NOVA: 3D Spies of WWII Review

Intelligence is a crucial part of every military campaign; not only does it inform the strategy used in a given situation, but it can affect the number of troops used, the type, where, when, and how. Good or bad intelligence can make the difference between a resounding success and shameful citizen casualties. In World War II, the allied forces employed surveillance airplanes which had to fly over enemy territories just right to snap photos of enemy troops and factories if they wanted to provide usable intel. It was a tricky endeavor, but not only did they succeed, but the quality of the photographs taken were so good that they were able to use two slightly different photographs to make 3D interpretations of what they found using stereoscopic imaging.

Stereoscopic imaging was in use long before World War II, but the benefits it offered to intelligence analysts made the difference between spotting decoy ships and the real thing nestled close to shore. Similarly, it helped inform the timing of raids by Britain’s RAF by indicating the optimal time to bomb dams for when the water levels were high enough to do sufficient damage. However, the true value of stereoscopic analysis became clear when a plane caught sight of three giant circles hidden on the coast—only to discover a year later they were the beginning stages of a new Nazi rocket program. The photos gathered help convince military skeptics that the analysts talk of rockets weren’t just science-fiction exaggerations, but the future of the Nazis’ war plans.

DVD Bonus Features


"NOVA: 3D Spies of WWII" is on sale January 31, 2012 and is not rated. Documentary. Written and directed by Tim Dunn. Starring Craig Sechler.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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