The film's focus is the 505th Airborne Infantry: its organization, training, and combat debut in Sicily in July 1943. The training reflected highly on the regiment's CO, Colonel James Gavin, later a lieutenant general and one of the unsung heroes of World War II. But no amount of good training could completely counter the bad weather, faulty navigation, and limited intelligence that eventuated in the jumpers fighting Tiger tanks with bazookas. Scattered as it was, the 505th reorganized and carried out its mission, in the process so disorganizing German units that they could not carry out theirs. Its casualties were serious, but its success won paratroopers a permanent place in the American arsenal.