Smithsonian Channel is continuing its annual initiative honoring Veterans Month with two all-new specials set to air this November.
Memphis Belle in Color, premiering Sunday, November 10, at 9 p.m., examines the role that B-17 bombers, nicknamed “Flying Fortresses,” played across airborne battlefields. By the summer of 1942, American B-17 airmen were facing chaotic, deadly and frigid battles at altitudes of five miles with a paltry 25 percent survival rate. The B-17 Memphis Belle and her ten crew members managed to beat these odds, becoming the first B-17 to earn a trip home and the focus of William Wyler’s 1944 film Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.
The special uses newly restored 4K footage from the film to uncover the story of the famed plane and the contribution of B-17 bombers to victory in the war. Veterans of B-17 missions tell their first-person tales of combat, while the film also reveals the full restoration of the Memphis Belle at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
Battle of Midway: The True Story, bowing Monday, November 11, at 8 p.m., tells the story of the titular battle, one of the largest naval engagements of WWII, through the lens of the U.S. Navy’s three key aircraft at Midway: the Devastator, Avenger and Dauntless. Together, these three attack planes must overcome an ambush attack from the enemy. Using archival footage, interviews with historians and experts, and demonstrations of the aircraft, this hour-long special uncovers the story behind America’s first victory in the Pacific.
The specials are both executive produced by Tim Evans and David Royle for Smithsonian Channel.