I’ve just watched Memphis Belle for about the second time in twenty years, good movie but it did raise a question for me.
As the movie is over twenty years old I don’t think spoilers are really necessary but if you don’t want to know anything of the plot please stop reading now.
Its a pivotal plot point that the Captain of the lead plane decides to turn around and take another run at the target as it is obscured by cloud on the first run. My question is if that is even possible and secondly did it ever happen? I imagine it would be quite a complex undertaking to turn an entire bomber-group of several hundred aircraft 180 degrees to take another run at the target, at least in anything like a reasonable time frame.
Another question, the Captain explains his decision on the rationale that the entire bomber-group is going to release on his command and they want to hit the factory and not the hospital and civilian areas nearby, surely the bomber-group is spread out enough that if they release on the lead bomber they are going to cover the same area as they are spread out, the lead plane may put its payload down the pickle-barrel but the others are going to hit everything around it.
Nb: I fully recognise Memphis Belle is a Hollywood film and therefore takes some liberty with the facts but on my admitadly limited knowledge of WW2 it seemed fairly accurate to me.