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: How many guns do you think there are, Trevor? Trevor-Roper
: I'd say there are about ten guns - some in the field, and some in the tower.
[Whitworth is helping Gibson select pilots for the new squadron
] Group Capt. Whitworth
: I'd go for these two Australians if I were you; Les Knight and Micky Martin. Martin knows pretty well all there is to know about low flying. Gibson
: Yes, I met him when he was collecting his DFC. I know this New Zealander, Les Munro, I'd like to have him. Oh and Joe McCarthy, he's great. Group Capt. Whitworth
] Oh, the American. The Glorious Blonde. He used to be a Coney Island beachguard. We mustn't forget the English.
[leads Gibson to another personnel book of pilots
] Group Capt. Whitworth
: Here's Bill Astell. Oh yes, David Maltby.
[skips over one pilot
] Group Capt. Whitworth
: Oh, uh, he's just started another tour. Gibson
: [points to a picture in the book
] And Hoppy Hopgood from my old squadron. I'd like to have Dave Shannon and Burpee from there too. Group Capt. Whitworth
: Well, we shan't be popular with the other squadron commanders if we start squeezing chaps like these from them.
: [addressing the squadron at the briefing before the raid
] Well, the training's over. For obvious reasons, you've had to work without knowing your target, or even your weapon. You've to put up with a good deal from other people who think you've been having a soft time. But, tonight, you're going to have a chance to hit the enemy harder, and more destructively, than any small force has ever done before! You're going to attack the great dams of Western Germany!
Flight Sgt. J. Pulford, DFM
: [watching morse lamp signals between the two other planes in formation
] Martin's having a chat with Hopgood. Gibson
: What's he saying, Hutch? Flight Lt. R.E.G. Hutchison, DFC
: He says we're going to get screechers tomorrow night. Gibson
: Sure we are. Biggest binge of all time.
: Sir, have a drink to celebrate. We've done the trick! Group Capt. Whitworth
: What trick? Gibson
: Flying at 150 feet. No need for altimeters. No need for anything else. Group Capt. Whitworth
: Well, how's that? Gibson
: Why, SIMPLE! A couple of spotlamps. One in the nose and the other in the belly. Trained to shine down and meet together at 150 feet below the aircraft. Flight Lt. J.V. Hopgood, DFC
: All you've got to do is watch through the cockpit blister and keep the two spots plumb together on the ground, or the water, and there you are at 150 feet. Accurate to an inch! Group Capt. Whitworth
: Yeah, but that would mean carrying lights right into the attack! Flight Lt. H.B. Martin, DSO, DFC, AFC
: Well, that's better than finishing up in the drink. Group Capt. Whitworth
: That's wonderful! How did you think of it? Gibson
: Oh genius, pure genius. We gave the idea to Farnborough and they did the rest. Flight Lt. D.J. Shannon, DSO, DFC
: Still need a bombsight that'll work at low level. Flight Lt. D.J.H. Maltby, DSO, DFC
: And when are we going to get the real bombs. Gibson
: [Takes Whitworth aside
] You know it's getting on these fellows' nerves not knowing a damn thing about anything. Group Capt. Whitworth
: I know. But the old boy's got new trials on Friday. You ought to go down again. He's pretty sure it'll work this time.
Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
: How are you getting on with the low flying? Gibson
: Ah, it's awfully hard to get accuracy. I mean to within a few feet. Especially at night, over water. Still, we'll find some way of doing it. Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
: Yes, yes, it must be very difficult. Flight Lt. R.C. Hay, DFC
: Bomb-aiming is another headache, sir. The ordinary bombsight isn't accurate enough at such a low level. And you want the aircraft to drop their bombs dead on the same spot, one after another? Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
: Yes, yes, within a few feet. Gibson
: Well, we'll look after our headaches and leave you to look after yours. Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
: I'm afraid that's all we can do at present. Oh, I shall get it right within a few days. You must try and come down again. Gibson
: I'd like to, sir.
Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: [showing Gibson a model of the targets
] Well, Gibson, there it is. That's your main target - the Moehne Dam. Gibson
: So *that's* it. I thought it was going to be the "Tirpitz". Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: If you can blow a hole in this wall...
[points to model
] Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: -you'll bring the Ruhr steel industry to a standstill; and do much other damage besides. I'm showing you the targets. But you'll be the only man in the squadron who knows, so keep it that way. Gibson
: Very good, sir. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: [indicates other models
] And these are the models of the two other dams, the Eder and the Sorpe. But, the Moehne is the most important one. Gibson
: I see, sir. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: Come along and study these as often as you like. We're having regular reconnaissance to see what they're doing over there and what's the height of the water. The operation must be carried out when the lakes are full. Gibson
: When's that likely to be, sir? Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: About the middle of May. You'll need a good moon as well. So, it looks like we're tied to a night between the 12th and the 17th. By the time the next full moon comes around the water level will have started to fall again, so it's our only chance this year. About five weeks from now. How's the training going? Gibson
: Oh, pretty well sir. Except for the low flying. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: Yes, I guessed you'd be in trouble over that. Gibson
: It's fairly easy by day, but night flying over water at 150 feet is pretty near impossible. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: You can't trust your altimeters? Gibson
: No to the limits Mister Wallis wants. He insists on 150 feet. Not a foot below, or a foot above. I'd hoped we could get over it by practice. But, on still nights, when the water's smooth, there's a sort of no man's land between the dusk and the water. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: Well, I've got the Farnborough experts on that. I hope they'll come along with an idea. By the way, Wallis is going to test the full-sized bomb at Reculver tomorrow. I'd like you to go down and watch. Take your bombing leader with you. Gibson
: Right, sir.
Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: Good morning, Gibson. Gibson
: Morning, sir. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: First of all, congratulations on the bar to your DSO. Gibson
: Thank you, sir. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: You finished your third tour last night? Gibson
: Yes sir. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: Would you be prepared to take on one more trip? Gibson
: What kind of trip, sir? Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: I can't tell you much about it, for the present. But, it'll be a special one and you'll command the operation. I'm afraid it'll mean putting off your leave. How do you feel about it? Gibson
: Alright sir. Air Vice-Marshal Cochrane
: Good. It's going to need careful training, the commander-in-chief wants a special squadron formed. it'll be best if you formed it yourself. I'm telling all the squadrons they'll have to be prepared to give up some of their most experienced crews. They're not going to like it.
: Well, the sixpenny bombsight works and the spotlamps work. We've flown two thousand hours, and dropped a good many more than two thousand practice bombs. The specially converted aircraft start arriving tomorrow. So, from now until the word "go" I want you to practice flying them at your all-up proper weights.
: You can work that out, Dinghy. Don't forget that some of the armour's been taken out. And don't exceed 63,000 pounds or otherwise we shan't get off.
: Any problems? Squadron Leader H.M. Young, DFC
: You want the front gunner to stay in his turret the whole time? Gibson
: Oh yes, he'll have to deal with the flak guns. Squadron Leader H.M. Young, DFC
: The trouble with that is his feet.
[mimics with fingers
] Squadron Leader H.M. Young, DFC
: They dangle in front of the bomb-aimer's face. How about fixing up some stirrups to get his feet out of the way and make him more comfortable? Gibson
: That's a good plan. Squadron Leader H.E. Maudslay, DFC
: Have you any idea when we're going, sir? Gibson
: Probably within a week. But, keep it under your hats! You won't have to put up with being called "the armchair squadron" much longer Squadron Leader H.E. Maudslay, DFC
: Two months without an operation is getting us stalejake now. Flight Lt. J.V. Hopgood, DFC
: There was damn near a riot yesterday when somebody in 57 Squadron started it again Flight Lt. H.B. Martin, DSO, DFC, AFC
: Our fellows would feel better if they blew off steam Gibson
] Alright, the next time somebody starts being funny, have a riot.
[assembled pilots laugh
: Alright, that's all.
[pilots get up to leave
: [Gibson calls around to the pilots as the attack starts
] "P for Popsie", are you there? Flight Lt. H.B. Martin, DSO, DFC, AFC
: OK, Leader. Gibson
: Hello, "M Mother" are you there? Flight Lt. J.V. Hopgood, DFC
: I'm here, Leader Squadron Leader H.M. Young, DFC
: Here, Leader. Flight Lt. D.J.H. Maltby, DSO, DFC
: Here, Leader. Flight Lt. D.J. Shannon, DSO, DFC
: Here, Leader Squadron Leader H.E. Maudslay, DFC
: Here, Leader. Flying Officer L.G. Knight, DSO
: Here, Leader. Gibson
: Hello, all Cooler aircraft. I'm going in to attack. Stand by to come in in your order when I tell you.
: [as Gibson heads in to attack
] Hello "M for Mother" stand by to take over if anything happens. Flight Lt. J.V. Hopgood, DFC
: OK, Leader. Good luck!
] Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
: [Morning after the raid
] Is it true? All those fellows lost? Gibson
: Only two aircraft went down in the attacks. That was Hopgood's over the Moehne and Maudsley's at the Eder. Astell got it soon after crossing the coast. And Dinghy Young was shot down over the sea, on his way home. The rest we don't know about. They've been calling them since midnight, but they haven't answered. The flak was bad. Worse than I expected. Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
] Fifty-six men... If I'd known it was going to be like this, I'd never have started it. Gibson
: Now you mustn't think that way. If all these fellows had known from the beginning they wouldn't be coming back they would have gone for it just the same. There isn't a single one of them that would have dropped out. I knew them all. I know that's true. Look, you've had a worse night than any of us. Why don't you find the doctor and ask for one of his sleeping pills? Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
: [Shakes head
] Aren't you going to turn in, Gibby? Gibson
: No, I... I have to write some letters first.
[Gibson walks off into distance. Theme music. Roll credits
: [as his aircraft nears it's bombing target
] Get ready to pull me out of the seat if I get hit!