As long as we're talking about classic World War II movies from the 20th Century Fox studios, if you watch the original 1949 Twelve O'Clock High movie from which the series was developed (starring Gregory Peck as Frank Savage, Dean Jagger as Harvey Stovall and Hugh Marlowe as the Joe Gallagher character, named Ben Gately in the movie), there is a scene early in the movie in which Lord Haw-Haw, the nickname of a real-life British defector to the Germans, makes one of his propaganda broadcasts. He taunts the 918th, and Savage's predecessor by name, and points out that one of their B-17s had crashed in the ocean when the group was on the way to Britain from the US, and he says that its crew was "quite cooperative" once a German U-Boat crew had picked them up.
Contrary to the way they were depicted in Hogan's Heroes, the Germans running the Prisoner of War camps were quite adept at getting Allied prisoners to reveal more military information than they were conscious of, and with little or no torture, just by engaging them in what seemed like innocuous conversation. Then consider the loss rates of the Allied bomber crews early in the war (before the USAAF deployed the P-51 Mustang as an escort fighter capable of accompanying the bombers all the way across Europe and establishing air superiority) and the fact that any aircrews bailing out over Nazi-occupied territory had an infinitely greater chance of getting taken prisoner than being rescued by Resistance guerrillas. The Germans had a large, steady stream of captured Allied aircrews waiting to be unwittingly tapped for current information about their units. Even with US air superiority, and the shrinking of Nazi-occupied territory after D-Day, there were still aircraft losses and aircrews being taken prisoner.
It was also feared by the Allies that German spy networks were able to gather information directly from observing and conversing with Allied military personnel in Britain itself. After the war, it was revealed that MI-5, the British counterintelligence agency, had broken and rounded up the entire German spy network by getting the first few to roll over the rest of the network or else summarily get hanged. They then had the spies transmit bogus disinformation to the Germans, usually with a gun to their head, for the rest of the war. In order to give the disinformation credibility and keep the Germans from learning that their entire network had been compromised, MI-5 had to let them transmit some true and verifiable but innocuous information along with the disinformation. It was a tricky tightrope to walk.
Thanks for the explanation. I do have a copy of the movie DVD. I haven't had a chance to watch Patton yet, but I'll let you know when I have.
Another question. Right now I'm watching season one episode Decision, and I wanted ask you about the U.S. army photo recon plane. What were these planes called, and did the unusual back end of the plane help their pilots around easier?
See you upstairs.