Guest Post – Favorite Forgotten Films About Air Power
Greetings, all and sundry! There’s been a topic tumbling around my gray matter for awhile that has been seeking surcease and release. Patiently waiting for the right opportunity to make itself known. Something that at first glance may seem archaic, but was a staple for a young man being raised on the many variations of the War Film. Specifically, World War II and Korea.Though Vietnam will also get its due.
When many think of “Air Power” they immediately slide into those films where serious men with oak leaves, eagles and stars on their epaulets discuss the projection of strength into foreign, enemy lands. Where ‘Command Decision’ and ’12 o’clock High’ would rightly lead the charge.
But I’m going to take a step down the chain of command and focus on a few films where the onus to hack the mission lies with those behind the joystick or yoke of assorted fighters and bombers. While offering superb aerial cinematography and occasional model work to enhance tension and add authenticity.
To that end. Allow me a few moments of your time to wax meticulous and nostalgic about my own personal.
Air Power Triple Play:
#1: The Battle of Britain (1969)
Perhaps, one the last and greatest “star-studded” odes to the months long battle in the skies that would determine England fate in the first and failed step of Hitler’s “Operation Sea Lion”. The upper chain of RAF’s fledgling Fighter Command is nailed down quite nicely with British stiff upper lip unknown and quiet desperation by Sir Lawrence Olivier ad Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding. Calling the shots and selecting which squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricane fighters will joust with the Heinkels and Junkers twin-engine light bombers of the Luftwaffe.
Fighters scattered all over the English countryside. With pilots like Michael Caine and Robert Shaw waiting to get the call to “Scramble!”. Forewarned by the heaviest hitting secret weapon of the day. Radar.
It is when the pilots climb into their aircraft that the film comes into its own. with unimaginable detail work. Down to the fleece boots of flight suits. And the smooth tires of their assigned plane (Grassy meadows vs. Asphalt or concrete). Climbing and waiting for information and direction from assorted command centers. Diving. Attacking and getting away without dog fighting, if possible. Knocking down as many German bombers as possible before their raining destruction down on farms, cities, aerodromes and docks along the Channel.
An all British show at first. Until the bombers decide to hit London and other major population and industrial centers. Holding their own against equally determined and detailed Luftwaffe bomber, Messerschmitt and Focke Wolfe pilots. Once the focus of attention is shifted away from the RAF squadrons. New planes and pilots with little stick time show up. Along with aid from the Polish Air Force. To learn quick or die trying.
Very likely the crème de la crème of aerial combat films. With many restored Spitfires and Hurricanes utilized on the ground and in the air. When not being substituted with Jasper Maskelyne like sleight of hand with scaled down Remote Control model planes for its several up close and personal encounters with enemy aircraft being supplied by the Spanish Air Force.
Are there mistakes? A few, but negligible. Like four bladed propellers on the Luftwaffe fighters and Junkers bombers, but that is due to surplus sales and time. Allow your disbelief to easily be suspended in a classic under the deft touch of Guy Hamilton at the reins. Backed up by superb cinematography by Freddie Young. Editing by Bert Bates. Original Music by Ron Goodwin. Worn and battered costumes for the pilots by Brenda Dabbs. And Special and Visual Effects crews too long to list here!
Which leaves my second offering open for dissertation. One of the best blending of near documentary attention to history. A very worthwhile and detailed back story. And a final, very tense and intense half hour that would supply grist for the first film of a franchise dealing with a galaxy long ago and far, far away!
#2 The Dam Busters (1955)
The 1955 B&W silver standard gem directed by Michael Anderson that tells the tale of WWII Ministry of Aircraft and Vickers Aviation Section engineer and whiz kid, Barnes Wallis. Overwhelming production of German war materials coming out of an area powered hydroelectrically by three dams. And the RAF’s desire to destroy those dams in something that would later be called “Operation Chastise”.
As with any major problem, the British approach it logically. Having learned that torpedo attacks do not work on the thick, resistive seaward wall of the dams. Due to strung torpedo nets. Something else is needed. That can be dropped by a four engined Avro Lancaster bomber. To sink and explode and cause ruptures. That will allow nature and millions of tons of water to take their course into neighboring industrial valleys.
Vertical bombing is out of the question, due to fusing and questionable results. So, Wallis (Magnificently and underplayed with a quiet, bookish demeanor by Michael Redgrave!) comes up with the idea of a “skipping” or “bouncing” bomb. Based on the childhood principle of applying spin to a stone and skipping it over ponds and still streams. Only on a much larger scale as Wallis and his crew of Boffins start working on smaller models along pools with graduated markers. First indoors and later, out around Brighton.
