Online Vids: THUNDERBOLT!, US Bombers vs Rommel Catapulting on a WW2 CV

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Zeno's Warbird Video Drive-In May 2006 Newsletter

Hello All –

You are invited to drop by and watch this month's World War II aviation features for free online video viewing. "

* At the Matinee we're showing a Spring Triple Feature, "Thunderbolt!," one of the most popular films ever shown at the Drive-In, "Catapulting on a Carrier," a rare and engaging Navy training film, and "Bombers Over Africa," featuring a cast of characters from the top commander, Ike, right on down to the guys who dropped the bombs on the Rommel's Afrika Korps.

* New More Neat B-17 Stuff! We've just added a bunch of charts, diagrams and illustrations to the "More Neat B-17 Stuff" page, taken from the massive 506 page B-17 mechanics "Bible," the "B17F Erection and Maintenance Instructions" manual. AKA "The B17 Mechanic's Bible"

Now playing At the Matinee

* THUNDERBOLT! This exciting color film chronicles the exploits of the P-47 Thunderbolt pilots of the "Fighting Gamecocks" of the 65th Fighter squadron, 57th Fighter Group. Based on the island of Corsica off the northwest coast of the Italian boot, they flew from behind the enemy's flank. As part of "Operation Strangle," they continuously attacked highways, bridges, ammo dumps, railroads and just about anything that moved to choke off the flow of supplies to the Axis front line. This film not only features one-of-a-kind P-47 combat footage, it also shows day-to-day life on a MTO forward air base, including vintage pilot slang.
This is one of my personal favorites. Thunderbolt! has to be finest combination of great photography, a hard bitten, realistic script, stirring music, powerful narration and full bore Pratt Whitney R-2800-59W Double Wasp radial engine roar I have seen or heard in a World War II documentary. (Yes, IMHO, superior to the much ballyhooed classic "Memphis Belle.") Truly memorable and highly recommended.

* FLIGHT DECK CREW: CATAPULTING ON A CARRIER (Color) Small World War II aircraft carriers depended on their catapults. This unique film offers a rare look at how US Navy carrier crews were trained to operate their hydraulic catapults to launch aircraft, even from very short decks. As a bonus, you'll see GM FM-1 "Wildcats" up close, handled expertly on the tiny deck of a CVE "jeep" escort carrier.

* BOMBERS OVER AFRICA. This is a rare look at early war US Air Operations in North Africa. B-25 and B-17 bombers of the 321st and 97th Bomb Group help cut off Rommel's retreat from Tunisia. Part of the "North West African Strategic Air Force," these groups were initially tasked with preventing men and material from reaching the Afrika Korps, and later with preventing them from escaping. The missions for the day of this film were to strike from bases in Algeria at the junction at Manouba, near Tunis, and the air field at Sidi Ahmed, near Bizerte, where a large number of extremely valuable JU 52 transports were based, a key element in German evacuation plans. (Ironically, the 321st would soon occupy Sidi Ahmed as their new base for the Sicilian campaign.) The film features an introduction by the theater commander, then 4 star General, Dwight Eisenhower and an afterward by Air Operations Commanding General "Jimmy" Doolittle. Perhaps most memorably, this film is notable for it's extended "up close and personal" look at the men of the 97th 321st BGs. You'll see real pre mission and after action debriefing sessions with the men who flew them, including a B-17 crew's account of an FW 190 shoot down and the water ditching of a heavily damaged B-25.

All Matinee features are available in broadband this month!

If you haven't stopped by Zeno's Drive-In before, we also feature 1940-45 vintage WWII Army Navy films 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, Stearman N2S and different WWII documentaries every month "At the Matinee." That's over 14 hours of rockin' props for free viewing over the internet.


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World War II Aviation Videos Playing Online 24/7

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