Smithsonian Channel Commemorates Veterans With Special 2-Night Event

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U.S. Air Force Photo by Ken LaRock

In honor of Veteran’s Month, all-new specials Memphis Belle in Color and Battle of Midway: The True Story, will premiere on consecutive nights, November 10 and 11 on Smithsonian Channel.

Memphis Belle in Color tells the story of the famed Memphis Belle — a B-17 bomber plane that became a symbol of the Allies’ desperate fight against the German Luftwaffe during WWII.

Turning toward the Pacific theater, Battle of Midway: The True Story revisits one of the most pivotal battles in United States naval history – a decisive victory that turned the tide in the United States’ punishing fight against Japan.

U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez

Memphis Belle in Color examines the role that B-17 bombers, nicknamed “Flying Fortresses,” played across airborne battlefields. By the summer of 1942, American B-17 airmen were facing chaotic, deadly and frigid battles at altitudes of five miles with a paltry 25 percent survival rate.

The B-17 Memphis Belle and her 10 crew members managed to beat these odds, becoming the first B-17 to earn a trip home and the focus of William Wyler’s 1944 film, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. The special uses newly-restored 4K footage from this iconic film to uncover the story of the famed plane.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

Battle of Midway: The True Story tells the story of the conflict through the lens of the U.S. Navy’s three key aircraft at Midway: the Devastator, Avenger and Dauntless. Together, these three attack planes must overcome an ambush attack from the enemy and face the relentless Zero – a long-range fighter aircraft that had already wreaked devastation at Pearl Harbor.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Using archival footage, interviews with historians and experts, this special reveals the inner workings of the complex and dramatic clash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and how this battle, fought in sea and sky, would turn the tide of the war in favor of the Allies.

Memphis Belle in Color, Premiere, Sunday, November 10 at 9/8c, Smithsonian Channel

Battle of Midway: The True Story, Premiere, Monday, November 11 at 8/7c, Smithsonian Channel