Masters of the Air (2024) s01e03 Episode Script

Part Three

[HARDING] At ease, gentlemen.
Exactly one year ago to the day,
the Eighth Air Force sent
up its first maximum effort.
It was a combined force of 12 B-17s.
Today, the Eighth will
be sending up a max effort
with three air task forces.
- Totaling 376 heavy bombers
and 240 fighters.
- Not bad, huh?
- Yeah.
That's the largest air armada ever
assembled in the history of mankind.
- Yeah!
Now, we will be in the first task force
targeting the Messerschmitt 109
engine assembly plant in Regensburg.
Second and third task forces will
hit the ball bearing factories
in Schweinfurt.
And no war machine moves
without ball bearings.
If we succeed,
we knock German production
off line for months.
There's no telling how
many lives we could save.
- Dear God.
- Oh, boy.
This is Regensburg.
[HARDING] And you're probably thinking
that's a lot of flying
time over Kraut territory.
It is.
It's the deepest we've
attempted to reach.
But the mighty Eighth has a plan.
Major Bowman?
Go get 'em, Red.
It's a three-punch combo
and the Krauts will only be
able to defend one of them.
So, execution and
timing will be essential.
[CURT] Uh, Major?
Why does that red line go
all the way down to Africa?
That is a characteristically
astute question, Curt.
And I'll answer that
in a moment, if I may.
All right, all right.
Laugh now. All right.
Now, the three task forces will
assemble over the channel together.
And then split here.
Now, the Luftwaffe will only be
able to mount a sizable defense
against our first task force
before having to head back
to base to rearm and refuel.
And when they finally
get back in the air,
the second and third task forces
should be dropping their bombs
on the ball bearing
factory in Schweinfurt,
while we're dropping
our bombs on Regensburg.
Now, to answer your question, Curt.
- As we drew the How can I put this
the shitty end of the
stick on the approach,
and we're taking the brunt
of the enemy fighters,
the brass, they've-they've
come up with an ingenious plan
that is sure to confuse
the hell out of the Krauts
when we're a no-show for the return.
That's because you're
headed to Africa, gentlemen.
The 12th Air Force will welcome
you with open arms, ice-cold beer
- and lobster tails.
It'll be It'll be like
a holiday. Y'all like beer.
If we get lucky.
[HARDING] Thank you, Red.
And now for some bad news.
In our wing, we're tail-end Charlie.
Worst spot in the squad.
[HARDING] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lives ain't worth a nickel.
The lead squadron is the 418th
with Major Kidd as
command pilot of the group.
In addition, Major Egan will be
flying in Captain Cruikshank's fort,
as, um, reserve command
pilot of the group.
Major Veal leads the 349th and
the 351st in the high position
What, I got a fucking passenger?
Apparently so.
There you are.
[HARDING] Now, uh, it seems like
we have a little tricky weather pressure
in the early hours. Stormy?
Let me guess, it's gonna rain.
Hundred-percent chance.
That's, uh, quite right, sir.
Over the base today, gentlemen,
cloud cover stands at about
five-tenths stratus at 4,000 feet.
Topped by five-tenths
What the hell is a
"reserve command pilot"?
I I don't know.
- You had nothing to do with it?
- [STORMY] Visibility will be
Cloud invisibility should
be good over the Alps
and on your way south to Africa.
Thank you, Stormy.
Now, the success of this mission
rests upon getting all three task forces
precisely coordinated over the channel.
If we don't rendezvous in sync,
well, there's no pass fake.
That means a fake pass in sports talk.
05:20 in ten seconds.
Good luck
and I'll see you all in a few days.
Clear-up Radio to aircraft 567.
All aircraft are advised
that takeoff has been delayed
due to heavy fog.
The entire wing is on temporary hold.
Stand by for further instructions.
[CREW MEMBER] Clear-up
Tower, this is aircraft 567.
Roger temporary hold. Standing by. Over.
[TESKA] "Lord, guard
and guide the men who fly
through the great spaces of the sky.
Be with them traversing the air in
darkening storms or sunshine fair.
Thou who dost keep with tender might,
the balanced birds in all their flight.
Thou of the tempered winds, be near,
that having thee they know no fear."
[SERGEANT] All three
task forces are socked in.
We got a 30-minute delay.
[TESKA] " Fly through
lonely ways beneath the sky."
You're on the way through purgatory
and you reach a fork in the road.
