As explained in this USAAF film, the American and British armies were stymied at the Gustav Line in Southern Italy. An attempt to flank the Germans with an amphibious landing at Anzio stuck another 100,000 men in place. The Mediterranean Allied Air Forces were at first used as artillery to bombard defensive positions, but “it didn’t work,” says the narrator. Then, someone had the idea of applying MacArthur’s Pacific strategy to the Italian campaign. Planes were used in the North to cut rail lines, followed by roadways, so that reinforcements could not be sent to the front. This was the Spring offensive of 1944, called Operation Strangle.

A half-dozen cameras were placed on P-47 fighter-bombers to record the action. Wyler and Sturges also have camera planes for aerial footage, and there are scenes of life at Alto Air Base in Corsica, as well as ground footage of the subsequent advance to Rome.

The same toughminded direction as The Memphis Belle, with the addition of experience and John Sturges.