Progress is slow as launch speeds and heights are toyed with. From start as the round and drum shaped models are spun and ejected. Then stop and sink. As an optimum depth is sought and determined for maximum effect. Results and numbers are crunched. As Chief Air Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris (Wondrously staunch and skeptical, incredibly hard to persuade, Basil Sydney) is directed to gather a squadron of heavy bombers and crews, should anything Wallis comes up with proves worthwhile.
Twin engine Wellington bombers are kept around for up-scaled models. Sufficient enough, with their speed, maneuverability and payload. But Lancasters are sought. Though Harris has them all assigned to night bombing missions. Until he discovers that Wallis had a large hand in the up-engined, longer range, wider wingspan and newly designed modifications of the Wellington into the superior Lancaster. And 617 Squadron is tasked. Led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson (A solid “Been there. Done that” veteran with many missions under his belt brought to life by Richard Todd). who understands that the mission could shorten the war by seriously curtailing enemy production.
The pieces start falling into place as the models that don’t shatter on impact skip well and straight well enough. When dropped at a uniform height and speed that is hit and miss during tests. And needs to be better. Aircraft altimeters are not reliable and a new hand-held gauge shows promise. Overwhelmed and feeling the need for some relaxation, Guy takes in a stage play and notices the spotlights used to focus on the dancers. And an idea is born.
Spotlights are mounted and angled and tested on lakes around Scotland and Wales and progress is made. Sixty feet of altitude becomes the norm. Over still, placid waters. To target a slightly taller dam with tall, bracketing towers full of German Ack-Ack guns (Visions of a much more popular film around two decades later leap to mind!). More intelligence and information is gathered on the three dams, Eder, Mohn and Sorpe. And a mission night is set.
Another film whose meat is in the air and not on the ground. Though the Boffin-ish, scientific trials, tests and travails led by Mr. Redgrave’s Barnes Wallis provide a solid, often suspenseful foundation of trial and error that leads the way.
Aerial cinematography by Erwin Hiller is superb. Both inside and outside the bombers. Whose enormous size dwarfs their crews of five. And the Lancaster’s one piece of armor behind the pilot’s head. Kudos also to Richard Todd and his portrayal of a level-headed commander. Who has a fair idea of the odds of mission completion versus mission success.
The decision to use B&W is inspired. Reinforcing the film’s near documentary feel. While editing in the capable hands of Richard Best is more that can be asked for. Increasing tension throughout the film. Though smoothly and elegantly paying off, visually and aurally with clipped chatter between the attacking Lancasters. Backed up by an enriching and emotional original score and later March by Leighton Lucas.
Opening the door for my third selection. A supposed “Bread and Butter” film from Twentieth Century Fox from 1958. And based on the very popular novel of the same name by James Salter, who aided in the screenplay.
#3 The Hunters (1958)
Focusing on one of many squadrons of F-86 Saber fighters operating out of Yokota Air Base, Japan. Enjoying a well earned 15-1 advantage in kills over Russian designed and gifted MiG 15s. With hopes of increasing that edge with the introduction of Robert Mitchum as Major Cleaver “Cleve” Saville. An Ace from as an assortment of piston powered fighters of WWII. Transitioned and very comfortable with jet power. Very much like Colonel Robin Olds, a generation later.
Saville is tasked by Squadron Commander, contemporary and peer, Colonel “Dutch” Imil (An equally good Richard Egan) to take his latest cache of young jocks and make them smarter, more aggressive, and hopefully, wiser at the end of the day.
Amongst them, 1st Lt. Corona (John Gabriel). Calm, level-headed. Well versed in his calling. 1st. Lt. Ed Pell (Robert Wagner channeling Edd “Kookie” Byrnes). A natural. First in his class in everything. And very, very anxious to claim his first “kill”. Along with 1st. Lt. Carl Abbott. Who hides his fears with alcohol. And whose wife, Kristina “Kris” (May Britt) has moved from the states. And lives off base to be close to her husband.
An introductory and familiarization flight goes very well the next day. Especially when having it crashed by Col. Moncavage (Stacey Harris). Who has his tail waxed by Saville. Saville’s initial mission the following day begins well. With Saville ‘s four plane element looking for “Casey Jones”(Leon Lontoc). Yokota’s Air Base’s nickname for the pilot of a MiG-15 with dice and “7-11” on the nose of his fighter. Casey takes out Saville’s wing man. External fuel tanks are punched off. Corona’s stay put. Pell breaks off and joins in the melee as another MiG damages Corona’s Saber. The MiGs escape and Pell returns to find Corona wounded as his plane pinwheels in and crashes.