One road goes to Valhalla,
the other goes to hell. Damnation.
On each of the road is a goblin.
One goblin always tells the truth.
The other is a tricky little
fucker. He always lies. Okay?
What's the one question
that you need to ask
that's gonna tell you
the right way to go?
Jesus Christ. [CHUCKLES]
- Hey, Lieutenant. You got a visitor.
- That is a class woman.
[SERGEANT] Stand by for 30 more minutes.
Do you ever have any good news, Garcia?
[GARCIA] You got complaints?
Take it up with operations.
- Hey! Strongly worded letter to follow!
Delayed another half hour, fellas.
Why can't we just take off?
Because we can't. It's fog.
Haven't the pilots
been trained for that?
Yeah. [STAMMERS] Isn't
that what they get paid for?
They can fly upside down with
a lollipop in their mouth.
But if there's a cow on the runway
A cow on the runway?
Where do you come up
with this shit, Quinn?
We're in a flying fortress.
We can take on a cow.
[QUINN] Alice isn't a Buick, Baby Face.
She's a tin can.
If we go head-to-head with a cow,
she'd accordion. With us in it.
[CHUCK] Oh, I see your cow.
Peanut butter, peanut
butter, peanut butter, jam.
I'd turn your cow into ground beef.
- Bucky.
- Yeah, Crank?
[CRANK] How'd you convince
Harding to let you fly?
What do you mean?
You, Buck, Veal, Kidd?
Three squadron COs and an Air Exec.
Lot of eggs in one basket.
Yeah, I've never seen so much
brass in the same mission before.
Well, I wasn't gonna miss
this one, was I? [CHUCKLES]
[CROSBY] Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
Do you ask it, "Are
you the good goblin?"
Uh, no.
No, but you're getting closer.
You're smarter than I thought, Croz.
Ten bucks says the second
and third task force
- is already up in the air.
- [CROSBY] Ah, nah.
Nah, they wouldn't hit their target
before we formed up with them.
Ah, what if they do?
Then this genius plan is shit.
Come here, Meatball. Come on.
- Good boy.
[CURT] Hey, Buck.
Hey, Curt. [SIGHS]
[CURT] Some soup, huh?
We have fog like this back home.
Always spooked me as a kid.
[BUCK] No one likes the fog.
How your boys doing?
Not me.
I'm feeling good.
I feel like this could
be a big one, you know?
- It is.
- I think we could do some real damage.
better get back to the ant farm.
See you in Algeria.
See you there, Buck.
Here you go, sir.
LeMay wants us wheels up.
He doesn't wanna wait
for the other task forces.
What do you mean?
They'll have to catch up, sir.
Engine start at 06:40. Send up
a flare to resume operations.
Yes, sir.
We're sending them straight into hell.
Command pilot to crew.
Anyone see the other task forces?
- [SOLDIER 1] Radio, negative.
- [SOLDIER 2] Waist negative.
[SOLDIER 3] Tail, negative.
[SOLDIER 4] Negative, sir.
Not what they fucking said!
They said we'd get
the brunt of it, buddy.
Yeah, I know. I know.
But the other task forces were
supposed to be sweeping up after us
to make sure they don't
come back for seconds.
Where are they, huh?
Via, you sure you don't see anyone?
Not a one of 'em. Still alone.
Crank? You think we can
get, uh, closer to Blakely?
Can do.
Back seat driver.
Ha! That's right, Crank.
Backseat pilot in reserve.
Come on, Buck. Keep pace with us.
[BUCK] Looks like we got stood
up by the other divisions.
We're on our own.
[DICKIE] They ain't trying
too hard with this flak.
[CURT] Keeping it
clear for the fighters.
Shit! Fighters at 10:00
low! Ten o'clock low!
They're going for Buck.
Fighters, 2:00!
o'clock low. More Germans.
[WAIST GUNNER] I'm on the nine!
[DOUGLASS] More fighters.
Two o'clock level.
Got you, son of a bitch!
More at 11:00 low!
They're going for Claytor!
[GRUNTS] Left wing is hit.
Oh, she's pulling left.
Left flap locked up. Compensating.
- [GUNNER] Rockets 2:00!
- [BUCK] Holy shit!
[CURT] Shit! They've hit Cleven.
Norman? Strout?
[COPILOT] We're losing air
speed. We need to increase power.
[BUCK] Do it. Norman! Strout!
[STROUT] We're both here.
