430th FS "Back Door Gang" P-38 Lightnings in action over Germany – Color, 1945



Color film of the 430th FS, 474th FG, 9th Air Force. I created this original documentary from undocumented, unedited, silent archival footage. Where possible, I identified the P-38 pilots shown. Color film of P-38s in action is very rare.
From the get go, the 474th was configured as a ground attack unit, but they also provided bomber escort and level bombing, led by Norden bomb sight equipped “Droop Snoots,” which are shown here. One of three P-38 squadrons in the 474th, the 430th’s call sign was “Back Door,” and its planes and pilots are featured in the film in the Spring of 1945 at their base in Florennes, Belgium, a former Luftwaffe night fighter base.

You’ll see intense (and rare) color gun camera film showing strafing attacks inside Germany with slow motion replays, as well as color footage of B-26s and a P-61 Black Widow. Perhaps most memorable are the all too brief, silent portraits of the men who flew those dangerous missions.  It’s amazing how color film brings 60+ year old images to life.
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