Suffering unprecedented losses by 1944, the US Air Force's daylight bombing campaign over Nazi occupied Europe was in danger of collapse. A fighter escort was needed–and urgently. North America's P-51 was originally built for Britain's RAF. Now fitted with the Packard Merlin it was drafted in and immediately made a difference. Taking on the worst that the Luftwaffe had to offer the Mustang fighter pilots of the 8th Air Force dramatically turned the tide of the air war in Europe earning themselves the nickname 'Little Friends'.
From the D-Day beaches to the crushing defeat of the German Army in France, the American M4 Sherman tanks fought in some of the bloodiest battles of World War Two. Though inferior to its German rivals in firepower and armour, the sheer numbers of Shermans produced by America's 'Arsenal of Democracy' overwhelmed the might of the Nazi war machine and opened-up the long road to Berlin.
Built to put U.S. pilots back in charge of the skies, the F-15 Eagle proved its superiority in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In a dogfight, it can maneuver against the toughest fighters and climb to Mt. Everest's height in 60 seconds. One of the toughest planes in the world, one fortunate F-15 pilot flew back to base after losing a wing! Featuring interviews with Operation Iraqi Freedom pilots and footage that puts the viewer right in the cockpit of the world's greatest fighter aircraft that has served for more than 30 years.
Designed in 1935 by Reginald Mitchell, the Supermarine Spitfire was a revolutionary fighter aircraft, which proved to be more than a match for its German opponents. In the summer of 1940, at a crucial moment in history, it helped turn the tide of World War Two, by providing Britain's vital air defence during the Battle of Britain. This is the inside story of the role of revolutionary fighter plane, with archive film, colour re-enactments and a first-hand account from Battle of Britain pilot Bob Doe.
Throughout the vicious Pacific struggle of World War Two, there was one class of fighting machines that were at the spearhead of every naval battle. Over 800 feet in length and at over 27 .000 tons, the Aircraft Carriers were the largest ships built by the US in World War Two. With the ability to launch hundreds of fighter bombers against shipping and island bases, they tore to the heart of the enemy. They wrought a terrifying destruction on the Japanese, and played a major role in the final victory against Japan. The pride of the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet during WWII was the Essex Class aircraft carriers. They were able to launch hundreds of aircraft against the enemy with devastating results, and despite Japanese kamikaze attacks, not one Essex carrier was lost. Using archival footage, this film goes into battle and below decks with the Essex carriers, showing what it was like to serve aboard these floating cities during WWII.
Designed in the late 1950s by aeronautical genius Kelly Johnson at the mysterious Skunkworks, the SR-71 Blackbird was the world's first stealthy aircraft, designed to over-fly enemy territory with impunity while photographing 100,000 square miles in an hour. While serving 6 presidents, it saw action on hot and cold war fronts alike. Interviews with crews and commanders combined with unbelievable footage puts viewers in the cockpit of this amazing spy plane, flying at speeds of 2,000 miles an hour. This film chronicles its development and operational history with the help of those who built and flew the SR-71. Learn about the work that went into each mission, and hear stories of penetrating enemy airspace. And see cockpit footage showing what it was like flying three times the speed of sound, 85,000 feet above the earth.
Go on patrol and into action with the PBY Catalina flying boat–known as the "Cat"–one of the truly great aircraft designs. Introduced in 1935 as a long-range patrol aircraft, it was becoming obsolete when America entered WWII. But, easy to manufacture in large numbers, the Cat continued in production and excelled in almost every theater of war. But it was as a night bomber that the legendary "Black Cat" squadrons won fame in the battles of the Solomon Islands. Combining archival footage, modern re-enactments and the memories of crewmembers, this film tells the story of the PBY Catalina. Relive the many battles where the Catalina played a pivotal role–from spotting the Bismarck to locating the Japanese fleet off Midway–and hear from members of the "Black Cat" squadrons that bombed Japanese convoys at night. It was slow, lumbering and ponderous–but it was one of the most successful aircraft of WWII.
The Royal Air Force's Lancaster Bomber ranks alongside the legendary Spitfire as one of the finest British aircraft of WWII. It was the most successful Allied bomber in the European Theater, able to carry almost twice the bomb load of other bombers, and carry it further. Using detailed color re-enactments, along with unique color archive film and interviews with veterans, we take viewers on a mission with an RAF bomber crew over Germany. Produced in association with the Imperial War Museum, London.