Status Update

Long-delayed update on my documentary’s progress:

First, it’s not done yet (damn). However, the research portion is very nearly at end and I’m actively working on the script, visuals, graphics, etc.

I’ve recently obtained another 4,000+ pages of original documents from the US National Archives, British National Archives, and German Bundesarchiv that, among other things, clarify to a great extent who the major national players in the planning for the attack on Ploesti were, and especially their attitudes, recommendations, and decisions.

Interesting how this unfolded: some documents I got from the British National Archives led to investigation of several completely new categories of documents from the US National Archives, which are not adequately indexed. This required a great deal of research time, but revealed critical new information not previously known or available.

I’ve also obtained some additional rather obscure but extremely interesting film of the mission and related activities that will help show a clearer, more exciting, and broader picture of what went on.

Some of the new specific document types include a large number of ULTRA decrypts related to Ploesti. You’ll recall that ULTRA was the TOP SECRET British codebreaking operation that was so secret no one outside the tiny group of intelligence initiates was even allowed to know the program existed, let alone the contents of the intercepted messages.

The ULTRA material covers a wide variety of subjects in detail, sometimes in considerable detail. For example, some of the intercepted German messages included such details as the Werke Nummer (serial number) of destroyed or damaged Luftwaffe aircraft (this applies to far more than just Ploesti). German military unit and personnel movements, damage assessments, and to a limited degree overall plans were other subjects covered.

It is utterly amazing to read how well Churchill, and to possibly a lesser extent FDR, were informed on what was going on behind German lines. ULTRA was undoubted one of, if not THE, major coups of the war.

Of particular interest is the extreme difference between the very accurate information the Allies were receiving from the Germans themselves through the ULTRA decrypts, and the amazingly bad information coming to them from some human intelligence sources, especially through Swedish, Polish, and Yugoslavian sources. Contemporary German and Romanian sources available to me now, especially from the oil companies, highlight these inaccuracies. Thankfully the Allies did not put much stock in these inaccurate reports. Because it’s outside the scope of my project, I have not investigated whether these inaccuracies were the result of German penetration of Polish and Yugoslavian intelligence networks or simply over-eager reporting of what was merely positive speculation.

Can’t recall whether I’ve already told you this, but my previous research into OKW (German high command), OKL (Luftwaffe high command) and Hitler’s personal diaries and logs has revealed considerable insight and detail on the German’s attitudes and actions with regard to Romanian oil. Among other things, Hitler’s utter contempt for the Romanian people (and his high regard for Marshal Antonescu) is as well documented as FDR’s well known contempt for Winston Churchill, both in spite of their many public proclamations to the contrary.

In addition to the contextual information I’ve been researching recently, I’ve also made considerable progress on a number of specifics related to the actual attack and its results.

In sum, there is today a massive amount of original documentation that was still classified or completely unavailable 50+ years ago when Stewart and Dugan wrote their landmark book. What’s most amazing is that they did such a superlative job given the relative scarcity of information available to them. As always, I feel honored to walk in the footprints of giants who have preceded me.

Dave Klaus

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Accurate TIDAL WAVE B-24D List

Lists of TIDAL WAVE B-24Ds have been published in the past.  However, once I started evaluating them it was clear serious inaccuracies were present.  The extensive B-24D list at the link below is the result of assessing more than 450 official documents of various types along with a number of crewmember diaries, letters, and articles.

While not every single data element is confirmed in every detail (as described on the linked page), this is the most accurate list ever published.  To be clear, while I know a lot I certainly don’t know everything.  If you have confirmed information (NOT stuff from the many Ploesti books out there) that will help complete this list, please contact me by clicking one of the links on that page.  With your help, we’ll make this thing ROCK!

What doesn’t rock (yet) is the layout of the linked page.  Everybody knows Microsoft Office does a horrible job of creating web pages and it is a prime example.  I’ll work on cleaning up the format later; for now, just enjoy the cool TIDAL WAVE info.

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

What The Axis Knew In Advance (Teaser)

I found and had declassified a formerly TOP SECRET report that lays out, in detail, what the Luftwaffe Signal Intelligence Service (specifically W-Leit Südost, Referat C, and Chi-Stelle) knew in advance of the TIDAL WAVE mission, and what they knew and did on the day of the actual mission.

It turns out they knew quite a lot–and it didn’t require spies in Cairo (although they certainly existed) or a “stay behind” team hiding in a wadi outside Benghazi, as speculated in certain publications.  What the Luftwaffe command structure did with the information is yet another story.

This is a story with heroes and villains.

It’s fascinating stuff, so stay tuned for the release of my documentary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What The Axis Knew In Advance (Teaser)

Partial Bibliography Posted

Partial (much less than 1%) bibliography posted here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Partial Bibliography Posted

B-24 Maintenance Training Films DVD – Now Shipping!

Now you can watch the same training films on B-24 maintenance that World War II mechanics watched!

My digitally-enhanced versions of these six films are now available on one DVD, which is available now. Read more here…

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on B-24 Maintenance Training Films DVD – Now Shipping!

Quick TIDAL WAVE Documentary Update

About a week ago I received a huge dump of contemporary (original) Romanian and German documents related to TIDAL WAVE. All these docs are in the Romanian or German language, and since I don’t speak either language, I’ve been working 15-16 hour days since the pile arrived to get them translated.

Not to overstate the situation, but this document dump is proving to sort of like the “Wikileaks” of the Axis side TIDAL WAVE. Very, very good stuff.

Before this hoped-for-but-not-really-expected treasure trove arrived, I’d been racing to get everything finished and on the street before 1 August 2013, the 70th anniversary of the Ploesti attack. It’s obviously far more important to get all this new material processed and incorporated. I need to get this wrapped up, however, so at this point I’m shooting for an early September release.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

America’s Secret Plan To Confuse The Ploesti Defenses

Romanian citizens reported being attacked by “Soviet” bombers shortly after midday on Sunday, August 1st, 1943.  They can be excused for their confusion.

The B-24 Liberators of Operation TIDAL WAVE that penetrated Romanian airspace to attack the oil refineries at Ploesti that day in fact wore a bewildering variety of American national insignia.  How this came about is an interesting story.

Read more here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on America’s Secret Plan To Confuse The Ploesti Defenses

Tidal Wave Documentary Update

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
  • Etc.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Part 3 Of Dana Bell’s Interview Of Documentary Producer David H. Klaus

Here is the final part of noted aviation historian and author Dana Bell’s interview of documentary producer Dave Klaus about the upcoming Ploesti/Tidal Wave DVD set.

Be sure to fill in your name and primary email address in the box on the right side of this page to ensure you’re notified when the documentary is released as well as other important updates.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Part 3 Of Dana Bell’s Interview Of Documentary Producer David H. Klaus

Part 2 Of Dana Bell’s Interview Of Documentary Producer Dave Klaus

Here is Part 2 of noted aviation historian and author Dana Bell’s interview of documentary producer Dave Klaus about the upcoming Ploesti/Tidal Wave DVD set.

The third and final part of this interview will be posted shortly.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Part 2 Of Dana Bell’s Interview Of Documentary Producer Dave Klaus