World War II Documentary Video - Thunderbolt! - Airplane Videos and Airplane Pictures

World War II Documentary - Thunderbolt! - Part 1

World War II Documentary - Thunderbolt! - Part 2

World War II Documentary - Thunderbolt! - Part 3

Thunderbolt! - Part 4

Thunderbolt! - Part 5

Thunderbolt! is a 1947 film documenting the American aerial operations of Operation Strangle in early 1944, when American flyers based on Corsica successfully impeded Axis supply lines to the Gustav Line and Anzio beachhead.

The film begins with an introduction by James Stewart, who notes that the footage was shot in 1944, "ancient history", and reads a message from the commander that, even though the units in the picture happen to be American, it could easily have been an RAF mission, and indeed belongs to all people who desire freedom.

The narrative begins by showing desolate areas of Italy, noting that this was the fulfilment of the promise of Fascism, an idea dedicated to the proposition that some men are meant to be the slaves of others. The film next brings the audience to Corsica, introducing us to members of the squadron in question and then tells us the objectives of the mission by way of an after-breakfast briefing that merges into an animated map of Italy showing the allies stuck at the Gustav line, and the mission to cut of the supply lines by destroying bridges and roads in northern Italy.

Next the film follows the airmen through the tense moments before the flight, and the long journey to the mainland while flying in formation. The pilots are shown finding their target, a bridge, and successfully taking it out; then they go on independent "strafing" activities, finding trains, lighthouses, anything that could be used by the enemy and destroying it.

When the pilots return, the film shows how the airmen try to relax in the makeshift community in Corsica; but it also takes a melancholy look into how some of them are getting along emotionally, thinking of what else they could be doing with "the best years of their lives".

Thunderbolt! ends when the Allies break the Gothic Line in May 1944, liberating Rome. The narrators note that it is the "evening" of the mission in Corsica, but not the end of the war. At the end the words "THE END" appear... behind a superimposed red question mark.

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