German Navy officers, including Admirals Nipper and Scheer, stand on deck of a German warship, docked in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, during World War 1. Other German warships in background. Spectators standing some distance back, on the pier.
Views from inside the B-17 "Memphis Belle, " part of a formation of U.S. 91st Bomb Group B-17s on mission to bomb Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Pilot, Robert Morgan dons steel helmet. High altitude view of enemy coast. Smoke from Flak bursts is seen. Docks and submarine pens of Wilhelmshaven are seen. Germans set off smoke screens. Thick barrages of Flak explode around the aircraft. As lead aircraft in the formation, Captain Morgan changes course every 15 seconds as an evasive tactic. Morgan passes control of the B-17 to Bombardier Vince Evans as their bomb run begins. Crew's gunners fire at attacking German fighters. One B-17 is hit but continues bomb run. B-17s drop bombs. Explosions and heavy smoke from targets. As they head home, Flak stops and German fighter attacks begin in earnest and "Memphis Belle" gunners are busy fighting them off. A B-17 with number 1 engine smoking, and another with fire in number 3 engine. A B-17 falling out of control. Some crew parachutes are seen. Gunner hits an attacking German Me-109 fighter and its pilot bails out. A B-17 trailing smoke descends away from the formation.
The German light cruiser, SMS (KMS) Emden, leaving Wilhelmshaven, Germany, November 14,1926 on a worldwide training cruise. She is the third German warship to carry the name, "Emden." The ship's company, including many naval cadets, pose before departure. Some members pose on the dock, others her deck, and some are seen aloft on her upper structures. View of the ship's bow with Imperial shield visible above the anchor and a German cross affixed to her prow. The pier is crowded with family, friends, and interested spectators. After the official photographs have been taken, the ship's company prepare for their journey. Views from a high point nearby of the Emden in what is probably the Reichsmarinewerft naval shipyard. Cranes ships, docks, and other shipyard equipment and activities are seen in the background. The scene shifts to the ship ready to depart, with everyone at duty stations aboard. Smoke rises from the Emden's stacks as she leaves the pier and proceeds seaward on a world cruise, from which she will not return until March 1928.
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.
One by one, 29 B-17 aircraft of the 91st Bomb Group (out of 36 launched) return from their bombing mission over Wilhelmshaven, Germany during World War 2. Many suffered battle damage and have wounded crew aboard. The B-17, "Dame Satan," is seen with large holes in it. The B-17, "Old Bill," is shot to pieces, with its nose missing. Lieutenant Colonel Stanley T. Wray waits in control tower as three more aircraft arrive, including the "Memphis Belle." Her crew members relax and smile as she lets down to land. Her pilot, Captain Morgan buzzes the airfield before landing to complete their 25th bombing mission. They are congratulated by well wishers on the ground. Their crew chief paints the 25th bomb on the "Memphis Belle" fuselage. Change of scene: Brigadier General Haywood S. Hansell, Jr. awards a Distinguished Flying Cross to each crew member. Change of scene: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, of England, visit the flight crew and ground crew of "Memphis Belle" and converse with them. Change of scene: Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers, Commander of U.S. Army Forces in Europe, and Major General Ira Eaker, Commander of the 8th Air Force, visit and greet the crew. General Devers reads their orders to return to the United States and encourage Americans on the home front.