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How a British bomber mission in World War II inspired one of the most iconic scenes in 'Star Wars

Published by Business Insider on Mon, 03 May 2021

<p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/6090494c34af8d001859a9cc-1632/luke-skywalker-luke-skywalker-38168341-1920-816.jpg" border="0" alt="Luke Skywalker x-wing star wars" data-mce-source="Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century Fox / &amp;quotStar Wars&amp;quot"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>In 1977, "Star Wars" took the countryand the worldby storm.</p><p>One of its most iconic scenes was the trench run, during which X-Wing and Y-Wing fighters defy the odds to put proton torpedoes down a thermal exhaust port, running a gauntlet of Imperial fighters and gun emplacements to do so. Well, that scene wasn't exactly original.</p><p>That's right, folks. George Lucas lifted that scene from a 1954 movie, "The Dam Busters"and if you've seen them both, it's painfully obvious.</p><p>Some dialogue from the classic film was lifted nearly word-for-word and put directly into Star Wars.</p><div><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lNdb03Hw18M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div><p>But the 1954 film that Lucas cribbed from portrayed an <em>actual</em> mission flown by real bombers.</p><p>That bomber was the Avro Lancaster. The Lancaster was <a href="https://www.wearethemighty.com/veterans/these-are-britains-most-controversial-world-war-ii-vets" target="_self" rel="noopener">RAF Bomber Command's</a> primary bomber in the latter part of World War II.</p><p><a href="https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp'aircraft_id=234" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Lancaster</a> entered service in 1942, had a crew of seven, packed a total of eight .303-caliber machine guns for self-defense, and could haul a lot of bombsup to 22,000 pounds of high-explosive candygrams.</p><p>These included special bombs, including the anti-dam bomb developed by Barnes Wallis, and <a href="https://www.wearethemighty.com/wwii-uk-earthquake-bombs" target="_self" rel="noopener">earthquake bombs</a>.</p><p><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/5ba5687a91ff6d53238b456d/upkeepinlancaster.jpg" border="0" alt="Upkeep_in_Lancaster" data-mce-source="Imperial War Museums/Wikimedia Commons" data-mce-caption="A 10,000-pound practice &amp;quotUpkeep&amp;quot weapon on the bomb bay of Wing Commander Guy Gibson's Avro Type 464 Lancaster bomber, at Manston, Kent, while conducting dropping trials off Reculver, May 1943." data-link="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Upkeep_in_Lancaster.jpg"></p><p>Outside of the 1943 "<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/british-raf-with-bouncing-bombs-crippled-nazi-factories-in-ruhr-valley-2018-9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dam Busters</a>" mission that inspired the 1954 film that later inspired George Lucas, the Lancaster takes credit for sinking the German Bismarck-class battleship Tirpitz and for hitting a number of heavy fortifications.</p><p>But it wasn't all gloom and doomthe plane was also used to drop food to civilians in German-occupied territory.</p><p>The Avro Lancaster had a top speed of 275 mph and a maximum range of 2,529 miles. Almost 7,400 of these planes were produced. They saw action over Germany but, in 1948, the Lancaster also took part in the Berlin Airlift, turning back Josef Stalin's effort to get the Western Allies to abandon West Berlin.</p><p>Learn more about this British bombing workhorse in the video below.</p><div><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lMgZ62jyPiQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-wwii-british-bomber-mission-inspired-iconic-star-wars-scene-2021-5#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/bizarre-and-startling-facts-about-wwii-2016-10">Startling facts about World War II</a></p>
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