Historians At The Movies

Masters of the Air Episode 7 with Sarah Myers, Luke Truxal, and Colin Colbourn

March 03, 2024
Masters of the Air Episode 7 with Sarah Myers, Luke Truxal, and Colin Colbourn
Historians At The Movies
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Historians At The Movies
Masters of the Air Episode 7 with Sarah Myers, Luke Truxal, and Colin Colbourn
Mar 03, 2024

This week Sarah, Luke, Colin, and I continue to follow the Bloody Hundredth in what amounted to a tonal shift for the series. We talk about life inside German POW camps, the Great Escape, the Battle of Berlin, and Black Monday. We dive into the Red Cross and also compare the experiences of American prisoners in Europe and the Pacific, along with those of German prisoners in the United States. We also talk about Crosby's affair with Landra, as well as the arrival of the P-51 Mustang over the skies of Europe in 1944. And maybe you hear my Bill Clinton impression for the very first time. This is our best pod on this series yet.

Show Notes Transcript

This week Sarah, Luke, Colin, and I continue to follow the Bloody Hundredth in what amounted to a tonal shift for the series. We talk about life inside German POW camps, the Great Escape, the Battle of Berlin, and Black Monday. We dive into the Red Cross and also compare the experiences of American prisoners in Europe and the Pacific, along with those of German prisoners in the United States. We also talk about Crosby's affair with Landra, as well as the arrival of the P-51 Mustang over the skies of Europe in 1944. And maybe you hear my Bill Clinton impression for the very first time. This is our best pod on this series yet.

Jason Herbert (00:00.895)
And welcome back to Historians of the Movies podcast. This is your host and creator Demi -God. I think now since I watched Dune 2 last night, something along those lines, I think Prophet probably sounds nice. I don't know. I've got three followers here, I'm sure that are coming along in the cult of Jason. They are Colin Colburn, Luke Truxall, and Sarah Myers, who was giving me the famous Sarah Myers look of you're being stupid again. So thank you for that. All of you guys, Colin's like, I'm in, let's go. Is there snacks later?

Colin Colbourn (00:29.193)
Yeah, I mean, I'm really just along for the ride, man. Let's do it. Let's go ahead.

Jason Herbert (00:31.615)
Yeah, listen, I feel like we could do a cult. I feel like this could be good. I can barbecue. Like, I don't know, Luke, what do you think? What do you look for in a cult?

Colin Colbourn (00:39.561)
No, Luke says no human sacrifice. That's the rule.

Luke Truxal (00:42.589)
I mean, you know, I mean, you know, we got to think about what is our cult going to be all about? Is it going to be about movies? Is it going to be about the air war? Is it going to be just a cult about how much we love John Egan, you know, and Callum Turner as John Egan? Because I can get down with that cult.

Jason Herbert (00:43.103)

Colin Colbourn (00:57.353)
I'm going to say, or is it, that's right, Callum Turner may be the right answer there.

Jason Herbert (01:00.703)
I knew he was just in that the new film boys in the boat. I find that he has been

unquestionably the most charismatic actor to follow on this show. Maybe he's just got that the guy having the most fun. Maybe he gets the best lines, whatever. I feel like of our three main leads now, four main leads, because if we count Crosby, right? Egan, man, he's the fun guy you want to follow. Am I wrong?

Luke Truxal (01:47.811)
I mean, he is that way in real life. He was very popular with the group. But I will say what's probably shaping our opinion of that is with the writing, you have kind of three straight laced, kind of straight guys. And then you have the very big, loud, boisterous Egan. And when you think about Crosby, very quiet, very serious, very straight. You have Rosie, quiet, straight with a little humor, but still mostly kind of quiet. And then you have Buck Cleven, who's usually playing opposite of

uh... calendar uh... so you you have kind of three guys are very serious and you have a good whose you know please funny he's funny when he's serious he's serious but he's just kind of that element of just kind of just captures the screen is larger than life and he was that way in real life so again i think that you know is intentional but also is kind of also true historically as well

Colin Colbourn (02:41.801)
He's got the swag. He's got the swag.

Jason Herbert (02:44.927)
I want a bomber jacket so bad, but I would feel like I would feel like a fraud to have a bomber jacket and not be on a bomber crew. These are things I think about way too much. Oh, really? You can get one.

Colin Colbourn (02:53.321)
I went on the website. Yeah, I went on the website. Eastman, right? I think Luke is what it is. Eastman makes the jackets for that. And you can get one for like a cool $2 ,000.

Luke Truxal (03:06.755)
Yeah, Egan, the jacket that he wore, Cleven hated it, but basically it was the old Army Air Corps jacket that they were using and they were discontinuing it for kind of a new line. I'm not an expert on like the jackets and stuff, but this is what I read is that the story goes that Egan paid a little extra money to get it in San Angelo, Texas when they were out there and because he thought it was cool and he liked it. And so there's a lot of stuff Egan does kind of prior to and during World War II that he

Jason Herbert (03:07.039)
Come in.

Sarah (03:23.406)
Thank you.

Luke Truxal (03:37.495)
You know it interests him, you know, if you think about the Fez, there's a lot of pictures, historical pictures of him with the Fez, I think it's a Fez right? That hat. So yeah, there's a lot of pictures of him with it on in briefings. Like he didn't just wear it, like they only show one scene of it in Master of the Air when he's in North Africa. He wore that to briefings back in England. And there's a picture of him at a briefing with it. So again, you know, Callum Turner's doing a great job of portraying him.

Colin Colbourn (03:44.297)
Yeah, it's a fest. It's at the museum. You can go see it at the 8th Air Force Museum.

Sarah (03:59.982)
That's great. That's great.

Luke Truxal (04:05.283)
and they're doing a great job of writing that role. So again, yeah, some of it is designed that way with three very serious guys and one kind of just big personality, but that was also kind of true as well. And I think they're doing a great job of showing.

Colin Colbourn (04:20.361)
He's a little bit, he's kind of the id, he's kind of the swagger, he's the single guy too, which in this episode really plays a role. And I don't know, his acting, I think it's been incredible. I think he's kind of rises to that sort of Dick Winters kind of level for me. What was his name? Damien Lewis, thank you, in Band of Brothers.

Jason Herbert (04:45.599)

Colin Colbourn (04:49.641)
where it's like an iconic character. And I think that comes down to acting it as well.

Jason Herbert (04:55.359)
Can I talk a little bit about our fourth guest today who is just here? People may have just heard right now, Sarah, do you want to talk about our fourth guest?

Sarah (05:04.11)
My cat is, so literally, like, she, I've never, I don't know how to describe my cat, but she is loving and needs to sit on my shoulder, but she will not sit on my lap. She only wants to be petted. She's a typical cat, right? She doesn't want to be petted when she's in the mood for it. And she's right now demanding attention. So she was rolling all over my shoulder until she decided that she had enough and then she bit me and ran away. So this is where we are. This is my...

Jason Herbert (05:06.301)

Colin Colbourn (05:30.153)
This is why -

Jason Herbert (05:30.661)
I like -

Sarah (05:31.502)
This is my cat. Some people call their cats an asshole and I've always been like, oh, well these people must just not like cats. And then I met her and I was like, oh, okay. I know what we're talking about now. Like she's an asshole. Doesn't mean I don't love her and treat her very well, but yeah.

Jason Herbert (05:43.007)
Do you want to tell it?

Can you share her name? I know her name, but can you tell -

Sarah (05:48.174)
Yeah, so she does not have a tail. So her name, the adoption shelter named her Taylor, T -A -I -L -O -R. And as my friend Jason likes to say, I remind her of her disability every day because of her name. Yeah, she was born without a tail and she and her sisters were adopted and she was the only one left. And I thought she looked really cute because she was this tiny little kitten without a tail. And then she got bigger and she became an asshole. So that's the story of my cat.

Jason Herbert (06:17.439)
Yeah, she picked a hell of an episode, I think, to make an appearance here on this pod. Do we just jump right in to our first cat appearance on Masters of the Air? Because I thought, oh, opening up. Okay, let's just set the stage. Let's just jump in. For those of you listening now, we've had a tremendous discussion this last week, mostly called Luke is upset about something. On this episode, we're going to jump into that. We've had a time jump in this episode.

Sarah (06:23.47)

Jason Herbert (06:47.455)
We're now into March, 1944. Some of our heroes are now at Stalag Luft 3. I don't know how to say three in German. How do you, drei? Drei? Drei? Drei! Ike's getting close. Now I'm thinking about Inglorious Bastards with the scene with Michael Fassbender and so forth. Either way. And we see a cat. Yeah. And we see a cat. And I'm like, oh, sweet, they're going to have a pet. And he says, oh, do you have any water?

Colin Colbourn (06:58.761)

Colin Colbourn (07:08.585)
Oh yeah, that's a great one.

Jason Herbert (07:17.279)
I was like, Oh, they're gonna have some water for the pet. And now Taylor's back on screen. Luke, does that happen? Were there pets in POW camps? Like, I mean, this cat was kind of feral until it was dinner. So.

