The Lancaster at War (2009)

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Released 13-Oct-2010
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The outstanding bomber of World War II

The Avro Lancaster has been described as the outstanding bomber of World War Two.

At a time when Hitler?s armies have spread the Nazi creed and empire across Occupied Europe, the heavy bombers are the only means of carrying the offensive back to the Nazi heartland.

The Lancaster will become the mainstay of a long, savage campaign to cripple the industries of the Third Reich and bring the German nation to its knees. The grim battle fought in the night skies over Germany will result in the deaths of over 55,000 aircrew. And the deaths of thousands in the cities and towns that came under attack.

This documentary tells the story of the Avro Lancaster and its part in the bombing campaign of Germany. A campaign that remains highly controversial to this day.

It follows the story of the Avro Lancaster from its beginnings in another, unsatisfactory aircraft, to its present role as a flying memorial to all Royal Air Force aircrew who have sacrificed their lives in the service of their country.

This story alone is remarkable as we hear of the Lancaster's capabilities and its exceptional service record. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying the huge 22,000 lb Tallboy bombs developed by Barnes Wallis. It is the aircraft that carries out the epic Dambusters Raid, with another of Barnes Wallis?s inventions, the Bouncing Bomb. It will take part in precision raids against the launch sites of Hitler's 'V' weapons. And dangerous low level raids many hundreds of miles inside Germany, striking at vital industrial and military targets. The Lancaster's operational history ranges from the destruction of Hamburg to the massive food drops on Occupied Territory that will save the lives of thousands.

However, 'The Lancaster at War' is more than the history of an aircraft, no matter how powerful and intense that story alone is.

Exclusive interviews with surviving Lancaster aircrew who flew and fought throughout the grim battle of aerial attrition, will bring home the reality of taking part, night after relentless night, in missions where the odds of survival are slim.

These men tell of the fear, the pride and determination to play an effective part in defeating the evils of the Nazi regime and bringing the war to a swift and decisive end.

We bring together the story of the Lancaster, the crews who flew her and the epic aerial campaign of Bomber Command. It is estimated that over a two and a half million able bodied men were diverted from the front line to defend the cities of Germany from aerial attack, attacks that cut off, at source, arms and munitions destined to be used against the armies fighting to defeat Hitler and his Thousand Year Reich.

Apart from giving us first hand accounts of the Lancaster, describing its astonishing flying abilities and operational performance, they give full, frank, moving accounts of their thoughts and feelings preparing for missions, facing death in the shape of enraged anti-air craft defenses hurling a storm of fire or night fighters spitting bullets. With remarkable frankness, they confront us with the actuality of total war, including the still contentious bombing of Dresden, and the harsh realities of destroying an evil that sought to enslave nations and subjugate millions.

Incorporating carefully researched archive and feature film material, much of it previously unseen, newly shot colour material of the Avro Lancaster in flight and on the ground, along with vivid, moving recollections, full of incident and detail of those who lived through this epic time, 'Into The Furious Sky' will not only appeal to those with an interest in military aviation, but to all who appreciate the spirit, resolution, stamina and courage of ordinary people.

'The Lancaster at War' brings into sharp focus the story of a struggle that can only be understood by facing the facts and realities of the time.

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Documentary 2009 50 ? 4
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