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by Michael Claringbould
DVD, 40 minutes
|5th Air Force Newsreels (DVD)
In New Guinea & Australia
This DVD contains a total running time of 40 minutes, and contains seven rare newsreels made for Australian audiences, hence rarely seen in the U.S. The original wartime commentarty is in a propaganda style The seven films are:
America Comes to Australia 1:43 mins - men of the Fifth Air Force arrive in Australia by cruise liner. Made as a propaganda film by the US Army, the film contains rare shots of the men on deck, and disembarking at Sydney.
Assault on Salamaua 8:45 mins - mostly taken from Australian lines behind Lae, the film shows some of the first aerial strafing runs, made by B-25s of the 3rd Bombardment Group.
Bismarck Convoy Smashed 9:10 mins—graphic coverage of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, where low-level strafers picked off a Japanese convoy attempting to supply Lae in New Guinea. Apart from its low-level coverage, and of 5th AF airplanes at New Guinea bases, the film also contains dialogue between U.S and Australian pilots, attempting to convince their Australian audience about how closely they co-operate.
Moresby Under the Blitz 8:38 mins - shows the bombing of Port Moresby, a forward 5th AF base at the time, and the shooting down of the first Japanese bomber destroyed over this forward outpost. P-39s of the 8th Fighter Group are seen scrambling from 7-Mile Drome to intercept.
War Brides Depart for U.S. 1:01 mins - a short clip of Australian brides about to depart for their new homes in the U.S, married to men of the 5th AF during their service in Australia.
Yank Airmen Blast Japs 1:26 mins - a unique clip of 345th Bomb Group B-25s Mitchells being loaded pre-dawn. The clip then shows the Mitchell crews being briefed, before they take off at dawn, fall into formation over Port Moresby, and head off to bomb Wewak.
Kokoda Frontline 9:04 mins - this film was the first documentary to be awarded an Oscar, and is hosted by Australian camera-man Damien Parer. It shows fighting on the Kokoda Trail, and includes scenes of air-drops by 5th AF C-47s.
Review by Justin Taylan
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