Colossus: The Rise of the US Army Air Corps 1939-1943 DVD is the inspirational story of how a nation pulled itself up by its bootstraps to create the mightiest Air Force the world had ever seen. Four films with more than 2 hours of dramatic World War 2 footage, digitally restored.
Film #1: Expansion to Air Power (1944, B&W, 43:00) Between the eve of World War 2 in June 1939 and December 1943, the US Army Air Force grew from 2,402 aircraft and 24,700 personnel to 65,000 aircraft and 2.4 million personnel - an unprecedented leap. FDRs goal of producing 50,000 planes a year was met and surpassed! This engrossing film combines easy to grasp information with memorable graphics and dramatic historic film footage that makes it all real. You'll learn about pilot and technical training programs, logistics, new aircraft production, billions in appropriations, Air Force organizational structure and much more. Planners had to estimate everything from bomb production according to type and usage to fuel consumption per hour by a myriad of different aircraft types performing hundreds of thousands of sorties. Hundreds of specific personnel requirements had to be planned and implemented -- from pilots to WACs & WAFs to navigators & mechanics. Entire Air Force units had to be created from scratch. A treasure trove of archival film, including captured enemy footage, takes you year by year starting in 1939 through 1943 to show you not only what was happening in the US, but how it related to world events like the fall of France, "The Blitz" and more. This inside information was so secret, it was restricted to audiences with security clearance.
Film #2: The AAF Report (1944, B&W, 42:00) This fascinating film report on the state of the Army Air Force was prepared by the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner to the C.I.A.) and delivered to the American people by Air Force C-in-C General Hap Arnold in early 1944. We know of no better picture of the organization and operation of the US Air Force in the midst of World War 2. You'll take a tour of all of all 15 "Air Forces" spread around the World, from the 5th in the South Pacific to the 8th in the U.K to the 15th in the Mediterranean to the 14th in China and many more. You'll learn how they started, what their strength and missions were, and best of all, there's a ton of vivid documentary footage showing daily operations from aircraft plants, training and transport, to exciting air combat action.
Film #3: Report from the Aleutians (1943, Restored Color, 44:00) Starting on June 3, 1942, 6 months after Pearl Harbor, a small Japanese force occupied US territory on the Alaskan islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian chain. It took US Forces a year to dislodge them under harsh arctic conditions. Though remote, the island's strategic value was their ability to control Pacific "great circle" ocean and air routes. General Billy Mitchell told Congress, "I think it is the most important strategic place in the world." This classic color film, directed and narrated by Academy Award Winner John Huston, shows the first offensive steps of the rapidly expanding Army Air Corps at the dawn of world War 2 in the Pacific. Rare early war color footage includes P-39 Airacobras, the first operational deployment of P-38E Lightning fighters, B-25 Mitchells, Navy PBYs and some of the first missions flown by B-24 Liberator bombers by US forces. You'll also see one of the first of many far flung forward bases around the world carved out of the frozen wastes of Adak Island, a springboard to attack the Japanese. Typical of a great John Huston film, you'll meet the smiling yet determined sailors, airmen, and soldiers who risked their lives to take the war to the enemy for the first time.
Film #4: Air War in Europe 1943 (1943, B&W, 10:00) This is a series of dramatic films showing the rapidly maturing Army Air Force moving into high gear in the Fall of 1943. You'll see the B-17 "Berlin Sleeper" on one of her record breaking 102 missions. B-25 Mitchells battle North African mud to move out to their new base in occupied Italy. "Thunderbolts Over Europe" shows P-47s taking on the Luftwaffe on a dramatic bomber escort mission. Thirty-three Martin B-26 Marauder bombers, protected by RAF Spitfires, hit ship yards, power plants and workshops near Le Trait, France. You'll see the original newsreel footage of "The Memphis Belle's" last mission against the U Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, with combat footage not shown in the later classic feature film of the same name."Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bomber" video covers the B-29 bomber of World War II. Included are six B-29 films as well as the B-29 pilot's manual.
The DVD is in NTSC format and region-free with a runtime of about 2 hours. It is packaged in a plain clear plastic C-Shell DVD case without paper graphics.