Sarah (07:21.102)

Sarah (07:37.23)
you have to think about the level of desperation, right? So, well, Luke can, you asked Luke and I'm answering.

Jason Herbert (07:37.823)
Is this gonna I mean?

Luke Truxal (07:40.771)
I don't know if there were, I mean again, I would say I would doubt that because they're not getting a lot of food. And so any animals that were there were fair game. And I would imagine animals learn to stay away after a while. So again, I don't think there were any pets to my knowledge because again, any kind of food you can get, you're getting very little from the Germans.

you know, I was asked about in the chat, y 'all asked me to take a look at some of the Red Cross stuff. They're getting Red Cross parcels with food about once a month. And some of the stuff the Germans are giving them have like bugs and stuff coming out of it. And it's like some of the grain has like worms in it. So any animal that looks like you can kill it and eat it might be an upgrade from what you're getting from either the Red Cross parcels or the food that the Germans are giving you.

Jason Herbert (08:39.807)
Can I interject real fast? I know like Colin's teeing up here, but I do want to like side back, go back to last week's HATM film that we talked about, which implies that yes, if it bleeds, you can kill it, Luke. And of course that is Predator, the greatest history movie of all time. Colin, they make the preference in this episode, it's like, hey, this is a Luftwaffe camp. Things weren't that bad, but it's not like they were good, correct?

Colin Colbourn (09:08.137)
Yeah, I mean, it's not like they were good. I mean, I would say it is it's such an interesting thing because I've spent so much time working on Americans in Japanese POW camps or Americans who have been captured by the Japanese, which was well, with the exception of maybe if you were a Soviet in a German camp in the East, it was universally worse to be an American in a POW camp in the Pacific. And, you know, of course,

They reference here the Red Cross. They reference the fact that there's mail coming in, which is a fantastic thing. And of course, they have food coming in, but in a very similar way that the Japanese did as well. Of course, when you get giant food packages in, what's the first thing you're going to do if you're a German and maybe you're a little hungry too? You're going to grab all the best stuff out of there and you're going to...

basically pillage that and just sort of leave what's left over for the guys that you don't really care too much about. But the International Red Cross did a lot of work and actually maintained, they actually also, you notice, one of the things I noticed when, as soon as we sort of opened in the camp there was all the, and my wife, Rachel even commented, she was like, wow, they all have such nice coats. They all have like, everyone looks so cozy. Lots of, they have these like,

Jason Herbert (10:30.297)
It's Friday!

Colin Colbourn (10:32.553)
cool wool like hats and stuff like that. And I was reading up and the Red Cross actually got, I don't know if this specific camp got these, but at some point the Red Cross had sent like 5 ,000 coats from like the first world French in the first world war, something like that. Like these big wool coats that had just been sort of in storage. And so that's kind of how they got these sort of non -American issue warm.

coats out there, which I thought was really cool. A really cool thing to see and to think about. And of course, you know, it was kind of crazy how both March, the winter of 43, 44 and 44, 45 are some of the worst in sort of that area in general as well, in terms of it being freezing, freezing cold. And so one more thing I want to talk about the Red Cross, what was so valuable, of course, the food.

The warmth, keeping these guys with mail, I mean, the morale boost from mail is huge. The Red Cross also did a great job of communicating back to the US. So a lot of the times the families would find out that these guys were not missing in action, not killed in action anymore because the Red Cross would have the record keeping in Germany.

meant that the Red Cross could send a card back and say, hey, this is where your loved one is. They're in this camp. You can send them mail here. And the Red Cross was not present. The Japanese did not allow the Red Cross in the Pacific. And so in the Pacific, these same guys, thousands, hundreds of thousands of POWs, going back to, of course, the Philippines campaign.

Nobody knew anything about these guys until the war was all the way over and the Japanese finally let the Red Cross in. So I just think that that's such an interesting contrast and I thought that was interesting about sort of a group that we, I think we kind of take the Red Cross kind of for granted a little bit. It's just something you kind of hear a lot and they're often involved in sort of in human rights investigations and things like that in Europe and of course AIDS right now it's a big deal but.

Colin Colbourn (12:49.609)
I think that's something that's super interesting from World War II as well.

Sarah (12:52.846)
Yeah, and I just wanted to shout out whenever Colin was saying that they're the Americans in these Japanese POW camps, there were women in the Army Nurse Corps and Navy Nurse Corps who were also taken as POWs alongside the men that they had been medically providing for, who were in these camps for basically the duration of the war, right? Because the Philippines, you know, falls so quickly. And so those women who were on Bataan and Corregidor, they're like also in these camps and they.

when you're talking about pets, like they don't talk, they talk about eating any animal that they could get access to. Because, and like Colin said, like especially for the Japanese, the reason why it's worse in the Pacific for people in POW camps is because the Japanese get to the point where they can't even feed their own people, like in Japan, right? People are starving. And so if your own people are starving and your troops are like very underfed and not getting any sort of nutrition at all.

then you're certainly not going to provide for people in POW camps. So the nurses talk about like towards the end, they're eating grass mixed with like cold cream and like all kinds of crazy things to survive. So it gets really dire for, you know, in the Pacific theater for POW camps, basically.

Colin Colbourn (14:08.265)
Yeah, the bugs, the bugs are just extra protein. I mean, and you know, everything you're eating is filled with maggots and that is in some ways a bonus. And you know, in the Pacific and yeah, not just in Japan, of course, guys who are held in these tiny islands that are being surrounded and starved out by the Americans, let's say never invaded. And so these guys are just in these prisons and they're just, they're there, they're withering away and yeah, they're definitely not getting fed.

Jason Herbert (14:37.567)
Sarah, before we jump back into this European campaign, do we notice a difference? Do the Japanese treat women any differently than the male PLWs? Is there a difference in that at all?

Sarah (14:48.654)
No, which is interesting to me because there's always the argument. So historically in the US, even though women have been fighting in combat since the American Revolution, people have made arguments about like women's roles. When you think about the wars where we start to have, you know, after the Civil War, where you start to have like regulation of troops, where you have to see a doctor beforehand and you can just show up and go, things like that, then you don't have women serving in combat for the US. And so the age -old...

argument about this is like, oh, well, what if they're captured as POWs? Like, what will the enemy do to them? The women who are nurses in Bataan, they, they like don't, they said they're not like, sexually assaulted. Like there was one story of a nurse who said that a Japanese soldier like tried some sexual, but then like didn't go through with it. And so she said that the nurses said that they thought maybe that's because they were wearing like the pant version of their uniform and that the Japanese might have had some like,

cultural assumption about them, but they're in the same camp. They medically, because they've taken a Hippocratic oath, so they see themselves as providing still as medical providers, even when they don't have anything to provide with. And so they're still helping men with what limited resources they have while they're in the camps with them.

Jason Herbert (16:10.367)
And we talked a little bit about this last week, but I still want to continue to explore this because I think that this is a really noteworthy thing to talk about, especially because we don't see what happens in American POW camps for German prisoners of war or Japanese prisoners of war, at least in film. So can any of the three of you kind of illustrate maybe where some differences are? Is there just a general agreement going on between the parties at war who were saying, okay,

We will agree that you can send mail back and forth. How does this get worked out? Like, is there a gentleman's agreement during conflict? What's going on here?

Sarah (16:49.262)
I don't know all the back details. I can speak generally to it, but do either one of you know details of how this works itself out? I can only, yeah.

Luke Truxal (17:00.643)
I unfortunately I don't know any details but they are getting information back and forth and sometimes one of the reasons why the with regards to the Western allies let me emphasize the Western allies sometimes the reason why they show more restraint the Germans show more strength is they are

they are afraid of reprisals against their own prisoners. So there are gentleman's agreements in this war, but it's not like they shook hands sometimes or officially. That's how targeting area bombing and bombing cities between the British and the Germans really becomes a thing. Now, it had already been going on with Rotterdam, with Warsaw, but the Germans did initially try to avoid bombing cities. And then

Basically, two German pilots accidentally bombed London and this is kind of told in the film Battle of Britain, but it's in a lot of air war histories as well, is two German pilots accidentally bombed a London suburb and then the British retaliated by bombing, I think, some German cities. I think it may have been Berlin. And then basically the Germans retaliated with the Blitz. And that's where we start to see kind of that area bombing campaign and that.

ramp up throughout the rest of the war. But the same is to be said about prisoners, all kinds of other things, poison gas. The reason why Germans aren't using poison gas against the Western allies and a major reason is they're afraid it's going to get used against them and vice versa. So there's a lot of things that we see where maybe there is some restraint on the Germans where it's not because they're like, it's against their ideology to do something like that. They're more thinking about what might be the blowback if they do it.

if that makes any sense.

Sarah (18:52.814)
Yeah, and there are iterations of the Geneva Conventions that have existed from the 19th through the 20th century. So you see different iterations of that doesn't mean that people are following it because like Colin said, for people in the Pacific, if you're in a POW camp, then you're it's like radio silence, like you're you don't know, right? Like, and so yeah, you're gonna say something, I think, Colin.

