Introduction: Struggle For The Skies (01:36)
Modern fighter pilots fly at supersonic speeds, using advanced technologies to engage hostile forces. Tactics they employ developed during World War II.
Polish Skies (03:04)
Nazis invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939; Luftwaffe's superior Messerschmitt 109 planes dominated the air and supported ground forces. They disabled command and communications and destroyed airfields.
French Skies: Invasion (03:08)
Hitler invaded Norway and Demark before attacking France on May 10th, 1940. Initially, England denied air reinforcements to avoid further aircraft losses; an armistice between France and Germany was signed on June 22nd, 1940.
British Skies (12:10)
The Battle of Britain initiated in July 1940; better equipped and trained Luftwaffe attempted an offensive on British fighters. Coastal radar systems, anti-aircraft guns, and barrage balloons supported Royal Air Force squadrons and command. German planes were shot down by Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires; blitzes persisted until May 1941.
Russian Skies (02:53)
Hitler invaded Russia in June 1940; Luftwaffe destroyed their outdated airfields. Erich Hartmann was nicknamed, "Black Devil" for his 352 combat victories. Soviet forces used quantity to resist and overwhelm German air superiority.
German Skies (10:46)
Allied forces' objective was to attack supply lines and military industrial factories; British Blenheim bombers were fitted with Airborne Interception radar in 1940. Germans developed the Schrage Musik; Luftwaffe was fought with Mosquito night fighters and P-51D Mustangs. By spring 1944, the Nazi Air Force was weakened.
French Skies: Retaliation (06:19)
In January 1944, Eighth Air Force pilots hunted Luftwaffe planes; in February the United States Army Air Force initiated "Big Week," shooting down 500 German fighter planes. They attacked transportation and communications targets in northern France, greatly reducing Nazi aircraft presence during the Normandy landings.
Pacific Skies (10:00)
After Pearl Harbor, Japan seized islands in the Pacific; the Mitsubishi Riesen was superior to allied aircraft until 1943. Colonel Clair Chennault led the American volunteer group, Warhawks, in successful operations against the technologically advanced "Zeroes." In Spring 1945, B-29 Super Fortresses raided Tokyo, and the Japanese employed kamikaze tactics.
Credits: Struggle For The Skies (00:43)
Credits: Struggle For The Skies
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