Behind the Scenes in World War 2 Volume 7
354th Fighter Group D-Day Pilot Interviews June 7th 1944 (12:00)
354th, known as the “Pioneer Mustang Group,” was the
first unit to fly P-51 Mustangs fighters in combat in Europe,
starting on December 17, 1943. The Group, part of the Ninth Air
Force, was comprised of three Fighter Squadrons: the 353rd, 355th &
356th. On the night of June 6th, 1944 as part of D-Day invasion
operations their mission was to escort Douglas C-47s towing gliders
full of paratroopers to be launched over the Cherbourg Peninsula in
Normandy. They had no previous experience with night escorts and - as
you'll see - something they weren't very happy about doing.
successfully completing that mission they returned to their base at
Boxted Airdrome, Essexshire, England refueled & took off very
early on June 7th to fly combat air patrol over the D-Day landing
beaches, encountering no opposition. They didn't see any enemy
fighters, but give colorful account of what they saw on the landing
film has interviews with 354 F.G. pilots conducted immediately after
their return to base after the morning mission, still wearing flight
gear. You'll see & hear 354th F.G. CO Col. George R. Bicknel,
and Squadron leaders Maj. Jack T. Bradley (353rd), Capt. Robert W.
Stephens (355th) and Maj Richard E. Turner (356th), along with some
of the Groups most experienced pilots giving their accounts. Most of
them aren't formally identified, but we were able to name them using
rare during World War 2 to do on the scene, live sound recording.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of background noise & “hum"
on the audio track, which is probably why the film was never
released. (This is raw, unedited footage.) But fortunately for us, we
were able to virtually eliminate all that noise using state of art
digital processing. So, we're very lucky this unique film survived!
“Ramrod to Emden – The Thunderbolts” Special Restored and
Annotated Edition. (33:00)
classic documentary film shows the legendary 56th Fighter
Group P-47s on a bomber escort mission to Emden, Holland, in October
, 1943, from early morning briefing, through action packed fighter
opposition over target to touch down and debriefing.
alone makes it worth seeing - but something has always been lacking.
due to war time censorship, out of all the pilots and personnel
shown, only fighter Ace Francis “Gabby” Gabreski, then CO of the Group's 65th
Fighter Squadron, is identified by name.
the first time anywhere, using surviving archival photos taken at the
time as a reference, we've been able to put names to many faces,
FG CO Hubert “Hub” Zemke and legendary aces like Major Dave
Schilling, Captain Walker “Bud” Mahurin, Major Gerald “Jerry”
Johnson and many more. And using aircraft databases, we've been able
to match plane unit I.Ds with the pilots inside. So when you see
P-47D “UN-B” taxi by ready for takeoff, we've identified it as
“Bat Outta Hell,” flown by 1st Lt Gordon E Batdorf, 63 F.S. and
superimposed a wartime picture of him in the corner of the screen.
of our long term missions has been to identify and thereby pay
tribute to the previously anonymous men & women shown in these
films and preserve their individual contributions for the historical
record. Very satisfying work.
last but not least, we've done a scene by scene digital restoration
of the video and audio, made from the best archival copy of the film
available. Again, you won't see this quality anywhere else!
“Fighter Kills” Gun Camera Film, Europe, January to December 1944
Kills” is a series of gun camera film compilations of air to air
and air & to ground fighter attacks produced by Army Air Force
Combat Camera Units (AAFCCUs) and distributed to serving personnel as
news, instruction and motivation. You'll see shoot downs of Me 109s,
110s & 210s, Fw 190s, Ju 88s, an FW 200 transport and more.
Highlights include taking down an Me 163 “Komet” Rocket Plane and
numerous shots of attacks on Me 262 “Schwalbe” jet fighters,
accompanied by a description of their known capabilities and tactics
to use against them.
to ground attacks include “locomotive busting,” strafing rail
yards, bridges, airfields with parked planes, truck convoys, tanks
and more. Another highlight is a series of dramatic A-36 “Apache”
(dive bomber version of the P-51) attacks in central and northern
Italy. Very high quality footage. Over half an hour of non stop
Bombing Missions Against the Japanese in the Pacific & Burma,
August 1943-July 1944 (28:00)
shot by 5th,
& 13th Army Air Force Combat Camera Units.
opening film shows a series of attacks by A-20s, B-24s and B-25s,
escorted by P-38s on Japanese shipping North of New Guinea and the
harbors at Wewak & Hansa Bay. Highlights include very low level
attacks by A-20s and B-25s with in cockpit views. The sound track
from part of this sequence has been lost, but I was able to add
appropriate special effects & supplementary graphics for a very
is followed by a series of high quality newsreels showing B-24 &
B-25 attacks on Rabaul, Rangoon & numerous other targets in
Burma, Nauru in the Gilberts by B-24s based at Guadalcanal, and more
B-24 missions targeting Pacific islands including Wotje, the Woleai
Group and Wake Island. Includes footage showing USAAF bases &
personnel, in the air action including fighter attacks and overhead
views of “bombs away.”
Martin B-26 Operations in France 1944 (18:00)
Header Marauder Operations 4th AAFCCU documentary
footage shows round the clock B-26 tactical missions in the spring
of 1944 leading up to D-Day. You'll see base operations as well as
in the air footage of Marauders attacking a wide variety of targets
including supply depots, airfields & more.
Rail Lines Bombed focuses on a mission to hit the important rail
yards at Dreux, South West of Paris, on June 12 to hinder the
Germans ability to bring reinforcement to Normandy shortly after
was filmed after the Allies had swept across Northern France to show
how precision bombing missions had destroyed key bridges across the
Seine & Loire Rivers to further hinder the flow of men, weapons
and supplies to the front lines in Normandy. A very detailed bomb
*Aerial Photography: Processing the
Film 1941 (17:00)
wonder how they processed the huge sheets of film (up to 9 inches
wide) shot by reconnaissance planes like the Lockheed F5 during World
War 2? Well this film, a gear head's delight, shows how they did it,
step by step from the moment the massive camera is taken off the
aircraft through the finished product – all done using specialized
equipment and without a darkroom. And as an added bonus, you'll see
how the developed prints, shot simultaneously from different angles,
were pieced together into a tabletop sized “mosaic” for analysis
and planning. A true “behind the scenes” look at World War 2
Home” for returning World War 2 Veterans – 1945 (20:00)“If
there's any suspicion that returning soldiers are not fit for
civilization, I can only say it's an indictment of our civilization.”
This dramatic film was produced to
prepare the American people for the return of millions of service men
and women from overseas duty at the end of World War 2. But as you'll
see, it's message is timeless and applies to every conflict before
and since. War changes people. This film operates on several levels
to show its effects and lessons to be learned from the experience.
It's has a no holds barred sweeping montage of combat scenes from the
steaming jungles in the Pacific to the frozen forests of Northern
Europe, including the loss of beloved comrades and self sacrifice to show the folks back home a glimpse of what they endured.
The film addresses the real fears that civilians had that returning
vets had become hardened into emotionless killing machines. Or that
they would be changed beyond recognition. But to the contrary, it
shows the what vets wanted most was a return to the lives they had
before the War and get away as far a possible from it's horrors. That
meant getting real jobs, not handouts. It emphasizes the positive
skills learned – everything from leadership, tolerance and teamwork
to advanced mechanics, drafting, inventory control, supply &
distribution, cooking, medical aid, pipe laying & fitting, road
construction & much more. Yes, they had changed, but they were
the same people at heart and should be “welcomed home” with
understanding and open arms.