[BUCK] What's your damage?
[STROUT] Electrical and oxygen hoses.
- [BUCK] How's the bombsight?
- [STROUT] Checking.
[NORMAN] Bombsight is okay!
Two 190's, 2:00.
Charge handle's blown off!
Two o'clock low!
Jesus. They're coming from everywhere!
[CROSBY] I got one!
Full squad, 10:00 low!
[BUCKY] Shit! Buck's hit.
Ah, hell with it. I'm
going down to the nose.
[GUNNER 2] Seven o'clock low!
Another from two!
[BUCKY] All right, Murph.
I'm taking that gun.
Ten o'clock low! Tail
to nose, coming your way.
- [GUNNER 2] Two o'clock high!
- [BUCKY] They're gonna split, Murph!
[CREW MEMBER] They're going for Buck.
[GUNNER 3] Fighters, 2:00 high!
Copy. Got 'em. Hit 'em, boys.
[GUNNER 3] They're going
after the second element.
Tail to Cleven. Hummel's fort is gone.
You see any chutes?
All ten chutes, but
Claytor's in trouble.
He's pulling badly. He's
falling out of formation.
- [COPILOT] We're losing fuel.
- [CLAYTOR] Well, I can see that.
Left wing's on fire.
[COPILOT] Should we bail, Roy?
Roy! Roy! Should we bail?
Should we bail?
- Pilot to crew, abandon ship.
Bail out! Abandon ship! Bail out!
- Did you say abandon ship?
- [CLAYTOR] Yes, goddamn it!
Destroy the order and then bail!
Pilot to bombardier.
Open the bomb bay doors!
Lorch, drop all the bombs.
[BABY FACE] Ball turret
to crew. I'm stuck.
- I can't get out of the turret.
- What do you mean you can't get out?
The elevation clutch is jammed.
It won't crank.
- [BABY FACE] Quinn! Help me out.
- Quinn, come on. Help me, man.
- [QUINN] Push!
[BABY FACE] Pull on the count of three.
- Trying! [GROANS]
- One, two, three.
- Come on!
- Push, Baby Face! Help me!
- Come on, Quinn! Please!
Come on, get me out of here. Please!
I'm sorry.
What do you mean? No!
- No!
- [CRYING] No!
Come back, Quinn! Quinn, please!
- [GRUNTS] I can't.
- Get me out of this thing!
I can't.
me out! Please! Quinn!
- I'm sorry, Baby Face. [GRUNTS] I'm sorry.
Tail to lead pilot. Our
whole second element is gone.
Jesus. Roger, tail.
We need to join the 418th.
Redmeat Lead to Redmeat Squadron,
we're joining up with Pacer.
Roger that, Redmeat
Lead. Let's power up.
We're gonna climb and get
some protection with the 418th.
Tail to command pilot,
the whole last element
of the 350th is gone.
The rest are trying to join us.
[GARCIA] Come on.
Every Luftwaffe base in
Belgium's been scrambled.
And we're still more than
three hours away from the IP.
Rockets incoming. Seven o'clock!
Smith, report!
Smith! Smith, report!
[TOP TURRET] Smith is
down. He-He's not breathing.
Waist to Cleven. Smith is dead, sir.
Fighters, 11:00 high!
[SCREAMS, GROANS] Son of a bitch!
[GROANS] Son of a bitch!
- You okay?
- [TOP TURRET] Yeah.
- Then get back up there and man your gun.
Main electrical panel's been hit.
- How bad is it?
- [BUCK] Generator's down. I can't tell.
Waist to Pilot. Biddick's been hit.
Pressure's dropping everywhere.
All systems. Curt, we're losing her.
No, we're not.
Dickie! Dickie! Dickie! No!
Best! Get down here now!
He's on the controls. Get him off.
- Get him back.
[GROANS] How is he?
[BEST] I think he's dead.
No, Dickie. Dickie, wake up!
She's not gonna make
it. We gotta get out.
- Pilot to crew. Bail out! Bail out!
[BEST] Here's your chute, Curt.
He's breathing, sir!
[CURT] Dickie, stay with me.
I'm gonna get you down
safely. You hear me?
[BEST] You can't land
this thing, can you?
Yes, I can. If we drop him, he'll die.
Drop him. It's his best chance!
- He's gonna die anyway, Lieutenant.
- No, he's not!
We have to bail! Come on!
Go. I'll be right behind you. Go!
Promise me!