Imil wants Pell to be Saville’s new wing man. Saville balks, but Imil over rules. An intervention is required with the young pilot. In the form of a hay maker behind the deuce and a halves. Pell will not stray and will grow up. Right now! Period. And the two become a team. Collecting kills as Abbott is reluctant to join in.
In the interim, Saville acclimates himself with the cities around Yokota and crosses paths with Kris. Who worries about her husband, who prefers the base to her company. Saville and Kris run into each other often enough for Abbott to expect the worse. Earning a slap from Saville when Abbott drunkenly suggests they compare notes. Then ups the ante with the offer of giving Saville his wife for a shot at Casey Jones.
Baffled and angry, Saville orders Abbott to sleep it off for tomorrow’s mission. Luring MiGs south of the Yalu River and interdicting them for a B-29 bomber mission somewhere else. This is where all the elements come together. Abbott has a kill under his belt, but is frightened silly every time he takes off. Saville and Pell are working well together. And Casey Jones just might take the bait of the trolling F-86s.
Casey and four MiGs head in. The F-86s punch off their external tanks and separate dog fights begin. With Pell claiming one. Abbot getting a piece of another. Only to be shot up by another MiG as Saville takes after Casey Jones.
And it is when the superior aerial cinematography comes out to play. With Republic F-84s Thunderstreaks filling in well for enemy North Korean MiG-15s. As Immelmann loops, snap and barrel rolls are executed over Nellis and other air bases in Nevada and California.
Abbot ejects over a rugged, arid no man’s land. While Saville takes care of Casey Jones. Sees Abbot’s crashed F-86 and his parachute strung up in a tree. Saville does a few gun runs on North Korean ground troops. Catches some hits. Blows his canopy and searches for a place to dead stick and pancake in.
Pell follows what’s happening and does several gun runs on a small convoy of trucks. Takes some serious hits and ejects. Makes it down. Dumps his chute and joins Saville and a shaken, broken legged Abbott.
I’ll leave it right here for Spoliers sake.
One of the last and best “Eyeball Kill” type of dogfight films. Where you can see the pursuing MiG or F-86 in the “six o’ clock” position. Twisting and occasionally firing. Then turned around with the clever use of forward projection. Cementing that Dick Powell is a surprisingly good director by adding some new twists on the cinematic technology of the day. While revealing the real advantage of the F-86 at supersonic range. With its unique “Flying Tail” (An idea pioneered by Colonel Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1) during the film’s opening five minutes.
He also tells a story quite well. With the interaction and problems amongst the squadron’s assigned pilots. But it is in the air where the film grabs attention and advances its plot. Cleverly using F-84s to fill in for the more stubby and barrel-shaped Mig 15s. And stays true to the fact that there were a lot of them. Though, piloted by Russian “Honcho” advisers with multiple kills. MiGs also had two 23mm cannons and a machine gun mounted forward of the cockpit. While the F-86 has six .50 caliber machine guns. The distinctions between the different armaments, their reach and destructive power also made known.
Cinematography and the use of CinemaScope by Charles G. Clarke works well all way the around. Heightening the romantic as well as the action. While original music by Paul Satwell is a bit martial, but works with suspense.
And for the true aficionado of this genre of fighter film. Do not be the least bit shocked when John Millius hijacks major segments of the film’s final shootout and aftermath as the finale of his Navy/Vietnam film, The Flight of the Intruder a few decades later. Though Milius does tack on what an Air Force Para-Rescue, CH-53 “Jolly Green Giant” heavy lift helicopter and a clutch of prop driven, loaded for bear A1-E “Sandys” and “Spads” can do to intervening ground troops.
51 Responses to “Guest Post – Favorite Forgotten Films About Air Power”
I’ve yet to see The Hunters – I do have a copy but it’s unwatched – but the others are wonderful movies.
Thanks very much, Colin!
The Brits do seem to do war films quite well. And ‘The Battle of Britain’ and ‘The Dam Busters’ rate quite highly, indeed.
While ‘The Hunters’ is just plain, flat out good! Working well within its budget, and with the help of the Air Force to tell a story well and memorably. With a cast and crew well ensconced and comfortable. Knocking out another film for Fox. While unaware of its staying power, due its superlative aerial scenes.
