Masters of the Air – S01E05 – Part Five | Transcript

Rosie's next mission signals a significant shift in the 100th's bombing strategy. Crosby receives a promotion, but it comes with a high price.
Masters of the Air - S01E05 - Part Five

In “Masters of the Air” episode 5, the crew faces another dangerous mission targeting railroad yards, fraught with moral dilemmas over potential civilian casualties. Crosby, having survived a previous ordeal, is promoted and watches as his friends head into a harrowing battle. The episode culminates in intense air combat, leading to significant losses, including Bucky’s desperate revenge attempt ending in enemy territory. The squadron suffers greatly, with few returning home, leaving Crosby devastated by the loss of his best friend, Bubbles, reflecting on the personal cost of war.

* * *

[buzzing, crackling]

[Bucky breathing heavily]

[Lemmons] Hello?

It’s just me, Kenny.

Major? Colonel Harding’s looking for you.

[sighs] Yeah.

[Lemmons] You okay, Major?


[Lemmons] We’re all gonna miss Major Cleven, sir.

Weather report.

Supposed to clear up.

Oh, good.

[exhales sharply]

Want a ride, Major?

Nah. I’ll be all right.

You sure, sir?

Don’t worry, Kenny. I don’t even feel it.

See ya in the morning.

[Crosby] Bremen was the toughest mission of the war for me.

It was the heaviest flak I’d ever experienced.

A shell fragment the size of a football crashed through the nose of our fort, nearly decapitating me and Douglass.

Our left wing caught fire and we lost all electrical power, but somehow Ev Blakely got us back to England.

I also saw Major Cleven’s plane take a direct hit and go down.

From the day I joined the 100th, Buck Cleven was our leader.

We thought he was invincible.

If Gale Cleven couldn’t make it, who could?

[door closes]

Can we help you?

Yeah. You can start by getting the hell out of our racks.

And where’s my locker, huh?

Sorry, sir. I was told your airplane…

Well, it didn’t.

Get your gear and step outside, gentlemen.

I’ll find you a new hut.

Hey, uh, you didn’t, uh, ship my locker already, did ya?

No, sir. It’s still in the orderly hut.

[exhales sharply]

[Blakely] I need a drink.

That’s a good idea.

[Blakely] Come on.

Now, Dougie… [grunts]

…what the hell you got in your locker you’re so worried about?

[chuckles] I got more fucking rubbers than I can count.

And I sure as hell don’t need my mom to count them, huh?

[Crosby chuckles]

Don’t worry, I’ll talk to her.

[Douglass chuckles]

[jazz music playing]

[patrons chattering]

[navigator] Holy shit, it’s Blakely’s crew.

Jesus, we thought you bought it. [chuckles]

They reported four chutes out of your ship.


I guess someone can’t count. No one bailed.

Via and Yevich are in the hospital.

We lost Saunders.

Where’d you land?

[Douglass] Some RAF field outside Ludham.

It was a hell of a hairy belly landing.

[Blakely] You can say that again.

Two engines shot, whole fuselage full of holes.

Some mechanic counted them.

How much was it, 1,200?


Stabilizer was totally shredded. Couldn’t get the wheels down.

Don’t worry, the brakes still worked. Till we hit the runway.


It was a goddamn miracle that this man, Everett Blakely, landed her at all.

No, the miracle was Croz’s bearing. One degree off and we’re in the drink.

Pure luck.

Yeah, you do it too often for it to be luck.

Then he managed to navigate us right smack into the only tree for miles, so…

Bull’s-eye. The guy’s a natural. The only tree in East Anglia, he hits it.

[Douglass] Biggest field you’ve ever…

Harry Crosby…

Straight in.

…greatest navigator in the 8th Air Force, right over there, ladies.

All right, who’s drinking? I’m buying. Crank is too.

[Cruikshank] I am?

[Brady] Yes, he is. Come on.

[Cruikshank] If you say so.

[Blakely] Beautiful.

[Douglass] All right, man.

Bubbles… how are you, buddy?

Is it really you, Croz?

Jesus, why the hell didn’t you call?

[stammers] RAF base didn’t have a telephone.

[stammers] Lucky they had a truck.

Can’t believe this.

You know, I-I wrote Jean.

[stammers] You did… You… Sorry, you… you what?

I wrote your wife a letter. We all thought you…

But you didn’t send it, did you?

No, no.

Oh, thank God.

