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Masters of the Air

Masters of the Air is a 2024 American war drama television series, written by John Shiban and John Orloff, and co-produced by Apple Studios, Playtone and Amblin Television. The film is based on the book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany by historian Donald L. Miller, which revolves around the contributions of the 100th Bomber Group, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber of the Eighth Air Force, United States Army Air Forces, in the European theater of World War II.

Masters of the Air is the first film produced by Apple Studios. Production on the film is taking place primarily in the UK and began in 2021, but was delayed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first episode of Masters of the Air officially premiered on the Apple TV+ platform on January 26, 2024.

Masters of the Air Plot Summary

Part One:

In the spring of 1943, Majors Gale Cleven and John Egan of the 100th Bombardment Group were deployed to England to participate in United States Army Air Forces bombing campaigns into territory controlled by Nazi Germany. 100 Group was stationed at RAF Thorpe Abbotts Airfield and in June, 100 Group began its first bombing missions, targeting the Bremen area of Germany. Despite being equipped with an advanced Norden bombsight, the American navigators failed to capture the target and the mission was aborted. The 100th Group was forced to fly through heavy anti-aircraft fire and fight off interceptions by the Nazi Luftwaffe to return to base.

Part two:

Members of the 100th Federation try to adjust to their first human casualties. At a pub, British Royal Air Force pilots criticized the Americans’ controversial daytime bombing tactics. Lieutenant Curtis Biddick felt insulted and challenged a British pilot to a bare-knuckle boxing match, and won. Because Major Marvin Bowman suffered from duodenal ulcers and had to withdraw to the rear for treatment, Major Cleven was assigned to lead the 100th Group on the second bombing mission: an air strike on a U-bunker. boat (U-Boot-Bunker) of Germany in Norway. Despite suffering from airsickness, Lieutenant Harry Crosby navigated the mission successfully. Lieutenant Biddick’s B-17 was severely damaged but landed safely in Scotland.

Part three:

In August 1943, the 100th Group participated in a large-scale bombing campaign in the Schweinfurt–Regensburg area, with the goal of destroying German aircraft production and assembly facilities before returning to North Africa. Lieutenant Biddick died after his B-17 was shot down by a German Luftwaffe fighter. Sergeant William M. Quinn parachuted to his death after his B-17 was shot down; Quinn lands on Belgian soil and is rescued by the resistance. Majors Egan and Cleven returned to North Africa with the remaining B-17s of the 100th Group.

Part four:

In October 1943, new pilots and aircrew, including Lieutenant Robert Rosenthal, were assigned to the 100th Group. The 100th Group continued to raid Bremen. Feeling stressed and tired from the consequences of combat, Major Egan took leave and went to London, where he had a one-night stand with a Polish widow. After learning that Major Cleven had not returned from the Bremen air raid, Egan returned to his unit early. Meanwhile, Sergeant Quinn was helped by the Belgian resistance to escape through occupied Paris to catch a train to Spain.

Part five:

The 100th returned from Bremen with heavy losses. Lieutenant Payne was promoted to Captain and replaced Lieutenant Crosby as the Federation’s chief navigator. A few days later, Major Egan continued to lead the squadron in another air attack. The air attack campaign ended in blood for the 100th Group when only a few B-17 aircraft, including Lieutenant Rosenthal’s plane, returned alive. Major Egan parachuted from his B-17 after being shot down and landed in the countryside in Westfalen, Germany.

Part six:

Major Egan was taken prisoner in Westphalia and escorted to a prisoner of war camp with other prisoners of war. While passing through the city of Rüsselsheim, they were brutally beaten by local residents, and six prisoners of war were executed. Egan luckily survived and was taken to Dulag Luft camp for questioning, before being transferred to Stalag Luft III camp. At Stalag Luft III, Egan reunited with his previously shot down comrades of the 100th Group, including Major Cleven. Rosenthal and his crew were sent to a rural area to rest and to receive psychological counseling, which Rosenthal objected to. Major Crosby attended a conference at Oxford University, where he met a female British ATS officer. When Crosby’s feelings for the female British officer began to blossom, she was suddenly called away, leaving Crosby disappointed.

