Wings of Destruction
Documentary · War
Witness the the greatest dogfights in history fought by the legendary aces of military aviation throughout the nearly 100 years of air combat.
Directed byEdward Feuerherd
S01:E01 - Dawn Patrol
He who conquers the fear of death is master of his fate. Upon this philosophy fifty thousand young men of the warring nations went forth to do battle among the clouds. The story of these battles is the real romance of the first World War. In 1914, no one had ever known and history had never recorded a struggle to the death in the air. This is the story of the German, French and British aces of the Great War.
S01:E02 - Knighthood of the War
Raoul Lufberry, Quentin Roosevelt, son of ex-President Roosevelt, and Edward Rickenbacker were names that figured extensively in news of the American Air forces. Lufberry and Roosevelt were killed in action. Rickenbacker, after dozens of hair-raising escapes from death, came through the war without injury. The pioneer of American aviators in the war was William Thaw of Yale, who formed the original Lafayette Escadrille.
S01:E03 - Eagles
This is the story of the Second World War in the air over Europe and the "Greatest Air Battles in History" from the Blitz to the daylight bombing raids over Germany. It is the story of the great aces on all the sides. It also tells the story of the American Red Tail Devils who never lost an escorted bomber to enemy fire.
S01:E04 - Never So Few
From Pearl Harbor to the Japanese home islands this is the story of the air war in the Pacific. It includes the daring ambush of Yamamota, the remarkable story of Richard Bong and Pappy Boyington as well as the Japanese Kamikazes.
S01:E05 - Bandits at Three O'Clock
Technically the speed of sound had probably been broken before that by several Second World War aircraft. Some British and American fighters may have unintentionally exceeded the speed of sound in an evasive dive and there are unconfirmed reports that the German ME 262 jet fighter managed to break the sound barrier. In November 1945, a British jet fighter the Gloster Meteor set a new official world speed record of 606.25 mph. It was two years later before the sound barrier was broken by an American aircraft the Bell X-1. Test pilot 'Chuck' Yeager named the aircraft 'Glamorous Glennis' after his wife. The Age of the Super Sonic fighter was born.
S01:E06 - Rising Sun
"MiG Alley" is the name given by U.S. Air Force pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea, where the Yalu River empties into the Yellow Sea. During the Korean War, it was the site of numerous dogfights between U.S. fighter jets and those of the Communist forces, particularly the Soviet Union. The F-86 Saber and the Soviet-built MiG-15 'Fagot' were the aircrafts used throughout most of the conflict, with the area's nickname derived from the latter. Because it was the site of the first large-scale jet-vs.-jet air battles, MiG Alley is considered the birthplace of jet fighter combat.
S01:E07 - Send in the Airforce
When North Korea invaded South Korea June 25, 1950, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) was less than three years old. Prior to September 1947, the USAF was the U.S. Army Air Forces. Thus the Korean War was its first conflict - a tough, grueling conflict - as an independent service. On November 8, 1950, 1st Lt. Russell Brown, flying an F-80, shot down a MiG-15 in the first all-jet dogfight in history. It was apparent, however, that the MiG-15 was superior to any aircraft then in FEAF's inventory. For a time the B-29s continued bombing targets in northwest Korea by day, but when MiG-15s shot down five Superfortresses in a week in October 1951, the big bombers began attacking only at night. Day after day, though, the Sabres (joined by F-84 Thunderjets or F-80s) swept into MiG Alley to meet the MiG-15s rising from their fields in Manchuria. The age of straight-winged jets had gone. The Americans had proved the power of the USAF and the Russians had proved the power of the MiG. The jet age had arrived.
S01:E08 - Sons of David
This is the story of American aces such as Robert Olds and Randy 'Duke' Cunningham as well as the surprising story of North Vietnam Aces whose skill and courage forced the American to re-think their air war strategy.
S01:E09 - Wings Over Vietnam
Both sides utilized air power during the Vietnam War, but the United States ruled the skies. The American pilots often were the major factors that turned the fortune of battles by interrupting enemy supply lines and communications, as well as gathering reconnaissance information for the ground troops. They strafed and bombed enemy troops in the heat of the ground war. Despite the overwhelming success, it did not produce victory. Vietnam air tactics broke the prior mold. Added to their duties were close air support for American ground forces, jungle defoliation, elimination of crops, side gun operation, air lifting the wounded from the battlefield, rescue of downed pilots and front line observation for the artillery.
S01:E10 - Flying Leathernecks
The first Marine jet squadron came in November 1947 when VMF-122 fielded the FH Phantom, and later VMF-311 would be the first Marine jet squadron to be used in combat providing close air support for the Marines and soldiers on the ground. By the end of the Vietnam War, the Marine Air-Ground Task Force had grown dependent on its multi-mission inventory of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, which could operate from land or sea bases to support Marines on the ground. Today, Marine aviation is organized to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, as the aviation combat element, providing assault support, electronic warfare, control of aircraft and missiles, and aerial reconnaissance.
S01:E11 - Helo Wings
The Korean War saw some of the first practical operational uses of the helicopter in an active battlezone. The use of helicopters is largely credited for saving thousands of lives during the war. In Vietnam, the use of helicopters was heavily relied upon. The helicopter's role in combat expanded enormously in this conflict as thousands of "choppers" rapidly transported personnel throughout the war zone. The dangers of night flying are explored.
S01:E12 - Any Target, Any Time
Fighter planes in Vietnam were ill-prepared for the jungle climate at the start of the war. Guided weapons and bombs were developed to reach these non-visible target areas and allowed the jets to aid ground troops like never before. The early stages of stealth fighter technology.
S01:E13 - A Line in the Sand
This episode examines the importance of aerial warfare in the Israel and Egyptian conflicts. It details how the United States used air carriers to aid Israel during the Yom Kippur War delivering, known as Operation Nickel Grass. OPEC is briefly discussed.
S01:E14 - Flash Point
Argentina and Great Britain battle over the Falkland Islands. Much of the conflict took place at sea and in the air. The British HMS Sheffield was sunk suddenly when an Argentinian air strike, and thus Falkland conflict became an actual shooting war. Ultimately, the British were successful and kept the islands. The Bosnian conflict is also examined.
S01:E15 - The Perfect Plan
The Gulf War, codenamed Operation Desert Storm for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia was a war waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. SCUD missiles and combatant HIVE's are covered.
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