• CMTU History

Episode 32: Operation Chastise




In 1943, World War II was in its third year and the tide was finally slowly beginning to turn against the Axis Powers. That spring, the Royal Air Force embarked on one of the boldest, most ambitious bombing campaigns in aviation history in an effort to deal a crippling blow to the Nazi war industry in the heart of Germany.


Today, renown historian Sir Max Hastings joins me to discuss his latest book, Operation Chastise: The RAF's Most Brilliant Attack of World War II, on the plan to use specially designed bombs to break open several hydroelectric dams and flood the Ruhr Valley. Sir Hastings has had a long career in journalism as a foreign correspondent for the BBC and as an editor and editor-in-chief for the Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph. In his career as a historian, he has authored over twenty books on warfare and military history and has received numerous international awards. Sir Hastings was kind enough to join me from the U.K. via Skype to discuss the logistics of implementing such a audacious plan as Operation Chastise, the engineering that went into creating the so-called Upkeep Device capable of breaching a massive structure like a dam, and the brave pilots who flew at dangerously low altitudes to complete this famous mission.


Key Points in Today's Podcast

Some of the major topics I discuss with Sir Hastings in this episode are:


  • The status of the war between the Germans and Allies in 1943

  • Where the idea for Operation Chastise came from

  • How the Upkeep device was designed and tested

  • The extraordinary mission to destroy the dams along the Ruhr River


For the Ever Curious

If you are interested in reading more from Sir Max Hastings, visit his website at www.maxhastings.com.


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