- Title: THE RAF IN COMBINED OPERATIONS [Main Title]
- Film Number: APY 20
- Other titles:
- Summary: A substantial six-reel film by the Royal Air Force Film Production Unit, detailing the role of the RAF in combined operations, including familiarisation with operating at sea, setting up wireless and radar equipment in the field, airborne operations, photoreconnaissance, bomber and fighter operations, and establishing forward airfields.
- Description: Leader: 'From the Film Archive of the Imperial War Museum'. Secrecy warning. Titles: 'Royal Air Force Film Production Unit presents: The Royal Air Force in Combined Operations', over a graphic of the eagle-Thompson-anchor Combined Operations badge, with the eagle highlighted. Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, addresses camera with slow push in; he speaks of the special British genius for sinking differences in times of national danger. Combined operations the military expression of this British family spirit. The necessity of all-arms cooperation in modern warfare. Cut to footage of the RAF Regiment training for battle; voiceover commentary declares 'We're going to invade. To invade we must be tough'. Footage of amphibious training 'every man must know his job'. All-arms instruction at Combined Training Centre to become 'airmen sailors' and 'airmen soldiers'. Types of landing craft. Boarding rowing boats; airmen learn to row 'the foundation of good seamanship'. Wading into the sea in Mae Wests (lifebelts) and swimming in full equipment. Landing beach groups for quick movement forward of supplies and equipment. Practising with scrambling nets and doing so blindfold. Aboard a Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) airmen learn to sling a hammock; inevitably one man climbs in and immediately tumbles out. A RNVR (Wavy Navy) officer explains beach organisation. Practise with 20mm Oerlikon guns of the RAF Regiment for forward airfield defence and aircraft recognition practice in lecture theatre full of models. Use of instructional film (illustrated using composite shot). RAF Signals and the vital nature of their work; painstaking work establishing communications. A wireless truck deploys. Setting up radio and radar antennae. Waterproofing motor transport. Reel 2: Waterproofing continued and driving through testing tank. Loading vehicles (one lorry named 'Caledonia') onto landing craft. Amphibious force landing exercise with live ammunition 'we're ready and keen for the real thing to start'. London; planning conference. Canadian brigadier explains situation for supposed invasion. Royal Navy captain explains naval role. Air Commodore gives aerial situation; tactical and heavy bomber roles. Refers to photoreconnaissance; loading camera onto Mosquito aircraft (serial LR425). Importance of photorecon and building photo mosaic. Photos are developed and photo interpretation. Relief mapping. Road convoy and railway movements. Bomb dump, apparently in a cave. Bombs and ammunition of all sizes are passed along and loaded onto boats. Tanks and other transport are waterproofed. One lorry is named sarcastically (in an old mechanics' joke) 'Mrs Frequently'. Tactical loading onto Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) and Landing Craft Tanks (LCTs). Petrol put aboard. On an airfield Spitfire DN:E (RAF 416 Squadron) lands; 'we must be sure of air superiority'. Albemarle aircraft and Horsa gliders prepared for airborne troops; 'only the best is good enough for the men who are going to make parachute jumps by night'. Women's Auxiliary Air Force personnel checking parachutes in store. Packing parachutes on long tables. Checking inflatable dinghies. Catalinas and Hudson (serial EW905) of Coastal Command; their role patrolling sealanes and attacking submarines. Bombing up a Hudson with rockets. At a port; 'hundreds of thousands of men have now arrived'. In a mess airmen exchange rumours 'We're going to invade the Baltic!' and 'I wonder what the beer's like in Russia'. Troops board small boats for transit to infantry landing ships. The men climb a scrambling net to board their landing ship. Reel 3: Planning conference; Canadian brigadier details the plan to capture a port by envelopement from both sides. RAF air commodore talks over footage of daylight raids on enemy airfields going perfectly to plan. Night bomber raids on other strategic targets; 'the targets asked for by the army have all been accepted'. Waiting men and ships; 'all eyes are on the headquarters ship' with combined arms HQ aboard. 'With shore leave cancelled I suppose we'll be off soon won't we Sandy?' says an unnamed Squadron Leader 'I think this afternoon old boy' says a naval Lieutenant-Commander. 'Good show'. Fighter direction tender. The meteorological forecast room; every man holding his breath for the verdict of the met officer. The signal is passed. Sailors at work in an engine room as vessels get underway including a large liner and a heavy cruiser. Convoy at sea; escorted by RAF Bristol Beaufighters at the limit of their range. Heavy bombers attack the landing beaches; the risk of devastation caused by bombing hindering the landings 'a chance which must be taken'. Coastal Command attacks U-boats (striking footage of rocket attack). Paratroops and gliderborne troops emplane with aerial footage. Reel 4: Preparation of a Short Stirling heavy bomber for a night bombing raid. Mosquito intruders with model footage of Mosquito attack. Paratroops over dropzones; they exit and land. Gliders landing and troops deploying. Convoy at sea; 'the movement of troops to their landing craft is smooth and efficient'. Men down nets. Army officer aboard HQ ship 'Well it's the brown jobs' [i.e. the Army's] turn now you folks – we'll show you a thing or two'. Night footage of naval bombardment. 