Vids: Thunderbolts, Zeros, Gables B-17s+Spit9 manual

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Zeno's Warbird Video Drive-In January 2006 Newsletter

You are invited to take a break from the Holiday hustle and drop Zeno's Drive-In and watch this month's World War II aviation features for free online video viewing. This month "At the Matinee," we're showing a P-47 fan favorite, "Ramrod to Emden," "Recognition of the Japanese Zero," including rare footage of a captured Zeke, and the return of the classic World War II US Bomber documentary, "Clark Gables's 'Combat America.'"

New Spit Alert! We just added a free download of a pilot's handbook for the Spitfire Mk IX, XI XVI, joining manuals for the IL-2 "Sturmovik" joining manuals for the De Havilland Mosquito FB V1, Spitfire II and the Me-262 jet fighter. The new Spit IX manual is one of the best yet.

Now showing online "At the Matinee"

* Ramrod to Emden" 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

*"Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter with Ronald Reagan"
Lieutenant "Jimmy Saunders" (Ronald Reagan) learns how to tell a P-40 from Japanese A6M Zero, the hard way. (That's a very angry Craig Stevens aka "Peter Gunn" on the receiving end.) Contains plenty of interesting info about what US pilots were told about Japan's most produced and feared fighter and how to spot it. Includes seldom seen footage of a captured Zero doing spectacular aerobatics. Even though this is "only" a 20-minute training film "the Gipper" gives a very convincing performance as the cocky yet apprehensive new P-40 pilot, Jimmy Saunders. This earnest commitment to give his very best, regardless of the size or scope of the job, was a hallmark of his long and distinguished career

"Combat America" This warm hearted documentary was produced, written, directed, and narrated by movie star Clark Gable while he was on assignment with the 8th Air Force, developing a gunnery training film. Though it contains plenty of combat footage and doesn't flinch in showing the high cost of war in the air, in many ways, it's more of a warm home movie than a hard bitten, wartime "information" film. Gable chronicles the experiences of the men of the 351 Bombardment Group from the cool early morning mists of Colorado to the frigid skies over Germany. His affection and admiration for these men comes through loud and clear. This film is like a Kodachrome album out of the past, giving us snapshots of life on a front line air base in 1943. Though he doesn't mention it in the film (and generally keeps himself in the background) Gable flew combat missions with the Group until he was ordered to stop by "the brass" He was 42 at the time and of course, a Hollywood Star. But, he felt he couldn't accurately portray the air war unless he shared the experiences of the men who fought it. He did. It shows.


Vids: Thunderbolts, Zeros, Gables B-17s+Spit9 manual

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