KNIGHTS OF THE SKY:
Air War Over Romania


Meet American fighter pilots and bombers who raided Romanian targets in WW-II including its major oilfields centered on Ploesti and Romanians who defended them. 'Ace' pilot interviews, both American and Romanian, as well as US Air Force prisoners experiences are explored through rarely viewed Romanian archive footage.

COMMENTS FROM VIEWERS

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This Kogainon Films production was produced in partnership with National Geographic Magazine (Romanian Edition) and premiered on TVR1 (Romania). NG article authored by Dan Dimancescu appeared December 2010.

PRODUCTION TEAM

Producer: Dan Dimancescu
Director: Nicholas Dimancescu
Editor: Kyle Brandse
Script: Nicholas Dimancescu
Original Art:
Michael Obermeyer, Radu Oltean
Score: Tanner Ross
Guest Music: Irina Sarbu, Christopher Duggan
Videographer: Kyle Brandse, Nicholas Dimancescu, Ronald Otero
Mix Engineer: Nathan Bice
Audio Engineer: Michael Tran
Historians: Alexandru Arma, Ernest Latham, Dan Melinte, Sorin Turturica
Production Assistance: Alexandra Carlsson
Legal Counsel: Ramulescu Law Offices
Advisors: Cristian Lascu (Ed.) and Domnica Macri (both Natl Geog Mag Romania)


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DOCUMENTARY SYNOPSIS:

The documentary is seen through the eyes and words of Nicholas Dimancescu. He journeys back to Romania both to discover his own roots and also to uncover the stories of American and Romanian airmen who raided and defended Romania's oil refineries during World War II. The experiences of wartime 'aces' on both sides are recounted and two of them, once enemies who attacked one another over Romania, meet for the first time 66 years later.

During the late-1930s fascist groups such as the Iron Guard rose to power in Romania. In the wake of power struggles electrified by the rise of Nazi Germany, the government fell in a coup led by General Ion Antonescu who fast cumulated dictatorial power. There were vain hopes that the short-lived Soviet Union and Germany alliance would protect Romanian territorial gains after WW I. But, a year after War was declared, Romania joined the Axis Powers on November 23, 1940. Its oil resources controlled in large part by U.S. and European oil companies, as in WW I, became an invaluable asset to fuel the German war machine and especially the Luftwaffe fighters and bombers. This set the stage for Ploesti to become a major military strategic target. The U.S. declared war against Romania in 1942 and as the tide of the war shifted against the Axis in 1943, the U.S. set out to bomb Romania's oil production capacity and sheer its supply lines to Germany.

Launched on August 1, 1943, a U.S. operation dubbed ‘Tidal Wave’ swooped over the Ploesti oil region causing a vital but not debilitating blow. During 1944 numerous further air strikes were launched. Ultimately U.S. and allied air casualties totalled 2300 men. Another 1100 were prisoners until a dramatically executed three-day rescue airlift in late August 1944 soon after Soviet Russia invaded Moldavia and Romania shifted allegiance to the Allied side.

PRODUCTION DIARY

BACKGROUND

FEATURED PERSONALITIES

THE RAIDS
(chronology)
Ronnie Otero's story of the 'lessons learned' in the making of Knights of the Sky
OTHER MATERIAL

EQUIPMENT

B-24 IN-FLIGHT FILMING

THE MAKING OF:
BELOW: Interview with Ambassador Mark Gitenstein and Nicholas Dimancescu on TVR1 (December 2010)
NOTE: Questions in Romanian / Answers in English
INTERVIEWS:

Gnrl Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu
Astronaut

Catalin Prunariu
Acrobatics Pilot

Lt. Col. Scott Yancy
'Checkertails' F-15C Jet Pilot

Herbert Guiness
B-24 Pilot Over Ploesti 1944
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