National Geographic: Nazi Megastructures 2

Nazi-MegastructuresWorld War II is probably the most fascinating historical event to me. I always seem to uncover some new aspect to it and it feels like a never ending story.  You’ve got  the Japanese doing experiments on the Chinese, saboteurs, the extreme Russian casualties, the mass rapes of German women, the Holocaust, the experiments, the Nazi Hunters, the American Heroes. So much stuff, so little time to devour it all.

I am a total sucker for Nazi-themed DVD sets because I get a blast of history in a short amount of time and don’t have to read a 1000 page book (I love to read but I’d rather read a 1000 page novel). Of course I always try and do a little research after watching shows like this for further information or to verify statements that seem generalized or inflated.

For me the highlights of this set were the Megaships and Suicide Bomber episodes as I haven’t see any documentaries on these topics before. My only qualm with the series was the decision to have a rather Jewish-looking Hitler. One commenter on reddit made a good crack with this comment: “his nose was the mega-structure”.

Following on from season one this season looks at weapons, defense lines, secret headquarters, high-tech ships and Japan’s Kamikaze pilots.

Disc One

V1: Hitler’s Vengeance Missile– After intense bombing from the allies which devastated German cities, Hitler orders the creation of the first ever cruise missile rocket.

Hitler’s Siegfried Line– A near impenetrable fortified defense line that caused 140,000 American casualties. The Siegfried Line was 390 miles long (630km) and built mostly by a juvenile work force.

The Wolf’s Lair – Hitler’s secret headquarters consisted of bunkers and buildings made of concrete and steel. Often referred to as the “nerve centre”,  The Wolf’s Lair was  designed to command  millions of soldiers, and  was a place to hide the leaders of the Third Reich.

Disc Two

Himmler’s SS – The real bad guys of the regime and possibly the best looking too. Not much here in this episode that hasn’t been covered before.  The SS were in charge of Hitler’s security, running the concentration camps and have a reputation for being the nastiest Nazis. I mean come on, the badges on their hats are skulls.

Hitler’s Megaships – This episode focuses on the Bismarck and Tirpitz. The Tirpitz was 2000 metric tonnes heavier than the Bismarck and was the heaviest boat ever built in Europe at the time. The Tirpitz was downed by British bombers with “tall-boy” bombs. Between 900-1500 men died as a result.

Kamikaze Suicide Bombers –  Of all the message board stalking I did on these episodes this seems to be episode that most people had issues with. This episode focuses on America VS Japan and how Japan used inexperienced pilots as human bombs. There’s also bunkers and secret headquarters of the Kamikaze squadron.

It’s hard for me to criticize these types of shows. They are often quite similar in content and presentation and it’s usually the narration or extremely poor and schlocky recreations that put me off.  The re-enactments were well done and not low-budget. There’s also plenty of old footage which is always the best part to me and plenty of footage I hadn’t come across before.  And yes there’s plenty of talking head interviews with Historians. This series is quite focused on engineering of all these “mega-structures”, an area I am not familiar with, but I saw a lot of Youtube commenters challenging some of the information presented in the series, particularly the Kamikaze episode.

If you’re interested in WWII you won’t go wrong with this series and if you enjoyed the first series then it’s a must see. I am keen to go and check out the first season.

Nazi Megastructure 2 is a two-disc set with a run time of 263 minutes. No extras.

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