Colin Colbourn (19:16.489)
I was going to say that the certainly the Germans German POWs who were held here in the United States had it very they were you know, they were very well treated. Maybe better than you know, the Japanese internees, not just the Japanese POWs for the Japanese internees in the West Coast, but the Germans we had POW camps all over the country and you know, lots of notable

Mentions of them especially in I remember hearing about ones in Iowa and those places where the Germans liked it so much that a lot of them stayed and like made homes and and and you know became American after the war there was a they also practiced their own sort of subtle version of sort of What's the defiance there's a POW camp near Camp Shelby in

in Mississippi near where I went to school at Southern Miss. And they sort of dug a swastika in the ground beneath the barracks or something. I can't remember, something like that. And so they were still out there, many of them still indoctrinated and stuff like that, but they were treated very well. Of course, we were hoping that when, for the same reasons we've all talked about here, we were hoping if the better we treat them, the better our guys will be treated.

Now the difference is, while we have things like rationing and stuff here in the United States, the bellies are full for the most part. And in Germany, especially as the war went on, most of the people, most of the guys who were in those camps in the late, like late 1944, before the US had actually pushed all the way through and liberated some of those camps, they knew nothing of the Red Cross.

packages and of mail and those kind of things. It just deteriorated as the German situation deteriorated, then it was the same for the Japanese.

Jason Herbert (21:23.167)
Yeah, one of the things I found interesting here, you know, these guys are all living very close, very close, uh, uh, companionship with their German captors. We see the size of these camps. We see that, you know, they're not just huts. There's, there's cafeterias, there's all this kind of stuff. And you also see that these guys have very real relationships with their captors. There's these guys get to know each other on a pretty real, on a pretty real basis to the, I kind of wonder. And I hate to say that everything's are happy and glory.

happy and all that during warfare. But I kind of wonder, do we see in the archive, I wonder if there are friendships mentioned where like, yeah, I got to know this guard, he was okay. You know, kind of a thing, you know, we see those kind of relationships here in the episode, do we not?

Sarah (22:11.31)
I haven't ever read, I'm thinking about what I've seen in the archives. I've never read of anybody saying that they still like, you know, after the war kept in touch with anybody from the camps or anything like that, but I haven't read extensively on it. So that's just my limited knowledge is I haven't ever seen that taking place. You guys?

Colin Colbourn (22:31.369)
I think that you definitely, I mean, Luke, if you have, I'll say this real quick and then Luke, if you have specific, you know, knowledge of that stuff. What I know is that you're always identifying the guys who are the most lenient. And, you know, maybe I don't, it's hard to say if you would ever become friends with these guys. Maybe they did, but I know that you're constantly trying to game the system. So you're always finding, always looking for the one that will let you have a little bit more, that will give you a little bit more freedom, that will look the other way in some situations.

And, you know, it's, you know, I'm not sure if like a true, true friend, friendship, unless it's someone who's really like actually trying to like help you the entire time. Maybe. I don't know, Luke, have you ever seen anything like that?

Luke Truxal (23:15.041)
I've seen kind of the opposite where they could be quite derogatory towards the guards. You know, the word that kept coming up a lot that I've seen is goons. And basically, yeah, there's some guys they respected more than others, but for the most part, they hated them. They probably may have hit it, you know, and found ways to disguise it, but internally, they hate these guys. And they...

You know, it kind of comes up in the episode, but internally and amongst a lot of the officers, they've come up with this idea that they're going to make their lives hell in any way, any way you can cause kind of just any kind of annoyance, break equipment, mess things up. I saw one thing where they shut down the, someone found a way to shut down the entire electrical grid, you know, or like, I don't know if electrical grid, but like something with the power caused the power outage.

and caused some problems. And yeah, that affected other prisoners, but it also affected the guards and caused some issues. And the idea is, is they found ways to be, just to make their lives hell, just to resist in some kind of form or fashion. And that's part of what the tunnel digging is all about. A lot of times the Germans know about the tunnels before they even like catch them. They just let them dig a little bit longer because it keeps the prisoners busy when they know about a tunnel and they're tracking it.

And then when they reach a certain point, the Germans basically come in, bust the tunnel up, fill it in. And, you know, so there is a game going on here, not a good game, you know, but there is some, but the Americans have come up with, and the British as well, they're going to try to do everything they can to fight the war from these prison camps. And if that means making the lives of these guards hell, they're going to do it. And so a lot of the accounts that I see and read about is they don't like these guys.

They some officers they may have more respect for than others, but the attitude is is we're going to make their lives hell and we're going to find ways to do that. So there is a there is a there is a there's a level of resistance there that sometimes is passive and sometimes is more outright. And in fact, the guards do break the Geneva Convention on a couple of times. And there's a bigger thing that we could talk about that would be more of a spoiler. But there's a non -spoiler thing where, you know, I've seen accounts of guards just randomly shooting into the prison.

Colin Colbourn (25:20.745)

Luke Truxal (25:42.019)
you know beds you know or uh... you know just like shooting into the heart uh... effectively and they wounded one guy crippled uh... crippled one officer that way another count of them just randomly a guard randomly shooting shooting an american officer uh... so it doesn't happen often uh... because the americans are getting intelligence back on what's going on through their own ways and means uh... and the germans are trying to keep are worried about their own POWs so they do try to keep it down but

There's animosity between the guards and the Americans. It's not like a Hogan's Heroes. They don't like each other. Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Herbert (26:18.207)
You're still at war. Yeah.

Colin Colbourn (26:20.233)
Yeah, I mean, you are, you know, what I was saying earlier is that you are trying to find the ones that you can manipulate the most, right? Like it's not like you're saying, oh, I like this guy better. It's more like I can get more out of this person. You know, I can, I can go further in sort of my resistance or to make my life better, you know, with the guy that looks the other way when you're trading food back and forth, you know, these market economies that come up inside these camps and sort of how that all works. But yeah, it's a.

Definitely not a good situation.

Jason Herbert (26:52.627)
I wanna pivot away from the camp for a moment and let's go. Luke, we've been watching this show now for several weeks. We've got a new term here, Black Monday. We're no longer out of... What's going on here? We've got a situation here. Rosie's sitting at 24. His crew's sitting at 24 sorties now. We've got this thing called Black Monday.

The guys are coming back, we're used to seeing this on the show by now. They're counting the, they're counting the forces they come in. I'm like, oh, these guys are doing good. Then we found out, no, this was actually very, very bad. Luke, what's going on with Black Monday?

Luke Truxal (27:30.595)
Well, Black Monday is a part of kind of this, the Battle of Berlin. Basically, there's two battles of Berlin. You can get confused by them. There's the ground one, which is kind of where the war ends. But then there's the air one, which is actually going on for months. It starts out as an RAF campaign. And then basically, the Americans are convinced to come along. Ultimately, this, the failure of the battle, the air battle of Berlin really hurts.

Arthur Harris who commands bomber command politically and his ability to kind of dictate the future of the air war because of how many British and American airmen are lost during the course of this campaign that goes on for months. And this starts kind of around October, November, continues really up through really up to April. But what has happened is we have a time jumps, we have to talk about a lot of changes is...

something my book talks about is there's a lot of command changes but one of the big command changes is call spots is now running the air war overall effectively for the americans and he wants to gain air superiority you know this is one of the problems i had if they didn't do a good job of laying out you know what the overall strategy is and the kind of like did it throwaway line at the end of now we're gonna talk about it going into the next episode but basically spots comes in and

One British commander they're having this huge debate about what to do for overlord one British commander by the name of lay Mallory Who's coming up with the pre bombardment plan for overlord says we're just gonna win air superiority over the beaches and fight the Germans in the air when we land and Spot said that's absolutely unacceptable. We're gonna win the air war. We're gonna defeat the Luftwaffe before then and So what he does is he marshals his resources his fighter pilots hit and in fact He takes an entire tactical Air Force takes all their fighters and

that those fighters are supposed to be designated for ground support and preparing for close air support, he puts them in and basically they're gonna work with the 8th Air Force. And so now Spots is gonna marshal the elements of three to four different air forces to take on the Luftwaffe. I would say the 12th helps out a little bit, but really we're talking for the most part, the 8th, the 9th and the 15th Air Forces. And the idea is that we're gonna put as much pressure on the Luftwaffe, we're gonna attack targets,

Luke Truxal (29:53.379)
that's gonna draw them into the air. You know, they skipped big week, which is a week of air battles, which was very bloody. The reason why they skipped it is because the 100th didn't do too bad during that week. A lot of other units got it worse. But when we get to the Battle of Berlin and kind of what's going on is after big week and after the Americans have really started to burn the Luftwaffe, start killing a lot of pilots, start to really kind of atrit and degrade the Luftwaffe,

Basically, the Americans are asked by the British to join in the battle for Berlin, the battle over Berlin. And in fact, I got the quote right here. Arthur Harris goes to the Americans and says that we can win the war if we destroy all these targets over Berlin. It's punishment bombing. You know, they talk about specific targets, but the idea is we keep bombing the German capital until basically the entire thing collapses and the whole German war machine will collapse if the capital is destroyed. And

Harris has this famous quote, he says, we can wreck Berlin from end to end if the Americans come with us. It will cost us between 400 and 500 planes, it will cost Germany the war. That's his pitch to the Americans. And the Americans decide they'll take a shot at it in March. And so basically what we see now is this is a part of the new strategy by the Americans is they're gonna keep going after the Luftwaffe, they're gonna keep attacking it, and Berlin's a target where they will definitely come up for.

