Documentary on the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress, the first American bomber and crew to complete twenty-five missions (November 7, 1942 to May 20, 1943) over enemy territory in World War II. It highlights the 25th and last mission to Wilhelmshaven, Germany on May 20, 1943, where submarine and harbor facilities were bombed.
Mission scenes involve ground crew duties, flight crew briefing, and the elaborate plan of coordinated raids intended to fool the enemy, flak, and fighter attacks along with other B-17's in flight, being shot down, and crews bailing out of burning bombers.
After the Memphis Belle returns, the crew receives the Distinguished Flying Cross and are visited by many dignitaries, including the King and Queen of Great Britain.
Produced by U.S. Army Air Forces in 1944
Note: Morale was extremely low, because 80% of the bombers were shot down during the first three months of America's combat flights over Europe. And while the command generals had set 25 missions as an incentive for air crews to go home, it became necessary to increase the number of bombing missions to 35, which occurred after the Memphis Belle crew's 25 missions.
This is a great historic WWII film with real footage that every American student should see. It is also a personal reminder about my father-in-law, Ret. USAF Col. Ray Casserly, and his fellow B-17 crew's completion of 34 bombing missions over Europe without being shot down or losing a man . . . and doing so with 9 more missions than the Memphis Belle.David Bancroft, USA Patriotism! founder