[Dixielandjazz] Schrage Musik - was jazz in the Third Reich
Stephen G Barbone
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 25 07:27:25 PDT 2009
Anton Crouch and others wrote about the banning of some jazz in the
3rd Reich. But how many of us know about Schrage Musik?
Schrage Musik loosely translates from German to English to "slanted
music". Slanted music to a German meant "jazz". So what?
Well circa 1943 the German war machine developed a series of night
fighter aircraft to shoot down British bombers. They developed a
highly successful program using Bf-110 twin engined airplanes with
upward firing (about a 70 degree angle) cannons mounted behind the
cockpit. The planes also carried radar sets to locate their prey.
The British had removed their bombers belly turrets because of drag
and limited success with them. So the German night fighters would
approach from the rear, below the bomber, level out and from very
close range would fire upward aiming for the fuel tanks in the wings,
rather than the belly where the bombs were for obvious reasons.
They were highly successful in shooting down 10% of the bombers on
British night raids. The high being 107 shot down out of 795 bombers
that attacked Berlin on March 30 1943.
By the Spring of 1944 the British had developed a counter radar device
which warned of the night fighter approach. Meanwhile, the Canadian
Bombers immediately installed belly turrets. Standard maneuvers to
escape the night fighter was a downward corkscrew.
It is ironic that the country where Schrage Musik (Jazz) was banned,
nicknamed their upward firing guns Schrage Musik.
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