Wednesday, May 29, 2024

National Geographic Honors WW2 Soldiers of Color with Two New Specials

*National Geographic will air two new specials this summer that honor the contributions and sacrifices of overlooked Allied soldiers of color. 

The four-part docuseries ERASED: WW2’S HEROES OF COLOR, executive produced and narrated by Idris Elba, will premiere on Monday, June 3, at 9/8c. THE REAL RED TAILS, a one-hour documentary narrated by Sheryl Lee Ralph, will precede the premiere at 8/7c. Both specials will stream the next day on Disney+ and Hulu.

Per the news release: The Real Red Tails tells of the astonishing discovery of a P-39 airplane in Lake Huron, Michigan, reigniting a story lost to time and triggering one of the most important WW2 archeological missions in the Great Lakes. On the morning of April 11, 1944, Tuskegee pilot 22-year-old Second Lieutenant Frank Moody perished in what should have been a routine training mission when his plane malfunctioned and took a nosedive into the chilly waters. With unprecedented access, the one-hour special, narrated by Ralph, will take viewers on a journey to uncover the 80-year-old mystery of how and why Moody’s plane ultimately went down. The special enlists teams of underwater archaeologists to recover parts of the downed plane for the first time and weaves in firsthand accounts from fellow airmen along with underwater footage from the wreck to give a final answer to the mystery.

Meanwhile, the four-part series ERASED: WW2’S HEROES OF COLOR sheds light on the immense contributions of over eight million individuals who fought heroically for the Allied forces and whose stories have largely gone untold.”

National Geographic Honors WW2 Soldiers of Color with Two New Specials
Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Color / YouTube screenshot

The release states that the series “weaves a blend of historical dramatizations with curated archival footage, bridging the past with the present to highlight new perspectives on established histories.”

“The series showcases the personal narratives of soldiers through their never-before-aired oral testimonies and journal writings, along with powerful accounts from their descendants — stories passed down the generations,” the synopsis continues “These gripping and emotional testimonies transport viewers back in time to witness bravery unfold in WW2’s iconic theatres of war.”

Below is the synopsis of each episode:


Premieres June 3 at 9/8c on Nat Geo, Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

This episode tells the story of three Black sailors who not only miraculously survived the attack on Pearl Harbor but also saved countless lives. Working as messmen below deck on segregated ships, hundreds of Black sailors fought for their lives as Japanese bombs hit, with some performing incredible acts of heroism. It took years before many of these men were properly honored after their return.


Premieres June 3 at 10/9c on Nat Geo, Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

In this episode, we unearth the hidden heroes of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion who helped liberate Europe. These American soldiers were the only all-Black combat unit to fight on the D-Day beaches. After valiantly serving their country, they returned home, hoping for the Civil Rights Movement to secure change, only to find a country where their heroics in France were quickly forgotten.


Premieres June 10 at 9/8c on Nat Geo, Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

This episode reveals the gripping story of Force K6, a little-known Indian regiment of mule handlers in WW2, with one unit destined to be pivotal in evacuating Allied forces at Dunkirk. Other units who were stranded or captured in Nazi-occupied France had to find ways to escape to safety. Later, their wartime experiences fed the fight to end nearly 200 years of colonial rule in India.


Premieres June 10 at 10/9c on Nat Geo Streams June 4 on Disney+ and Hulu

This episode explores the untold story of the Black Panthers, an elite African American tank battalion. Unseen diaries and rare interviews chart the unit’s action through France, Belgium and Germany, including in the bloodiest American battle of WW2: the Battle of the Bulge. Their experiences inspired not just the fight for civil rights in the U.S. but also battles for freedom worldwide.

*press release

READ MORE: Nat Geo Taps Angela Bassett and Idris Elba for New Shows

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