Scenes regarding the U.S. 8th Air Force B-17 named Memphis Belle, the first American bomber and crew to complete twenty-five missions over enemy territory in Europe during World War Two. Views of the peaceful English countryside around the British Royal Air Force Bassingbourn airfield, home base of the U.S. 8th Air Force 91st Heavy Bombardment Group. B-17s parked all around on the airfield. Views of Bassingbourn Church, graveyard, horse-drawn wagon, fields of grain, and farm buildings. On the airfield, ground crews clean canopies, refuel aircraft, and perform maintenance on the B-17s. Bombs seen stacked in munitions dump. Airmen ride on bombs aboard trolleys pulled by tugs. One plays the harmonica. Arriving at B-17s, they begin inserting nose fuzes in bombs. Pilots, Navigators, and bombardiers attend morning mission briefing and learn that their target is Wilhelmshaven. Chaplain prays over several crew members. Bombs are loaded on the B-17s. Crew of the 324th Bomb Squadron B-17, "Memphis Belle," arrives at the aircraft aboard a jeep. Pilot, Captain Robert K. Morgan gives last minute briefing and the crew boards the aircraft for their 25th bombing mission. Their airplane has 24 bombs painted on its side (one for each mission). They start their engines.
U.S. 8th Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress bombers in England during World War 2. B-17 parked on an airfield shows damage caused during missions in Europe. The airplane is painted with image of Bugs Bunny and the name: "What's Cookin Doc?" Flak damage to the B-17. Damaged rudder. Flak demolished tail gun. A large flak hole on the airplane. Camera pans over several other B-17s. The first damaged B-17 shown, 41-24525, "What's Cookin Doc?" is from the 547th Bomb Squadron, 384th Bomb Group, at RAF Station Grafton Underwood. The rest of these battle-damaged aircraft are from the 91st Bomb Group, Bassingbourn, England, including: B-17: 42-3031, "Nitemare" of the 324th Bomb Squadron; B-17: 41-24524, "The Eagle's Wrath,"of the 323rd Bomb Squadron; and B-17: 42-2990, "Dame Satan" of the 322nd Bomb Squadron. (Note: Subsequent to this clip, two of the aircraft shown, "What's Cookin Doc?" and "Dame Satan" were shot down with all aboard KIA, one shortly after this was filmed.)
Airmen and ground crews at RAF Bassingbourn airfield anxiously await return of 91st Bomb Group B-17s from their bombing mission over Wilhelmshaven, Germany. They engage in various diversions as they wait. Flare from a returning B-17 signals wounded aboard. An ambulance races out to meet the aircraft after landing. Injured are helped into the ambulance. A dead crewman is covered. A gunner receives blood plasma.
B-17s of the U.S. 91st Bombardment Group, returning to their home base at RAF Station Bassingbourn following a bombing mission,in World War 2. B-17, tail number 41-24617, named "Southern Comfort," taxiing on outboard engines, only, after landing with a large chunk of its rudder shot away. Crew members and other airmen gather around the battle-damaged aircraft. Closeups of the damage to its rudder. Dim views of the B-17, "Memphis Belle," tail number 41-24485, with skin missing from wing exposing its internal ribs. It also has holes in its rudder and its nose. Closeup of a B-17 engine stained by fire-fighting foam. Other views of battle damage to a B-17.