At this time also, again, it's poorly explained in the episode, which is why I'm kind of going into some detail about this, is the new Eighth Air Force fighter tactic strategy is different than what it was in 43. In 43, it is the fighters stick to the bombers and they defend the bombers. And when the German fighters peel away, they stick to the bombers. Doolittle says, our job should be to shoot down German fighters as part of Spatz's plan to put as much pressure on the German fighter force. So.

as soon as the German fighters engage the bomber stream, those P -51s are to drop tanks and pursue those German fighters till the end. Also, they're taking some of the fighter force and they're having them bounce around the bomber formation called the Bouncing Fighter Group. They're to hunt for the German fighters as they're setting up for the attack. So these are much more aggressive tactics where the fighters are actually leaving the bombers, with the thought being if our fighters don't get them,

Luke Truxal (32:20.099)
and they get through to the bombers, the bombers will get them as well. And so it's basically an attritional strategy now. The idea is that we're going to just bleed them wherever we can. And so this leads us into the battle over Berlin and the American participation. There's two missions. The March 4th one isn't if I'm going to make sure I get the right one. The March 4th one isn't too bad. But basically, the March 6th one, I believe, is the Black Monday one. And in that one, the American the 8th Air Force,

lost 69 B -17s, the worst it did in the war. They also lost 11 escorts. But what's different this time than maybe Schweinfurt or Munster and these other raids is the number of fighters they actually shoot down. They do shoot down 64 fighters, which is a huge blow. And again, they're losing experienced pilots. They're losing more and more experienced veteran pilots. And so one thing we're seeing after big week in February going into

Berlin is the attrition rate for the Luftwaffe goes up as they lose more and more experienced pilots. And so the Americans, it does, let me see if I got the attrition number, but it is a survivable attrition rate now. It is manageable. It's a huge loss, but because they have so many more planes, pilots, and now they have fighters engaging the Germans as well, the Luftwaffe can't keep up with those attrition numbers. And so yeah, it's very bloody.

Yes, they do use the same navigational course. They use the same route. From what I understand, that's largely because that keeps them out of the flak. That route was the best route because it avoided flak concentration. And in fact, in one of the missions, I just want to make sure I got the numbers right. Sorry about this. But they also went again after Black Monday. They went on 9 March. And in fact, the Luftwaffe didn't really put up any resistance because they needed to rest their guys.

which shows what the American generals are doing is the correct strategy. The German fighter pilots are starting to have to stand down missions to either rest pilots or to bring them back online because they're getting so bled. And what the show's not doing a good job of portraying is that, you know, I think, what's it, Catch -22 or Catch, what's the movie that y 'all keep bringing up? Catch -22, they're taking this Catch -22 approach to looking at the generals, which is really bad.

Colin Colbourn (34:38.889)
Catch you later.

Luke Truxal (34:44.067)
because that's not how they view it. Doolittle mentioned he hated doing this. He knew he had to do it. He knew he got complaints from group commanders and even airmen. He said, I don't want to do this, but this is what wins the war. This is what beats them. And we have to do it. And Spots didn't want to do it, but he knew it was what was necessary to win. And winning comes first to these guys, winning the war and the air war, because if you don't win the air war, you don't want those guys landing. You don't want to do a parachute drop where you have German night fighters attacking them.

that the 101st Airborne Division over Normandy, you know, and we saw that the German fighters can strafe parachutes, you know, that was mentioned in this episode. So again, one of my big criticisms is, is they treat these generals like they just don't care about them. They do do little mentions in his memoirs. He hates it. He doesn't want to make this decision, but he knows it's the winning decision. And Spatz doesn't want to make no general and nobody in the planning wanted to do this, but they knew it was what was necessary to win. And so,

That's one of my beefs, I guess, with the episode and kind of with the series is that they treat these generals like they just don't care. They do. And again, this is working. It's very bloody. Now, the Battle of Berlin, the idea to break Germany by destroying the capital didn't work. But one of the benefits is, is that you do see higher lufa for casualties and those casualties go up. And in fact, March is not actually the bloodiest month in 1944 for the 8th Air Force. It's actually April. And so again,

We are seeing the Luftwaffe getting a tritted this new strategy put into place and it's working, but it's bloody too. You know, it's kind of like how we view the Overland campaign with Grant. In fact, that's where Spots gets a lot of similarities drawn. A lot of people compare his strategy to what Grant was doing to Lee in the Overland campaign. So sorry about that. I didn't mean to kind of go for.

Colin Colbourn (36:32.585)
Oh, dude, I think that really goes to something that we mentioned last week that you specifically, Luke, are starting to see. And that is they are relying so heavily on the airman's perspective, right? The airman's perspective, which is, I mean, let's be honest. Like this is a valid thing. Like...

Sarah (36:33.454)
That was great. That was great.

Colin Colbourn (36:57.929)
It's down to that word, right, that they use in the episode bait, right? Like, oh, the bombers are bait. They're not really bait, like it's a strategy. Like, this is, they're actually trying to do something here and clearly it's working. But if you are in one of those bombers, you could feel like you are bait and you could have those feelings about what's happening above you. Maybe you don't know everything that's happening on the strategic level, on the operational level.

And that's why I think you're right on, Luke. I mean, of course, I think everything that was great analysis there. And I think that what we see so much here, we talked a little bit about it with like the anti -British bias and some of these other things, but we're really kind of seeing like a sort of a lower level airman's approach to the war and how they're feeling versus sort of what the reality is up there.

Luke Truxal (37:54.947)
I just kind of want to follow that up because it took me a second to turn to the stats that I wrote down. But if you look at the April numbers, just to give you an idea of how the strategy is working, and part of it is a numbers game, you know, and I hate, you know, Sarah and I talked about that in a previous episode, but April is the worst month of the air war really for the Americans in terms of total losses. 422 bombers will be shot down for the 8th Air Force in April of 44. That represents 25 % of the entire force.

you know, an attrition rate of 25%. We were talking about 37 in October for the Americans, you know, October of 43. So that attrition rate is going down, but for the Loof offer, it's going up. It was, I think around 19, 18, 19 % in January of 44. In April of 44, that has risen to 43%, which means your total combat force, losing 43 % of your force in a month and replacing that. And also something, if you read Mueller and Caldwell,

the book that they wrote on the defense of the Reich is they're having another problem. They don't, when we get into the oil campaign and the oil shortage, they don't have enough time and enough oil to train these pilots. But also because of the bombing campaign incident, it's turned into an attritional air war. They don't have enough time to train fighter pilots in general. And so you get a lot of pilots that don't have a lot of flight time. You're having a lot more pilots die due to accidents for Germany. And so that lack of experience is now.

really starting to hurt the Germans as they lose that frontline force. They don't have the quality of force and the reserves to replenish. And so what we see is the Luftwaffe never really goes away, but its quality does, its ability to be effective does. And so this is working, you know, but again, as we've discussed, this kind of is a problem with the show in general. It's really good at telling the story of the airmen and

the 100th bomb group, but anytime it tries to leave that perspective, it just struggles. And that is, I think, where I get angry sometimes with the episodes. That's where I get frustrated. I think that's where others get frustrated is when they talk about the British perspective, when they try to tell other stories besides the 100th bomb group. They just don't seem able to do it. And I think that's because they just bet everything. Their research seems to be almost exclusively the 100th bomb group. And

Luke Truxal (40:19.811)
That's where I think Band of Brothers does a much better job of and the Pacific as well. And I think that if we're gonna really criticize the show, it's they do one thing very, very well, but they struggle in putting it into that context. And that's something that Sarah and I pointed out after the third episode. And it's something that has been a continuing theme.

Sarah (40:42.51)
I also just wanted to say that because Luke has commented on this about previous episodes where he asks us if we like notice the music at different moments during the series. And I, to be honest, I haven't paid that much attention to it, but I noticed it a lot in this episode, particularly the moment when so Luke was just talking about, by the way, I appreciate everything that you just shared, Luke, with especially with the stats in front of you. That was really helpful. But when you were just saying that like.

This is like punishment bombing, right? That when the, you know, all these bombs, literally it's just like footage, right? Of the bombs being dropped over Berlin. And so you just see plane and the air streams like in the air, which honestly to me was a little bit, I liked the visualization of it because it reminded me of photographs I've seen of the era. So I kind of liked that, like visual side of it. But the music was very uplifting. So that entire scene.

