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Summary: A film showing the role played by the RAF, Dominion squadrons and briefly the USAAF in the preparation, invasion and securing of the Normandy beachheads in June 1944.
Description: Reel 1. A brief overview of the work of the Allied air forces during the Second World War up to the Normandy landings, including the Battle of Britain, the bombing of the German industrial areas, the thousand bomber raids, the Dieppe raid and USAAF daylight raids; stock shots of RAF Spitfire squadrons, Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, Short Stirling, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers and captured footage of Germans clearing rubble and repairing rail lines. The preparations for the Normandy Landings are shown through amphibious landings, the creation of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force and the work in the months running up to the invasion - the destruction of key lines of communication, transport, defence and detection targets. Training for the landings (showing LCTs moving toward shore with air support) is watched over by Montgomery, Eisenhower and Tedder. Commanders of the Expeditionary Air Force are seen looking at a large wall map, members present include Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh Mallory, Major General W G Butler, Air Marshal Sir Arthur Cunningham and Major General Lewis Brereton. An animated map of the proposed plan is followed by scenes of the build up to the landings, and the concentration of attacks on marshalling yards by British and American heavy bombers and of attacks on key bridges by Douglas Havocs and Martin Marauders. Specific targets such as radar stations and air bases which are attacked with rockets and bombs (camera gun footage). German camera gun and ground-to-air footage of Allied aircraft being shot down and crashing, with a commentary detailing the numbers of British, Dominion and USAAF losses.
Reel 2. D Day, 6 June 1944. Footage of the invasion fleet and with shots of the close air support from the Allied forces - Douglas Boston bombers laying smoke trails, fighters attacking ground forces (camera gun footage), Bristol Beaufighters attacking enemy shipping and RAF Coastal Command Liberators hunting U-boats. Shots of the establishment of the beachhead and the laying of runways. Pioneer Corps, Royal Marine Commandos and RAF Regiment build and protect the new airfields. Footage of the 'Stamp Licker', rolling out long strips of material covered with asphalt to counter the dust clouds. The Air Formations Signals telephone and communication networks is also covered. The work of the RAF protecting the newly established beachheads and restricting the movement of the Germans, illustrated by camera gun footage of attacks on trucks, barges and railways.
Reel 3. British Sherman tanks advance through an unidentified French town (includes footage of a RAF Signal Sherman tank equipped with radio equipment to call in aerial attacks by supporting Typhoons). Mustang camera gun footage of attacks on German rail and waterways. Heavy bomber daylight pinpoint bombing in support of the army, including the RAF Lancaster attack on Caumont (30 July 1944). RAF Typhoon attacks in the Falaise valley (includes graphic footage of dead German soldiers and horses). The final sequence of the film looks towards the push into Germany, with footage of Boston bombers flying over a damaged city.
Production Details: Ministry of Information (Production sponsor)
RAF Film Production Unit (Production company)
Bath, Hubert (Production individual)
Portman, Eric (Production cast)
Personalities, Units and Organisations:
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 3
Footage: 2240 ft; Running time: 25 mins
Notes: Summary: the emphasis on RAF and Dominion squadrons is explained through a rolling title stating it would be impossible to include the work of the USAAF in the confines of a short film.
Production: made by the RAF Film Production Unit at the request of the MOI, the film was made within the authority of the Joint Anglo-American Film Planning Committee. Carol Reed and Garson Kanin, the joint producers of "The True Glory", were consulted on the script and advised that they saw nothing in it which would detract from their production.
Scripts held in MOI/COI file in the production office
Shot list held in AP boxes under AP 29 in the production office
RMY 181 (9th US AIR FORCE [Allocated Title])
ACB 85 (HEAVY BOMBER ATTACK ON ENEMY POSITIONS SOUTH OF CAUMONT [Allocated Title])
ACB 87 (LANCASTERS RAID ENEMY POSITIONS AT CAUMONT [Allocated Title])
A70 130-4 (DEATH AND DESTRUCTION IN THE FALAISE 'GAP' (PART 2) [Allocated Title])