I'll be behind you.
I'ma keep her level till
everyone bails out. Go!
[BEST] You gotta get out, Curt!
[CURT] I'm right behind you. Get out!
I'm getting us down,
Dick. I have control.
Right over there. You see
it? That long field, huh?
Dickie, stay with me. Come on.
Come on, Curt. Fly like an angel, huh?
Oh, God.
[BOWMAN] Sir, the second
and third task forces
have just crossed the channel.
Five hours late.
God help our boys.
One o'clock high!
- [BUCK] You hit?
- [COPILOT] No. You?
Got a fluid leak on the port wing.
I think the column may
be jamming on something.
Left rudder pedal feels loose
and I've only got right rudder.
- [BUCK] Compensate!
- I can't. Help me.
I think we may be done.
It's not responding.
We can manage it. We'll use
throttles and rudder trim.
It's too much. We need to bail
out. Engine three is on fire too.
- Pilot to crew, get ready to b [GRUNTS]
- [BUCK] You son of a bitch!
We are going to sit here and take it.
You hear me? We're gonna take it.
Lead pilot to crew. We're
gonna stick with our mission
as long as we can fly.
Somebody check if that last
hit ruptured a fuel tank.
Navigator to pilot, I
see it. We got a leak.
[BUCK] Roger.
Looks like the Krauts are
heading back to refuel.
Keep your eyes peeled.
They're refueling.
[BLAKELY] How we looking, Croz?
Navigator to command. Hitting IP.
[JACK] Command, roger.
- Flares up!
Thirty seconds to bomb release.
Prepare to hand over aircraft.
And holding 155.
Autopilot is set and servos on.
Pilot to bombardier, your aircraft.
[DOUGLASS] Roger, my aircraft.
Fighters, 10:00 high! Coming in!
[BUCKY] I got that son of a bitch.
Bomb bay doors opening.
Prepare to drop. We're
gonna get it done, boys.
[DOUGLASS] Bombs away!
Take that.
[COPILOT] Bombs away!
Jesus. Will you look at that?
Lead pilot to ball turret. How'd we do?
Sir, that factory is gone.
Mission accomplished, boys.
[STROUT] Can we go home now?
Not yet, Strout. We gotta make
a little pit stop in Africa.
Uh, it's it's okay. I
[IN FRENCH] German?
Wait here.
[IN FRENCH] He's American.
[PARENT] You're sure?
[BUCKY] Command pilot to
tail, how many left behind us?
[TAIL] Tail to command pilot, nine.
They're scattered everywhere,
I got 'em left and right.
Is Cleven's fort still with us?
[TAIL] They're beat to shit
and trailing way behind,
but they're still with us.
Menzie, we're pulling left.
How are the elevators looking?
[MENZIE] The left one is shot to hell.
It's not working.
[MENZIE] Tail to pilot.
We lost another fort.
I think it was Oakes.
[BUCK] Roger.
Major, I don't know how
much longer we can hold this.
We're okay.
- I think if we're gonna ditch, we should
- We can make it.
Elevator line is shot to
shit, sir. What's our pl
I'm not planning to sit this
thing out in a stalag, are you?
Menzie, Hollenbeck
and DeMarco following?
Tail to pilot. DeMarco's
sticking with us.
Hollenbeck is abandoning
ship. Eight chutes
Nine. All ten.
That's good, Menzie.
Norman. Strout. How you doing?
[STROUT] We're okay, sir!
Just taking in the view
and the fresh, thin air.
You did good. I'm
glad I had you with me.
And that goes for the rest of
you rabble on this fort too.
Great job, fellas.
Hey, Doug?
Do you know when we lost Biddick?
I, uh I didn't have
time to mark it in the log.
Jesus, Croz, I I don't think a
goddamn navigator in the entire wing
- had time to work the logs.
- Yeah, I just want to get it right, okay?
I know, Croz.
I guess they went down, uh, 1100.
Yeah. Got it. 1100.
We're under 600, sir.
Pilot to navigator. We got
just under 600 gallons left.
Can it get us to Africa?
No, Major. It looks like we might
need more like 750, at present speed.
We've been leaking fuel since the IP.
Lead pilot to crew. We need to
stretch our range as much as possible.
Dump everything not bolted down.
Bombsight, guns, ammo, everything.
Bombardier to pilot.
You say my bombsight?
We're over water, Norm.
Krauts won't get it.
Let it go.
