Blitz Street on Prime

7:30pm Monday, June 13 on Prime

Documentary Series

In the third episode of Blitz Street, we jump to near the end of the war. In the summer of 1944, the British people were thrilled at the news of the D Day landings. If allied troops had made it onto the beaches of mainland Europe, surely the war would soon be over. But just a few days later Hitler sent over the first of his new secret Vengeance weapons. The V1 nicknamed the doodle bug, was a jet powered pilotless plane. It was the first cruise missile in history. Packed with a powerful form of explosive containing RDX it caused terrible damage. The people who saw it, talk about witnessing these buzzing planes pass over and the terror that came when the engine stopped, because that would mean they were about to fall.

The V1 is the next bomb that will detonate over Blitz Street; Tony Robinson has a hands-on demonstration of the power of RDX and will discover the surprising simplicity of the pulse jet engine when he recreates one with Explosives Expert Charlie Adcock. The worst ever death toll from a single V1 attack was the raid on the Guards Chapel near Buckingham Palace on Sunday 18th June. Keith Lewis was an 18 year old Grenadier Guard, he talks about the day he witnessed the V1 come through the roof. He was trapped under the rubble of the Guard’s Chapel, his scalp had been removed and he nearly died from loss of blood. Also in this episode, Tony and defense scientist Robin Hiley analyse the protective powers of the Anderson shelter.

Before the war Government scientists had expected a death toll of 50 people per ton of bomb, they predicted 600,000 deaths in the first two months of the war, but they were wrong, in fact in the whole 9 months of the major Blitz, 42,000 died. Some of this discrepancy can be attributed to the protective power of the curved galvanized steel hut in the garden. On Blitz Street a blast gauge has been put in our Anderson Shelter while we subject it to 3 massive explosions to discover whether people in the shelters would have survived. We also meet the heroes of a bomb disposal team and Tony gets a hands-on demonstration when he tries to defuse a bomb.

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