Couldn’t think of anything nice to say, so…


You know, a few times I thought I was dead too, to tell you the truth.

Yeah, well, you made it back.

Just in time too. They’re, uh, starting to shake things up at operations.

What, group navigator?

I’m on the chopping block. Carter too.

They’re gonna replace us just as soon as they can find the guys to replace us with.

They won’t.

Here you go, Croz.

Thanks, Knifehead.

All right, Bubs.

[Douglass] One for you?

Hey, hey. To the 100th!

[soldiers] The 100th!

There we go.

[Douglass] Mmm.

I’ve never heard that before. Never.


Croz, Harding wants to see you.

[soldier] Hey, it’s Egan. What’s he doing back early?

[breathes shakily] Guess they made their decision.

Fill her up, Mike?

[Mike] Sure thing.

No use wondering, gentlemen.

You can all do the math as to why I came back early.

Jesus. Another mission.

We’re flying every day now?

[movie actors chattering]


[soldiers laughing]

230830, Brady. 30725, give it to Cruikshank.

[soldier 1] Uh, Major?

Clift! Do we have 230758?

[soldier 2] One important thing. I didn’t actually, I couldn’t understand what was…

Sorry, sir, but, uh, engineering aren’t gonna be able to get those two ships you asked about ready by wheels up.

Can we get a picture of the MPI?

Well, uh, did you get the bomb load details to ordnance yet?

It’s all squared away. They have everything they need.

Hey, Croz.

Got one.

So, we start with a duty officer.

Homer. Crosby’s just been promoted to group navigator.

Welcome to the monkey house, Captain.

Thank you.

Spence will have navigation field orders for you.

Captain, you take it down to S-2.

Tell the clerk what you need.

[Bowman] Goddamn it.

[officer] Sorry.

[Bowman] Get a cloth, will ya?

Jesus. That’s fine.


Keep up, Croz.

No harm done.

Thank you.

So this is your office.

You get your own jeep. It’s a perk of the job.

Anything else you need, you ask Tripp. Right?

Good luck, Croz.

Uh, Major?


You sure I’m the right man for this?



[soldier 1] So, flight 40-6-2, that puts her in combat radius.


[soldier 2] Sergeant, I need you.

[slide projector clicks]

Your primary target is Münster.

Your aiming point and mean point of impact is the railroad marshaling yards.

The target is just east of the city center.

[soldiers murmuring] City center?

Be quiet. Listen up.

[Bowman] So, accuracy on this mission is paramount.

Intelligence reports that most of the housing in the adjacent neighborhoods are railroad workers.

So, if they’re hit, then we’ll be hitting the men who keep the German railroads running.

Lights. Colonel?

[Harding] Thank you, Red.

95th is leading with us in the low, and the 390th in the high.

Good news is it’s a short flight. Münster is pretty damn close.

Bad news is we can only muster 17 ships…


…a few of which weren’t even ours two days ago.

[soldiers murmuring] Only 17 ships?

That’s the mission, boys: Disrupt industrial transportation in the Ruhr valley.


[soldiers] Yes, sir.

[Harding] Good. Major Egan will be command pilot in Brady’s fort.

We just flew two missions in two days.

Aren’t they supposed to rotate the squadrons?

Let one have a mission off?

Who else they got?

[Murphy] It’s not right. It’s Sunday.

[Brady] Yeah, and tomorrow is Monday.

You saw how close that cathedral is to the MPI.

We’re hitting it right when everyone’s coming out of mass.

[Brady] And?

There’ll be a lot of people in that cathedral.

Or in their houses.

And not just railroad workers either.

They’re all part of it.

We’ve never had a target this close to a city…

Ah, Jesus Christ, Crank.

It’s a war.

Here to drop bombs.

On women and kids?

Well, this won’t end till we hit ’em where it hurts.

Better now before every fucking guy we’ve ever shared a bunk with is either dead or MIA.

None of the people we’re gonna bomb today shot down Buck.

You flying today or not?


“Yes, sir.”

Yes, sir.

[soldiers chattering]

You look like shit.

Feel like it. Gimme that.

Go to bed, why don’t you?

Well, I wanted to make sure all the navigators have what they need.


Well, I’d prefer unconditional surrender from the Krauts, but this’ll do.

Congrats on the promotion.

Don’t go thinking I’m sore about it.

Still think you’re the best navigator.

You seem to be alone in that opinion.

Well, wish me luck in She’s Gonna.

She’s Gonna?

