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The Kriegsmarine Commander and the Movies

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Old 04-02-12, 11:10 PM   #1
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Post The Kriegsmarine Commander and the Movies

When a revolutionary submarine was launched on July 1, 1910 from the Whitehead Shipyard, in Rijeka, Croatia, soon to join the Royal and Imperial Navy of Austro-Hungary, the applause went to a technical marvel, not to a Broadway and Hollywood legend. The U-6 was small, at about 106 feet in length and a crew of only 19. She boasted two 250 horsepower gasoline engines for running on the surface and two battery packs and electric motors providing a total of 240 horsepower for running submerged. In its day, this was a formidable weapons platform, although due to her small size, U-6 could only carry four torpedoes to be fired from her two tubes, and a rapid-firing 37mm deck gun, but that would be enough.

U-6 sank the 750 ton the French destroyer Renaudin off Durazzo on March 18, 1916, a considerable achievement for a whole class of six small submarines that together were a total disaster, otherwise being unable to score a single victory. But the significance was not in U-6 herself, but in her dashing young commander who first took her out of the yards at Rijeka. His name was Georg Ludwig Ritter von Trapp, the dashing scion of a long line of Naval heroes.

There was another connection made on that July day - the young lady who christened the U-6 was the beautiful Fräulein Agathe Whitehead, the wealthy granddaughter of the shipyard's owner met the commander at the ceremony. Soon the pair would be married.

During WW1 Commander von Trapp would complete 19 patrols commanding several submarines and would tally 11 merchantmen sunk (totaling 45,669 tons), plus a French armored cruiser, an Italian destroyer, and capturing at least one other vessel. Meanwhile he and his bride had started a family that would include seven children. The commander was a national hero, with a large family, and an enviable social and financial position . . . but Agathe suddenly died and the commander was unprepared to raise a family on his own.

At this point, the story may begin to sound a little familiar. The commander needed to hire a governess for the children and he found Maria Augusta Kutschera, who took over the responsibilities of raising and teaching the children, then later married the commander with whom she would go on to have three children of her own.

In time, as the shadows of Nazi Germany lengthened over the old Austro-Hungarian empire, the family made plans to escape to America. Maybe it wasn't much of a dramatic escape . . . they simply packed their bags and walked to the train station, and caught the express for Italy. But their story, based on Maria von Trapp's book, "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" would become an American legend. You see, you already know Commander von Trapp and his family, not for his leadership, technical mastery, or naval triumphs, but for the story of his family who would become famous as a singing group. The play, written by Broadway's leading librettists, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and a score by the team of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein III, was the perfect storm, in which story met author, met composers.

It played on Broadway for 1443 performances before making the leap to the screen. You know the film (and the musical) as "The Sound of Music", but it all began with the meeting of a dashing submarine commander and the daughter of the owner of the shipyard. This unlikely pairing became probably the most beloved family movie in American Cinema and certainly one of the most popular . . . even though it was barely recognizable to the original author and her family who lived the story that was its inspiration.
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Old 04-03-12, 01:39 AM   #2
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I've never seen The Sound of Music through to the end. As soon as Julie Andrews walks up that mountain and utters the first strains of The Hills Are Alive it gets zapped off immediately.
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Old 04-03-12, 06:35 AM   #3
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Interesting! they need to make a film based on Von Trapp and his sea battles - then at the very end tell the rest of the story. I have never seen all of Sound of music either, but this tidbit of info makes a good conversation piece that is the fruition of the movie.

I frequent 20000 leagues under the sea every couple years because it is one of my Fav books, that and hunt for Red October. thats why your post caught my eye
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Old 04-03-12, 07:09 AM   #4
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If you like submarine movies, check out "The Enemy Below", probably the best of the old-school thrillers, right up there in my book with Red October. Starring Robert Mitchum and Kurt Jurgens, and directed by D1ck Powell, it's a deadly game of hide and seek between equally-matched contenders on the high seas.
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Old 04-03-12, 07:44 AM   #5
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<movieinQue

okay, that is one I have never seen yet. thanks!
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Old 04-03-12, 08:48 AM   #6
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Cool bit of info
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Old 04-03-12, 08:48 AM
 
 
 
 
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