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The Fight for the Sky (1945)

Documentary detailing the activities of American fighter escort pilots during bombing raids over Germany.


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Credited cast:
Jimmy Dolittle Jimmy Dolittle ... Self
Francis H. Griswold Francis H. Griswold ... Self


Documentary short film produced by the American Army Air Forces extolling the exploits of the American fighter pilots who destroyed the German Luftwaffe and allowed the Allies to proceed with the invasion of Europe. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Documentary | Short | War


Did You Know?


As someone mentioned, there is an extended 41minute version of Fight for the Sky that is far superior to the one reviewed here. That one is narrated by sometimes actor Reed Hadley who did several other WWII era documentaries including The Last Bomb, which chronicles a B-29 daylight raid over Japan in 1945. Hadley also covered an A-bomb test that was documented sometime after WWII. See more »

Alternate Versions

The long complete version runs 41 minutes and is narrated by Reed Hadley. The shorter version is narrated by Ronald Reagan. See more »

User Reviews

One For Military History Buffs
3 July 2013 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

In response to the previous commentator the version I've seen is the one lasting 41 minutes and was quite surprised by the impressive picture quality of something almost 70 years ago

The documentary fills us in at the start on what the Americans were using for air escort , namely the Thunderbolt , Lightening and Mustang , all familiar names to schoolboys of my generation who couldn't read enough about the second world war . Interesting that for the British and Americans fighter pilots had an almost mystical fascination while in the Soviet Union it was the snipers who were the poster boys ( In some cases girls ! ) while in Germany it was the U-Boat crews who were the media stars

The documentary then shows the rest and recreation elements of fighter crews then shows us the strategists and briefings of the fighter crews . Interesting that no actors are used and people like James Doolittle play themselves . Even more noticeable is that how stilted they seem to an audience brought up on feature films . The fighter crews take off and go on their mission of escorting bombers over occupied Europe

One thing I did find out is the high ration of fighters to the bombers they were protecting . Since a fighter moves faster and uses more fuel as many one thousand fighters may have to be used to protect as few as 40 to 100 bombers and American fighters might be outnumbered as 2 to 10 by the Luftwaffe . It does miss out the point that the Germans used entirely different pilot strategy . The Luftwaffe had a " fly till you die " strategy where a pilot would continue frontline missions until the war was won/lost or until he died . The USAAF and RAF used a different technique where pilots spent time on frontline duties then was rotated to teaching at flight school . This technique meant Luftwaffe top aces had kill rates of over 300 victories while top allied planets had a tenth of that . The downside was this technique was inefficient and in the attrition of the second world war the quality of German fighter pilot quickly dropped

The second half concentrates on the thrill of air battle and could be classed what is known today as " war porn " but as someone who watches a lot of war documentaries on the history channel it's exciting to watch . The only flaw is it's obvious that the shots inside the cockpits are obviously made in a film studio and not a real aircraft which jars with the real life footage . That aside this is a good film for the history buffs interested in air combat

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Release Date:

21 June 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Special Film Project 157 See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

Company Credits

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