Apple TV+’s ‘Masters of the Air’ follows the 100th Bomb Group in World War II. But is it all true?

“Masters of Air,” which premiers Jan. 26 on Apple TV+, is one of the most anticipated series of the year.

It will feature a star-studded ensemble cast and “over 300 speaking parts,” according to executive producer Gary Goetzman.

The miniseries is “a companion piece to ‘Band of Brothers’,” according to Entertainment Weekly, and follows a band of World War II fighter pilots.

But did the events depicted in “Masters of the Air” actually happen? Here’s everything you should know.

Apple TV+’s ‘Masters of the Air’ follows the 100th Bomb Group in World War II. But is it all true?

Is ‘Masters of the Air’ based on a true story?

“Masters of the Air” is based on World War II expert Donald L. Miller’s book, “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany.”

According to Amazon, “‘Masters of the Air’ is the deeply personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. With the narrative power of fiction, Donald Miller takes you on a harrowing ride through the fire-filled skies over Berlin, Hanover, and Dresden and describes the terrible cost of bombing for the German people.”

The 100th Bomb Group

“Masters of the Air” follows the U.S. Army Air Forces’ 100th Bomb Group. Nicknamed the “Bloody 100th,” the 100th Bomb group “appeared to suffer disproportionately at the hands of the German Luftwaffe,” according to The National WWII Museum.

The 100th Bomb Group was thought to be “a jinxed unit” — the probability of surviving “a tour of 25 missions” seemed slim, the article said.

The real-life characters in ‘Masters of the Air’

The 100th Bomb Group was full of “colorful characters,” according to the National WWII Museum. At least two real-life members are depicted in the upcoming Apple TV+ series.

Maj. John “Bucky” Egan (Callum Turner) and Maj. Gale “Buck” Cleven (Austin Butler) were, by all accounts, as swaggering and dashing as expected for aviators — while being excellent pilots.

According to The National WWII Musuem, “Both were described as ‘debonair’; with white scarves and a Hollywood swagger, they were frequently the center of attention at the Silver Wing. Larger than life, other pilots idolized them as both served as the ‘heart and soul’ of the Group.”

Additionally, lead navigator Lt. Harry Crosby, famous for multiple missions and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, will be portrayed in “Masters of Air.”

Described as a “romantic at heart” by The National WWII Museum, Crosby was lead navigator on an Aug. 11 mission when he dissuaded the formation from bombing Bonn, because it was where Beethoven went to school.

Was the 100th Bomb Group really jinxed?

According to the 100th Bomb Group Foundation, the 100th Bomb Group completed 306 missions between 1943 and 1945, with 184 missing air crew reports, 229 lost or salvaged planes, 757 men killed in action and 923 prisoners of war.

But, according to The National WWII Museum, “While the 100th was given the reputation as a hard-luck unit, such a distinction was more myth than reality. Over the course of the war, the Group did not suffer statistically more than any other and in some missions came away unscathed.”

‘Masters of the Air’ cast

“Masters of the Air” boasts a star-studded cast, including:

  • Austin Butler as Gale “Buck” Cleven.
  • Callum Turner as John “Bucky” Egan.
  • Barry Keoghan as Curtis Biddick.
  • Anthony Boyle as Harry Crosby.
  • Nat Mann as Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal.
  • Rafferty Law as Ken Lemmons.
  • Elliot Warren as Lames Douglass.
  • David Shields as Everett Blakely.
  • Ben Radcliffe as John D. Brady.
  • Darragh Cowley as Glenn Graham.
  • Edward Ashley as John B. Kidd.

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are executive producers.

How can I see ‘Masters of the Air’?

“Masters of the Air” premieres Jan. 26 on Apple TV+.

How many episodes will there be in ‘Masters of the Air’?

According to IMDb, there will be nine episodes of “Masters of the Air.”

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