FEATURE FILM TREATMENT
ACTION / DRAMA FEATURING BLOCKBUSTER VISUAL EFFECTS
"ON A MISSION THAT MUST NOT FAIL...
IF D-DAY IS TO SUCCEED."
THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED AND A REGISTERED ORIGINAL PROPERTY (WGAw #1139493) EXPRESSLY APPROVED BY AND HAS THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE LIVING RELATIVES OF RICHARD LOUIS BOPP AND IS DESIGNED TO RESPECTFULLY HONOR THE LEGACY OF ALL WHO HAVE SERVED IN THE AIR WAR OF WWII AND ENDURED AS PRISONERS OF WAR.
This is the story of one man’s journey from rebellious youth to eager fighter pilot sent off to war with a wife and newborn at home, surviving as a prisoner of war for nearly a year, and the ultimate return to his family and himself.
MUSTANGS goes on to tell the story of the simultaneous evolution of a man and a machine, brought together by fate during the largest clashing of air forces in history, and the aftermath of a high altitude bail-out following an epic air battle just ten days before D-Day.
MUSTANGS is inspired by a true story and is intended to honor the sacrifices made by those who served in the Mighty Eighth Air Force during World War II, and the universal struggle veterans of war face after witnessing and experiencing intense human tragedies.
WORLD WAR II AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE...
JUST TEN DAYS BEFORE D-DAY...
1,282 American heavy bombers escorted by over 400 American fighters fly deep into the heart of enemy territory.
On a mission to destroy the most heavily defended targets in all of Nazi Germany.
On a mission that must not fail if D-Day is to succeed...
"YOU REALLY USED TO FLY ONE OF THOSE?!..."
Just ten days before the Allied invasion of Europe, known as D-Day, thousands of aircraft were engaged in an epic air battle over the heart of Germany in what became the largest clashing of air forces in history.
On May 28th, 1944 a total of 1,282 heavy bombers along with over 400 fighter planes providing escort departed from U.S. air bases scattered across the east coast of England to bomb heavily defended oil refineries located in the heart of Germany. This was only the second time the U.S. attempted to bomb the intensely defended oil refineries, the first attempt resulting in significant loss of life on both sides.
The objective of that day's mission, Mission 376, was to drop thousands of bombs on German oil refineries and German fighter aircraft production facilities, to render them inoperable in preparation for the Allied invasion of Europe that was just ten days away.
On this particular day our main character, Richard, and his Mustang fighter squadron of the famous Fourth Fighter Group are escorting B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers all the way into Germany with enemy engagement imminent.
After surviving the intensity of the epic air battle, Richard and his P-51 Mustang pursuit fighter aircraft are reported lost on the return to base somewhere over occupied France.
Attacking the most intensely protected targets in all of Germany proves to be costly on both sides, with many killed in action or taken prisoner of war. Many did not return home after that day for over a year, and even more did not return home at all.
Witness German Luftwaffe fighters swarming and attacking American bombers, explosive flak from the ground, machine-gun fire coming from all directions, bombers and fighters falling from the sky following fatal attacks, pilots and crew bailing out of nose-diving aircraft, explosions on the ground destroying entire industries. All of this happening at break-neck speed.
For Lt. Richard Bopp, this was his first mission over Germany. It would also be his last. On this day, Lt. Richard Bopp and his Mustang will both be lost...
At a critical juncture in the war that has engulfed the world, one objective is absolutely crucial if the American and Allied invasion of Europe is to succeed…destroy the Nazi war machine. In an effort to accomplish this goal the mighty 8th Air Force begins daylight bombing raids over Germany and its occupied territories.
On any given day in 1944, over 1,000 bombers escorted by hundreds of fighters were on their way into Germany for attacks aimed at crippling the Nazi war-machine. By war’s end, more men of the 8th Air Force are killed in action in combat over the skies of Europe than all of the Marines in the Pacific combined. Initially the strategy of sending heavy bombers into Germany without constant fighter escort is proving too costly, with enemy fighters destroying nearly one out of every four B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators on each mission. The loss of crew and aircraft is proving unsustainable over time. The need for a fighter that can escort the bombers all the way into Germany and back is paramount if the U.S. is going to succeed and ultimately win the war.
