Piece of air war over Europe history. 305th Bomb Group in January of 1943. The first raids were flied in December 1942 and LeMay still developing his doctrine of using the bombers in tight formations. Luftwaffe has not transferred yet the most experienced fighter squadrons from the Eastern Front and resistance over targets was moderate – few fighters and flak which was not very effective at the earlier stages of bombing campaigns (in the later stages it wasn’t too effective either – too many shots were needed to bring down the B-17; fighters did most of the job).
When Germans fortified their air defence with more fighters on more faster and better armed planes the bombing campaign has become more gruesome.
This particular propaganda film deals with the very first raid of an VIII Air Force on German city of Wilhelmshaven.
It is worthy to note that the man who was interviewed after LeMay is Ralph Nutter, who was a law student in Harvard before the war; when his tour in Europe was over he voluntarily transferred to XX Air Force in the Pacific (under command of Possum Hansell). Throughout his two tours he was a navigator. After the first couple of missions he became a lead navigator of the 305th Bomb Group (means he fly lead aircraft with LeMay and plotting course during the flight for the entire group). After the war Nutter passed the bar, served in a court, had a private practice and eventually became a judge in Los Angeles. In 2001 he was appointed as a Federal Judge (Federal District Court, Ninth Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court). Nutter wrote a memoirs about his wartime experience which giving some insights on personalia of LeMay and Hansell “With the Possum and the Eagle, The Memoir of a Navigator’s War over Germany and Japan”.
The film presented is uncut, and that mean that there’s a few things that were not included in the official chronicle, such as sarcastic chuckles of LeMay (which is unusual to see giving his customary public image) or aviators who were swearing on camera.