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Red Tails

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Red Tails
Red Tails Poster.jpg
Movie Poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpg United States
CZE.jpg Czech Republic
Directed by Anthony Hemingway
Release Date 2012
Language English
Studio Lucasfilm
Partnership Pictures
Distributor 20th Century Fox
Main Cast
Character Actor
Colonel A.J. Bullard Terrence Howard
Major Emanuelle Stance Cuba Gooding Jr
Marty 'Easy' Julian Nate Parker
Joe 'Lightning' Little David Oyelowo
Sofia Daniela Ruah
Colonel William Mortamus Bryan Cranston
Lieutenant General Luntz Gerald McRaney

Red Tails is the 2012 war movie directed by Anthony Hemingway (The Wire, Battlestar Galactica) starring Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr, with Bryan Cranston and Gerald McRaney. Executive Producer George Lucas had long been an aviation buff (as demonstrated in Star Wars) and had wanted to make a film about the Tuskegee Airmen for years, but was unable to secure funding due to difficulty of marketing films with predominantly black casts to white and international audiences. Lucas selected director Hemingway after seeing his work on The Wire, and along with casting director Alexa L. Fogel, also of The Wire, selected many veterans from that show to fill out the cast. For Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr, this was their second turns as Tuskegee Airmen, having starred in Hart's War and HBO's The Tuskegee Airmen, respectively.

The following weapons were used in the film Red Tails:

Aircraft Armament

Browning M2 Aircraft (Flexible)

The Browning M2 Aircraft heavy machine gun appears in the film as the primary armament of US Army Air Force bombers.

Browning M2 Aircraft, Flexible - .50 BMG
The top turret of a B-17.
The tail turret of the B-17F and early Gs.
A waist gunner fires his M2. Note the K-13 lead-computing gunsight.
The chin turret and top turret firing.
A gunner firing his M2 from the radio room. This is odd as all the CGI B-17s in the film omit the radio room mount.
The Sperry ball turret with its twin fifties.
The waist gunners with their M2s. Note the plexiglass window and the staggered positions, which were features added to the B-17G to improved crew comfort.
Note the omission of the radio room mount.
The "Cheyenne" tail guns of later B-17G models. The CGI model carries an anachronistic USAAF insignia, however, as the insignia shown was phased out in September of 1943.

Browning M2 Aircraft (Fixed)

American P-40 and P-51 fighters are armed with fixed Browning M2 Aircraft machine guns.

Browning M2 Aircraft heavy machine gun - .50 BMG
The fifties on the P-40 firing.
The "Red Tails" with their new P-51Ds.
A "Red Tail" splashes a German fighter.
RedTails M2A 03.jpg
RedTails M2A 04.jpg

MG131 Machine Gun

MG131 machine guns appear as the primary armament of German Messerschmitt Bf-109G fighters. Because it was much larger than the MG17, the MG131 required bulges in the engine cowling, which can be seen below.

MG131 - 13x64mm B
The bulges can be seen forward of the cockpit.
RedTails MG131 01.jpg
The German fighters all appear to belong to Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" (note the stylized "U" emblem near the cockpit.)
RedTails MG131 03.jpg

MG 151/20 cannon

The Bf-109Gs in the film are also armed with MG151/20 cannons, seen in the underwing gondolas.

The MG 151 aircraft automatic cannon - 15x96mm or 20x82mm
The MG 151's are in the underwing gondolas.
The underwing gondolas, which could be easily detached, imposed weight and drag penalties, which were an acceptable trade-off if intercepting bombers. It is unlikely that they'd be used against fighters though.

MK 108 cannon

The German Me-262 jets are armed with four MK 108 cannons in the nose. Bf-109s were also armed with a single MK 108 Motorkanone firing through the propeller hub. Tests verified that only four hits from an MK 108 were necessary to take down a bomber. With an Me-262, that's a single salvo.

MK 108 cannon - 30mm
The gun ports for the MK 108 cannons in the nose of this doomed Me-262.
The Motorkanone of an Bf-109 blazing.
An Me-262 firing its' MK 108 cannons
RedTails MK108 03.jpg

Small Arms

Colt M1911A1

The pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group carry M1911A1 pistols as part of their flight gear.

