Chapter 18 of THE AIR FORCE STORY, entitled PRELUDE TO INVASION begins in January 1944. At the 1:20 mark, German factories are shown buzzing with production -- the Luftwaffe was building twice as many planes as in the previous year. These factories were given top priority by Allied planners. New German aircraft are seen emerging from factories, while German factories in Essen and elsewhere fuel the German war machine. The Allied response, once the winter had broken, came in February. A massive push to destroy the Axis air forces was launched, in hopes of securing air superiority for D-Day in the summer. 1,000 fighters and 1,000 bombers joined for the biggest air blitz of the war. At 7:24, German fighter pilots are shown rushing to their aircraft to defend against the onslaught.
This "Big Week" operation was the heaviest air assault in warfare history, and in addition to German air bases and transport lines being smashed, Berlin was also bombed.
Here's more about the Big Week: from February 20–25, 1944, as part of the European strategic bombing campaign, the United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) launched Operation Argument, a series of missions against the Third Reich that became known as Big Week. The planners intended to lure the Luftwaffe into a decisive battle by launching massive attacks on the German aircraft industry. By defeating the Luftwaffe, the Allies would achieve air superiority and the invasion of Europe could proceed. The daylight bombing campaign was also supported by RAF Bomber Command, operating against the same targets at night. Arthur Harris resisted contributing RAF forces as it diverted them from the British area bombing offensive. It took a direct order from Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, Chief of the Air Staff to force Harris to comply. RAF Fighter Command also provided escort for USAAF bomber formations, just at the time that the Eighth Air Force had started introducing the P-51 long-range fighter to take over the role.
The United States Air Force produced a series of 34 films, roughly 14 minutes each, between 1947 and 1960 to help educated the public about the role of the Air Force. The goals of the films are best described by the introduction displayed at the start of each movie as follows:
"It is the job of all the people to know and understand what the airman has done and is doing today...
For only with fill public knowledge and understanding can we have the support we need to carry out our mission. It is a big mission and an important one.
It involves the future well-being of every American - the peace of the world.
Your Air Force"
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com