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Savage devises a new tactic: "bombing the leader," i.e.having all his bombardiers drop their explosives where his keenest eyed airman, Lt. When the tactic wipes out a Dutch school instead of the target, Savage's superior Wiley Crowe balks at letting him try again.
Is Savage just covering his mistake, or giving Mellon and the tactic a deserved second chance ?This is especially difficult for Lockridge, who must weigh his gratitude to his friend against the inescapable reality of Savage's argument.16 October 1964General Savage gets a new bombardier, Lt.Lathrop, a goofy, ungainly kid, who just happens to have a knack for putting the bombs precisely on the target.18 September 1964General Savage believes that Gallagher, part of a military family, is too quick to abort missions at the first sign of engine trouble.Savage rides Gallagher hard, assigning him a crew of slackers and misfits and ordering Gallagher to paint the name "Leper Colony" on his plane.
Gallagher turns his crew is to an efficient outfit but he despises Savage and wants to do anything to get a transfer.
25 September 1964After another failed air strike, Gen.
2 October 1964General Savage decides to court martial a pilot, Captain Ritchie, who disobeyed a direct order and left the bomber formation to protect a friend, Lt.
Lockridge, and his crew who have bailed out of their crippled B-17.
Because everyone else considers Ritchie a hero, Savage's severe action instigates a fall in morale and hostile feelings among his men.
Savage must convince his troops that while Ritchie's deed may have saved the lives of the 7 men, it also jeopardized the security of the remaining 200 men in the Group.