Sunday, September 27, 2015

Documentary Review: The War: Episode Two: When Things Get Tough

This second film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for PBS deals mostly with the war against the Nazis.  The Americans enter the war in Northern Africa, and soon realize they are ill prepared and lack experience.  The experience they have to get very quickly after being abused by General Rommel and his men.  When General Patton takes over the U.S. II Corp.  With renewed morale the Britsh and American were able to force the Nazis out of Africa.
However the Russian Allies were depending on the Americans to create a second front in Europe.  This was first done in Cicily, and then moving into Italy itself.  The A.llies were able depose Musolinni, but the Nazis put up terrible resistance and prevented the taking of Rome.
The air campaign over Europe was brutal for the American flyers who were sent on daring daytime raids.  Trying to knock out a ball bearing factory they lost hundreds of planes in two attempts, losing over 1000 flyers.  Life expectancy among the flyers was terrible.  The U.S. Could not cover them with fighter escorts all the way.  After these two tragic missions, e leaders rethought their strategy, with only closer runs being made until longer range fighters could be developed.  They also changed their focus toward they German air forces.  They were able to wear them down.  The Germans continued to make planes faster than they were lost, but couldn't train pilots fast enough, especially with shortages of fuel.
This episode does not deal with the Pacific Campaign other than showing the plight of the POWS.  They were kept in missereble conditions, often tort ores or executed.

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