Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another Red Tails Goof

Yes I went and watched another trailer of Red Tails on YouTube.  The one I have been bombarded with on TV no less.  And I found an even more interesting goof, this time on the Allied side - one of the 332nd FG's proudest moments gets changed in the film.

On 25 June 1944 on a mission into Yugoslavia men of the 332nd entered the history books.  One four ship flight was reduced to a two-ship of Pruitt and Peirson.  Strong winds caused them to get lost and they started to return to their airfield.  Their course carried them over the Italian port of Trieste which was still held by Germans and Italian fascists loyal to Mussolini.  In the harbor they spied a warship with a German cross on its funnel.  Exhibiting the initiative fighter pilots are supposed to have, they dove on the warship and while wingtip to wingtip opened fire.  On the second strafing pass Peirson's bullets seemed to find a mine aboard the warship that detonated.  So ended the military service of TA-27, an Italian torpedo boat, that was being used by the Germans as a mine-layer.  The 332nd became the only USAAF unit to be officially credited with sinking a ship.

So what is the goof in the above screenshot?  Lt. Pruitt and Lt. Peirson on 25 June 1944 were not flying P-40 Warhawks.  Instead the three squadrons of the 332d FG on that mission were flying Republic P-47D Thunderbolts which were more often known as Jugs.  The P-47 is equipped with eight .50-caliber machine guns and the P&W R-2800 air-cooled radial engine.  The P-40K Warhawk is equipped with six .50-caliber machine guns and the Allison V-1710 water-cooled inline engine.

Chalk this up as yet another reason to skip this movie.  Would modeling the famous Jug in computers have broken their budget?  I guess so or they thought 'no one will notice so make it more P-40s.'This sloppiness begs the question - in what other areas did the film makers play fast and loose with history?

Reference - 332nd Fighter Group.  Chris Bucholtz. Osprey Aircraft series.  Pg 46.


AndyJ said...

You continue to astound me with your military knowledge

Keads said...

Nice! Very impressive.

Anna said...

Curiosity AndyJ simple curiosity. P-40 swooping down and blowing up a ship. With all the problems on the German side I had to investigate to see if this ship sinking was some Walter Mitty fantasy from the writer's pen. I was pleased to find out the red-tailed P-47Ds of the 332nd actually accomplished that. And sad because LucasFilm for some reason chose not to depict this event accurately.

Keads thank you for the kind words. Perhaps I should be hired by Hollywood after all. It seems I can do proper research. ;)

Mutnodjmet said...

Always a history education when I visit the site. I was giving this movie a pass, because I am bone tired of PC-movie themes. The fact they can't get their aircraft straight just adds to my continuing disdain for Hollywood.

Anna said...

Mut, everytime I look at this movie I find something else wrong with it.

I just compared the list of characters against the roster of known 332d FG pilots.

I would think Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character would be Benjamin O. Davis who lead these brave men. Nope, he is Major Stance.

In fact none of the 332d pilots in the movie are real. Pierson and Pruitt sink a destroyer, no such characters in movie. Of the three pilots who shot down ME-262 jet fighters, again they are missing from the movie credits. Even Col. Momyer's name, who did his best to destroy the 99th FS, is missing.

And yet when I mention these problems to friends. Some say they will watch it anyway. So Red Tails brought in $19.1 million this weekend.

Midnite said...

Actually, if you look closely, you'll see it's P51s that are depicted destroying the ship, not P40s (thicker wings, radiator intake underneath the fuselage and bare-metal finish. Also, the two P47 pilots stated in their reports that they only made one pass on the ship, since their fuel tanks were almost empty, and strafed the ship simply so it couldn't fire on them as they went over it. No Axis vessels based at Trieste were lost that day, though one, TA 22, was reported severely damaged by USAAF fighters. Hey, war is confusing.

Anna said...

Midnite, of all that is.... I took another look at my own screen capture. Square wingtips. Aft radiator. Seems to be a P-51. You are right.

Incorrect on the ship sinking though. Air Force Historical Research Agency still lists the ship sinking claim. Even as they document approximately 25 bombers being escorted by aircraft of the 332d FG were indeed shot down by enemy fighters.