Zeno’s Warbird Video Drive-In August 2006 Newsletter
Hello World War 2 Airplane Fans –
Zeno’s Drive-In - www.zenoswarbirdvideos.com – is celebrating our Ninth Anniversary streaming free World War 2 aviation videos over the internet to more than two million visitors.
This month At the Matinee, we’re showing four memorable films: “Raids on Ploesti," “Ramrod to Emden,” and a Drive-In favorite, “The Fighting Lady.”
Raids on Ploesti: August 1 marks the 63rd anniversary of the epic low level B-24 raid on the Romanian oil fields.
“Medal of Honor: Ploesti.” On August 1, 1943 specially trained elements of the 8th and 9th Air Forces flying B-24 Liberators based in Benghazi Libya launched a daring low level attack on Ploesti, over 1,200 miles away. They struck hard, but the cost was high. Unescorted by fighters and coming in literally at tree top level to surprise the enemy, 54 out of 162 of the attacking bombers were lost, along with 540 American air crew. Every member of the attacking force was awarded a medal, including 5 Medals of Honor, the highest decoration awarded by the U.S. military. Of the Medal of Honor recipients, only Col. Leon Johnson, 44th Bomb Group, and Col. Jon “Killer” Kane, 98th Bomb Group, survived the mission.
“Air Siege Ploesti”. The capture of the Foggia airfield in on the Adriatic in Italy in 1944 provided the 15th Air Force with a new base to launch a new series of Air attacks on Ploesti. This time, B-17s and B-24s attacked with fighter escort at high altitude. Losses were again heavy, with over 1,800 air crew lost to FLAK and enemy fighters. Accuracy suffered when defenders used smoke pots to obscure the target, so P-38s were used as dive bombers to penetrate the defenses. Soon P-51s helped to achieve total air superiority over the target. By the end of the Ploesti air campaign in the fall of 1944, 90% of Romania’s oil production was knocked at a cost of 270 bombers and 49 fighters and their crews. Narrated by Ronald Reagan.
“Ramrod to Emden” See the P-47 Thunderbolts of the renowned 56th Fighter Group take on the Luftwaffe in an action packed escort mission over Germany. The 56th Fighter Group (made up of the 61, 62 & 63 squadrons) was one of the most storied Air Corps units of World War II. Home to aces like David Schilling (22 kills), Frances “Gabby” Gabreski (28), Robert S. Johnson (27), Fred Christensen (21.5), Walker Mahurin (21), and CO Hubert “Hub” Zemke (18), the 56th blazed an early trail across the skies of the ETO in their massive, but deadly P-47 Thunderbolts. “Ramrod to Emden” is the story of the Dec 11, 1943 bomber escort mission (aka “a ramrod”) to Emden, Germany. As you’ll see in the film, the 56th encountered heavy, determined opposition from Germans, but it proved to be an exceptionally productive day. With Lt. Col. Schilling leading 50 planes of the group, they claimed 17-0-5, with two aircraft lost in a midair collision and no aircraft lost to enemy action. Allied bomber losses were minimal.
“The Fighting Lady” follows the fictional career of an Essex Class aircraft carrier from the Marcus Islands campaign, through Tinian, Truk, the “Mariana’s Turkey” and much more. But don’t let the term “fictionalized” miss lead you. All of the footage shown in this fascinating composite documentary is real – shot by combat cameramen on board ship and in the air, showing actual Navy and Marine pilots and crewmen up close and personal. ("The Fighting Lady was actually the nickname given to the Yorktowns, CV-5 & CV-10.)You’ll see dramatic action showing Hellcats, Hell Divers, Corsairs on deck and in the air, including exciting dive bombing, anti-aircraft, and gun camera footage and some amazing walk away crash landings. And there’s a fascinating tour below decks too. But most memorably, you’ll see the faces of the officers and enlisted men of the “Fighting Lady” at work and at rest, making it all possible. Powerfully narrated by Hollywood legend Lt. Robert Taylor and directed by Academy Award winner William Wyler.
If you haven’t stopped by Zeno’s Drive-In before, we also feature 1940-45 vintage WWII Army & Navy films and pilot’s manuals on how to fly the F4U, F6F, P-38, P-39, P-40, P-47, P-51, P-61, TBF/TBM, AT-6/SNJ, B-17, B-24, B-25, A-20, A-26, B-26, B-29, and Stearman N2S. And there are different WWII documentaries every month “At the Matinee.” That’s over 14 hours of rockin’ props for free viewing over the internet.
Zeno’s Warbird Video Drive-In celebrating our Ninth Anniversary
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