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Patton 360 (North Africa) on Hist Chan 9p.m. and 1 a.m. PDT


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This new series covers Patton in battle and starts with North Africa, specifically focusing on Kasserine. This is about as CMAK topical as it gets, so am passing the word. The teasers looked pretty promising. That said, it IS the History Channel, so it may not be as good as it looked. Also, the Military Channel in its Commanders at War series is airing Rommel vs. Montgomery, which is highly CMAK pertinent in terms of topic. Check your listings on that one, but I think it airs next week.

Regards,

John Kettler

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The episode, as far as it went (covered Torch, but not Kasserine), was pretty good. There was considerable period footage, including rare color footage of Vichy French troops, animation to TOW standards of resolution, and some great interviews with veterans. The show did suffer, though, from the typical History Channel wrong visuals. Would you believe Panthers and Tiger 1s? From a CMAK perspective, the coolest thing had to do with a clash between U.S. M5 Stuarts and a French force of R35s and an infantry battalion in the fight for Port Lyautey. French almost won, only to be undone by naval gunfire spotted by a Navy plane which happened to show up ! If no scenario exists, someone ought to make one!

Regards,

John Kettler

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French almost won, only to be undone by naval gunfire spotted by a Navy plane which happened to show up !

Doesn't seem to me that much "happened" should have been involved. The Ranger was in the neighborhood and the battleships and cruisers all carried spotter planes. Would have been odder if no plane had shown up.

Michael

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The show was bad history in many cases. The story about the spotter plane and naval gunfire is not reflected in the official records. The counterattack by the 1st Chasseurs d'Afrique on 8 and 9 November was defeated in some rather desperate fighting at the classic Combat Mission tactical level. Patton 360 also said the TDs at El Guettar were spread out across the valley floor, when in fact they were arrayed along the crest of the hills. The whole thing was closer to a docudrama on Meth.

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Harry Yeide,

Good to see you again! History Channel had its (numerous) problems before, but has even worse ones now that the 300 visual model has been adopted: graphics gratia graphics and who cares about letting perfectly good period imagery tell the story? Battles B.C. is vastly worse (see Caesar fighting with two gladii, not to mention fountains of Mars)! Appreciate the clarification on the tank fight and, now that you mention it, ISTR El Guettar was the combat debut of the M10, which was in the hills. Used to own a short history of the 601st TD Battalion.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Harry,

Well, then here's a bit of groggery for you. On the Tank Overhaul Ferdinand episode, the restoration crew found that a projectile hit in the left front brake drum had jammed the sprocket, immobilizing the AFV and forcing its abandonment. It was claimed that the projectile was the M61 and that it was fired by both the Sherman and the M10. I know the former was true for the 75mm Shermans, for I have the 10 July 1944 FM 17-12 Tank Gunnery, but I have my doubts on the 76.2mm/3 inch front. Would imagine the projectile there has different nomenclature.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Harry,

Looks like it! See the account here for TD action on 29 February. I suspect, though, that the crew exited from the rear and was therefore largely unseen. The Tank Overhaul episode showed no damage that would cause crew losses, presuming the AFV was buttoned while in battle.

http://www.lonesentry.com/brassingoff/index.html

Regards,

John Kettler

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Just watched the Sicily segment and found it pretty good, within limits. Loved the first person accounts and small unit actions, found the operational/strategic context useful, but was really wishing for more informational meat and far less in the way of over the top 300 style visual effects. Had never seen a Long Tom fired at such low elevation angles before, noticed the WW I pattern 155 howitzer, and was mightily intrigued by Patton's personally directed mortar shoot--with the unavailable to us WP! The one man with a bazooka vs. a Tiger story was very high in pucker factor, too. Cool segment on Darby which could probably be made into a CMAK piece. Sadly, the History Channel botched the visuals yet again, with a Tiger II clearly in evidence, as well as an assortment of faux Tiger Is, including one from a Russian propaganda film on Kursk. Some actual kill figures for the naval gunfire vs. Italian and German attacks would've been nice!

Regards,

John Kettler

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  • 3 weeks later...

Getting caught up! The American blitzkrieg episode was far better than I dared hope, Ost Front, Bulge and inside Germany late war footage notwithstanding. The veteran interviews were terrific, and most of the footage was both topical and good. There was considerable CMETO usable material presented, together with some stunning imagery of the aftermath of American firepower at Mortain. The scale of fires was simply astounding, with one FO's calling in 100+ closer to 200?) fire missions. Some fascinating combat encounters I never heard of before are covered. Maybe the best one yet!

Regards,

John Kettler

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  • 4 weeks later...

Caught the Lorraine campaign episode and found it fairly worthwhile, though suffering from both footage and wrong animation problems. The armor battle stuff was highly CMETO pertinent, with the Hellcats on the ridge especially interesting, as were interviews with American tankers who survived some truly hairy engagements. The battalion that took 80% casualties on the enemy side of the Moselle, the improvised tank crossing of same and the segment on assault boats were also quite good. As it happens, I knew of veteran of the Moselle crossing in my Hughes days, so I knew it was a nasty go even before the latest Patton 360 episode. Good footage of Shermans in combat, and there was a short sequence showing a Tiger 1 killed by drilling a round through the rear loading hatch. Remarkable!

Regards,

John Kettler

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  • 5 weeks later...

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