Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have joined forces to create a new 10 part TV series telling the story of World War Two’s bomber fleets.
‘Masters of the Air’ is based on the 2006 novel by Donald L. Miller. It tells the story of the US Eighth Air Force’s crews, as well as the story from the ground for those being bombed in Britain, Germany and throughout Europe.
World War Two was the first time that aircraft were able to undertake such large scale bombing raids.The US Eighth Air Force, made up of B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24s, was based in the UK. Thousands of men and aircraft took part, with the US bombers attacking German targets during the day, while the British bombers would do the same at night. It was a relentless attack on Nazi Germany that played a major part in the downfall of the Third Reich.
The conditions for bomber pilots were not luxurious:cockpits were freezing cold, there was little oxygen supply, and flying hundreds of miles into enemy territory they had no support from fighter escorts.
Daylight bombing, as conducted by the US, had never been tested before. It was a risky plan, but was the only way to damage Nazi Germany’s war machine. The bombing missions to impede the German war effort destroyed aircraft factories, submarines, fuel depots, train stations and tracks, and ammunition facilities.
Reports suggest that the TV series will tell the real stories of the Eighth Air Force, particularly the story of the Bloody Hundredth bombers, which lost almost 230 aircraft and had almost 2,000 men killed or imprisoned, the Flying Magazine reports.
A lot of Miller’s original research for his book was conducted at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Georgia, USA. The base is where the Eighth was originally commissioned in 1942. The museum houses a library and archive where Miller garnered the details and reports, bringing his novel as close to the truth as possible.
The museum is home to a replica US air force base exactly as it would have been in rural Britain during World War Two. The museum also has a fully renovated B-17G Flying Fortress which is to be unveiled at the end of January on the anniversary of the inception of the Eighth Air Force.
The TV series will make use of computer enhancements to create virtual flying missions,and veterans from the Eighth Air Force were interviewed ahead of shooting to ensure the series captures a true depiction of events.