As a result, the evolution of a long-range fighter aircraft is fast-tracked by the United States Army Air Force. This pivotal new aircraft, designated the P-51 and nicknamed the “Mustang”, developed by North American Aviation, has a range allowing for flights deep into the heart of Germany and back. The Mustang’s ability to defend heavy bombers all the way into Germany and back proves so successful that by war’s end the P-51 Mustang will destroy more enemy aircraft than any other fighter type. Recognized as the pinnacle of the single-seat piston engine fighter, the Mustang is credited for turning the tide of the war and achieving air supremacy in time for D-Day.
On the afternoon of May 28th, 1944, just ten days before D-Day, 1,282 heavy bombers along with over 400 fighter aircraft of the 8th Air Force, including Richard Bopp and his P-51 Mustang, take off from American airbases scattered across England. Richard and the other 8th Air Force pilots and crew are on a critical mission attempted only once since the war began, striking at the most heavily defended target in all of Germany - oil. On only his first mission flying deep into the heart of Nazi Germany, Richard manages to contribute to and survive the intensity of an epic air battle that becomes a part of the largest clashing of air forces in history. But on the return to base from the epic battle, Richard and his Mustang are reported lost…
Richard Bopp, a bright young man who, after a few too many arrests for speeding in his 1930’s hot-rod coupe, is sent to military school. Upon graduation, he and his life-long friend, Jack, work at the local boardwalk amusement park. While working on the family’s roller-coaster and carousel on the beach boardwalk, the two young men, typical of their age, begin to question what they should be doing with their lives.
With a war raging across Europe, slowly enveloping the world, Richard feels the same calling to serve as his father, a Texas Ranger who died when Richard was just a boy. Richard explains his theory to Jack that Americans will have to get involved at some point to stop Nazi Germany, and with their training from military school they can contribute a lot more with their skills, and possibly help save the world while they’re at it.
After talking with recruiters, Jack is enthused and wants to work as a mechanic on the “hot-rod” of the skies, the fighter plane. Richard, on the other hand, is much more interested in flying one. Having read about the American pilots that volunteered to fly and fight in England, Richard knew without a doubt what he wanted to do.
Though the U.S. is not yet at war, Richard and Jack both decide to enlist. Jack is quickly sent off for training as a mechanic, but Richard, with no open spots in the area flight school, is not called up for duty. He resumes life as usual as he waits to be called upon.
Back to his routine life, without intending it, Richard begins to fall fast for a neighborhood girl, Charlotte. Charlotte falls for Richard as fast as he falls for her, and within a whirlwind twenty-eight days the two are engaged and married. Soon after the two have their first child, a daughter, Virginia. Richard is now a family man.
Then, with sudden brutality and without warning, Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese. America is officially at war. Richard is called up immediately and must now leave his wife and newborn daughter to begin his training and join the war over in Europe.
While Richard is in basic flight training, the Air Force command implements the ‘Pointblank Directive’, with the bold objective of destroying the German war machine in preparation for the Allied invasion on D-Day through daylight bombing raids over Germany. The assembly of the largest air armada in history, known as the mighty 8th Air Force, soon to become an armada of 300,000 men and women, is underway.
As Richard advances to fighter training, armadas of American bombers are being attacked by German fighter planes that are flying unescorted into Germany on a daily basis. The losses are becoming unsustainable with nearly one out of every four bombers destroyed by enemy fire on each mission.
The capable fighters currently escorting the bombers have a limited fuel range capacity, keeping them from flying with the bombers for the entire mission. The P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt fighters are forced to turn back for fuel mid-way through each mission. The German fighters have learned to simply wait for the American fighters to turn back, then move in for the kill on the bombers, with devastating results.
The need for a long-range fighter becomes paramount, and the Strategic Bomber Command requests a new long-range fighter for the Air Force. The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is fast-tracked for development, as the first long-range fighter capable of flying all the way into Germany and back. Training of the new pilots that will be flying this new fighter is also fast-tracked, including Richard and his advanced flight class.
As one of the highest regarded trainees in his class, ranked a sergeant with a group of cadets under his watch, Richard believes he’s right on track to become a top pilot, and possibly an ace, in the war while flying the hot new Mustang. Topping off Richard’s enthusiasm is a visit to his training base by President Roosevelt, to see the new base and meet the future pilots preparing for war. Writing back home, Richard tells Charlotte he is on top of the world and is ready to fight, win the war, and get back home to his wife and newborn.
Just as the trainees are beginning to hone their skills in the new Mustang, one of Richard’s favorite cadets is forced to bail out on a training mission and is killed when he hits the propeller of his out-of-control fighter. Shocked by the accident, everyone is hit with the reality of the danger they face with each flight, and for the first time in his life, Richard is forced to reflect on his own mortality before entering the air war.
