Converted into propaganda films during the Second World War, the Disney studios released “La Victoire par les airs” in 1943. A feature film which features a devastating bomb … Which will become real in 1944. Its name? The “Disney Bomb” …
If the general public knows many anecdotes related to Mickey Mouse’s dad, highlighting his creative genius, his visionary spirit and his keen business acumen, although he has more than once put his company in financial difficulty, there are also many lesser-known anecdotes, apart of course from the initiated. Here is a rather amazing one.
Very conservative, Walt Disney publicly opposed the American involvement in World War II in the early 1940s. But, like many companies in the country, it was not long before he contributed to the war effort after the United States entered the war.
Part of the Disney studio is thus monopolized by the government to make it an arms depot, or even a hospital, while Disney maintains a team in place responsible for continuing to make feature films, in very difficult conditions elsewhere. , like Dumbo.
Disney therefore continues to produce, but this time its work is not only intended for distribution to the general public. In particular, he created propaganda films for the Americans, or tactical films to train the military, on the importance of aviation during the war, etc.
Among these works of propaganda, we find in particular some nuggets, like Der Fuehrer’s Face (1942), in which an obsessive Donald, enslaved in an arms factory like Charlot in Modern Times, repeats “Heil Hitler” …
Here it is again:
Victory by air
It is always in this logic that its studios released in July 1943 in cinemas a propaganda feature film, Victory Through Air Power. Lasting 1h10 and produced for $ 788,000, mixing real shots and animation, it is an adaptation of a book published in 1942 and written by a Russian-American major of the American aviation, Alexander P. de Seversky.
A work advocating the importance of the superiority of aerial bombardments which had a rather resounding echo: it was indeed published barely six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese air force on December 7, 1941, which triggered the entry at war from the United States. Until then, military commanders believed that air power was of tactical utility, that is, it should primarily support the efforts of combatants on the ground; when it could be used on a much larger scale.
Passionate reader and impressed by the book, Walt Disney himself supervised the start-up of the Victory by air, and the film was made in 14 months. A record, given the context. For the anecdote, the distributor of Disney films at the time, the RKO Radio Pictures, refused to release it indoors. Walt Disney then decided to turn to the United Artists, which distributed many of the big-eared firm’s shorts between 1932 and 1937. Making it the first and only Disney animated feature to be distributed by a film studio other than RKO or Walt disney studios.
Here it is, below. To do it justice, the work is supposed to be in Technicolor … Disney studios also sent a copy of the film to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, who was said to be impressed. .
The Disney Bomb
In this propaganda feature film appears the idea of a bomb (visible in animated form) dropped on a Nazi naval base, which would be able, by its power, to sufficiently pierce the fortifications at first, then to explode in a second step. Such bombs, baptized Bunker Buster, were developed during World War II. The Americans thus developed a bomb called “Tarzon”. The British had as models “Tall Boy” (a monster of 5 tons!), “Grand Slam” and its 10 tons on the scale … And the Disney bomb.
Inspired by the model seen in the propaganda film, Royal Navy Captain Edward Terrel designed a rocket-powered bomb model, with assisted guidance, specifically dedicated to piercing the reinforced concrete of bunkers before detonating his charge.
With a monstrous weight of 2 tons, that only the B-17 flying fortresses could carry under the wings (it did not even fit in the hold!), This bomb Bunker Buster had an impact speed of 1,590 km / h, slightly more than the “Tall Boy” model, which was 1,210 km / h. Although it was successful in design, the Disney bomb was not as precise as expected. But its lack of precision was balanced by its devastating power.
With such force, the Disney bomb was able to pierce the reinforced concrete nearly 5m deep before exploding. Very useful for hitting the gigantic Nazi reinforced concrete fortifications which notably housed the naval bases from which the U-Boot departed; like the one that still exists in Lorient. Here, moreover, the Royal Air Force attempted to pierce the roof in a bombardment on August 6, 1944, with a 6-ton bomb. Without success…
The Disney bomb had only a limited production from the end of 1944, and was only used by the American air forces on theaters of operations in Europe, from February to April 1945. Its first airdrop was on the dutch port of Ijmuiden, which housed two huge bunkers for German submarines. 18 Disney bomb were thus dropped on the fortification in February 1945.
In total, nearly 160 Disney bomb were used between February and April 1945. The last attack using Disney bomb embarked on board B-17 took place on April 4, 1945, in a massive bombardment of the city of Hamburg and its surroundings.
Astonishing fate that this Disney bomb, born from a Cartoon developed under the auspices of Walt Disney, to ultimately become an authentic, ingenious and deadly machine of destruction destined to smash the Nazi war machine.