Variety reported in its review that director Howard Hawks used footage from the movie Hell's Angels (1930) for the big bomber expedition sequence, the main dogfight, and the head-on collision of two airplanes.
The Handley Page O/400 bomber was in Faulkner's story. And has 5 machine guns, two in the nose, two in the mid-fuselage and one on the top wing. The movie depicts single machine guns in the nose and mid fuselage. This is what the Vickers Vimy bomber had. The Vimy replaced the O/400 near the end of the war. And was not put in service by the USA.
The British torpedo boat shown represents a 40-foot Coastal Motor Boat designed by John I. Thornycroft & Company. A total of 39 were built for the Royal Navy by Thronycroft and other firms. Unlike that shown in the film. The torpedo was not launched by gravity. But was pushed back by long steel ram powered by a small cordite charge. And unlike as described in the film. The torpedo's motor was started by a tripwire connecting the torpedo with said steel ram (not upon contact with the water). One example of this class has survived. CMB-4, and is on display at the Imperial War Museum's facility at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England.
Irving Thalberg, VP of production at MGM insisted on using Joan Crawford in this picture as she was on contract for $500,000 per year ($9.5M in 2017), working or not. This inclusion of a love interest in the film started a series of re-writes for William Faulkner.
The only film pairing of Joan Crawford and Gary Cooper. Contemporary news stories of the day reported Crawford insisted on Cooper as her co-star. Cooper had to be borrowed from Paramount for this picture.