'We must maintain overwhelming aerial superiority'; Mosquito of RAF 105 Squadron, GB:F, takes off. Spitfire SD:E (probably RAF 501 Squadron) starts up and Spitfires take off followed by Mosquito daybombers. A Boston of RAF 88 Squadron (RH code) takes off. At sea; the 'assault launched under cover of immense air umbrella'. Landing craft at sea. Mosquitos probably of RAF 487 Squadron (EG squadron code) at low level over water. Bostons at low level. Reel 5: Naval bombardment; the final blows from support craft. Spitfires airborne and landing craft heading ashore. (One shot of Spitfires appears to have been reverse printed, so as to ensure movement appears to be from right-to-left.) Spectacular explosions on the landing beaches. Infantry on landing craft fix bayonets and in another a two-inch mortar is fired; tanks with fascines drive ashore. Men running ashore (a brief shot here from Desert Victory). Supporting waves of infantry arrive and beach groups prepare to receive stores. Sommerfeld track and vehicles driving ashore. Radar lorries come ashore. RAF reconnaissance Mustangs airborne. An enemy tank formation is seen (north African footage); onboard the HQ ship the Army officer seen earlier asks his RAF counterpart to 'bust a tank formation' (the Army officer appears to be wearing the patch of the Army Film and Photographic Unit). The RAF officer directs callsign Nomad to attack the tanks. Footage of Hawker Hurricane IID fighter-bombers (with 40mm guns) attacking tanks. Setting up radar picket; bandits are detected and fighters vectored to intercept. Aerial footage of Spitfires of WR squadron (including WR: D amd WR:G); footage is reversed. Stock footage of Stuka attack and naval anti-aircraft guns firing back. Spitfires of RAF 417 Squadron (AN squadron code) peeling off. Stock footage and exercise footage. 'Hello control – bandits on the run'. Reel 6: Collapsible boats are unloaded from the 'Empire Jonquil'. Hazardous stores unloaded. Petrol unloaded at dumps. Six-pounder anti-tank gun in action. Tanks and infantry going forward to capture ground for airfields. Heavy engineering plant coming ashore. An emergency airstrip is laid. Air Sea Rescue launches recover ditched airmen. Plant at work rolling, scraping and grading a new airfield. RAF Regiment arrives with AA defence. Laying Sommerfeld track; 'like laying a carpet 1000 yards long'. Digging trenches. Other men construction a dummy airfield with decoy targets 'of sticks and canvas'. Dispersed equipment store for RAF Servicing Commandos. RAF Regiment building bashas. Laying telephone lines for AA guns. Aircraft coming in to land on the field even before it is complete. RAF Mustangs and a tropicalised Spitfire (possibly serial ER529) landing. Aircraft refuelled and rearmed. 'From the forward air link comes the information that sends the men of the Royal Air Force into the skies again to hammer the enemy and to shield their comrades in arms below.' Airmen scramble. (One shot used showing a USAAF Spitfire of 309 Fighter Squadron (WZ squadron code)). Aircraft taxiing, taking off and overhead. Spitfires peeling with THE END titles.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1943-06-28
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Air Ministry (Production sponsor) Royal Air Force Film Production Unit (Production company) Baird, E (Production individual) Shearman (Flight Lieutenant) (Production individual) Jones (Sergeant) (Production individual) Taylor, G (Sergeant) (Production individual) Turney-Smith, G (Production individual) Acason (Aircraftwoman) (Production individual) Towler (Sergeant) (Production individual) Till (Leading Aircraftman) (Production individual) Evans (Captain) (Production cast) Horn (Wing Commander) (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Mountbatten, Louis (Earl) (person) Royal Air Force, Air Sea Rescue Service (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, Coastal Command (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, RAF Film Production Unit (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, RAF Regiment (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, Women's Auxiliary Air Force (regiment/service) British Army, Army Film and Photographic Unit (regiment/service) United States Army Air Force, 31st Fighter Group (regiment/service) United States Army Air Force, 309th Fighter Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 88 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 501 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 105 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 487 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 416 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 417 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Navy (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Inveraray, Argyllshire, Scotland, UK (geography) Combined Operations and Landing Craft 1940-1945 (theme) Radar (theme) Aerial Warfare (theme) Royal Air Force 1939-1945 (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Sound Soundtrack language: English Title language: English
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 6 Footage: 4147 ft; Running time: 44 mins
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