I thought it was an interesting, intentional choice that they were making because it almost made you feel, if you weren't thinking about it actively, because I don't even know if I would have thought of it if Luke hadn't kept asking us, oh, what'd you think about the music? But I was this time, and so I was like, oh, this is really interesting because it makes you feel like something good is happening or something uplifting or something maybe patriotic. I don't know if you want to go that far, but at the very least, it's not, it's not,

It's not taking any consideration, like the bombing of civilians and all the things that we talked about in the last couple of episodes of the podcast. And so I thought that was an interesting choice. I just wanted to make a note of in this context of Luke talking about punishment bombing.

Jason Herbert (42:23.391)
Yeah. I want to like pause for a quick second to interject on a thing right now. Cause Luke just dropped a crap ton of knowledge bombs on us. And yeah, I'm punting the shit out of that. I've listened to the other podcasts on the show and nobody's bringing heat. Like Luke is when Luke does this, like Luke just went off on like a seven minute tangent and it's like, I'm sorry about that guys. And I'm the others of us are sitting here going, Holy shit. Uh, so that was awesome. Um,

I want to come back to Crosby in a second. I do want to talk about his relationships overseas, but since we're talking about Battle of Berlin and so forth, Luke, you kind of alluded to it just a moment ago. We've been waiting to see these 50, these P -51s in action, really the entire series in some ways, right? Cause early on we just see these planes get the hell, I mean, I, as a visual narrative of storytelling, they've done this amazing job of, of setting up how awful these bombing campaigns were.

And then we get to spend more time on the ground with these guys because I think that you could really become numb to what these bomb, to what these campaigns look like. And then I literally wrote Jesus Christ. When I saw, when they did the shot, you're like, oh, the Mustangs are here, sweet. And they're like going in, you're like, oh, sweet, this is going to be great. And then there's this shot and it felt like the opening of Revenge of the Scent, like that shot over Coruscant where it was like everything. And I do not like the prequel trilogy. I do not want to be excused of that.

Um, except for you and McGregor, uh, but holy cow, that shot of those P -51s going head to head with the Luftwaffe and you got the sense of like, oh, it is on now. What's our thoughts here on the, on the, on the 51? How does the 51 change the air, the air?

Luke Truxal (44:12.899)
I want to be careful how I say this because again, there's a lot of P -51 love out there, but there are other fighters as well. The P -51 is a game changer in its range and its capabilities. It has a British engine in it. I noticed that wasn't mentioned. Continuing with that, you know, if we want to just continue with kind of not giving the British credit for anything in the show, it is an American built plane.

But it is an American built plane. But what really made it stand out is it had that Merlin engine that the British made. And so it has an extended range. It is the best propeller driven fighter of the war. There's also the P -38, which also does a great job, which doesn't get enough credit. And in fact, the P -38,

did a really good job in the missions on the Eastern Front as well. One of my favorite things to read about is some of the shuttle missions and there was an entire shuttle fighter mission where they basically go around strafing Eastern Europe and then fly into Soviet occupied territory, land, refuel and keep doing it. And in fact, there's like somewhere in Poland, a bunch of German bombers were coming back to their airfields to find P -51s ambushing them and like...

I would love to just know what the German reaction to that, but we don't know because all the German bombers were shot down. But anyways, it's a great aircraft. It is the best propeller driven aircraft of the war for a single engine fighter. I wouldn't go as far to call it the best fighter of the war because we will have jets introduced later in the war. But it can climb, it can fight at high altitude. And in fact, it's such a good.

air superiority weapon that there's a trade off made by the 8th Air Force and the 9th Air Force. The 9th Air Force is going to be a new Air Force designed for close air support as I've already mentioned. One of the things is that the 9th Air Force was going to be given all the P -51s because that's a newer aircraft. But the generals kind of get together and the head of the 9th kind of tactical air command basically he kind of goes

Luke Truxal (46:35.587)
He goes to the head of the 9th Air Force and approaches the 8th Air Force and says, listen, the P -51s that we're getting are better at long range escort fighters and shooting down German bombers, sorry, not German bombers, shooting down German aircraft and German fighters. It's a great air superiority platform. But those P -47s that you have in the 8th Air Force are great for close air support. They are heavier. They can take a bit more of a pounding from ground fire. We would like those.

to use for close air support. They're better suited for what our mission is going to be in 1944, which once overlord happens, providing close air support for the troops. So how about we do a swap? You give us all your P -47s, the older fighter, which is bigger, slower, but very effective at close air support. And we give you all the P -51s. And they do this. They do this right before they start air operations in 44. They swap out fighters.

and it shows you kind of how there is this element of teamwork amongst the generals to try to, you know, win this war and have the right weapons to do it. So again, it's a great air superiority platform. It's a great air superiority aircraft, but it's not as good at close air support as the P -47. You know, so again, it's really great in its role, but at, you know, what you find out throughout the war is that...

If you use the right fighter or the right tool for the right reason, you can get the most out of it. But you can also use the wrong tool and get the wrong results. You know, something else I do want to mention that doesn't get talked about a lot is with the arrival of the P -51 and the long range escort fighter, the Germans have a new problem, which is one of the things they developed and they used quite effectively against the Americans was they would take their twin engine fighters, these huge, I think it's the BF -110, and they would use it to fire rockets out of the range of the American.

Jason Herbert (48:01.055)
Thank you.

Luke Truxal (48:24.515)
bombers. Basically, the bombers couldn't shoot back as these aircraft would help them with rockets from a distance. Well, the P -51 starts shooting those things down and they start really taking down these Bf -110s in heavy numbers, which makes it because they can't dogfight with the P -51. So again, that's something else to consider, you know, that it's taking away an ability of the Germans to attack the bombers with these certain types of fighters that are really good at shooting down the bombers. Sorry to keep going, but

One other thing I should point out, this also shows us that the Allies are continuing to upgrade their combat capabilities and their aircraft. The Messerschmitt 109, which is one of the main frontline fighters, was developed before World War II. They just keep upgrading it, but they don't have any new aircraft. They do create the Focke -Wulf 190 in the early 1940s, but still, that's no real, they're still not upgrading.

to the same level that the Americans are doing and the British are doing. So one of the problems that the Germans are running into is they can't keep up not just in terms of the numbers, but they're also losing the technological innovation race as well. They're behind in terms of numbers, they're behind in quality now and also quality in pilots. And so again, you're now starting to see American advantages towards a long firepower intensive war take full effect in the air war.

Again, I apologize if I go too long, because I can go too long.

Colin Colbourn (49:53.225)
No, in fact, I need you to go further, Luke. I need because one of the things that I am a I'm a P -38 Stan. I love the P -38. I think that's an amazing airplane. It's an airplane that was designed and built before World War II. This is not a this is this is something that existed before World War II began. It was I don't know much about, you know, as much about sort of a twin engine, of course. Right. So you have a lot less accidents with P -38s and a lot of.

other single engine planes. But why don't we double down when the air war begins, when World War II begins, and have more P -38s? P -51's sort of on the way, but why aren't we flooding the field with P -38s? We're using these P -47s which have, I guess, less range. P -38 has 1 ,300 mile range. I guess that's the last model of it. I'm not sure what it was in the early war.

but it's a long range fighter. It's not like we didn't have, it's like we have this tool, but it feels like, and again, I'm not as familiar with Europe. They're used all over the Southwest Pacific, of course. Why don't we have more P38s in the field? So I'm gonna, I want, let's keep this. I love talking planes, so I wanna keep this going. Go ahead, let me hear it.

Luke Truxal (51:10.819)
Well, there's two parts to that answer. And again, some of this we talked a little bit about in earlier episodes, but the first part has to do with the fighting in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean theater in 1943 has priority, which means that the P -38s go to the Mediterranean theater. We see them with the 12th Air Force. We see them very active in North Africa and in the Med. And there was a P -38 fighter group that actually went from the 8th to the 12th Air Force.

So that's where they don't go with the eighth. The eighth is left with P -47s and they just keep getting P -47s. The guys in North Africa get P -38s as well. So again, that's the first issue is that they get prioritized towards the North African campaign and later on the rest of the fighting in the Mediterranean theater of operations. And we still see them used by the 15th Air Force as well. And again, I say the Eastern front, because I...

To me, Ploesti in Romania is on the Eastern Front and it kind of borders the Mediterranean theater of operations as well. So it's a very unique story. But they do start arriving back with the Eighth Air Force in October. Again, something I mentioned kind of in the lead up to the Black Week episode is that the P38s do arrive in October. There's a P38 group that arrives before the P51s, but they can't bring it online in time for Black Week back in.

October of 43. It becomes operational at the end of October. So there are P -38s actually in the Eighth Air Force carrying out operations as well. But let's just face it, some of this is about what looks better on screen. The P -51 does look a lot better than the P -38. Now another reason why we don't see

Colin Colbourn (52:58.313)
Hard disagree.

Luke Truxal (53:02.019)
The other reason why I think we don't see the P -38s with the 8th Air Force earlier on is again, you gotta remember the belief in the long range escort bomber. The bomber will always get through. We don't need long range escort fighters. They're great, they're nice to have, but the bomber's always gonna get through. There's this belief that the bomber could defend itself and get through, hence the name Flying Fortress. Obviously by August of 43, after the Schreinfort -Regensburg raid, that's when the Americans realized we need a long range escort fighter.