Pressing on, Richard’s high scores during training garner him the prestigious assignment to the most successful fighter group of the war upon graduation. Richard is sent to England to fly with the infamous Fourth Fighter Group, formed by the very men Richard had read about, the American’s that volunteered to fly for England, becoming the first American’s to fly in the war. The legacy of the Fighting 4th was already legendary, with 4th Fighter Group pilots like Don Gentile, Don Blakeslee and Duane Beeson making the cover of magazines and newspapers back in the states.
After arriving at the Fourth Fighter Group airbase in England, Richard discovers he is assigned to the locker and bunk previously occupied by the famed ace he read about in Time magazine, Don Gentile. Honored, prideful, and sure of his talent as a pilot, Richard declares his intention to continue the streak of the leading ace, and aims to beat his famous record. Cheered and jeered by the guys in the barracks, a sense of duty and pride fill Richard, a feeling he imagines his father felt as a Texas Ranger.
Richard quickly adapts to life on the airbase in England and begins forming friendships with the ace pilots that mentor him in preparation for the epic air battles he is about to experience. Richard bonds with one particular ace, Joseph Lang, who shows Richard the ropes of life at war. Of particular interest to Richard are Joseph’s daughter’s baby shoes, which he wears around his neck as a good luck charm on every mission. The two men share the common bond of having infant daughters back at home they plan to return to, and encourage each other to out fly the enemy in order to do so. A high energy permeates the base with the daily air battles at epic proportion, flying daily missions with over 1,000 bombers and 1,000 fighters flying deep into the heart of a heavily defended Nazi Germany.
Over and over, day after day, entire crews are lost, hundreds captured. But the U.S. is gaining supremacy and the men know it. The P-51 Mustang is destroying five German fighters to every one Mustang, and the new tactic of strafing ground targets on the return flight from each mission is further destroying the German infrastructure. Richard is flying with many aces in his group, and is flying wingman to a triple ace. Richard feels confident, with a healthy dose of fear of the unknown dog-fighting he is about to face, and what the epic aerial battle will really be like.
With just ten days left before D-Day, it is absolutely critical for Richard and all fighter pilots to defend the bombers to be sure they achieve their goal of destroying critical targets that will keep American soldiers from dying when the Allies invade Normandy in less than two weeks. There is no question among the fighter pilots of their duty.
On his first mission, Richard learns that while he may have been at the top of his class in flight school, all he has learned amounts to little when surrounded with enemy fighters at break-neck speeds. Richard is able to contribute to the dog-fight by thwarting an enemy fighter and saving a fellow pilot, but is unable to stop another tragedy from happening. Despite the thrill and exhilaration of the mission, witnessing first-hand as one of his new friends is shot down and killed is a sobering experience for Richard.
Right back at it with little time to reflect or mourn the loss, on Richard’s second mission, he is again able to keep an enemy fighter from shooting down one of his squadron mates, but is still adjusting to the intense maneuvers that pursuing and evading requires .
Then, on only his third mission, and his first deep in the heart of Germany, a battle of epic proportions awaits. The U.S. is attempting to destroy the most heavily defended targets in all of Germany, the oil refineries that produce the life-blood of the German war machine. Flying wingman to his buddy Joseph, Richard and his squadron engage over forty enemy fighters. Struggling to keep up with the extreme maneuvers of his mentor, Richard does all he can to cover Joseph’s wing.
The battle is so intense that the fighter squadrons become scattered all over the skies as they pursue enemy fighters in all directions. Richard loses Joseph amidst the chaos while helping other pilots, and ends up separated from his squadron after evading a chasing enemy fighter up to 30,000 feet. Richard finds himself alone and isolated with little visibility in the increasing haze below, and anxiously calls to the rest of his squadron over the radio, but is unable to visually locate anyone.
Trained to return to base when isolated and vulnerable to attack with no support, Richard is forced to give up the search for other aircraft and makes his way back to England. However, while over Northern France, just before reaching the English Channel, he realizes his Mustang is down to its last drop of fuel. Unsure if his fuel tank had taken a hit in the battle, and knowing he doesn’t have enough fuel to cross the channel, he is now forced to bail out of the aircraft over enemy-occupied territory. After getting a grasp on the reality of his situation, he spots a target of opportunity, points his Mustang at a Nazi supply train, opens the canopy and climbs out of his fighter. He jumps, hoping to land unnoticed. His plane hits the mark as the explosion draws the attention of German troops, and Richard is captured immediately upon landing. For him, as the German troops say, “for you, the war is over”.