I’d very much like your take on it.
I used to watch, and indeed write about, far more war movies but somehow got out of the habit. Mind you, I did watch Run Silent, Run Deep again just the other day and enjoyed it enormously.
Hi again, Colin:
‘Run Silent. Run Deep’ is a great amalgam of story, cast and execution. Clark Gable at the top of his game opposite a very hungry, by the book Burt Lancaster. With a cast that looked like they (including Don Rickles) belong in the boats.
Always been a fan of ‘They Were Expendable’ as a thumb nail of the early Philippine campaign.
Yeah, even though Lancaster was one of the producers, Gable landed the plum role and really ran with it. He’s excellent in the movie – weary, obsessive and demanding all rolled together. Robert Wise builds the tension beautifully and it becomes almost unbearable in the second half.
I haven’t watched They Were Expendable for a few years but I agree it’s a remarkably affecting and uncompromising piece of work. I think it’s clear how much of a personal project it was for Ford. The only problem I have with the film comes from knowing how cruel and shabby Ford’s treatment of Wayne was behind the camera.
Certainly, The Hunters is another very solid WWII film that featured Robert Mitchum. I may like Enemy Below and Heaven Knows Mr. Alison a bit more, but you can’t go wrong here. Thanks, Colin :-).
Great to see THE HUNTERS mentioned again as I always liked that one. Incidentally, might be worth celebrating the stunning special effects cinematography by the late Gil Taylor on DAM BUSTERS, which led directly to his work on STAR WARS as Lucas was a fan and used the climax as a template for his shots, literally cutting in material from that movie (and other like it) until Dykstra and his team delivered the finished opticals.
Excellent catch with special effects master Gil Taylor and ‘The Dam Busters’. One thing I’ve noticed in about early model work and special effects on the British side of the pond.
They rarely let “good” go to waste! As with this film and ‘Star Wars’. And in utilizing Gerry Andersen and his team for a lot of scale model work in Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.
Great info, Sergio! Never knew that. Many thanks, my friend.
Fantastic post, Michael. Never saw ‘The Dam Busters’ or ‘The Hunters’ but love the actors so better get to it. 😉
Thank you very much on behalf of my colleague Kevin who wrote the piece. All credit to him :-).
‘The Battle of Britain’ and ‘The Dam Busters’ are very well executed odes to history. That strive to get as many things right as possible.
As ‘The Hunters’ does for a less popular war. Its cast excels!
With Robert Mitchum living up to his uniform. Ans quite comfortable with his rank. Second only to his role of an enlisted Marine sharing a Japanese held island with nun, Derborah Kerr in John Huston’s ‘Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison’.
Robert Wagner is still in his “cute” stage before his later “handsome” role as jewel thief, Alexander Mundy in ABC’s ‘It Takes a Thief’. He and Mitchum team up and play off each other quite nicely!
Thank you so much, Kevin, for contributing another wonderful post on some stellar war films. I’ll be back a bit later for further comment, my friend.
The pleasure was all mine.
It was also a surprising and very pleasant kick to see the critique display a week early!
Also thrilled to see the amount of discussion it’s generated. Especially with regard to intriguing back and forth, history, details, aftermaths. And back stories and lineage of model and effects crews in later films.
I have to say The Dam Busters, along with Twelve O’Clock High, was likely one of the first WWII films I saw as a kid watching local network movie programs. They’re probably why I grew to love to read about the aircraft of the period. That, and having a dad who fought in the Pacific Theater.
I caught The Battle of Britain much later, sorry to say. Never did catch it on the big screen and I regret that, given the scale of its action scenes. Great film and character performances. As I mentioned to Colin, The Hunters is a more than solid Robert Mitchum film. You can’t go wrong with him in a WWII movie.
Many thanks, Kevin. You always deliver stellar and historic posts, which I am most grateful for.
Awesome post, Kevin! I submitted this to Reddit, please upvote: http://www.reddit.com/r/moviecritic/comments/1mi7o6/favorite_forgotten_films_about_air_power_the/
Thanks for dropping by and perusing.
Thanks even more for the Reddit Treatment!
You’re most welcome, Kevin! Always enjoy reading your posts, even if it goes over my little head a bit sometimes, ahah 😀
Thanks for this, Ruth! Much appreciated, my friend. Thank you for the read and comment, as well :-).
I hope you get some traffic from Reddit. It’s such a tough site to crack but when it works, it’s a fab traffic booster 😀
Great post Jack. I used to watch these movies a lot with my dad. He was big into WWII so this post takes me back a little.