Wouldn’t you like to know.

Hey, hey! Stop the truck!

You okay, Bucky?

Yeah, you guys go on ahead.

Catch up in a jeep.


We gotta trade jackets.

[Jack] What?

Come on. Give me your jacket.

You serious?

They say when we get her back?

Not yet.

[Pappy] What’s the name of the plane they’re putting us in?

Royal Flush.

Royal Flush.

“Aw-R-Go”? What the hell does that mean?

[engineer] Got it from Framlingham yesterday.

But it’ll fly. At least that far.

That makes me feel better.

[Bucky] Thanks, Lloyd.

[Brady] Trade in your sheepskin, Major?

Buck always hated that jacket.

[Crosby] The hardest part of any mission was the anticipation.

The waiting.

No matter how well I plotted the routes or how thoroughly I briefed the other navigators,

after wheels up, there was nothing I could do.

Flanagan’s dropping out of formation.

[Bucky] Goddamn it, another one.

Lead pilot to tail, you see what’s wrong with Flanagan’s bird?

Yeah, affirmative. Looks like a bad number four engine.

Stephen’s sliding in to replace him.

Lead pilot to navigator, log that as another mechanical, will ya?

So, does that make three or four we’ve lost? I’ve lost count. Over.

Four aborts, Major, which leaves us with 13 ships.

Shit. [Sighs]

There’s no chance that we’re gonna close that gap between us and the 95th before the coast.

Yeah, we’re giving her all we can.

Lead pilot to tail, how far back are the 390th?

Got to be five miles back, sir.

There’s too much space for those Jerries to find us in those gaps.


[Bucky] Hey, Johnny, maybe it’s time to get down to the nose and man that third gun, all right?

[Johnny] On my way, Major.

Christ, I thought he’d never leave.

[Brady] He’s my copilot.

He’s just making sure you don’t blow up my ship.

Well, not today, I’m not.

[Hafer] Top turret to bombardier.

Go for bombardier.

Okay for me to pull the pins?

[Hambone] Roger that.

[Hafer] How about oxygen? You okay back there?

[Hambone] The oxygen’s okay.

Uh, let’s keep your mag, uh, feeder clear there. Just click depress.

[Johnny] Feeder’s clear. Rest of it’s, uh, tied up to the bulkhead.

[Hafer] All right, check the guns.

[Hambone] Guns are set.

[Hafer] All good?

[Hambone] Yeah, roger. Guns are set.

[Johnny] .50 cals are knock knock.


Jesus. How much coffee did you have this morning?

Too fucking much.

Bombs away!

Okay, boys, I’m heading in.

All right.

Escorts are out of gas. They’re headed home.

Got us through the channel at least.

Ball turret to crew. Flak dead ahead.

[Bucky] Roger that.

[exhales sharply]

[ball gunner] Ball turret to crew. Flak, 1:00 low.

Flak, 3:00. Six o’clock.

[waist gunner] Hey!

Have I ever told you I fucking hate flak?

[gunner] Not today.

[ball gunner] Flak got Lauro. They’re dropping out.


[tail] I see parachutes.

[gunner] Shit! Stymie’s going down.

[Bucky] Down to 11.

Navigator to command pilot, three minutes to IP.

Pilot to navigator. Roger that.



[grunts] Harry, no.

No. [Grunts]

[Brady] Are we hit?


Lead pilot to crew, we good back there? Over.

[breathes heavily] Clanton… His fucking face is blown off.

[Bucky] Christ.

Goddamn it. Harry, breathe, Harry.

Breathe. Breathe, goddamn it!

Harry, don’t you die on me.


[breathes heavily]

Please, Harry. [Grunts]

Engine one’s quit.

Fuck! Shut off the gas and feather it.

Clanton’s dead.

Navigator to pilot, we’re over the IP. Turn to 057.

Roger. Coming to 057. Over.

Flak’s slowing down, boys. Keep your eyes peeled.

Fighters probably all around us.


[Bucky] Fighters, 12:00. Must be hundreds of those bastards.

Open fire, let ’em have it!

Let’s lower the odds.

[screaming, sobbing]

[screaming] I’m hit!

I’m hit! I’m hit in my leg!

[breathes heavily] My leg!

[gunner] I’m coming!

Pilot to bombardier, we are approaching target. Are you ready for her?

Bombardier to pilot. Roger.

Pilot to bombardier. Your ship.

Roger. Bomb bay doors going open.