But it takes them several months to fix that problem. And so that's one of the many problems they noticed after the Schreinfort -Regensburg mission. And it wasn't just that mission. There was the Ploesti raid. There were a number of raids in July and August, which basically highlighted the need for a long range escort fighter and basically did away with that myth that the bomber will always get through. And so it's kind of a multitude of factors. Theater priority, doctrine beliefs that were incorrect.

And in terms of why we're seeing it on screen now versus the P38, I think that's two for one. I think I have a suspicion the creators have a preference for the P51. And there's just a love affair with it that most people have with it. And the second reason is I think they're also trying to set up the story of the Tuskegee Airmen that we're going to see coming up sooner. So again, I think it's kind of

One is just kind of a preference thing, but I think also there's a storytelling device which is get ready because we're about to see the Tuskegee Airmen in their P -51s.

Colin Colbourn (54:39.209)
All right, I love plain talk. Thank you.

Jason Herbert (54:41.343)
All right. Well, I guess some more playing talked in for you that for this is as you who are listening So I've got a question about playing we haven't seen yet Where's the B 29? Are we waiting? Are we gonna see that in this series or is that only used we know that obviously from Hiroshima and Nagasaki obviously, but

Where are the other bombers? Why are we only seeing B -17s? Was there the B -21? Is that correct as well? Like, what?

Colin Colbourn (55:06.633)
Well, I think the better question is why haven't we seen the B -24s, right? That's a bomber in the 8th Air Force. B -29 comes online in 1944 and it stays in the Pacific. It does not fly in Europe. But yes, I mean, we have lots of the 9th Air Force has lots of medium bombers, B -26s. The 12th and 15th Air Forces are going to fly lots of B -25s.

Jason Herbert (55:11.743)
24, okay.

Colin Colbourn (55:31.239)
But the 8th Air Force and of course B -24s, but the 8th Air Force has B -24s. In fact, when we talk about 1944, the B -24s saw a lot of losses in 1944. But yeah, I mean, again, just different bomb groups and back to what we were talking about earlier, and I'll let Luke answer with a better one, but we're following the 100th Bomb Group and that's the B -17 group.

Luke Truxal (55:58.819)
I mean, I'm gonna sound mean when I say this, but a B -24 doesn't look very good.

Colin Colbourn (56:04.361)
Man, so much hate for that. B -24s, man.

Luke Truxal (56:07.747)
I mean, it is a good aircraft and what it was designed to do. It did have longer range, better payload and all that. But one, have you seen it? It doesn't look good. I mean, look at a picture of it. I mean, it gets nicknamed the flying box car. We have still not had a movie on a B -20. Have we had a B -24 movie yet? No, because it's ugly.

Jason Herbert (56:19.047)

Jason Herbert (56:22.751)
I'm looking at her, it's ugly!

Colin Colbourn (56:28.873)
It had very long skinny wings.

Colin Colbourn (56:35.977)
Um, the one's the Louis Zamperini movie, uh, have featured, uh, the Unbroken, right? Is this B -24?

Luke Truxal (56:36.771)
That's the reason why. Oh, there is one?

Oh, oh, I didn't even know about that one. I didn't even think about that. But, um.

Sarah (56:43.566)
Oh yeah.

Jason Herbert (56:46.963)
That's about a prisoner. About a B -24 that just shot down.

Colin Colbourn (56:46.985)
It was a bit... They got shot down a lot. Yeah, yeah, they got...

Luke Truxal (56:51.331)
Yeah, I completely forgot about that one, but.

Colin Colbourn (56:54.857)
The B -17 could take a lot more damage than the B -24 could. The Davis, the 60, whatever, 65 foot Davis wing on a B -24 failed a lot when it came to flak and gunfire, but it did have a better payload. They were used in the Pacific, whereas the B -17s were used a little bit in the Southwest Pacific. But when you're talking about these long 1 ,000, 1 ,500 mile there and back rates in the Pacific, they're using the B -24s. So again,

Luke Truxal (56:58.211)
That's true.

Colin Colbourn (57:23.433)
Pacific is just not getting enough love here. We need to have more Pacific movies.

Luke Truxal (57:28.195)
Well, again, there's more B -24s built than B -17s built in the war. In fact, I think the B -24 was built more than any other heavy bomber. Going back to the B -29, we don't see it. They're testing it. They're having some issues. I think it's the Davis wing that's basically put on a Boeing aircraft. If I recall, sir, you can correct me. I think you talked a little bit about this at one point. But basically, they've had some issues with flight testing.

Jason Herbert (57:28.809)
You're working on that here at HATM.

Luke Truxal (57:57.443)
and they're still developing it, but by 44, they're starting to iron that out. They're starting to produce and they're starting to bring groups online. And a lot of B -17 pilots and crews in 1944, after they finished their tour, guys that want to re -up, a lot of them are starting to train on the B -29. So we are seeing a transition. We are seeing B -29 groups come online, but it's going to largely be in the Pacific because of what Colin pointed out, the ranges are greater.

and it requires a longer range aircraft and the B -29 could do that.

Jason Herbert (58:33.279)
Alright, speaking of doing that, let's talk about Crosby. I've been working, I've been trying to work, I've been listening to you guys all day trying to like figure out my Crosby segue. It's just like, I was waiting for one of you to say like, Berlin was flat on its back. I was like, oh, speaking of which, so last week, Luke lied to all of us by telling us that Crosby stayed chased during the war. That Crosby was not in fact,

Colin Colbourn (58:36.681)
That was good. That was good. That was really good.

Jason Herbert (59:04.703)
learning about diplomacy. So this complicates things, does it not? Now, I don't know what happens to Crosby after the war. Obviously he writes a memoir, but for us, I kind of, I assume he goes back and marries his sweetheart or he stays, goes back to his wife in the, in the U S and yet we've got his laundry out here now saying it was happy times in Europe. What's, what's going on with, did this affair actually happen? Does Crosby talk about this? Oh,

Luke Truxal (59:32.319)

Colin Colbourn (59:34.249)
Now we don't know that. Now we don't know that.

Luke Truxal (59:35.907)
Well, what we do have is...

Jason Herbert (59:39.199)
If it didn't happen, his Crosby's family pissed. You know?

Luke Truxal (59:42.339)
That's the next question I have. That's the thing I'm wondering about because if you read his memoirs and your book, he lays out that he was approached multiple times. And for him, it's a character thing. Like it's a like legit, like this is not acceptable. Like he felt bad when he hung out in London with his ex -girlfriend, you know, and he apologized for that, you know, to her. But at least from what I'm reading, if Crosby actually did have this affair and I haven't seen any account of it yet.

If this actually did happen, he would be violating like so many things that he has talked about that are character things that like not like characters in like writing plot and all that, like who he is internally. He'd be lying to us in his book and what he says his values are. Cause that's the thing that he talks about is he talks about how it's a value thing that he holds. Now, do I think I could, maybe I'm missing it in some other account. That's I kept, I've been checking to see if I'm missing it, you know.

Maybe Sarah found it or one of y 'all found it, but I think what they're trying to do is show that men cheat on their wives in war through Crosby. But Crosby himself did not do that. And again, I think it's...

Colin Colbourn (01:00:55.209)
We don't know that. You keep saying that. We don't know that. I have a quote I want to read, but Sarah, if you have something to add, I want to hear it.

Jason Herbert (01:00:56.415)
We don't know that, Luke. We don't know that!

Sarah (01:01:04.046)
Okay, yes. So this is very like, okay, so I have a couple of thoughts, but one thing is very random. So I know, I think we talked about before, but I actually interacted with somebody online. I was taking this, it's a very random story, but I was taking a Pilates class and in the chat, somebody was asking, have you guys been watching Masters of the Air? And I said, yeah, I'm actually a historian. I've been commenting on it. So I gave a shout out to the podcast and was like, you know, we've been doing this. And she said, oh, that's so interesting because,

Jason Herbert (01:01:04.063)

Sarah (01:01:33.006)
my husband, like where his, my husband's like family lives, like his parents live next door to some of Crosby's family that have been like interviewed extensively by all the people, right? And so she said that the family was like really happy with the results of those interviews. And that was all we said. Like we didn't exchange information. We just were chatting in this box before class started. Anyways, that being said, I was also thinking, because I have, I tried to find things and like Luke, I also cannot find.

evidence. But I had a couple thoughts about this because it can be representative potentially, but also anytime you interview someone with an oral history interview, someone writes a memoir, people, especially people have kids at this point, right? You tend to leave certain things out of your life story. So like Colin said, it's very possible that he did, but didn't want others to know. Or it's also very possible that like Luke said, this is a violation of his character and he

never would have engaged in this. So they're just using him as representative. But a lot of people, if it is representative, a lot of people sort of assumed like what people say about Vegas, right? What happens overseas stays overseas and it was a time of war and they use various excuses or reasons. And then some people who do admit to doing things overseas are like, I didn't tell my family about it because quite frankly, that's like guilt for me to carry around and I don't.

