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Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb

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Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb

In 1939, visionary aircraft designer Barnes Wallis designed a very special bomb that would bounce across water and destroy German dams. The raid in 1943 was a success and a 1950s feature film carried the the Dambusters story into British legend.

The science behind the bouncing bomb is highly complex, and many of Barnes Wallis' vital working calculations have been lost. Now, Cambridge engineer Dr Hugh Hunt, is going to attempt to solve the scientific puzzle of exactly how Wallis did it. Starting from scratch, he will rediscover the brilliance of Wallis's achievement when he tries to hit a dam with a bouncing bomb.

It is the first time this has been attempted since the war. Hugh will be assisted by dam engineers, explosives experts, mechanics and pilots who specialise in low altitude flying.

A vintage Second World War aircraft is modified to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum. It will then fly dangerously low over a Canadian lake and try to release the bomb at the perfect point so that it bounces across the water onto a specially-constructed 130-foot-wide dam. If they're successful they'll blow the dam sky-high.

No CGI, no special effects; this is for real.

The film also interweaves the fascinating historical story of Barnes Wallis and 617 Squadron with this present-tense narrative.

The experiment is complex and low flying is extremely dangerous. Can history be repeated?

Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb synopsis

Cambridge engineer Dr Hugh Hunt tries to recreate Barnes Wallis's famous Second World War bouncing bomb, and blow up a specially constructed dam in Canada

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