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Combat America (1943)

| Documentary, War
A documentary recounting the experiences of the 351st Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Forces, based in England during the Second World War . The group's air and ground crews are ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself / Narrator
William A. Hatcher ...
Himself / Commanding General
Philip J. Hulls ...
Himself / Top Turret Gunner
Kenneth L. Hulls ...
Himself / Ball Turret Gunner
Theodore R. Geropolis ...
Himself / Pilot
Daniel F. Stevens ...
Himself / Bombardier
Paul J. Posti ...
Himself / Ball Turret Gunner
Tim Tuchet ...
Himself / Tailgunner
Henry H. Arnold ...
Himself / Commander, U.S. Army Air Forces (as H.H. Arnold)
Ace Akins ...
Himself
Pete Provenzale ...
Himself
...
Himself
Jack Pepper ...
Himself
...
Herself
Tony Romano ...
Himself
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Storyline

A documentary recounting the experiences of the 351st Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Forces, based in England during the Second World War . The group's air and ground crews are followed through a number of bombing missions over Hitler's Germany. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Documentary | War

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(Technicolor)

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

The battle scenes are actual combat footage. See more »

Quotes

Clark Gable: Long trails of magnificent treachery. Clark Gable, describing the contrails left by the B-17s, showing their locations to the Luftwaffe fighters.
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User Reviews

 
Capt. Clark Gable makes Army Air Forces training and combat film
30 April 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Combat America" is one of two documentary films that Clark Gable made while serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. The opening scene shows his orders. "First Lieutenant Clark Gable is hereby directed to proceed to England as outlined verbally to him for the purpose of making a combat film dealing primarily with the combat phase of aerial gunnery." The orders were signed by H.H. "Hap" Arnold, who was commanding general of the Army Air Forces which would become the U.S. Air Force after World War II.

This film was to be used for recruiting and training flight crews during the war, especially gunners. It's an excellent film that follows the 351st Bombardment Group. First, as it trains in the States, then as it relocates from the States to England. It shows the unit replacing a British unit at an airfield, and then resuming training before the group sees its first combat. It has some excellent combat footage filmed during bombing runs by the group. This is probably the very best live action filming that shows bomber gunners defending their aircraft against German fighter attacks. It shows a number of B-17s going down after being hit. And, it shows gunners scoring German fighter planes.

Gable narrates the film with an excellent screenplay. When General Arnold visits the unit in England, Gable has already been promoted to captain. He flew five combat missions while in Europe – most likely those in which the filming was shot for this documentary.

The 351st Group in England became part of the U.S. 8th Air Force. It had 40 B-17s in four squadrons. The 10-man crews included five gunnery positions. Besides the 400 men to outfit the aircraft, the group had 3,600 men on the ground that kept the aircraft serviced and flying. After the air crews flew to England, their ground crews arrived two weeks later by train. They crossed the pond on troop ships.

This is an interesting film and look at the nuts and bolts and training that went into building the American air support for the war in Europe. It has some excellent combat scenes. And, it shows the part some of our silver screen stars and Hollywood filmmakers played in the war. Most of the film and technical crew also came from Hollywood. They were men who enlisted during the war. But unlike the movies, these scenes and sets were the real thing. This should make a nice addition to any serious war film collection.


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