After interrogation in Paris, Richard, stunned and numb, is sent to the infamous Stalag Luft III, the German prisoner of war camp where all air force officers are sent. Richard arrives to dire conditions and a devastated morale at the camp due to the shock of the recent killing of fifty escapees by the German Gestapo. The “great escape” turned devastating when all escapees were shot and killed after being caught. Now a prisoner, Richard sinks into the universal depression as he feels he has failed his family, his squadron, and his country, with no hope of becoming the ace pilot he thought may become during the war. Feeling helpless and empty, as he sits imprisoned in a foreign land, Richard’s thoughts turn to his wife and child.
Back home, Charlotte receives a devastating Western Union telegram stating only “your husband has been reported Missing in Action”. With no news or details of what has happened to her husband, Charlotte enters a prison of her own, a prison of uncertainty, unsure of what has happened to Richard, how it happened, if he is dead or alive, critically wounded, captured or killed.
Over the course of several months as a prisoner of war, Richard loses weight from malnutrition, and loses his teeth due to lack of hygiene products in the camp. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s health is failing just as rapidly from the constant stress of not knowing the fate of her husband.
As the Allies gain supremacy on the ground in Europe, Hitler realizes the prisoner of war camps may be liberated at any time. Unwilling to allow any prisoners go free, he orders they be marched further from the front lines. Richard and the others are forced to hike through blizzards of the coldest winter in recent German history, with many men dying along the way.
Just when all seems lost, with death all around them, General Patton’s army rolls through Europe and liberates the prisoners of war. Richard is still alive and now free, with the first sign of hope in his life for nearly a year.
Within days Richard is sent back to the U.S. and is re-united with his wife and child. Charlotte is overjoyed to see her husband’s face again, regardless of how emaciated he looks. The two can do nothing more than hold each other, unable to find the words to express their emotions.
With the war finally over, Charlotte sees Richard’s return as a new lease on life. Richard, however, can hardly muster up a smile despite the war’s end and refuses to see anyone that wants to visit them. Unable to understand his feelings of failure from the war, paired with the effects of the prison camp, Richard is visibly not the man he was before the war.
Some good news comes when Charlotte tells Richard she is pregnant with their second child. In an attempt to make a fresh start Richard and Charlotte pack up and move south to sunny Miami, Florida. With his military background, Richard quickly finds work as a motorcycle officer for the Miami police department. Despite the change of scenery and new job, Richard still isn’t really there, not for his work, not for his friends, and not for his family.
Richard does find, however, an outlet for his despair. Contemplating how he entered the war at the top of his flight class and returned from the war as a skin and bones prisoner of war, Richard escapes in the speed of the motorcycle and places little value on his life as he sees it.
Charlotte calls on the one person she thinks Richard will listen to, Jack. When the two meet for the first time since the war, Jack is shocked to see the state Richard is in. Jack listens to Richard go on and on about his “wartime failure”, questioning what all the training was for and what all the time spent away from his wife and child meant. “What was the point”, Richard explains. When Jack confronts Richard about his self-pity, Richard explodes and fights with his good friend. Disgusted, Jack leaves Richard alone with his misery.
A senior officer from the police force, after witnessing Richard speed excessively by his patrol car as he’s done several times before, feels compelled to talk with Richard. The elder officer tells Richard that he is not living up to his duty, and not doing anyone any favors with his self-destructive behavior. “Don’t you get it…you are the lucky one”, the officer tells Richard, “you survived and have the chance to live the life that all those that did not return from the war will never have… including my son who was killed on D-Day”. To this Richard simply responds, “I should’ve been your son”.
Richard gets up and walks out of the diner, gets onto his motorcycle and speeds out of the parking lot. As he roars down the street his thoughts return to the war, the visions of his bail-out and capture triggering him to hit the throttle harder. Just as he starts to approach an intersection, oblivious to a yellow light, he is blind-sided by a car, taking his rear wheel out from behind him.
Charlotte gets a call from the police station, and is taken right back to the sinking feeling she got from the telegram with the news that her husband was missing in action. Unwilling to lose Richard again, she grabs little Virginia and rushes to the hospital.
At the hospital, Charlotte meets with the elder officer who reassures her that Richard, amazingly, is fine with just a few scratches.
Upon leaving the hospital, Charlotte, longing for the return of the man with whom she fell in love, pleads with Richard to seek help and get past the war.