Release the turret.
Pilot to top turret,
how we looking up there?
ragged, but okay, sir.
[BUCKY] Garrison, how are the
stragglers looking back there?
DeMarco's clean. Cleven's dumping now.
It looks like Van Noy's
gonna ditch in the water.
[STROUT] Navigator to pilot,
Van Noy ditched smoothly in water.
Approximately 350 miles from land.
[BUCK] Roger.
Is it good?
Turn around. Turn around.
You will not know my name, and
you will forget my face. Yes?
Do you want to escape back to England?
- Yes.
- I can help you. But know this,
if you turn yourself
in to the Germans now,
you will become a prisoner
under the Geneva conventions
and likely you will survive the war.
But if you choose to attempt to escape,
you will be treated
as a spy if captured,
and likely you will be executed.
Do you understand?
And which do you choose?
Surrender? Or escape?
Crank? That it? That Africa?
Yes, it is. Pilot to
crew. Africa dead ahead!
Command, navigator.
Croz, are we where we're supposed to be?
'Cause if we're not, we're
gonna land in that sand.
We should be seeing the
base at 184 any minute.
Croz, we're running on fumes.
Are you sure about this?
I'm telling the truth, gentlemen.
As sure as I can read and count.
[SIGHS] Come on.
Fork in the road here, Croz.
We could do with the
answer to that riddle.
The answer to the riddle's
184. Keep your eyes peeled.
I think I see it.
Twelve o'clock. And change.
Close enough, Croz. Close enough.
- Oh, man.
- [BLAKELY] All right. Nice work.
[JACK] Command pilot to Zootsuit
Two, airfield's in sight.
- Pilot to crew, prepare for landing.
- To Valhalla, boys.
[CHUCKLES] Valhalla
here we come, fellas.
Landing gear down.
Landing gear coming
down. Right gear down.
Left gear down. Quarter flaps.
Well done, boys.
Hey, Blakely, what was
the answer to that riddle?
I was hoping you'd tell me.
Well, pretty sure this ain't Valhalla.
[BUCKY] Well, we made it, boys.
- Where's the welcoming committee?
[BLAKELY] God. Welcome to Africa, boys.
[COPILOT] There's the
airstrip. Due south.
We're dropping fuel
pressure on four. Feathering.
I'm gonna sharpen the
turn to the runway.
- [COPILOT] Now we're losing engine two.
- Feather it.
[COPILOT] All engines feathered.
That's it. We're a glider now.
200 feet. Landing gear down.
Wait. It'll slow us down.
- [COPILOT] Landing gear now?
- Wait.
[COPILOT] 100 feet.
[GRUNTS] Right landing gear down.
Left down. Flaps at quarter.
Better late than never.
- Yeah. Let's get that kübelwagen.
I got you.
- You boys okay?
- [COPILOT] Yeah.
- [BUCKY] Hey, Norm.
- [BUCKY] You all right?
- Pull the med kits off the plane.
- Let's get these guys in the wagon.
- Guys, I'm fine.
- Get him on the wagon. Listen to Kidd.
- Up.
- Look after him, all right?
- I got him.
- Major, I got him.
- You got him?
- Come on.
I don't know how you flew that
thing all the way to Africa,
but you couldn't make the runway.
It's right there. Huh?
[CREW MEMBER] All right. Watch
it, watch it, watch it, watch it.
Oh, boy.
- Who is it?
- [BUCK] Norman Smith. Radio operator.
[BUCK] I lost four forts.
I know.
[BUCK] How many of us made it?
[BUCKY] Eleven out of 21.
What about Claytor? Any chutes?
I I, uh, didn't see any.
Yeah. And Curt?
I don't know.
Yeah, well, knowing Biddick,
he's probably sipping on a bottle
of schnapps right about now.
We're gonna get through this. Come
on. Don't you stop believing that.
Sure, Bucky.
[GUIDE] She's your guide,
and you will do what she says.
[JACK] Get your things,
boys. We're going home.
[BUCKY] All these are, uh, new faces
Major Egan. Major Cleven.
Think you might be the
last pretty face I ever see.
Feels like we're actually
gonna do something.
Yeah, you'll do something, all right.
To the fellas who aren't here
tonight, who should've been.
[GUIDE] German. They have tried
many ways to infiltrate our network.
We go down, they won't remember us
either. Like we never existed, Buck.
What happened to Baby Face? Is he dead?
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