[Dixielandjazz] Schrage Musik - was jazz in the Third Reich

Dingo roadie at btinternet.com
Tue Aug 25 13:32:46 PDT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen G Barbone"
Cc: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 3:27 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Schrage Musik - was jazz in the Third Reich

> 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.

Indeed, Steve, and thanks for the interesting piece. Back around 1988 when
gigging in Bremen, I met up with an ex-Luftwaffe nightfighter pilot who
briefly related to me, among other things, some of his experiences flying a
Schrage Musik equipped Bf 110. He was also involved in Luftwaffe intruder
flights i.e. returning with the RAF bombers after a raid and shooting them
down as they landed at their home bases here in East Anglia. I say, briefly,
as he became too choked to say much after a few minutes other than "they
were sad days".
John D

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list