Back at home, an Air Force official shows up to see Richard. The official tells Richard he has tracked him down to his current address to let him know he is the recipient of a prisoner of war medal and a victory medal for the men he saved in the war, and the supply train he destroyed on his final mission. He adds that Richard missed the award ceremony since he failed to respond to several letters.
Richard refuses to accept the medals, and tells the official that he doesn’t deserve any such thing, and any honors given should go to the successful pilots from the war such as Joseph Lang, Ralph Hofer, or Robert Kenyon.
When the official tells Richard that all the pilots he just mentioned were killed in action while Richard was a prisoner of war, Richard is floored. The official takes the medals out of his bag and tells Richard that he served his country well and is worthy of the honor bestowed upon him. The official then gestures to the doorway where Charlotte, visibly pregnant, is standing holding Virginia’s hand, and tells Richard there are some other people that are awfully proud of him too.
Disappointed in Richard’s reaction, the official places the medals on a table and turns to leave. Before he’s out of the door, he stops and turns back, reaches into his bag, and tells Richard there was one more thing he was instructed to give him. The official pulls out a pair of baby shoes, the same baby shoes worn around Joseph Lang’s neck in the war.
After the official leaves, Charlotte walks over to comfort Richard. After a long silence, Richard, still visibly shaken by the news of all the men in his squadron that were killed just ten days after he was captured, turns to Charlotte with a look of revelation, “If I wouldn’t have been captured…I’d be dead.” He takes Charlotte in his arms and embraces her and his young daughter as if it were his first day back from the war.
Richard then tells Charlotte he’s got to go talk to Jack. Seeing the revelation in his expression, Charlotte simply smiles approvingly. Richard finds Jack in the hangar of the local flying club working on a P-51 Mustang used in local air races. Taking a serious tone, Richard tells Jack that he now knows he most likely would have been killed on D-Day had he not become a prisoner of war. He goes on to explain that he understands he has the chance to live the life his friends who were killed no longer can, and wants to make things right.
Jack, still shaken from the previous fight, doesn’t appear to be convinced and is unresponsive. The two men stand looking at the P-51 Mustang Jack was working on. Richard walks around the fighter, admiring the lines of the plane as he first did in training. Richard comments “it’s still a beautiful plane, isn’t it?”
Looking at Richard, Jack smiles and nods toward the open cockpit of the Mustang. Without saying a word, Richard steps up on the wing and works his way up and into the cockpit. As Richard is settling in, Jack quickly prepares the plane for flight. The two friends nod to each other as Richard fires up the engine. Jack does a final visual check and gives Richard the thumb’s up, Richard giving the thumbs up back to Jack. Richard then slowly maneuvers the fighter out onto the runway.
With clearance from the control tower for take-off, Richard sits paused in the Mustang, pulls out the pair of baby shoes and puts them over his neck, then powers up the throttle and roars up to full speed as the plane lifts into the air. As he flies up through dark distant clouds, Richard performs a barrel roll. As the plane completes the roll, he begins to fly with confidence. With the first full smile on his face since the war, he begins flying higher and higher, climbing above the dark clouds that, once broken free, reveals a stunning clear sky. Flying to his ultimate return, Richard is finally home.
Flash-forward many years later as Richard, now a grandfather, with the medals he once refused pinned to his jacket, sits with his family in the stands of an air show at the local airbase. A gloriously restored P-51 Mustang flies by the stands, engine roaring, shaking the ground, as his grandson looks up to him with wonder-filled wide eyes and says…
“You mean you really used to fly one of those!?”
· The Human Story
Imagine, you're just in your twenties, a war is raging throughout the world and you feel compelled to serve your country and enlist in the Army Air Forces, assuming your best chance of survival is being a fighter pilot. After you’ve enlisted, but before you're called up to serve, you fall in love with the girl visiting next door to you for the summer. Within three weeks you marry and not long after have your first child.
Six months later Pearl Harbor is attacked, and you're called up to fight. You go in as private, but your natural intelligence gets you far and you find yourself in flight school preparing to fly the latest and most advanced fighter aircraft designed to date, and eventually you are assigned to the most prolific fighter group already fighting over in Europe. You're shipped out to England and arrive at your base in Debden, England where you'll launch for attacks in Germany. You've heard the amazing stories of the ace pilots that have engaged insurmountable odds and came out alive with multiple victories to their name. But you've also heard the stories of the reality of massive dog-fighting, bombers dropping from the skies from both ground and air enemy attack, and hundreds of guys not coming back from some missions, killed or taken prisoner of war.