Glad you liked it.
I grew up watching a lot of war films on TV and at the theater. And I thought it was about time for some personal favorites to take a bow.
A few others would include ‘633 Squadron’, ‘Sink The Bismark’ for its Fairley Swordfish torpedo biplanes. ‘The Flying Leathernecks’ and ‘Strategic Air Command’.
I’ve also seen 633 Squadron and Sink the Bismarck. My dad wouldn’t have it any other way lol 😉
Your father is wise beyond his years.
The Mosquito. Along with the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane were/are some of the more beautiful, aesthetically pleasing and enduring aircraft of WWII.
On the US side. I’ll go with the P-51 Mustang, B-17 heavy and B-25 light bombers.
If I could join in on this, all those mentioned were wonderful aircraft. Marvels all. But, I remain a fan of the most unique of fighter aircraft. Clarence “Kelly” Johnson’s P-38 Lightning by Lockheed. A dogfighter that could do dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, night-fighting (with radar), and photoreconnaissance missions.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Vought F4U Corsair.
Come on in! The water’s fine.
Kelly Johnson is the unsung Godfather of Lockheed Aviation. Having s hand in so many historic aircraft.
The P-38 was the first Air Superiority Fighter. High altitude. Long range. Very fast and maneuverable, like the Mosquito and Spitfire in Photo Recon. Also a decent night fighter, dive bomber and close air support aircraft. Late in the war bombing raids over Japan didn’t happen without P-38s bird dogging the B-29s.
An excellent choice for discussion, my friend!
Great looking photos, Michael:
The Vought Corsair was another ahead of its time aircraft with capabilities US pilots didn’t understand at first. Especially when taxiing, taking off and landing. So the War Department and Navy “donated” large numbers of early models to the Royal Navy. For their pilots to figure out the best way to get the plane in the air. And down on a carrier’s deck.
The method was developed to watch the port (left from the plane’s rear) wing where it begins it up angle. Giving a much more clear and understandable sight picture in relation to location and height. The same system was used with the big propped P-47s.
While with the B-26. Initial pilots were cautious of its speed. Throttling back fatally, in many instances when landing. Giving the bomber a bad name and reputation (“One a day in Tampa Bay!”). Until the pilots understood that the bomber had to be flown fast. At high speed settings getting off and onto the deck.
After that. The B-26 became one of the most produced, safest, fastest and least shot down light bombers of WWII.
Thanks for the read and the comment, Mark. I certainly can understand that this would be one that would be shared with your father.
I rented The Dam Busters when I heard Peter Jackson planned to produce a remake, and ran head on into the reason the movie may never be made. One of the officers had a big black dog named Nigger, and the N-word is used frequently and casually throughout the film. It’d not a minor plot point, either: when the dog was killed in traffic, the team made Nigger an important code word in the dam buster operation. Even bearing in mind that there were essentially no black people in England during the period, it takes a lot of getting used to while watching the film. It cropped up in an interview a while ago, and Jackson apparently can’t decide what to do: he doesn’t want to bowdlerize history, but he’s afraid the movie will be a (excuse the pun) bomb if he plays it straight.
There’s also the problem that for all the ingenuity and bravery at work, the raid did little to impair the German war effort. The dams were quickly repaired, the factories resumed operations, and the biggest consequence of the flooding was to drown several thousand slaves the Nazis had shipped in from Ukraine. But I think I’ve already done enough to harsh out the party vibe.
Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting so insightfully!
I deliberately left out the squadron’s mascot. One the many reasons ‘The Dam Busters’ has been in my personal cache of films NOT to be re-made, re-imagined, or otherwise messed with.
Great catch on the overall effect of the raid as opposed to all the effort(s) required. Which is why I place it in the same category as the earlier
Doolittle Raid over Tokyo. An unique and never attempted effort that achieved the desired effect of rattling the enemy’s cages. If only briefly in Europe. Though much longer in the Pacific. While giving the military and civilians a much needed patriotic shot in the arm.
And gave the Army Air Corps under General Kenny a newer, more accurate way of delivering bombs to Japanese Naval and commercial shipping.
It’s a valid point, Steven. How do you show actual history in a movie without elements that directly pertain to it. When I saw this film as a kid on a local network station I immediately thought to myself, ‘Did he actually say what I think he said?’ Yep, he did. Made me wonder if this was true and I subsequently went to the library to see if I could look this up.
