Combat America (1943)

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First Lieutenant Clark Gable instructions
 

Released in 1943: Lieutenant Clark Gable follows the 351st Bombardment Group from Missouri to England with battle footage of a bombing raid on Adolf's headquarters.

Produced by the U.S. Army Air Force

Directed by unknown

The Actors: Clark Gable (himself, First Lieutenant Clark Gable), Bob Hope (himself), Frances Langford (herself), William A. Hatcher (himself, Commanding General), Philip J. Hulls (himself, top turret gunner), Kenneth L. Hulls (himself, ball turret gunner), Theodore R. Geropolis (himself, pilot), Daniel R. Stevens (himself, bombardier), Paul J. Posti (himself, ball turret gunner and chef at Brown Derby Hollywood), Tim Tuchet (himself, tail gunner), Henry H. Arnold (himself, Commander, U.S. Army Air Forces), Ace Akins (himself, Major Ace Akins), Pete Provenzale (himself), Jack Pepper (himself), Tony Romano (himself/musician), Robert Wallace (himself, pilot), Ira C. Eaker (Brigadier General of the 8th Air Force during WWII), Prince Henry (himself, Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester)

 

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America at War

When I turned 18 I went to my high school office in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and filled out a draft card that informed the local draft board that I was old enough and ready for service in the military if called on by President Johnson to fight in Viet Nam. That war was the first war that featured non-military journalists with motion picture cameras, and the haunting scenes of death and destruction changed much of the American eagerness for battle to this day. During the 'Great War,' or World War I, motion pictures were in their infancy and folk back home learned of war only by listening to the voices of the soldiers and reporters on the scene via the new invention of radio. The reporters then either would not or could not describe the full horror of death in great detail. During World War II motion picture cameras were ready and willing to bring a far off war to the families back home, but only the military had the cameras ready to film the action, so we see a realistic but sanitized view of World War II in documentaries like this one. We first follow Clark Gable and the 351st Bomber Group from Missouri to an airbase in England where they are welcomed by the brother of King George VI, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. We will meet the pilots and gunners and support personnel at the base and watch as they take off on bombing missions, then watch as they return with their B-17 bombers and view the bullet holes and other damage to the planes and the men. Finally, the men get orders to bomb the big one . . . Berlin . . . and the cameras and sound equipment are loaded onto the bombers along with the bullets and bombs, and we travel with the bomb group from England to Berlin, and listen to the radio chatter as they are greeted by enemy planes . . . We watch the dog-fights with enemy planes and listen as the pilots bark out their comments to each other in the fierce fighting . . . Then they reach the target areas and their bombs drop like rain over the enemy countryside until the last bomb falls from the last plane . . . and then the turn-around as they return to England and once again engage enemy planes on the way out . . . The last ten or so minutes is a nerve-wracking journey through danger and death that seemed to me lasted more than an hour. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and experience the war from the Air Force bombers firsthand.

Clark Gable and Paul Posti
Clark Gable and Paul Posti
General Henry H. Arnold
General Henry H. Arnold
General Ira C. Eaker and Clark Gable
General Ira C. Eaker and Clark Gable
General Ira C. Eaker
General Ira C. Eaker
Lieutenant Daniel F. Stevens
Lieutenant Daniel F. Stevens
Lieutenant Theodore R. Geropolis
Lieutenant Theodore R. Geropolis
Major Ace Akins
Major Ace Akins
Paul J. Posti
Paul J. Posti
Pete Provenzale sings Ave Maria
Pete Provenzale sings Ave Maria
Prince Henry
Prince Henry
Robert Wallace and Clark Gable
Robert Wallace and Clark Gable
Sergeant Kenneth L. Hulls
Sergeant Kenneth L. Hulls
Sergeant Paul J. Posti
Sergeant Paul J. Posti
Sergeant Philip J. Hulls
Sergeant Philip J. Hulls
Sergeant Tim Tuchet
Sergeant Tim Tuchet