Over Guadalcanal (2006)
time: 60 mins.
than 60 years after it crashed, the rusting jungle remains
of an American plane shot down in 1942 provided some clues
to close a mystery - and the material for a fascinating documentary.
U.S. Wildcat pilot James ``Pug`` Sutherland tangled with Japanese
Zero ace Saburo Sakai during the Pacific campaign, theirs
was just one of thousands of aerial battles fought between
1941-45. What made this one special was the mystery of why
Sutherland didn't shoot down the Zero when he flew right behind
it and had it cold in his sights. Instead, Sakai regained
the upper hand, aimed at the Wildcat's engine and forced Sutherland
to parachute to safety from his burning plane.
both men survived the war (Sakai lived until 2000), Sutherland
was killed in an air accident in the U.S. 1949. Both wrote
of their encounter shortly after the battle, but Sutherland
never explained why he didn't shoot down the Zero when he
had the chance.
It was only when a villager on Guadalcanal recently found
the remains of the Wildcat that historical investigators were
able to discover the likely answer.
is an absorbing documentary that uses exciting computer game
special effects to recreate the dogfight. Guns blaze as the
planes twist and turn on each other - it's really like being
part of the battle.
documentary also details the way young American and Japanese
fliers prepared for battle and looks at the planes they flew.