National Geographic is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the victory in Europe at the end of World War II on Thursday, May 21st, with two documentary specials airing that night. Starting at 9:00 pm ET, a 2-hour television event called Heroes of the Sky: The Mighty Eight Air Force will take viewers on an air adventure crucial to stopping the nazis. Using archival footage and interviews with those involved, the story comes to life in the most authentic way possible.
The special starts with the creation of the US Air Force before focusing on the 8th division, which had been deployed to the UK. One of four key players highlighted is General Ira Eaker, who was sent there to help run the division. The British had been bombing German occupied parts of Europe at night for their safety, which also meant their targets were easy to miss and inadvertently killing civilians and bombing churches. Eaker had the 8th Air Force start attacking during the day, which initially took the German’s by surprise. Another key player in the special is Colonel Curtis Lemay, a bomb group commander who the troops referred to as “Iron ass.
Viewers will get to know the airplanes created for the division, starting with the B-17, which was nicknamed the “Flying fortress” because of its twelve machine guns that could be used to defend it in all directions. They were critical in helping to free parts of Nazi occupied France. The P-47 Thunderbolt was nicknamed “The jug” because of its milk jug shape. A major flaw was the low fuel range, which meant they couldn’t make it from the UK to Germany. They would fly alongside the B-17's for defense, but had to turn back before they could get to the heart of enemy territory. And the P-51 Mustang single pilot fighters are covered with interviews from a few of the pilots, including Captain George Preddy Jr.
In two-hours, the special covers many of the important historical moments of the 8th Air Force during World War II. These include the Darkest Hour, Black Thursday, and D-Day. Most of the special focuses on the fight to defeat the Nazis, but it also features the Eighth Air Force’s involvement in the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, following Germany’s surrender. Paul Tibbets is another key player featured in the special, who left the Eighth Air Force to work on the top secret Manhattan Project and reconnected with them on that mission.
Ahead of Memorial Day, Heroes of the Sky: The Mighty Eight Air Force is a perfect way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. The National Geographic team has done a remarkable job using real footage from the war and interviews with the people who lived to talk about it. It creates an experience that feels authentic and doesn’t downplay the severity of this moment in history and its impact.
Heroes of the Sky: The Mighty Eight Air Force airs Thursday, May 21st, at 9:00 pm ET on National Geographic.
i read several books over the last couple of years on WW2 bomber commands.
absolutely incredible stories of bravery and loss that defy logic and description
a form of warfare that will never be waged again
absolutely fascinating -- will check it out
Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
The real heroes, were the American analysts who concluded late '43 early '44 that focusing on Germany's synthetic fuel plants was the key.
They'd bomb them in early-mid '44, let the Germans get them back to 60 pct capacity and then bomb them again.
Germany produced more single seat fighters in '44 than the American's did, Big deal, no fuel to fly them or even train the replacement pilots in them.
Luftwaffe required 200,000 tons of fuel monthly for operational tempos. They got 20,000 tons. Sort of leaves it all up to the Flak batteries, which did ok.
In fact, the hero's were in a large part responsible for their own casualties.
The US had a generation 1 terrain mapping radar in their bombers, called H2S since'43 I think, and it was good enough to let you know that you were at least over a big city and perhaps based on density knew where of the city you were.
Problem is, that the aircrews would turn H2S on, because it also made navigation easy for the bombers to get to their targets, as opposed to the old fashioned way of navigation.
Problem is, H2S sent out signals, that those crafty Germans received and could plot the projected route, allowing them to concentrate their very meager Luftwaffe fighters a long the route, saving precious fuel to make these intercepts possible.
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It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.
"He gains votes ever and anew by taking money from everybody and giving it to a few, while explaining that every penny was extracted from the few to be giving to the many."
Ogden Nash from his poem - The Politician
Those crafty Germans developed a basic form of Radar detector which was also used on their "U" boats.
"If we can find a more complicated way of doing something, we get a prize". - German Automobile assembly plant.
Thanks for the heads up. My dad worked on B-17 electronics and radar in England.
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are working on "Masters of The Air" featuring the 8th Air Force. It's sort of Part III after "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific."
It's been in the works a LONG time, I can wait as long as it's good.
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This is bad news, at least for me:
Masters of the Air will be the third time Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks team up to create a WWII miniseries but will be the first time the series will not be aired on HBO. That is because, Apple has just announced that they have secured the streaming rights for the new Masters of the Air and that it will be available exclusively on their new streaming service, known as Apple TV+.
From the link above
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