This episode of The Air Force Story – Volume 1 Chapter 10 – is entitled “The Tide Turns” and shows WWII history for June thru September 1942. In this film you’ll see the 97th bomber group as it embarks for England; B-17’s initiating high altitude precision daylight bombing; Japanese forces closing in on the U.S. Army in New Guinea; Army Air Force personnel and materiel help build runways near the front; P-38’s down Japanese aircraft.
The film starts at :20 with images of the liner RMS Queen Elizabeth serving as a troop ship to ferry Americans to England. At :32, a girls boarding school being used as HQ of the Eighth Air Force is shown. (Some of this footage is seen in the USAAF documentary “Memphis Belle”.) At 1:13, HQ staff is seen and a discussion of the differences between British night attack with Wellington bombers, vs. American tactics for precision daylight bombing, is discussed. At 2:00 the first USA raid in daylight is prepared, an attack on Rouen in German occupied France. At 4:55, all 12 planes make the drop on Rouen, hitting marshaling yards before being bombarded with flak (5:20). At 5:30 German fighter aircraft come up to meet the Flying Fortresses and a massive dogfight ensues. At 6:20 the film switches action in New Guinea, and the Japanese drive towards Port Moresby. Gen. George Kenney and the Sixth Air Force, which were tasked with moving Australian and American infantry divisions into action in the campaign. (George Churchill Kenney was a United States Army Air Forces general during World War II. He is best known as the commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), a position he held between August 1942 and 1945.) At 8:00, P-40 fighters are seen in the Southwest Pacific as part of the Papuan Campaign. At 8:40, the P-38 Lightning is profiled and shown being maintained. At 9:50 the Lightning is put into combat missions. The first mission is a success, with gun camera footage at 11:00 showing the decimation of 28 planes of the Imperial Japanese Air Forces including pilot Richard Bong’s first victory. At 12:10 the 12 Lightnings return to base after shooting down 11 Japanese aircraft.
The United States Air Force produced a series of 34 films, roughly 14 minutes each, between 1947 and 1960 to help educated the public about the role of the Air Force. They were narrated by Arthur Godfrey and other celebrities. The goals of the films are best described by the introduction displayed at the start of each movie as follows:
“It is the job of all the people to know and understand what the airman has done and is doing today…
For only with fill public knowledge and understanding can we have the support we need to carry out our mission. It is a big mission and an important one.
It involves the future well-being of every American – the peace of the world.
Your Air Force”
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com