Masters of the Air is primarily a show about the sheer horror men had to face during World War 2. Germany had the Luftwaffe, which had some serious firepower, but America had the Eighth Air Force, which was making tactically brilliant decisions by dropping their bombs right where it would hurt the German war effort the most. In the previous episodes, we had seen the harrowing scenes at the high altitudes, and yet the new episode begins with enthusiastic men, including Cleven and Egan, who get ready for a long flight right into the heart of darkness.
What Plan Did The Eighth Air Force Make?
A lot of good men had lost their lives in the previous mission; hence, a strategy was needed to make the next mission a success. It was doing nobody any good to put in an effort without actually succeeding in bombing the German sites of interest. So the Eighth Air Force made a strategy to have three task forces. The first would tire the Luftwaffe, so their planes would have to go back to base for refueling. The second and third task forces would do the damage. The second task force had to bomb a ball-bearing factory at Schweinfurt, while the third was given the task of bombing Regensburg. The plan was explained by Major Bowman, but it was Biddick who asked the obvious question: why did the map have a route marked going all the way to Africa? Bowman answered that the first task force was to go all the way to Africa, where the 12th Air Force had already set up a base. It was a ploy to put the German Army in a tense situation. The first task force was going to cross German territory but then stay in Africa for a few days, returning only when the Germans least expected it.
Why Were The Flights Delayed?
The men were cheering as the African trip was going to be a holiday, it seemed. But getting there was the clincher. There was a huge risk of losing a lot of planes, but the men were ready. A surprise came when Bucky was assigned as a reserve command pilot on Captain Cruikshank’s plane. Buck was surprised, as he didn’t expect Bucky to be given a made-up position as he was the Air Executive, and it was rare that he flew with three squadron commanding officers. Bucky, Buck, Veal, and Kidd held important positions, and it just seemed that if they were harmed in the mission, then the damage would be quite hard to recover from. Perhaps the thought was that this mission had to be a success, but it was a big risk as they could all lose their lives at once. Another bad omen was the terrible weather, which is why the mission was delayed. The soldiers distracted themselves by playing stupid games and killing time. Quinn was a young soldier who seemed like quite a knowledgeable commanding pilot in the second element of the first task force, who later did something that would have some terrible consequences, it seems.
How Did Buck Succeed In His Mission?
The beginning of the mission was a bit haphazard, as the first task force was now the third because of the delay. They had to cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time to meet the two other task forces, and the hurried nature of the mission met with an unprecedented attack from the Luftwaffe. The planes that were getting hit made the pilots and the rest of the crew bail out of them using parachutes. Quinn was with a guide nicknamed ‘Baby Face’. The plane had caught fire, and Quinn did try to save Baby Face, but at the last moment, he decided to jump out. Whether or not he could have done something more to save Baby Face is tricky to say with certainty, but one thing is for sure: if Egan had seen him put so much of a premium on surviving rather than helping a fellow soldier, he would have been furious.
Egan, Bucky, and Biddick were facing a lot of firepower, and next to get hit was Biddick’s plane. Biddick’s co-pilot seemed to have died on the spot. The crew in his plane wanted to bail out as soon as possible, but Biddick didn’t want to lose hope. He wanted to get the plane to safety, and when Dickie showed signs of life, he made everyone else bail out while he tried to land the plane safely out in a meadow. The landing did not go down smoothly and resulted in a crash. Now if Biddick had bailed out, the probability of that happening is negligible, he could have survived. Barry Keoghan, who plays Biddick, is credited as being in nine episodes of the series, so perhaps he survived.
Egan also had the option of bailing out when his plane was hit, but he showed courage and continued, not stopping until the Luftwaffe had to go back to refuel. The plan worked, and the second and third units got the chance to drop the bombs, making the mission a success. The planes were in pretty bad condition, and Bucky had already reached the African base. He was waiting for Buck (Egan) to arrive, but little did he know that his plane had been badly damaged. He continued nonetheless and reached far away from the runway, but the landing was smooth, unlike Biddick’s. Quinn, who had bailed out, landed in Flanders, Belgium. He was given a choice: surrender to the German army or escape. In the latter case, he could be treated as a spy. A Belgian man offered him the choice, and it isn’t clear what he chose. A lot of men had lost their lives again, but the mission was seen as a worthy one, as without the ball bearings, the German war effort had taken a hit, making them lag for months. It is yet to be seen what Quinn chose. Did he choose to betray the country and help the Germans infiltrate the American air force, or did he make a genuine attempt to escape back to England?