of STIER said about the battle:

"It was immediately clear that this was not an ordinary merchantman. She was either an auxiliary, possibly even an AMC, whose armament was estimated as one 5.9 on the stern, two four-inch or five-inch on the bow, two of the same forward of the funnel and two more behind it,
plus some 40mm and 20mm."

Come off it, man! This is a seemingly deliberate exaggeration of his enemy's fighting capacity. Gerlach was probably ashamed--he should have been--that he lost his ship to a vastly unequal foe.

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Postby RF » Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:59 pm

Orville H. Larson wrote:A most provocative question, RF!

STEPHEN HOPKINS went down after taking a hellacious pasting from the combined fire of STIER and TANNENFELS, but not before inflicting fatal damage on STIER, her principal antagonist. Captain Paul Buck was the better man who commanded the worse ship.

This is what Captain Gerlach of STIER said about the battle:

"It was immediately clear that this was not an ordinary merchantman. She was either an auxiliary, possibly even an AMC, whose armament was estimated as one 5.9 on the stern, two four-inch or five-inch on the bow, two of the same forward of the funnel and two more behind it,
plus some 40mm and 20mm."

Come off it, man! This is a seemingly deliberate exaggeration of his enemy's fighting capacity. Gerlach was probably ashamed--he should have been--that he lost his ship to a vastly unequal foe.


The problem for Gerlach, like Burnett in the Sydney, was that he was caught pants down by an alert, efficient enemy. If Buck had blundered instead into Michel, with von Ruckteschell in command, would the battle have been different?
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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:00 pm

I still beleive that U-47 feat of sinking Royal Oak could be an incredible movie.
It would be better than the brilliant but depressing "Das Boot".

Another movie could be about Indianapolis´ sinking. The history must be that of a tough sailor called Quint (who decades later fought a gigantic shark near the coast of Martha´s Vineyard with the help of a police agent and a marine biologist) who´s account is the basis of the movie. Nice mythology.
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Postby Terje Langoy » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:10 pm

I'd like to see all the movies you suggest here. But being a norwegian fellow, I would of course love to see a movie about this the most:

- Weserubung (and the battle of Narvik the day after)
- The story of Tirpitz along with the Venus group
- Battle of North Cape

And some other not so norwegian movies:

- The Jutland battle
- Battle of Trafalgar
- AGREED, KARL! I'd love to see of U-47

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Postby Orville H. Larson » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:09 am

RF wrote:
Orville H. Larson wrote:A most provocative question, RF!

STEPHEN HOPKINS went down after taking a hellacious pasting from the combined fire of STIER and TANNENFELS, but not before inflicting fatal damage on STIER, her principal antagonist. Captain Paul Buck was the better man who commanded the worse ship.

This is what Captain Gerlach of STIER said about the battle:

"It was immediately clear that this was not an ordinary merchantman. She was either an auxiliary, possibly even an AMC, whose armament was estimated as one 5.9 on the stern, two four-inch or five-inch on the bow, two of the same forward of the funnel and two more behind it,
plus some 40mm and 20mm."

Come off it, man! This is a seemingly deliberate exaggeration of his enemy's fighting capacity. Gerlach was probably ashamed--he should have been--that he lost his ship to a vastly unequal foe.


The problem for Gerlach, like Burnett in the Sydney, was that he was caught pants down by an alert, efficient enemy. If Buck had blundered instead into Michel, with von Ruckteschell in command, would the battle have been different?


No doubt STEPHEN HOPKINS would have been sunk. Given the superiority of the raider, that's the only reasonable outcome.

However, as long as HOPKINS' gun crews remained alive and at their guns, MICHEL would not have had an easy time of it. Ensign Kenneth Willett, USNR--the remarkable young officer who commanded the Armed Guard detachment--handled the four-inch gun with superb accuracy and determination. (This, despite being fatally wounded and barely conscious.) To quote SALVO!:
EPIC NAVAL GUN ACTIONS by Bernard Edwards:

"...Ensign Kenneth Willett and his fourteen Armed Guard gunners, a wartime addition to the STEPHEN HOPKINS' crew, had also spent their time well, stripping, cleaning, and endlessly drilling with their armament. The Liberty carried a stern-mounted four-inch, two 37-mm quick-firers and six machine guns, four of .50 caliber and two of .30 caliber. If and when the time came, Willett was confident that his guns would speak with some authority...."

As long as Willett and his men remained alive, they would have given MICHEL a good pasting.

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Postby RF » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:47 pm

And if Michel was given a good pasting what would that have done to Ruckteschell's reputation as a successful raider captain? After all, unlike Gerlach, by September 1942 Ruckteschell had already sunk 100,000 tons of shipping in Widder and Michel.

And what if the Hopkins had blundered into both Stier and Michel at rendezvous?
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Postby RF » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:50 pm

Terje Langoy wrote:I'd like to see all the movies you suggest here. But being a norwegian fellow

I'm surprised you didn't suggest a film about the Blucher.
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Postby Terje Langoy » Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:32 am

I mentioned Operation Weserbung, RF. :wink: What would this movie be without the sinking of Blucher? Or the coastal defence ships Norge and Eidsvold at Narvik?

Best regards

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:07 pm

Terje:
I mentioned Operation Weserbung, RF. What would this movie be without the sinking of Blucher? Or the coastal defence ships Norge and Eidsvold at Narvik?

Best regards


Good battles, good ships, good fighting sailors: good Viking and Saxon blood. :wink:
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Postby Orville H. Larson » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:05 am

RF wrote:And if Michel was given a good pasting what would that have done to Ruckteschell's reputation as a successful raider captain? After all, unlike Gerlach, by September 1942 Ruckteschell had already sunk 100,000 tons of shipping in Widder and Michel.

And what if the Hopkins had blundered into both Stier and Michel at rendezvous?


Well, it definitely would have cramped Ruckteschell's style!

If HOPKINS had encountered MICHEL and STIER together, most likely she would have been overwhelmed in short order. If Captain Buck knew he was facing two raiders, he would have been justified in surrendering.

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Postby Orville H. Larson » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:53 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I still beleive that U-47 feat of sinking Royal Oak could be an incredible movie.
It would be better than the brilliant but depressing "Das Boot".


Gunther Prien's sinking of HMS ROYAL OAK would be an excellent subject for a movie. In 1939, Commodore Karl Donitz was anxious to strike a blow directly at Scapa Flow, the great British naval base. To quote from "Gunther Prien" by Dan van der Vat in MEN OF WAR: GREAT NAVAL LEADERS OF WORLD WAR TWO:

"...Donitz was determined to avenge the frustrated navy he had served in 1914-18 and to seize Hitler's attention at the same time. He decided to risk one boat, and his favorite skipper, on a mission which, if successful, could yield a harvest in influence, morale and resources out of all proportion to such a small investment. He spelt out the hazards exhaustively to Gunther Prien and gave him forty-eight hours to say yes or no, as he chose. Prien was back in twenty-four hours with a ringing yes, cheerfully
volunteering his entire crew without giving them the choice that he had himself enjoyed...."

Donitz chose the right man for the job. (In World War One, two U-boats had been sunk trying to penetrate Scapa Flow.)


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