C'est La Guerre (That's War)
Combat fatigued Captain Jeffrey Hampton kills two Me-109’s before being hit and bailing out of his burning P-47. An escape line, mostly of beautiful women, moves him toward Spain at night. He and the last girl fall in love, and, as D-Day occurs, he joins resistance fighters until the invasion of Southern France frees him. More
After surviving the winter of 1943-1944 by begging, stealing and even killing, these growing numbers of maquisards had been brought to the attention of Winston Churchill who became convinced of their value as guerilla fighters and employed “...the RAF and two Liberator squadrons of the U. S. Army Air Forces...” who flew 759 missions to air-drop supplies and about 5,000 regular officers of the former French Army and Allied agents to arm, train, and discipline underground civilian soldiers to commit sabotage and harass the Germans in preparation for the invasion of France.
“In France alone, SOE air-dropped more than 650 tons of explosives, 723,000 hand grenades, and some half million small arms, including 198,000 Sten guns, 128,000 rifles, 20,000 Bren guns and 58,000 pistols.” (p.60) Also air-dropped were radio transmitters and receivers, clothing, bicycles, tinned food, coffee, chocolate, and tobacco.
“Instructions for carrying out the invasion plans were contained in 325 ‘personal messages’ to be broadcast by the French-language service of the BBC on the eve of D-Day. Each message, meaningless to the Germans, was the go-ahead for a specific maquis or Resistance group somewhere in France. Through the long months of April and May, 1944, the French waited, tuning in their radio sets to the BBC every night, listening for a few words that would change their lives and help decide the fate of their nation.”
American airmen flying combat from England over the continent had only an amorphous knowledge of what was occurring in France. To these airmen, the Germans, their targets, were there, occupying the country, and the conquered French people were forced to submit to the whims of their conquerors. To go down, alive, meant only that one was on one’s own, hopefully away from where the Germans were, still able-bodied enough to run and hide, and fortunate enough to encounter a friendly Frenchman who would help contact the underground. The odds were appalling to contemplate, and one usually did not, because crashing, being blown to bits, or burning in one’s plane seemed ever so much more probable.
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