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Originally a public domain film from the US Navy, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
A dogfight, or dog fight, is an aerial battle between fighter aircraft conducted at close range. Dogfighting first occurred in Mexico in 1913, shortly after the invention of the airplane. Until at least 1992, it was a component in every major war, despite beliefs after World War II that increasingly greater speeds and longer-range weapons would make dogfighting obsolete.
Modern terminology for air-to-air combat is air combat maneuvering (ACM), which refers to tactical situations requiring the use of individual basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) to attack or evade one or more opponents. This differs from aerial warfare, which deals with the strategy involved in planning and executing various missions…
During the 1930s two different streams of thought about air-to-air combat began to emerge, resulting in two different streams of monoplane fighter development. In Japan and Italy especially, there continued to be a strong belief that lightly armed, highly maneuverable single seat fighters would still play a primary role in air-to-air combat. Aircraft such as the Nakajima Ki-27 and Nakajima Ki-43 and the Mitsubishi A6M Zero in Japan, and the Fiat G.50 and Macchi C.200 in Italy epitomised a generation of monoplanes designed to this concept.
The other stream of thought, which emerged primarily in Britain, Germany, the Soviet Union and the United States was the belief the high speeds of modern combat aircraft and the g-forces imposed by aerial combat meant that dogfighting in the classic WW I sense would be impossible. Fighters such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Supermarine Spitfire, the Yakovlev Yak-1 and the Curtiss P-40 were all designed for high level speeds and a good rate of climb. Good maneuverability was not a primary objective.
Immediately following the Spanish civil war came World War II, during which dogfighting was most prevalent. It was widely believed that strategic bombing alone was synonymous with air power; a fallacy that would not be fully understood until Vietnam. After the failings in Spain, a greater emphasis was placed on the accuracy of air-to-ground attacks. The need to stop bombers from reaching their targets, or to protect them on their missions, was the primary purpose for most dogfights of the era.
Dogfighting over Europe
Dogfighting was very prominent in the skies over Europe. The air force in France, while a major force during World War I, was inadequate and poorly organized, and quickly fell to the German onslaught. As the first battles between the Germans and the British began, the power of the German’s anti-aircraft artillery became readily apparent, with 88 millimeter shells capable of firing 40,000 feet (12,000 m) in the air. General Wolfram von Richthofen noted that these guns were equally destructive when used for ground fire. Adolph Malan compiled a list of aerial combat rules that were widely taught to RAF pilots. The German Bf 109 and the British Spitfire were some of the most common fighters used in the European theater…