Bogeys, 9:00 high!

Tail. We’ve lost another one! Last of the low element!


Number three’s on fire!

Shutting off gas, and feathering.

We’re fine!

We’re maintaining speed.

Yeah, just.

We can make it to the target.

[Hambone] Approximately one minute to bomb release.

Rockets, 2:00!

[Hambone] Oh, fuck!

Lead pilot to nose.

What’s going on down there? We got bombs to drop.

[Johnny] Hambone! Hambone!

[Brady] They’re coming in for another run at us.

Make those bastards pay!

Christ, engine four is done! We’re down to one engine.

[screams, gasps]

Hambone’s hit bad.

Engine two is going on us. She’s pulling already.

It’s gonna be hard to keep her level.

We gotta leave formation.



Salvo the fucking bombs now!

Hit the bailout bell!

[Brady grunting, exhales sharply]

[alarm ringing]

Salvo the bombs!


[Johnny] We’re bailing! Salvo the fucking bombs!


Destroy the bomb sight! Shoot it!

[grunting] I can’t hold her steady much longer!

[exhales sharply]

[Johnny] Hang in there, Hambone!

[Hambone] Help me! Get my parachute! [breathes heavily]

[Rosenthal] Pilot to navigator, note it in the log: Squad leader Egan leaving formation.

Roger that. Cruikshank moving into lead position.


Navigator to pilot, Major Egan is falling fast.

Looks like they’re preparing to bail.

Let’s go! We got to get out of here now!

Hey, give me a hand!

[Hafer] Petros, let’s go!

He should be buried.

We have to get Harry down.

George, come on, damn it! He’s dead!

We gotta get out of here now. Let’s go!

[breathes heavily, grunting]


Come on! [Grunts]

[grunts, straining]

Help! Help, my harness is caught!


Get me off! Get me off! [Grunting]


Pull the release! Pull the release!



There they go! They’re all out!

Let’s get off this dump!


You go!

Goddamn it, Brady, I’m the senior officer. Now jump!

It’s my ship! You jump!

[both grunting]

[screams] What the hell!

All right. I’ll see you, John! [Grunts]


I’m still here, you sons of bitches!

[breathing heavily]


[exhales sharply]

[breathing heavily]

We’re over the damn target.

Drop ’em, for fuck’s sake, and let’s get the hell out of here.

Bombardier to pilot. Now?

[Rosenthal] Not until the lead drops.


[Rosenthal] Hold.

[bombardier] Now?

[Rosenthal] Not yet.


Bombs away.

[ball gunner] There they go.

Right on target.

Flak incoming.

[tail gunner screaming]


[breathing heavily]

[screams, panting]

[panting, whimpering]

You okay?

Don’t worry about it. I’m okay.

Left gunner to pilot.

DeBlasio’s hit out of the tail.

There’s a lot of blood, but I think he’s okay.


[breathing heavily]

[groaning, grunts]

[Rosenthal] Pilot to crew. Flak’s stopped. Keep alert.

[humming “The Chant”]

[humming continues]

[imitates trumpets]

[humming continues]

Enemy fighters at 10:00 high, and 2:00 high.

[ball gunner] They’re going after Cruikshank in lead.

Lead’s going down!

I see parachutes!

[top gunner] 110s are now 5:00 high, going level.

Rockets incoming. Starboard.

[Pappy] Holy shit, there’s a hole in the wing!

She’s Gonna is blown to bits!

[Rosenthal] Any chutes?

[gunner] Christ, we just lost the high lead and She’s Gonna.

Tail, ball turret, any chutes?

[ball gunner] I don’t see any.

[breathing heavily]

[breathing shakily]

[Pappy] Where is everybody?

[breathing heavily]

Pilot to crew, does anyone see any other ships from the 100th?

Top turret to pilot, negative.

Left waist gunner to pilot, negative.

Ball turret to pilot, negative.

Nose, negative.

Tail to pilot, negative.

Right waist gunner, negative.

[top gunner] Bogeys, 5:00 high.

More of those assholes at 7:00 high.

Pilot to crew. Hold on, everybody.

[grunting, panting]


[gunner] Two more coming in.

[ball gunner] Two o’clock.

[Rosenthal] They’re coming right at us.

All guns ready port side.

Get ’em, boys.

Hold on, boys.

[machine guns firing]

Nice shot, Milburn.

Stay sharp, guys. They’re not giving up yet.