I don't need to put that off on them. And so they didn't feel that there was like a need to disclose it. And so I wondered, especially because of that generation and expectations and it being, it's always been taboo for the most part in American society, but you know, especially that era, I just was thinking that like it literally could go either way for me. But apparently the family, at least at this point was happy.

I don't know about this episode coming out if that changed their minds, but they had been happy apparently with how things were going with the show and the ways that the interviews were conducted and things. So Colin, I'm excited for your quote.

Colin Colbourn (01:03:28.391)
I'll use it.

Colin Colbourn (01:03:36.425)
Okay. Yeah. So this actually like, okay, so full disclosure, I have not owned this book, the Wing and a Prayer Crosby's book. And I've been relying a lot on Luke's reading of this. But when they showed him sleeping with Landra in, I forget what we call her in the movie, in the show. But when we show him, I was like, oh, this is going to be a point of contention. I knew immediately that this was going to be an issue.

I got the book and I was like, I need to see where they're reading this from. Now, now that I've seen the book.

Jason Herbert (01:04:17.087)

Colin Colbourn (01:04:19.145)
First off, there is no, in my opinion, and now look, there is no proof that there was any sexual relationship. There's no proof that there was not any sexual relationship. Luke, I know you're drawing sort of a moral question around this. Like, based on your reading, he wouldn't do it. But man, does she play a prominent role in his book.

There's an entire chapter in that book and her name was Alexandra Wingate, I think is what it is actually in real life, right? Something like that. He calls her Landra. There's a whole chapter called Landra and I in London, with Landra in London, okay? A whole chapter on that. And at the end of that chapter, he's talking about how he's going around London and he's part of the 100th Bomb Group.

Jason Herbert (01:04:57.439)

Colin Colbourn (01:05:16.713)
And he says, in the language of that time, I was hot stuff. In London, this paid out in attention. For the first time in my life, I got advances from unescorted women. When they learned I was a survivor in the notorious bloody hundredth, they thought it was their duty to be especially nice to me. Never before in my life had I been a target for good -looking women. And then the last line says, I had Jean at home and Landra in England.

Okay, now to me, now this is not say I had an affair with Landra, but he basically drew them as equals in my opinion in this one line. Now, what did that mean? Did he have sort of romantic, not romantic, like let's say partnership and sort of a feminine support in at home and in England? Fine, Jean and his wife, Jean is his wife. She is and saying that I had Jean at home and Landra in England.

I think that if you're writers of Masters of the Air, I think you can draw a lot from that quote that it's a bold move to put it on screen and make it that forward. I agree with that 100%. But I mean, to me, that was like, whoa, that line to me really said a lot from, in my opinion.

Sarah (01:06:39.538)
Oh you've got to be kidding me.

Luke Truxal (01:06:43.491)
Again, I would say that there are a couple lines in there that I will say have drawn my eye and kind of like made me suspicious as well. Again, the thing I keep coming back to is kind of the disgust he has for men who do cheat on their wives because he mentions it a couple times as well. He also talks about temptation being very real. So again,

he could be talking about. And again, this is where we debate kind of like every little word he might've said, because we don't have any other evidence other than this memoir that I can see. And so this also might rely, why we might have to rely on the family and their opinions and their perceptions, but maybe he didn't tell them. But again, this is where like, you know, the choice to put this on screen and the choice to do this. Yeah, I mean, how do I say it? It's one of those ones where it's like, I don't know,

you're trying to talk about like men cheating on their wives. I guess you could do it through cross -breed it, but I don't know if it's like the, again, it's one of those things that you're going to start a disagreement and debate over it. And does that really help tell the story? You could have done that through other people as well. But again, maybe you're trying to do it because this guy says he's very dedicated to his wife. So again, this is a hard call to make as a filmmaker and whether or not it's going to help you tell the story that you want to tell. So again, I do know that there are some lines that did raise my eyebrows well, but.

There's also other lines that made me think it seems like if he did cross that line, he would have to personally grapple with that for eternity because that would be something that would be a violation of his code of conduct. So maybe he did do it, but at the very least he makes it very clear that that would have been something that would have not been okay with who he was as a person. And there are people that plenty of times will violate their own principles as well.

Sarah (01:08:34.254)
Yeah, I was going to say too that I'm devastated that we can't find more information about her, or at least I haven't been able to, because it's one of these cases where just like even extensive like searching, I have not been able to find it because I wanted to know more details about her service basically, and I haven't been able to find that. And so it's just I wanted to throw out that I appreciate them, you know, highlight the show, right? Like highlighting.

Colin Colbourn (01:08:42.985)

Sarah (01:09:03.118)
this relationship, even if it didn't manifest in the way we're seeing it play out, because at least we're getting her story like captured in some small way where she's literally been forgotten. I can't even find her in books. So it's like she's been pretty forgotten, it seems like.

Colin Colbourn (01:09:17.833)
No, I also, Sarah, I also tried to look her up. He does heavily insinuate that she has a very curious schedule. She has, like, he does not understand what she really does. And there are lots of, there are lots of hints that she's doing stuff that is, like, under the table. And that's how I think we're going off on this. I, I...

I don't know, I was wondering the same thing. I was like, oh, maybe there's stuff, maybe this is a woman that people know was a spy or was someone to sent to do this kind of stuff. You know, we got, we got the previews of the next episode. We see that she's actually going out there. Um, and, uh, and, uh, even Crosby in his memoir says that she had lots of information about how Europeans were feeling about different things. He was like, I don't know how she got all that kind of information unless she was out there doing this stuff. Um, and so.

I think that maybe they're using her story because again, this is all Crosby and Luke, I really hear where you're coming from, but he is so cryptic in many ways in his book that there's lots of ways you can push different things. And if I was a writer, I would sort of say, well, this is a great little way to talk about someone, British women who are spies in the British service. I don't know.

Jason Herbert (01:10:37.791)
You guys are missing out and this is all about the narrative voice, my friends. You guys are reading Crosby straight off. You've got to imagine Crosby is like a future president of the United States. And what you've got to do is imagine him saying, I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Westgate. But you know, maybe he goes to her and says, hey, I'm a navigator. Let's cross some lines, you know?

Like she likes to get up to the table. She knows all kinds of things about Europe. I'm just saying I learned things. I brought it back. So when you look at that, maybe things happened. I've been dying here for like seven minutes to give you guys my bill impression, my booklet impression. I've been working on it. So you're welcome.

Colin Colbourn (01:11:21.225)
Now it's out in the world. Here it is.

Jason Herbert (01:11:24.063)
Yeah, you know, that's what I said to miss Westgate actually is I taught the world here it is. So, you know, All right, we've got some ideas, let's go back if we can, as we kind of come to the conclusion, there's no going back now. Let's go back to Stagalog lift three. I'm just kind of skipping over Rosie's entire thing right now. Rosie re -ops. Rosie's a bad ass. We've already established that Rosie's the best there is.

Colin Colbourn (01:11:28.937)
Oh god.

Jason Herbert (01:11:52.159)
Rosie is Chuck Norris in a B -17 apparently. So I want to see all kinds of like Robert Rosenthal memes coming out after this series is over because I feel like it's coming. We see there's the British do escape and also some of these guys get caught and killed afterwards. We're kind of ending here on a bit of a somber note as well. And this idea that the planes going forward are just going to be

bait. Where are we going forward here as we head into our last two episodes of Masters of the Year? What are we seeing going forward? I think we've got some Tuskegee Airmen coming up next episode. What's going to happen with our two main leads with Buck and Bucky? Where do we go?

Jason Herbert (01:12:39.805)

Luke Truxal (01:12:40.963)
Okay, I'll go first. This is, I think, maybe why I got more frustrated with this episode than others. And it feels like going forward, we're just gonna be checking boxes. I felt like this episode started us on a process for checking boxes in the sense that we're going to cover, oh, we're gonna cover...

Basically an affair in having an affair. We're going to cover now, you know Talking about the Tuskegee Airmen now, we're gonna talk about the great escape, but we're not gonna talk about it We're just gonna check a box and say okay tick tick tick and we're just gonna check all these boxes that basically we're gonna cover so it feels like we're not gonna go into depth on some of this stuff and This is where I had a problem with the show and this is where in this episode and this is why I probably got angry is I can kind of see what's about to happen and

is that the great escape would have been great to cover a little bit more in detail. It would have been great to cover Egan working as the security person for the American South Compound. The Americans were at the South Compound at Stalag Luft III, never covered that Egan was running security and he was helping build their own tunnels. And that wasn't covered. Basically, he was helping with the tunnel building, trying to keep the Germans from discovering some of the stuff that they were doing. Each officer had different things.

Jason Herbert (01:13:50.559)
What does that mean running security?

