Vids: A-36 dive bombing, Black Cat PBY, Target for Today @Zeno’s

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Zeno's Warbird Video Drive-In June 2006 Newsletter

You are invited to drop by Zeno's Drive-In - - and watch this month's World War II aviation features for free online video viewing. "At the Matinee," we're showing nonstop action in "A Day with the A-36s," "Black Cat PBY," with exciting Navy PBY night action in the Pacific, and a Drive-In favorite, "Target for Today" showing all aspects of an 8th Air Force bombing raid on Germany in 1943.

"A Day with the A-36s" This unique documentary features very rare color combat footage of an A-36A "Invader," (ground attack version of the P-51 Mustang) fighter/bomber squadron in action in Sicily. The A-36A was equipped with the Mustang's original Allison engine, as opposed to the Rolls Royce Merlin adapted so successfully in the escort versions, which worked just fine for low level work. There are dive breaks on the wings too! You'll also see ground crews doing their critical support work, including fueling, rearming and maintaining these sleek birds. This exciting film includes incredible cockpit views of actual ground attack runs as well as fascinating views of a captured air Italian base. One of the hidden gems in this film are up close views of captured or destroyed Axis aircraft, including an He 111, FW-190, Ju 88, and a rare view of an intact Italian Macchi 202 "Folgore" in full desert cammo.

"Black Cat PBY" What was that mysterious plane swooping down out of the night sky on unsuspecting Japanese ships and bases, hundreds of miles from any known American airstrip? The answer was, as you'll see in this good humored, affectionate film, the slow, ungainly, but deadly "Black Cat" PBY. Though designed primarily as a reconnaissance and antisubmarine amphibious patrol plane, the big twin-engined Catalina's super long range, all weather capability, capacity to lug both bombs and radar, ability to loiter for hours hunting convoys, and operate from anywhere in the watery PTO, made it an ideal naval night attack bomber. One of the least known stories of the war in the Pacific, these black painted PBY "VPB" ('Patrol Bombing") squadrons spread destruction far out of proportion to their small numbers. A favorite tactic was to cut their engines and float in silently on their prey. As this film shows, night ops were very risky, but the rewards could be huge, including the sinking of a 6,000 ton Katori class light cruiser by Lt. William B Sumpler, of VPB-33, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross.

"Target for Today" The 8th Air Force Strikes Germany This is the classic World War II documentary of a "maximum effort" US Eighth Air Force daylight bombing mission deep into Germany. There are no actors. This film was shot on location under combat conditions and features the officers and men of the 8th Air Force going about their deadly business. All aspects of an actual major raid in 1943, including a strike on the FW 190 plant at Marienburg, from early planning through final touch down and crew debriefings are covered in this very detailed account. There is probably no better record of the theory, strategy and tactics of an unescorted US Army Air Force bomber raid in early 1943. While the film doesn't sugar coat the cost of these raids, there's no doubt that it also over states the effectiveness and viability of the American strategic daylight bombing campaign at that time. Heavy attrition was not sustainable. (The audible moan heard from aircrew when the targets and bombing altitudes are announced are all too real.) It took the introduction in early 1944 of the new Merlin engined, long range version of the P-51 Mustang fighter to turn the tide in favor of the Americans over Germany.

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.

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