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The Lt. Col. Jack Bradley Collection, no. 2 - Gun Camera Footage

Jack Bradley

Silent | 1943 | 1944

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  •  Some of the specific Luftwaffe planes that Lt. Col. Bradley engages are the Messerschmitt Bf 109 (ME 109), the Messerschmitt Bf 110 (ME 110), the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (FW 190), the Heinkel He 115 (H.E. 115), and the Dornier Do 217 (DO 217). 
  •  Lt. Col. Jack Bradley's squadron was ranked first in WWII with 701 confirmed enemies destroyed in aerial combat, of which 15 were attributed to Bradley, who ranked third overall in his squadron. For his service Lt. Col. Jack Bradley was awarded The Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, in 1999 he was inducted into the American Combat Airmen's Hall of Fame. 
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This footage, captured by the gun camera mounted on Lt. Col. Jack Bradley's P-51 Mustang, is made up of reels from several different missions with official combat film numbering preceding each segment. Present in these combat films are numerous dogfights between Lt. Col. Bradley and German planes, images of strafing runs against stationary targets as well as attacks on trains and trucks. Also present are images of attacks made on Bremen, Germany, the site of the Bremen Vulkan shipyard which was an allied target during WWII. The combat footage present in this selection dates from December of 1943 to January of 1944.

Lt. Col. Jack T. Bradley was born and raised in the north central Texas town of Brownwood. While attending Howard Payne College he joined the Civilian Pilot training program, and in 1941 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Cadet program in Dallas. From fall, 1942 to May, 1945, he served in the 353 Squadron, 354 Fighter Group, piloting a P-51 Mustang fighter plane in the European theater of WWII. After a twenty-year distinguished military career, Lt. Col. Bradley retired in Brownwood, TX.

Images of Lt. Col. Bradley and his squadron were captured by "gun cameras" affixed to the wings of their planes and set to start filming when the pilot fired. Surviving footage provides an excellent view of the maneuvers performed by the planes on which they were mounted, though the vibration created by the guns often resulted in poor image quality.