Considered to be one of the longest shoots in film history – about ten years – and also one of the costliest – north of $200 million, filming has resumed in London on the long awaited sequel to Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan.
Masters of the Air by Donald L. Miller is being adapted to relate the epic of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. (This author used it as one of many sources for The Hidden Places of World War II.) Expected to be a ten-part mini-series exclusively on Apple TV, Spielberg will use relative unknowns to portray the main parts in the one-hour episodes.
Long considered as one of the world’s foremost directors (consider Schindler’s List), the new mini-series will follow the lives of the B-17 crews based in East Anglia, England. The B-17 and B-24 were the two heavy bombers which went on thousands of missions over occupied Europe and, especially, Germany, with casualties more than ten times those of the infantry. The USAAF flew daylight strategic missions with the RAF and, mostly, the Avro Lancaster, flying night tactical missions.
Although the bases are little-known and seldom visited, for The Hidden Places of World War II, author Jerome M. O’Connor spent days exploring the surprising remains of what would become scores of bases occupied by over 300,000 U.S. airmen who had 26,000 casualties.
The only distressing news is that the Spielberg/Hanks series has no release date, but could be as long as near the end of 2022. But there is no need to wait: of twenty-two chapters in The Hidden Places of World War II, five chapters include never seen photos and never before told stories of the men who flew and the British friends who supported them.
The widely praised book – 96% favorable on Amazon – is available for a limited time only on Amazon. Expect to see photos of the bases, including those of long-gone young men who wrote still visible initials, trailed size nine shoes into the distance, and incised bicycle tire tracks on still curing concrete. See the repurposed but never changed facades of the headquarters of the First, Second, and Third air divisions.
For a free read of book parts go to the author’s secure web site, www.historyarticles.com, or buy through Amazon while hard-bound and Kindle copies remain.
Below are wartime photos of the principle aircraft in the mini-series, B-17s and their crews, who averaged twenty-two years in age.