World War II movie directed by Michael Caton-Jones in 1990. The movie shows in great detail and with a lot of drama the life of the young crew of a B-17 called “Memphis Belle”.

The tour of duty for that bomber was 25 missions, a feat that was quite difficult to accomplish: a squadron of B-17 have to take-off from the bases in eastern England and fly (without escort for the first par of the war, until the P-51 were equipped with external fuel tanks) through the Channel and arrive at its targets in central Europe.

In their last mission, the crew discovers that their last target before returning home is Bremen, a nightmare for its heavy antiaircraft batteries. If they return home, they would be the first crew to complete a tour of duty (25 missions), becoming heroes.

I love the scene in that Clay Busby (Harry Connick Jr.) sings Danny Boy (*sigh*)…

Another members of the Memphis Belle crew are: Dennis Dearborn (Matthew Modine), Danny Daly (Eric Stoltz), Luke Sinclair (Tate Donovan), Phil Lowenthal (D.B. Sweeney), Val Kozlowski (Billy Zane), Richard "Rascal" Moore (Sean Astin).

A brief addition/correction: The B-17 crews did, in fact, have fighter escorts in daytime. Initially, they were escorted by P-47 Thunderbolts, which even with drop tanks weren't able to reach all the way into Germany. However, bomber escort was done in stages so that the bombers were only alone for the outermost leg of their journey; where possible they were met by fresh Allied fighters on their way back to their bases in Britain.

The P-51 was the first Allied fighter able to make the trip from British bases to Berlin and back without refueling, and bomber casualties dropped significantly when it was introduced. The 332nd Fighter Group, the famed Tuskegee Airmen, flew P-51 variants, and those squadrons never lost a single escorted bomber to enemy action - the best squadron record in the war.

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