Paramount War Correspondent James Wright films American Air Force raid of Marauders on key German targets.
Unused / unissued material
Earls Colne Airfield
16 July – 16 September 1943
Various shots of Earls Colne Airfield in England. Various shots showing typical activity of USAFE (United States Air Force in Europe) bomber air base: B-26 Marauder medium bombers of the 323rd Bombardment Group (BG) including mechanics on bicycles, and even a farmer using horse-drawn plough in the fields of the Brick House Farm adjacent to the airbase. Various shots of ground crews.
Various shots 9th AF commanding officers (CO’s) in control room located at Marks Hall, which served as 9th AF headquarters and was located adjacent to Earls Colne Airfield. The shots include the CO’s studying maps, including Gen. Samuel E. Anderson, CO of the 9th Air Force, Col. Herbert B. Thatcher, the first CO of the 323rd BG, Col. Carl R Storrie, CO of 387th BG. Various shots showing crews of the 323rd BG leaving on bombing mission sometime between 16 July 1943 (when the 323rd BG flew its first mission from Earls Colne) and 16 September 1943, when Paramount release the (establishing the last day on which the footage could have been shot).
Views of a pilot in the left seat of the cockpit. Views of one of Camera Unit Sergeant (likely the 4th CU) of the “Utah Game Cock”. The radio call codes unique to the 323rd BG are visible on the fuselage – VT for the 453rd, RJ for the 454th, YU for the 455th and WT for the 456th BS. The third letter of the radio call code on the fuselage corresponds to a particular aircraft or aircrafts – for example WT-P. Great nose art shots of “John Bull” and other 323rd BG Marauders painted by Lt. Cripe, a bombardier with the 456th BS.
Various shots Marauders in cue and taking off. Various aerial shots of Earls Colne Air Field. Various shots row of bombers taxiing, taken from one of the planes. More aerial shots of fields, other airborne bombers in formation, gun fire from enemy planes.
Various shots in 9th AF control room located at Marks Hall: American servicewomen of the W.A. A. F., also stationed at Earls Colne Airfield, are moving model aero plane markers around a large table map, other officers (including Gen. Anderson) answer phones and study books. More aerial shots landscape (France. Belgium or Holland), we see Marauders dropping bombs on what appears to be Beaumont de Roger Airdrome, a Luftwaffe air base as part of OPERATION POINT BLANK, the Allies bombing effort to secure air superiority.
See also Film ID 1845.16 for footage shot the same day. Some shots repeated, also some spacing between shots.
Note: Based on the film’s release date, the war correspondent’s description of the mission as related to a Luftwaffe fight base, 323rd BG mission records for September 1943 and the fact that Col. Thatcher is filmed during the mission at Marks Hall, the mission appears to have been the 323rd BG’s 11 September 1943 afternoon raid on the Beaumont de Roger Airdrome in Northern France; it was led by Wilcox and Wood, leading two boxes of 18 and 17 Marauders flying in three flights of six aircraft each. The formation shots illustrate the wedge shape of each flight of six bombers described in the chapter of the book Brave Men by Ernie Pyle entitled The Flying Wedge, which describes the two weeks he spent with the 456th BS in May 1944, just before the invasion.
Official Reuters Description:
Paramount War Correspondent James Wright films American Airforce raid of Marauders on key German targets. Secret installations connected with German Fighter Command bombed. Wright's pictures of bombs bursting on Boulogne and coastal Batteries open fire Marauders which return With machinegun fire.
Good shots of planning operations office and of planes on active service. Good shots of camera man filming war action from bomber.
MISSING SLATE INFORMATION: INVASION REHEARSAL Accent on air power was put by recent big-scale amphibious exercise. Paramount War Correspondent James Wright, flying with US Marauders, secures finest bombing pictures of present war. Americans make spectacular raids on Nazi fighter