Luke Truxal (01:14:01.091)
Buck Levin is teaching school, he's teaching classes on like math, I think. And so there's all these things about prison life at Solid Blue 3 that just got left out because we're talking about a radio. Oh, by the way, Grant Howard pointed this out. Did you notice that the radio reports that they got are all British failures and we end with a British failed escape? So again, I didn't hear that in the broadcast, but I was thinking about, was it Money Casino? I was like, oh yeah, they're stuck.

But he pointed out it was the British failure at casino that they, so again, I was like, oh, great point. But again, it's not, it feels like we're just now doing stuff just to say we got it off the list. We did it. We covered it. You know what? It's okay. You know, and I think all of us who've worked in history can say it's okay to not cover everything. You don't, you can't do everything in a book. You can't do everything in an article. You can't cover it. So sometimes you have to make choices. And I think, and this is my fear going forward.

is that they're going to start covering things just to say that they covered it rather than to actually go into depth on something. And this is what happened with this episode. It started with this episode. I'm pretty sure it's going to happen with the next episode. And I'm pretty sure that's where we're going to end at. So I'm not optimistic going forward. But I do think we're going to see D -Day. We're going to see more heavy losses. We're going to see more of Rosenthal. And I think we're also going to see

the stock the March by the south compound from Stalag Luft three in modern -day Poland all the way down to I think it's Mooseburg Which is near Munich Germany, so we're gonna think we're gonna see that March going forward which is very famous infamous, but yeah, I think that's where we're going for it and again My frustration is I think we've now moved from

doing stuff in depth to just trying to make sure we get everything done before the essay's turned in.

Colin Colbourn (01:16:00.713)
Luke, I want to put you on the spot here because I think you brought up something really important to talk about, and that is the idea that the Luftwaffe, they say, if you're not careful, if these things keep happening, the SS is going to take over the camp, the Gestapo is going to take over the camp. We're the Luftwaffe here. We're the good guys. You want us. You brought up some really good points. I really want you to hit on that.

Jason Herbert (01:16:00.895)
That's a good analogy, I was thinking the same thing. Yeah, go ahead.

Colin Colbourn (01:16:30.313)
before we hop out of here.

Luke Truxal (01:16:32.323)
I mean, again, this goes back into kind of the portrayal of kind of the Luftwaffe is kind of, you know, clean, the same as the American Airmen. They're not, you know, we've seen we've seen some stuff where they're, you know, basically making conditions worse. But what the Luftwaffe is thinking again, something a lot of these German heads of the POW camp, the SS does take over. But basically, the person who runs the camp after the great escape is an SS general, I can't remember his name, but basically,

He keeps kind of running things the same way the Luftwaffe did, not out of like, I want to do it because I care about these guys and not because I care about what's about to happen to German prisoners. Some of these guys are starting to treat American airmen better as best as they can because they are also thinking about their lives at the end of the war and they know what's coming. And so again, you know, this is a thing that we've also seen kind of dodged by masters of the air.

Yeah, there's a couple of moments where they talk about some of the war crimes that the Luftwaffe committed with the shooting down of parachutes in the episode or the POW getting shot. But this would have been a great episode to talk about the prison conditions, how the Luftwaffe, you know, maybe talk a little bit about how they're looking after number one. You know, they're not doing this out of like, you know, being nice. Also, maybe a chance to show what the prison conditions are for the Soviets. You know, there's...

There was so much missed in this episode because they wanted to spend time talking about this radio, you know, and that was really frustrating. They missed a lot of time. And again, this is where I got a little bit frustrated with the Crosby Fairs. They're wasting minutes where they could be talking about stuff that's, you know, that they could talk about other stuff that might be better in telling the air war picture. You know, yeah, you can probably talk about the affair. Maybe you could have used it in another episode, but.

In my opinion, you know, this would have been a great episode to talk about what camp life is like, because you're going to do the march probably on episode eight or nine, you know, and so they're going to be leaving Stalag Luft III. So again, there was just so much time wasted. And that was also frustrating for me. And again, there are things they did very well in this episode, like Black Monday. And then there's things that they just wasted time on. And I...

Luke Truxal (01:18:57.699)
That was my frustration. And now because they've wasted so much time on this episode on things that are not as higher priority that you need to talk about when talking about this story that now you know what? Have been great this episode having talking about the training of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Sarah (01:19:16.366)
I thought the same thing. Yeah, I thought the same thing because I was like, they're gonna check a box next week with Siskige Airmen. They're gonna rush us through it. It's just gonna be, there's so much you could even, there's so much you could talk about with their story on the home front, their training, thoughts and attitudes about them, transition. Maybe they'll do a good job next episode, but I kind of feel like they'll rush us through it. I also thought that Luke, what you said was important. So I just wanted to highlight.

Luke Truxal (01:19:16.899)
You know, I think, where was that?

Sarah (01:19:43.566)
the perceptions of the British and how all the radio broadcasts are failures and how you said that, you know, this is a failed attempt, like failed escape out of the POW camp. Because to me, those things fit with this larger narrative that a lot of Americans have about the Americans as the saviors of World War II, right? And not thinking about how the British have been fighting for years before we start fighting and that kind of thing. And so I was like, I think it's...

Also important to take note of that because sort of like the uplifting music with the bombs dropping on civilians and this sort of like triumphant narrative, I'm kind of a little bit worried that it's gonna be a little bit triumphant and not really delve into even maybe the racism towards the Disque Gator men, but we'll find out of course.

Luke Truxal (01:20:28.803)
I mean, Sarah, with what you just said there, like, if we weren't recording this and didn't want to blow out the microphone for the recording, I would have yelled thank you on that. Because that was what I was feeling a lot of this time during the episode, is that time's being wasted. You have minutes to tell the story. And they're precious when you put together films and TV series. And this is the first episode where I felt there was wasted minutes.

Colin Colbourn (01:20:29.129)
I'm starting to.

Sarah (01:20:40.75)
That's great.

Colin Colbourn (01:20:56.147)
I'm starting to wonder if the guys who make the trailers got away with one here, where we're gonna find out that it's really just about the one combat mission this guy was involved in when he went down and ended up at the prison camp. We're not gonna see anything about actual Red Tails, we're not gonna see anything about training, but the guys who build the trailers are like, ooh, Red Tails, okay, we gotta make sure to get that in there. And that's hard, I totally agree, we have two episodes left. There's...

I just, and they even have this whole spy, we know they have this whole spy spin -off thing too. I honestly, I don't have a whole lot of hope that that's gonna get a lot of attention. And that sucks.

Jason Herbert (01:21:34.815)
Yeah. I think that the thing, you know, what are the interesting things here we've got going on here is, is the real, is the contingency of these guys don't know when the war is going to end. They know it's coming to an end at some point in time. They have no idea when it's going to end, but we do. And we know exactly when this series is going to end, which is in two episodes. And in some ways I feel a sense of anxiety because they really nailed this through the, say the first six episodes. And then you're like, Holy crap, we're out of time here.

introducing these new storylines about spa about, uh, you know, West gate's amazing. Like I would absolutely love to, but that's a, that's a whole other series about spies in world war II. That should be a whole series about what spies in world war II, you know? Um,

Colin Colbourn (01:22:14.793)
Yeah, exactly. It's not. No, there should be. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, you're exactly right. It's not an American story really that one.

Jason Herbert (01:22:22.815)
No, so unless that's just again with it with the clip of the trailer, maybe she just gets caught early on. I don't have a lot of hope for her character. I don't know what happens to her unless you do call him, but we'll talk about that next week. So.

Luke Truxal (01:22:36.227)
The only way it makes sense to me to include that plot line is if they're going to talk randomly about the 8th Air Force having a special bomb group that dropped spies into occupied territories. That's the only way it makes sense. They had special planes. They did have heavy bombers, but they were like specially camouflaged to do all that. And they flew night missions. But that's the only way it makes sense to me. But you're right. It should be a whole separate TV series if you're going to do that. But it...

Yeah, I can't agree with what everybody said even more and I'm almost wanting to start pounding the desk and like going here here yes.

Jason Herbert (01:23:14.399)
Don't do that, our producers have no paternity leave.

Colin Colbourn (01:23:14.633)
You are - you are -

Yeah, you were pounding the virtual desk in our text message chat. I could see it. And I appreciated that. And I'm not really hopeful about what we see moving forward. But let's just be thankful we got six really good episodes.

Jason Herbert (01:23:36.703)
I'm having a hard time here because I'm still in the Bill Clinton mode and I just, there are too many things I want to tee off on. So we're going to call this one to come to call this episode to a close. Colin, Sarah, Luke, you guys are awesome. Thank you so much for being here today.

Sarah (01:23:51.566)

Colin Colbourn (01:23:52.201)
Thanks, man. Appreciate it.

Luke Truxal (01:23:55.011)
Thank you.

Jason Herbert (01:23:55.807)
Alright everybody that was the end of episode 7 here at Historic Movies Masters of the Air. We got two more episodes to go so this is going out here tonight, Sunday night. It'll be out by Monday -ish. And we've got a new episode of the usual pod coming up this week, Dune Part 2. Won't be contentious at all. And we'll see you guys later. Bye!