M1911A1 - .45 ACP
RedT 07.jpg
"Lightning" (David Oyelowo) with his holstered M1911A1.

Luger P08

The German officer (Richard Conti) at the prison camp draws what may be a Luger P08 when he discovers the escape.

Luger P08 - 9x19mm
RedTails P08 01.jpg

M1 Garand

The M1 Garand is also one of the weapons carried by American troops storming a beach. German troops are also seen armed with them.

M1 Garand - .30-06
RedT 10.jpg
Luftwaffe airmen prepare their airbase against air attack.
A German soldier runs with an M1 Garand as an airfield is attacked. Note the fake "German" halftrack; as in Saving Private Ryan this is a postwar Czech clone, identifiable by the lack of stowage boxes above the tracks.
Since the airman on the right appears to be trying to work a non-existing bolt action, it's possible that these men are CGI.

Karabiner 98k

German forces are seen using the Karabiner 98k to fire at the American planes.

Karabiner 98k - German manufacture 1937 date - 7.92x57mm
RedTails K98k 01.jpg
A German soldier aims his Karabiner 98k at a pair of attacking P-40s
"Pretty Boy" (Lars van Riesen) with a K98k after the attack.
RedTails K98k 04.jpg


German troops are armed with MP40s

MP40 submachine gun - 9x19mm
RedTails MP40 01.jpg
German troops rush to capture a downed pilot.
RedTails MP40 03.jpg
A camp guard with his MP40.

Browning M1919A4

A Browning M1919A4 is seen when the American troops land on the beach. A German Ju-87 dive bomber also appears to have one in lieu of an MG15 machine gun.

Browning M1919A4 - .30-06 Springfield
An M1919 on a landing craft.
An M1919 in the rear defensive position of the Ju-87.

Browning Automatic Rifle

The Browning Automatic Rifle is one of the weapons carried by American troops storming a beach.

Browning Automatic Rifle - .30-06
RedT 08.jpg

MG 34

MG 34 machine guns are seen in twin mounts at the German airbase.

MG 34 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
The twin MG 34 in a control tower.
RedTails K98k 03.jpg
Another twin mounting on a German ship.


An American airman signals from a control tower with a Leuchtpistole.

Leuchtpistole - 26.65mm
RedTails flare 01.jpg
RedTails flare 02.jpg


2 cm Flak 38

Germans troops are seen firing 2 cm Flak 38 anti-aircraft guns.

German 2 cm Flak 38 in single mounting - 20x138mm B
These are fitted with mesh brass catchers.
RedTails Flak38 01.jpg
RedTails Flak38 02.jpg
This shot appears to be flipped.

8.8cm FlaK 36

An 8.8cm heavy anti-aircraft/anti tank gun can be seen as American P-40s attack an air base. This appears to have a two-piece FlaK 36 barrel, though it is unclear which model of gun cradle it is using.

German FlaK 36 (note two-piece barrel with locking collar) - 88x571mm R
RedT 11.jpg
RedTails 88 01.jpg

PLDvK vzor 53

The German cruiser, which is referred to as a destroyer in the film, defends itself with PLDvK vzor 53 AA guns. The PLDvK vzor 53 is a land-based Czechoslovakian 30mm AA gun.

RedTails AA2 01.jpg
RedTails AA2 02.jpg
The ship itself. The armament and shape of the hull and superstructure would suggest that it's a cruiser, though it is an entirely fictional design.



Ne-Yo, who plays "Smokey," fires a CZ-75B during a boot camp featurette.

CZ 75B - .40 S&W
RedTails CZ75B S01.jpg

Prop AA guns

Prop AA guns are part of the German airfield defenses.

RedTails AA 01.jpg
RedTails AA 02.jpg

Faux B-17F

Most of the CGI B-17s in the film were of the G-model, including some with the Bendix chin turret removed and plated over to portray F-models.

RedTails B17F 01.jpg

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