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Dogfights was an American documentary series that aired on the History Channel from 2006-2008 that covered Ace Pilots from World War I to the present and future.
This show provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Most of the pilots featured on this show.
  • America Wins the War: The show's main problem is that mainly focuses on Americans. Occasionally, it also shows Israeli combat. Other episodes show Sonderkommando Elbe's only mission, the British sinking the Bismarck, kamikaze missions, and a mix of WWI combat from the views of many different nations' pilots. Of course, the TV show was intended for American audiences, which could explain the heavy emphasis on America.
  • Badass Israeli/Israelis with Infrared Missiles: The pilots featured in the episodes "Dogfights of the Middle East" and "Desert Aces".
  • The Cavalry: In "Kamikaze," the USS Laffey, besieged by Japanese planes, gets two. The first one is 4 fighter planes from the USS Shamrock Bay, but they could not do much against the big number of enemies beyond shooting a few down before running out of ammo and buzzing the rest before they had to disengage due to low fuel. However, when all seemed lost for the Laffey, 12 US Navy F4U Corsair fighters arrived to deal with the attackers.
  • Cool Plane: Quite a few. Some of the rarer/newer ones include the Me-262 jet from World War II, the B-17 Old 666 in "Long Odds," and pretty much all of the planes in "Dogfights of the Future".
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In some dogfights, being outnumbered actually is an advantage. When you surround a plane, you run the risk of shooting your allies when firing at the enemy while the enemy can shoot at any time without risk. It's worse with missiles because they track ally planes as well which is one reason why guns never became obsolete.
  • Determinator: In the episode "Long Odds," there was a pilot of a lone, slow divebomber who was trapped by three Japanese fighter planes and had to maneuver with them for about 20 minutes, constantly undergoing turns up to 9G's. Not only did he shoot two of the planes down, he dodged a fanatical ramming attempt but still sliced into the third fighter's wing, forcing it to retreat and repair. In those days of the war, American fighter planes were very outmatched against the Japanese Zero; for a lone, slow bomber to outmaneuver and defeat three Zeroes at once in an intense, 20 minute dogfight is practically a mythical achievement. Of course, said pilot was transferred to a fighter squadron immediately afterwards. Also, in the episode "Thunderbolt," one plane was shot so badly that it went into a spin and caught fire. The pilot, whose eyes had been burned by oil, was able to stop the spin and fly back to base. On his way back, a German pilot emptied all of his ammunition on the plane and it kept flying. In fact, the list goes on and on...
  • David Versus Goliath: The Battle off Samar, in the episode, Death of the Japanese Navy the show goes over the massive naval mismatch that was a part of the largest naval battle in history. The battle pits a handful of destroyers and escort carriers against a massive force of Japanese battleships including the 72,000 ton Yamato. To emphasize the size of the mismatch, the Yamato all by itself outweighs more then all of the American ships of Taffy 3.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome/Do Not Go Gentle: In the episode "Long Odds", with the segment on Old 666, Joe Sarnoski is shot by a japanese fighter. He is mortally wounded and dying, despite this he crawls back to his gun mount and shoots down a twin-engine japanese fighter before he collapses and dies. He is posthumously given the Medal Of Honor for this.
  • Eagle Land: A common criticism of the series is that it was Ameri-centric, as almost all of the episodes were about American pilots. However, there are many episodes that focus on/feature non-American pilots, including Japanese, Israeli, German, British, and more.
    • The episode "Hunt for the Bismarck" solely features the British, and the first two episodes of season 2 are centered on the Japanese and Germans respectively.
  • Flies Like Crazy: A North Korean pilot in "MiG Alley," who performed several extreme maneuvers to escape an F-86 pilot.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The episode "Dogfights of the Future" actually gives a rare realistic representation of how actual laser weapons work and how they would realistically implemented in the future.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In the episode "Guadalcanal," one pilot got his wristwatch shot off by a bullet from a Japanese plane.
    • Even better, an F-4 Phantom ace scored the first—and ONLY—supersonic gun kill on a MiG-21 in the middle of a very high-g turn. To give you an idea, supersonic bullets were fired from a supersonic fighter, in the middle of a tight, high-g turn in order to hit a supersonic target that is also in a tight turn, slicing off a wing in a single burst. As a more coincidental and amusing example, a famous WW2 American ace was launching a surprise attack on a swarm of German fighters with a P-38, and right as he was about to pull the trigger on his first target, his propellers stop because he forgot to switch the fuel lines when he jettisoned the external fuel tanks just before the dogfight. He fired anyway, scoring the only kill in history with a craft that was just gliding without thrust.
  • Improbable Weapon User: During a segment about the Korean War, a veteran U.S pilot recalls how a MiG he was chasing after flew so low to the ground in an arid dried-up riverbed that the MiG's jet exhaust was kicking up dirt and rocks that pelted the pursuing U.S pilot's plane. The veteran thinks this was an intentional attempt to drive him off, meaning the communist pilot was essentially attempting to beat a fighter jet with dirt and rocks.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The B-1R bombers in "Dogfights of the Future" were shown being capable of firing volleys of missiles that could wipe out almost an entire squadron of enemy fighters.
  • Number of the Beast: In "Long Odds," one of the stories is about a World War II B-17 that is about to be scrapped, as it gets blown away every time it goes on a mission, so a crew decides to take it and beef it up. The tail number? 666. Ironically, all but one of the crew survives a massive attack by over 20 Japanese fighter planes.
  • Rock Beats Laser: In the "Gun Kills of Vietnam" two propeller-driven A-1 Skyraiders, armed only with cannon and without effective lead-computing gunsights, manage to shoot down an enemy MiG-17 jet fighter.
  • Spent Shells Shower: In an episode featuring the F4 Phantom in Vietnam, the center-mounted cannon is seen spitting a flickering muzzle blast and dumping spent brass all over the jungle.
  • Suicide Attack: A few. Though most are by the Japanese, some German pilots actually did this to Allied bombers, although they would attempt to jump from their plane before the collision.
  • Super-Detailed Fight Narration: This is a main focus of the show.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: "Dogfights of the Future".
  • Worthy Adversary: German ace Egon Mayer in the episode "Thunderbolt" apparently gained this view of one P-47 pilot as he was unable to take the plane down after having expended all of his ammunition on him.
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