As for the remake, the BBC reported awhile back, “Stephen Fry, who is writing the film’s screenplay, said there was “no question in America that you could ever have a dog called the N-word”.”, and said they would change it.
I don’t see it in pre-production, even though it’s been reported that Fry finished the script and that it is in Peter Jackson’s hands. That guarantees little, however. Many a picture doesn’t get made even if the script has been delivered.
I’d agree with Kevin that though the German’s recovered from this raid, it provided a boost for the troops and public more for tactical morale than strategic impact. Wonderful comment, Steven. Many thanks.
Once again, a collection of classics that I haven’t seen and now must add to my queue of what to watch next! I always love articles from Kevin! Thank you. And who doesn’t love good air power films. Great looking choices here. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve been wondering when you might show up and opine so well.
Any of the films mentioned here are exceptional. A great place to start for some of the best cinema has to offer on air power and aerial combat. You know I like to entertain and educate with back stories.
Very pleased you enjoyed my critique. I had a ball putting this one together and getting it set up right.
Thank you so much for the read and comment, T.
As soon as I read the title, Dam Buster came to mind. Great post as always. Jolly good show, carry on. Cheers!
‘Dam Busters’ is definitely a stand alone. Well detailed back story of weapons development attached to a historic raid.
Thanks very much. And I hope to see you comment more often.
Thanks so much for the read and comment :-).
Dam Busters is a good recounting of a little-known clandestine mission to destroy Axis infrastructure. The Mosquito was a versatile aircraft, often used to drop off and pick up operatives behind enemy lines. One of my personal WWII action movies is Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, a 1944 film starring Spencer Tracy as the Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle. I had the honor to recently meet three of the handful of surviving Doolittle raiders at their annual reunion at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. All in their late 90s, the raiders still have strong handshakes and youthful vitality. It was a pleasure to personally thank them for their dangerous, daring and daunting mission to attack Japan after Pearl Harbor.
The Mosquito is an aptly named favorite of mine for its lines and non industrial work with plywood, canvas in many places and adhesive polymers.
So fast and maneuverable that it often didn’t need guns when excelling at photo reconnaissance and bomb damage assessment. Also a very clean test bed for determining speed lost to drag for wing and fuselage mounted weapons, bombs, rockets and radar.
While the B-25s used and little modified by Doolittle proved to be a nimble workhorse in both theaters throughout the war. And yes, those members of the raid knew they were up against tall odds. And their efforts kept large chunks of the Japanese Air Force close to home when it and ships could have been used elsewhere. Remarkable men, all.
Great pick of another wonderful WWII film in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Francis. That’s pretty fantastic you got to meet the Doolittle Raid veterans. What an opportunity. Many thanks for sharing that along with your comment :-).
In my post on British aicraft, I was thinking of the Lysander not Mosquito bomber.
Duly noted, Francis:
Another great, unsung, pleasantly appealing aircraft with a tale to tell. Did some reading on their SOE ‘Moon Squadrons’ and their agent and package deliveries and retrievals in France and elsewhere during WWII. Would definitely make a fine film or mini-series!
Hope to see your comments more often.
I need to look up the Lysander, Francis. Many thanks.
To Michael: Here is a link to rollout of the Lysander in 1936. It had great short takeoff and landing capabilities, similar to the Luftwaffe’s Fieseler Storch observation plane that rescued Mussolini off an Italian mountain top. Be sure to read the comments on Lysander’s role in covert ops duiring WWII.
Very informative clip!
Having assembled a few Lysanders in my youth, courtesy of Airfix. I gained an appreciation of how well engineered and constructed and spacious the Lysanders were.
A very notable Air/Sea rescue craft with loiter time to burn. But really didn’t come into its own mystique with its high inverted gull wing ground breaking STOL capabilities. Until painted black and utilized for agent and equipment delivery and retrieval in enemy territory during the war.
A very remarkable aircraft!
To Jackdeth72: Here is an additional link to a very informative article on the so-called Moon Squadrons set up by the Brits (thanks to PM Winston Churchill)
after the fall of France in 1940. Note the anecotes about allied agents inserted into harm’s way in occupied Europe such as female agent Nancy Wake, dubbed with the sobriquet “White Mouse,” by the Gestapo:
Great video! Thanks so much for sharing, Francis 🙂
Not to mention great moments in WWII history, right? Well, great for those of us who didn’t have to take part and get to enjoy reenactments on video 🙂
Thank you very much, Matt. You’ve been awesome with the Likes and comments, my friend. 🙂
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