S u m m a r y
||The Airborne Invasion of
available online from Wade Meyers Studios
||Great wartime footage,
including color sequences; terrific inspiration for modellers.
Reviewed by Floyd S. Werner Jr.
HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com
D-Day, 6th of June.
Never before has such a historical event been planned and executed. A
big part of that day was the airborne troops sent in on the night of the
5-6 June. Many parachutist and gliders were instrumental in making the
invasion a success. This DVD chronicles that part of the invasion force.
We are first treated to a 53 minute documentary of the history of Allied
use of airborne forces. It starts out in Sicily and then back tracks to
the training in the states. The training is difficult enough without
having to do it at night and under fire. No wonder there were so many
accidents. There are some great shots of the CG-4A shots and some shots
of British Horsa gliders. Interestingly, there are shots of the tow
planes. Shown are a B-25, P-38, and a PBY. A B-17 is shown towing two
gliders and even more amazing is the C-54 towing three into the sky. For
those modeling C-47s from D-Day, there are close ups of the towing
connection, as well as, the sloppily brush applied invasion stripes.
Nothing neat here, chalk lines to give a rough outline and then white
wash and black paint applied. When I do my C-47 I will hand-paint my
stripes. These things were really not straight not symmetrical and most
of all not neatly painted on. You will also see how the doors were taped
up for the parachutist.
Aerial pickup is demonstrated. Talk about hairy training. It is amazing
to see it in action. The pathfinders are illustrated. What strikes me is
the amount of equipment that they have to carry. How they could move,
let alone fight, is beyond me. I noticed a difference in the Horsa and
the Waco gliders on the approach and this is even pointed out in the
video. The Ike visit to the 101st Airborne troops is shown. The unique
Mohawk haircuts and the face painting are there. These guys are carrying
so much stuff that you can’t imagine jumping with all of it. The British
leg pack makes just getting into the door hard. I learned about the para-packs
that were slung under the wings of the C-47s. Very interesting. The
first aircraft takeoff with the pathfinders is at 2145 hours on 5 June.
Only two things are suppose to fall from the sky, bird crap and idiots.
These guys were real heroes. How they ever found unit cohesion on the
ground is beyond me.
Imagine landing a glider at night along with hundreds of your buddies
into an area you can’t see all the while somebody is shooting at you.
Really insane and courageous. The glider pilots weren’t trained for
night landings and to do the first one on the continent must have been
exciting to say the least. Interestingly it is pointed out that the Waco
was used in these initial night drops while the Horsas were used in the
If you have ever seen the “Band of Brothers” this is the real story.
They look so young for the immense job they had to do. “Band of
Brothers” is really very accurate.
There are some wonderful air to air shots of B-26 Marauders doing their
thing over the beachhead. Some gun camera footage is included to show
the support for the landings. The amount of glider losses is shown
pretty graphically. The amount of gliders used and lost is amazing. No
wonder we have no gliders in museums today.
The D-day Pathfinders are shown in a color sequence. It is interesting
the colors of the uniforms and the markings applied to the airplanes.
The first C-47 to takeoff and drop troops is shown. The tail numbers
appear red instead of yellow. You can see the application of the paint
and that it is not complete coverage. It is a shame that the lead
aircraft did not have nose art or even the big yellow flight numbers on
the side. Just your plain Jane C-47 with invasion stripes.
Gun camera film taken on D-Day proves that Pips Priller wasn’t the only
Luftwaffe fighter in the air that day as the P-47s do a number on a
couple. There are some incredible shots of a FW-190 flying defensively
that are truly impressive. Ultimately, he gets shot down but the picture
is so vivid. Some of the shots are so clear that you see soldiers
jumping from the trucks to get to cover. Some great strafing stuff. No
wonder James Goodson was called the King of the staffers. His shots are
incredible. Tanks, half tracks, trucks and buildings are all brought
under the fighters guns. Most of the times extremely close up.
A segment is included on Robert Johnson is next. His P-47 is shown from
all angles and to great effect. Inspirational stuff for model builders.
He was of smaller stature but when he was in that P-47 he was a big man.
Operation Varsity the air drop over the Rhine is the next segment.
Filmed in Black and White this film shows the last large scale use of
gliders in combat. It is interesting to note the some of the gliders
still only have the early war star with no bars. C-46s are used for the
first time in the ETO. This allowed for the parachutist to leave both
sides of the plane simultaneously. There is a dramatic crash sequence
with a C-46 which loses an engine on takeoff. There are some more
crashes of the gliders shown in a dramatic way. The Horsas and the tow
planes are shown falling out of the sky at angles that can only mean
death to the men on board. Watching B-24s at low altitude dropping
hundreds of containers is impressive as well.
The next sequence is entitled “Beachhead to Berlin”. Filmed in color it
shows the part of the US Coast Guard in the invasion of Europe. The
color is superb and vibrant. There is even color footage of the Mulberry
harbor. Battleships, cruisers, LST, LCVP, and every type of ship are
shown. The weathering of these ships struck me as being pretty harsh.
The amount of dead floating in the deep water was shocking. To see such
large ships being tossed around gave me a new appreciation for the
The next sequence highlights Gloster Meteors at Wiesbaden in June 1945.
Filmed in full color they offer a unique look at the first operational
allied fighter. The early Meteors are actually very beautiful aircraft
Aviation cadets are highlighted in the final sequence as a recruitment
film used at theaters. I was ready to sign up. With that this DVD comes
to an end.
The Allied invasion of Europe thrust many heroes into the fray on
Normandy. This film shows many of the tools and equipment used by these
men to free Europe.
This DVD is typical of
the quality historical video I’ve come to expect from Victory Films.
They present a unique war time view of the conflict.
I highly recommend
this title and the rest of the series. Great research material, color
and B&W film makes these DVDs a great value for the money.
Thanks to Wade Meyers and
for the review copy.
Review Copyright © 2007 by Floyd S. Werner Jr.
This Page Created on 02 May, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007
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