Masters of the Air: So That’s Why They Call it the Bloody 100th

Masters of the Air episode 3 features a crucible of aerial WWII carnage.

Austin Butler, Callum Turner and James Frecheville in "Masters of the Air," now streaming on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

This article contains spoilers for Masters of the Air episode 3.

One needn’t be a World War II expert to understand that the global conflict was a violent one. Even a cursory glance at casualty statistics on Wikipedia reveals some eye-popping numbers: 61 million total (military and civilian) lives lost for the Allies, 120 million gone for the Axis, and countless more affected in ways we could never begin imagine. All in all, roughly 3% of the world’s 1940 population is believed to have perished during the war.

In telling the story of the United States’ involvement in World War II via miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific, producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman successfully captured the dread, doom, and death that pervaded the time period. With the most recent episode of their third effort Masters of the Air, however, they’ve truly outdone themselves.

Masters of the Air episode 3 is one of the most terrifying and destructive hours ever presented in any of these WWII limited series. The plot follows the Eighth Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group as they embark on a mission to Regensburg, Germany to disable crucial Axis manufacturing facilities. It’s to be the largest air armada ever assembled by mankind with over 500 planes taking off. 21 of those planes belong to the 100th. Only 11 of them land safely in their North Africa rendezvous point.


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