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Forgotten Video Highlights How Air Power Turned The Tide Against The Axis War Machine

Critical campaigns against German U-Boats and the Japanese Were Won By Decisive Airpower

Long lost archive from the Air Force in 1953 highlights the ways that airpower changed the game in WWII.

During the second half of 1943 the Allies were beginning to turn the tide against the German U-Boats and seeing successes against them using long-range airborne anti-submarine patrols using radar-equipped Consolidated B-24 Liberators. When the Army Air Forces turned these aircraft over to Navy crews late in 1943 the aircraft were re-designated PB4Y-1s. One result of these successes was that American-built fighters like Republic P-47 Thunderbolts and North American P-51 Mustangs were getting through to their bases in England, eventually to take on the Luftwaffe over occupied Europe.

In the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI) supplies were being flown by the fledgling 10th Air Force from Tibet over “the hump” of the Himalayas to General Claire Chenault’s needy 14th Air Force “Flying Tigers” in China. In the Aleutian Islands the 11th Air Force was slugging it out with and winning against the Japanese invaders on Attu and Kiska Islands.

In the Southwest Pacific the offensive against Japanese-held Munda on New Georgia took place. Many of the missions against Munda were flown from Henderson Field on recently-secured Guadalcanal. Once Munda was taken the Army Air Forces and the Marines used the airstrips in the area to launch missions against the next objectives up the Solomon Islands chain in the overall offensive known as Operation Cartwheel.

The video is a transfer from volume 12 of a 1953 film series produced by the US Air Force.

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.