Part seven:

In March 1944, the 100th Group lost 15 B-17s and 150 men in an air raid on Belirn. Their next mission was met with much success when the bomber groups began being escorted by P-51 Mustang fighters. Captain Rosenthal completed 25 sorties, but he decided to stay in the unit to continue fighting, and was appointed Squadron Leader of the 350th Bombardment Squadron. Captain Crosby began a romantic relationship. with Wesgate. Quinn returned to base but was excused from further missions because he had a thorough understanding of the underground resistance’s prisoner escape system in Europe. In Stalag Luft III camp, Major Cleven and other prisoners of war successfully built a crystal radio receiver to monitor BBC news. After a large group of British prisoners staged an escape, Cleven, Egan and other POWs were threatened that the camp would be turned over to the SS and Gestapo if they staged another escape.

Part eight:

In June 1944, Captain Crosby participated in drafting a plan to bomb 200 aircraft on the Nazi military’s facilities in France in preparation for Operation Overlord. Crosby worked continuously for three days, and fell asleep during D-day. During Operation Dragoon, many Tuskegee pilots of the 99th Fighter Squadron were shot down while participating in bombardment of German positions in Cote d’Azur; Second Lieutenants Richard Macon, Robert Daniels, and Alexander Jefferson were captured alive and taken to Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp, now under SS control. There, they were invited by Major Cleven to participate in a potential prison break, as the Soviet Red Army was getting very close.

Part nine:

During an air raid on Berlin on February 3, 1945, Major Rosenthal’s plane was shot down. He parachuted and landed in the eastern area of Berlin, and was rescued by Soviet Red Army soldiers. Facing the strong advance of the Allied army, German soldiers evacuated Stalag Luft III camp. The POWs, including Cleven and Egan, had to walk to Muskau to take the train to Nuremberg, then to Stalag XIII camp in Langwasser, then to Berching. Cleven and Egan fled, but only Cleven succeeded. Cleven was then brutally beaten by a group of Volkssturm militiamen, but was promptly rescued by US soldiers in Franconia. Egan was taken to Stalag VII camp near Moosburg, and survived until the day of liberation. Before returning to England, Rosenthal witnessed firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust in Poznań. On 1 May 1945, Rosenthal, Crosby and Cleven flew together in Operation Manna and Chowhound – a food supply operation by the 100th Air Force to the Dutch population of Hongerwinter. After Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally, the 100th League returned to America. The episode ends with a short credits sequence detailing the subsequent lives of the characters involved after the war.

Masters of the Air Cast

  • Austin Butler – Major Gale “Buck” Cleven (1918-2006)
  • Callum Turner – Major John Egan (1915-1961)
  • Anthony Boyle – Lieutenant Harry Crosby (1919-2010)
  • Barry Keoghan – Lieutenant Curtis Biddick (1915-1943)
  • Nikolai Kinski – Colonel Harold Huglin (1906-1975)
  • Stephen Campbell Moore – Major Marvin S. Bowman
  • Sawyer Spielberg – Lieutenant Roy Frank Claytor (1917-2003)
  • Isabel May – Marjorie “Marge” Spencer (1920-1953)
  • James Murray – Colonel Neil “Chick” Harding (1905-1978)
  • Nate Mann – Lieutenant/Captain Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal (1917-2007)
  • Laurie Davidson – Lieutenant Herbert Nash (1917-1943)
  • Joanna Kulig – Paulina
  • Louis Hofmann – Second Lieutenant Ulrich Haussmann (1904-2001)
  • Jamie Parker – Doctor Huston
  • Bel Powley – ATS Lieutenant Alexandra “Sandra” Wingate
  • Sam Hazeldine – Lieutenant Colonel Albert P. Clark (1913-2010)
  • Josiah Cross – Second Lieutenant. Richard D. Macon (1921-2007)
  • Branden Cook – Second Lieutenant Alexander Jefferson (1921-2022)
  • Ncuti Gatwa – Second Lieutenant Robert H. Daniels (1919-1987)
  • Jerry MacKinnon – Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Jr. (1912-2002)
  • Josh Dylan – Lieutenant George F. Niethammer (1919-1945)



TV Status: Ended


TMDb: 7.9


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