Two turning on tail, 6:00 low.

Okay, hang on.

I’m gonna put these two on your back doorstep.

[kid] Here they come, Billy.

I see ’em. Straight ahead. Take maneuvers! [imitates gunshot]

[Lemmons] Twelve o’clock level.

[mechanics speaking indistinctly]

[kid] What?

It’s like a clock.

Straight ahead is 12:00. So, behind you is…

Six o’clock?

That’s right.

[Billy imitates gunshot] Open fire!

[kids imitating gunfire]

[kid] Drop the bombs!


[imitating explosions]

[soldiers chattering]

[airplane approaching]

I hear them.

[Jack] It’s not ours.

That’s 390th.

[Harding] Get one of them on the radio.

Approaching aircraft, Station 139. Acknowledge.

390th aircraft turning onto the approach track, this is tower.

Do you read me?

You have landed at Station 139.

This is the 100th CO.

Do you know where my group is landing?


[Jack] Where are our boys, Chick?

He said none of ’em made it. [Sighs]

None of them?

[airplane approaching]

[soldier] Here comes another.

[Bowman] That’s one of ours.

[Harding] Mmm. Who is that?

[Jack] It’s one of the new guys. Rosenthal.

[Rosenthal] This is aircraft 087. We have wounded on board.

[radio operator] Roger, aircraft 087. Dispatching ambulance.

Where’s the rest?

[Lemmons] Go home, boys.

What about the others?

Just go.

[soldiers, medics clamoring]


[medic 1] Move. Let’s go.

[medic 2] Nice and easy.


[breathing heavily]

[medic 3] Okay. Right here, right here.

[top gunner] All right, he’s good. Take him.

I’ll get your legs first.

We got your head.

Here we go, here we go.

Here we go.

[medic 1] We got him.

[top gunner] All right, here we go.

We’re gonna get you home, Loren.

[coughing, retching]

[gunner grunts]

[Lemmons] What happened to Bubbles?

What about Egan?

[Rosenthal] After interrogation.

And Crank?

[Rosenthal] Later, Kenny.

All of ’em?


That’s it.

Fucking it!

[panting] That’s the last fucking time I’m going up.

They can’t make me go up again. I won’t do it.

I’m not gonna do it. [Sighs]

It’s the last fucking time I’m going up.

[Bowman] Tail 230823. Invadin’ Maiden. That’s Walts’s crew.

[navigator] No record.

[Bowman] Anyone?

Tail 230047. Sweater Girl.

It’s with Atchinson’s crew.

No record.


Tail 23534. Ol’ Dad.

[navigator] No record.

[Rosenthal] It was really bad up there, sir.

We didn’t have much time for logs.

Tail 230023. Forever Yours. Stork’s crew.

Yes, sir. They, uh…

They got hit by a rocket. Early on.

Uh, it was on fire for a minute or two and then…

[Bowman] Did anyone see any chutes?


Tail 23229. Pasadena Nina.




[inhales deeply]

Tail 234423. She’s Gonna.

Bubbles Payne. Navigator.

No record.

[gunner] I saw ’em.

[Bowman] Well, what happened?

You know, they were on fire and then they just blew up.

Any chutes?

I just said they blew up.

No, sir. No chutes.

[Bowman sighs] Tail 230087. Shack Rat.

[Ronald] No record.

[Bowman] Tail 23237. Slightly Dangerous.

Thompson’s crew.

[Ronald] No record.

[Bowman] Tail 23433. Leona.

[Ronald] No record.

[Bubbles] Dear Jean,

You know this already, but your husband was the best friend I ever had.

He was also the best navigator I ever met, even though he was too humble to admit it to himself.

Takes a special kind of courage for a man to stay modest surrounded by blustering blowhards in every direction, but that was Croz.

I wish more than anything it was him sitting here and not me… and then no one would have to write this letter.



[Rosenthal] There was a mission to Münster.

It was rough.


[Dr. Huston] Three missions in your first three days.

120 men dead in one afternoon.

And I wasn’t one of them.

I don’t think this, uh, environment is helpful for me.

I’d like to return to base.

[Dr. Huston] This war… [sighs]

Human beings weren’t meant to behave this way.

[Rosenthal] You see people being persecuted, subjugated…

[shouting, crying]

…you have to do something.

Bubbles, he went down last week. It was my fault.

You don’t go crying about it.

You get back in the seat and you finish the damn job.



[farmer] Amerikaner?


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