Now you have a wife on the other side of the ocean with your newborn daughter. You're also now at war, and you've just been assigned your third mission after arriving at your newly assigned fighter squadron twelve days before. You are told the mission is to provide fighter protection to the bombers as you fly deep into enemy territory, where you are certain to be engaged in a fight with enemy aircraft and ground attack that is fiercely protecting the vital targets. You are assigned to fly as the wingman of a highly experienced ace fighter, and your job is to keep up and protect him from any attacking enemy fighters. You spot hundreds of enemy fighters and off your squadron goes to attack and defend the bombers.
It's absolute chaos within seconds, you can't tell up from down and left from right. You get so disoriented you are unable to keep up with the aces maneuvers and cannot cover his wing, and end up separated and lost from your squadron. By the time you find other American fighters you've spent most of your fuel in the "hell upstairs", just trying to survive and don't have enough fuel to get back to base safely. You could risk crossing the English Channel, but you know few survive after ditching in the frigid waters long enough to be rescued. So you bail out, and without ever getting a chance to evade and escape, you land right on top of German troops in occupied France.
You are now a Prisoner of War. This is the human story that is so intriguing and I've only described the surface of the impact of all that happened on that day in May of 1944. So much more unravels as this story is told.
· The Scale
On the day this story takes place, Sunday, May 28, 1944 (Whit Sunday), just ten days before D-Day, 1,282 bombers and over 400 fighters took off from American bases in England headed for German targets. 32 American bombers and 14 fighters did not return to base that day. The sights and sounds of hundreds of powerful aircraft, German fighters attacking Allied bombers, Allied fighters engaging the enemy fighters, all happening at speeds exceeding 400mph and at elevations ranging from 30,000 feet in the air down to as low as 100 feet off the ground. This will make for the most spectacular flight sequences of World War II air battle ever to be replicated.
· The Aircraft
All of the warbirds being flown at the time were stunning. The unique design of both U.S. bombers and fighters as well as German fighters are visually intriguing and will make for a strong array of secondary characters in the film. The American strategy changed from defensive to offensive as they were gaining supremacy of the air around this time, so all new planes were kept in their natural metal finishes as opposed to dark olive drab for camouflage. The natural metal finish has a similar look to chrome and looked stunning when new as they were then just coming off assembly lines. Glossy colored noses signified the different fighter groups such as red, blue, yellow, and so on. The bombers had huge colored tails and wingtips that were stunning as well. Not to mention all of the colorful and varied nose art on both fighters and bombers with names and images unique to each "ship". All of this makes for great visual impact on screen.
· The Famous P-51 Mustang
Before the evolution of the American single-engine fighter, the European skies were dominated by the technical advancements of the German Luftwaffe, and the Asian skies were ruled by Mitsubishi Zero's designed in Japan. As the Mustang evolved at North American Aviation's factory in Inglewood, California, it became the pinnacle of the aircraft lineage and asserted it's dominance over both Europe and Asia and is credited as being the most pivotal aircraft introduced in the war. The Allied Strategic Bombing Campaign Survey report written after the war, determined that the most successful bombing campaign was the Pointblank Directive (of which this film is about), aimed at destroying the German war machine through it's production of oil and aircraft, along with rubber for tires, ball-bearings and vehicle production. The Mustang was a major contributor to those missions as these "little friends" (as the bombers called them) were the only aircraft in existence at the time that was capable of escorting the "big friends" to and from targets in Germany on the massive bombing runs to protect the bombers from fighter attack. The Mustang did so with total dominance and thus has a well earned place in the history of freedom fighting machines.
· The History
8th Air Force – 300,000 Americans lost their lives in the skies over Europe, all members of the largest Air Force ever assembled, the 8th Air Force, dubbed “the Mighty Eighth”. This film is about the most prolific fighter group of the 8th Air Force.
4th Fighter Group: This story is about the most prolific fighter group of World War II, the 4th Fighter Group, dubbed the “Fighting Eagles”. American pilots began flying with the Royal Air Force of England before America’s involvement in the war. The British formed the Eagle Squadrons for these American pilots, and after the U.S. joined the war effort the Eagle Squadrons became the 4th Fighter Group. The 4th Fighter Group has a victory record that is unmatched by any American fighter group to this day.
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This production is expressly approved and supported by the living relatives of Richard Louis Bopp and is designed to respectfully honor the legacy of all who have endured as Prisoners of War.