On August 9, 1941, a RAF squadron embarked on an aerial raid over France, led by a hotshot pilot named Douglas Bader. He had already shot down 21 enemy fighters and was hungry for more.
The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the greatest air-to-air fighters in history, entering into combat over the skies of Dunkirk, London, and Malta when Britain needed it most. But before earning its reputation as the defense of the free world, the Spitfire experienced its share of turbulence against the mighty Luftwaffe. Thanks to a radical idea for an elliptical-shaped wing, a Rolls Royce engine, and ace pilots, this is the story of how it ultimately prevailed and helped free the world of tyranny.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus. Check the availability of this title and explore our vast library of original documentaries and series.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.