Thousand Plane Raid

In 1943, Colonel Greg Brandon (Christopher George), stationed at a United States Army Air Forces 8th Air Force, 103rd Bomb Group base in England, attempts to persuade superiors that a massive, co-ordinated daylight bombing raid will hasten the end of World War II. In spite of the mission’s extreme difficulty and risk, his plan is eventually put into effect against a vital enemy aircraft factory in central Germany.

Brandon has never been popular with his men, many of whom feel he drives them too hard. During preparation for the raid, Brandon alienates them further by insisting that they step up their training. He has disdain for cautious young flyer Lieutenant Archer (Ben Murphy), who he suspects of being a coward. An RAF Wing Commander Trafton Howard (Gary Marshal) has been assigned to Brandon’s base to teach the squad Germany combat tactics. Brandon starts out resenting Howard’s brash manner, and things get worse between them when Howard takes Archer on an unauthorized flying lesson. As the date draws closer Brandon further antagonizes his associates, as well as his girlfriend, WAC Lieutenant Gabrielle Ames (Laraine Stephens).

The raid’s prospects seem dim when it is revealed that the Germans know some, and possibly all, of its important details. Nevertheless, it is scheduled to go ahead as planned. On the morning of the mission Brandon’s plane crashes, and Brandon is forced to board a bomber manned by Archer and Howard. During the raid, in combat over the target area, Brandon is impressed by Archer’s piloting skills and Howard’s judgment. On their return to base Brandon is told that the raid’s target has been totally destroyed, and that allied losses were considerably less than anticipated.