Prewar and early World War 2 conditions of the British in Great Britain. War ammunition for Britain transported from the United States to Britain as part of lend lease plan. Also war materiel sent the other way around from the United Kingdom to the United States, as the war progressed. A map showing the path between the United States and Great Britain through the Atlantic Ocean. Tanks for Russia from Britain. Aircraft and guns for the United States by Lend Lease. Tons of food and clothing in large containers for troops in Britain. Clusters of houses and buildings. Two men on a bridge. A lane in Britain. People in the lane. Tanks prepare for war. British soldiers in uniform. A woman seated at a vanity putting on lipstick makeup. Men and women in the streets in England. A man turns to notice the legs of a woman as she walks by. View of legs of many women walking by, not wearing stockings due to rationing. Brief shot of driver in a car in the United States as he hands his gas ration ticket to the gas station attendant. Back in England, scene as a man goes to a pub for whiskey. The pub keeper laughs at him as there is none. Men in a field harvesting grains for making industrial alcohol. Soldier painting word "Hitler" onto a bomb shell. Cartons of whiskey being transported to the United States as pay for the material that comes in to Britain. A man opens cartons from the U.S. with 'Made in U.S.A.' painted on it. Images of American made industrial machine goods purchased by the British, including machinery signs for "Cincinnati Bickford", "The Ohio Machine Tool Company", "Niles Tool Works, Hamilton Ohio", "The Cincinnati Planer Co.", "American Hole Wizard", and "Barnes Drill Company, Rockford, Illinois" A woman worker moves a large planer or drill press into position. Crane at a ship dock is seen moving a large wooden crate with "Ford" label on it. A man goes to buy cigarettes. A 'No cigarettes today' board. If there were cigarettes he would have paid the cost of the cigarettes and the tax to the shopkeeper. Close up view of coins on a table and large portion going to British taxes to pay for war. A newspaper headline which says "Britain spends 49,000,000 per day on war." Several industrial plants in Britain, with smoke and pollution rising from chimneys and stacks during high output war effort. Laborers working at a construction site, including brick layers, who pay 29% tax. Rich men who pay 97½ % tax: A man in a nice car parked in front of a church. He leads a bride in a wedding gown and possibly the Bride's father toward the doors of the church. Various views of British workers and workmen walking in and out of factories. British citizens in ration lines. Sheep being herded on pasture land in Australia. Vessels in ocean used by the British for supplies to Russia. Aircraft from the U.S. on board a ship, and British troops arriving on a ship dock.
World War 2 invasion of Normandy, France. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Marshal Joseph Stalin, and Prime Minister Churchill, meeting at Tehran, Iran, in December 1943. U.S. Generals George Marshall and Hap Arnold, at conference table. Closeup of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Map showing defense areas of the German 7th, 15th and 19th Armies in Europe. Map showing ports at Brest, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Dieppe, and Calais. Cherbourg is highlighted. U.S. Army trucks, tanks, and artillery, stockpiled in England. Railroad train carrying M3 Stuart tanks. U.S soldiers leaving troop ships and marching to their camps in Britain. Allied troops practicing amphibious assaults on Southern coast of England. Formation of B-26 bombers.View from Allied aircraft flying low over German-occupied area. B-17dropping bombs over Germany. German fighter planes attacking B-17 bombers beginning in February 1944. Gunner in turret of B-17 firing at them. A B-17 exploding in the air. German fighter downed by B-17 gunner. Gun camera footage of German Bf 109 attacked from rear by gunfire. American soldiers in trucks, DUKWs, M4 tanks, and M8 armored Cars. Troops receive gas masks, waist life belts, field rations, and French money. May 30, 1944, American soldiers board tanks, trucks and other vehicles bound for embarkation points in England. Seen are Stuart M3 light tanks, jeeps, and M7 Priest tanks. M7 tanks are seen, equipped with intake and exhaust ducts. (At TC:11:39, U.S. M7 Priest tanks,equipped for deep wading, are seen passing the base of the Jubilee clock on the beachfront at Weymouth, on their way toward Castle Town in Portland for embarkation.) Transport ships are loaded at the embarkation ports. Trucks being backed onto LCT-453. U.S. Army infantry marching and boarding transport ships. Troops marching into LST 376 at Plymouth, England. Higgins Boats, from the USS Samuel Chase (APA-26) bringing troops to board her. Troops on deck of Attack transport, USS Joseph T. Dickman (APA-13). Barrage balloons overhead. Soldiers shooting craps on a troop ship deck. Coastguardsmen playing with a puppy dog. Gun crews on U.S. Navy warship being briefed. Soldiers field-strip and check their weapons