Been a while since I updated you on what’s been going on with the Tidal Wave/Ploesti project. Don’t let my lack of communication imply that I haven’t been busy, however!
This documentary is about more than just Tidal Wave mission execution—although that is certainly one of the main sections. “War stories” about what the men on Tidal Wave experienced can be found all over the place, whether firsthand accounts from actual participants or secondhand or third-hand hearsay.
This will not look like a typical History Channel or Discovery documentary, with a fairly superficial story line delivered by numerous “talking heads” speaking one or two sentences each before disappearing. That documentary style might give the gist of the story, but cannot impart much real understanding of what happened. It does, of course, appear to have an excellent human-interest angle.
The mission itself was obviously a major undertaking, involving considerable effort and heroism on the part of the crews who actually attacked the target. This is highly exciting stuff, and you’ll get a bunch of it in my documentary.
Because I’m very interested in the context of the mission:
- Why it was flown
- Why it was flown at that time
- Who was for it
- Who was against it
- What was the Germans’ actual oil situation at that time
- What did the US, and the UK, believe was the Germans’ oil situation
- How important Ploesti really was to the Axis war machine
- What impact did the mission have on the Combined Bomber Offensive
- What were the actual impacts on the Axis war machine (given that not all “oil” is created equal . . . )
- Who were the major behind-the-scenes players, in addition to the obvious players, and what were their attitudes
- What did the Romanians themselves experience on that date, and what did it mean to their war effort
- What were the attitudes of the American and British regarding this specific target and related larger issues; how did they differ, and how did their differences affect the mission
You’re going to see and hear a great deal about some very significant issues and facts that have never been revealed before, or never related in detail or context, that will give you a whole new appreciation of what happened on 1 August 1943 at Ploesti, Romania.
I feel like I’m living inside a detective story. I’ve copied a dozen shelf-feet of original documents from numerous official archives (that is a LOT of pages), copied more than a thousand original photos, most of them of excellent quality, and found and copied original film related to the mission that takes up well more than four TERABYTES of HD video disk space.
I’ve read over 150 books related to the mission in one way or another, many of them more than once due to their importance and/or the authors’ impenetrable writing style. I feel like I’m back in grad school!
Every place I look I find a “trail.” I read a fact—then wonder why this person did that, or what were the circumstances that made that particular thing happen, etc. That leads me to the next clue, then to the next, then to the next—a little like the story line of a Nicholas Cage National Treasure movie, except there’s no huge pile of gold waiting for me at the end (dammit).
As I follow each of these hundreds and hundreds of trails, I have to relate it back to the bigger picture, and determine how what I just learned affects, or is affected by, all the other facts I’ve pursued. This pretty obviously a huge quantity of work. It’s also a huge amount of fun and I can understand how easily writers get so caught up in research that they never actually finish the project.
I can’t afford to fail to finish my documentary, and I’m working hard to bring this baby in for a safe landing. Not totally sure when it will be, but hopefully within the next month or so. I’ll keep you informed.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but NOT his own set of facts. Unfortunately, frequency of repetition does not a fact make. Seventeen writers repeating the same statement does not make it a “fact” if it was wrong in the first place.
You’ve heard me say this documentary will be controversial. It will be, because some of the long-held and dearly held myths—many exceptionally convoluted—about Ploesti that have been put forward since the war will be challenged and turned on their heads. Some people will work themselves up into, well, a white fury.
That’s not my intention, but it will happen. So, I have to be very well informed about every aspect of the controversies both to ensure the true story is told and to avoid a charge of inadequate research. This is particularly true regarding much of the material in the Deluxe Edition of my documentary.