The movie received positive critiques and was very successful at the box office, grossing a total of in the Free Lands, making it the most successful movie of 2019 in the Lands of the Selkie.
1945, Markaz - Markaz, after it attained its independence in a short war between 1933 and 1934, took eleven years to solidify itself, mostly. The Decolonization Wars are still going on and the Sultanate of Kyrenaia is on the backfoot in more and more theatres. One thorn in their side is their former colony of Markaz and their small, but powerful Navy centered around the Battlecruiser Siada. However, besides a small, outdated token-force, Markaz lacks any real air force.
The planners in Naval Station Surya thus conceive a plan: To ease up the supply routes to Eadhra, where the fighting started in 1936, Markaz was to be forced to allow supply ships and escort vessels to pass through its waters. Unfortunately for the planners of the RKN, the intelligence learns of that and informs Sheikh Yasir I. of these plans, known to them as Eamaliat Allusus, Operation Bandit. Knowing, that his armed forces as they are would not be able to withstand a halfway decisive push of the RKN, he seeks help.
He knows, that the soonest the RKN can start and support a push is 1946, so he knows, that he has a year to prepare. As he does not wish to make Markaz into one gigantic fortress, he begins with a daring plan: To dissuade the Kyrenaian Navy from any untoward approaches, he begins to raise an air force, including its own pilot school, the School of Hunters.
Aircraft and pilots to train Markaz's new air force are quickly found, mostly from Lutetii and from the Free Lands, which causes a lot of stress in the teaching corps to begin with. To counter the Tayrih-Fighters and hunt for Dive Bombers, Bombers and Recon-Planes of the RKN, Markaz acquires Braccio B-26 Interceptors, Sciathán Léachtóir Fighters and Sciathán Iolar Heavy Fighters, to fight the ships, the CR-18 Dive/Torpedo Bombers is chosen.
From the start, the School of Hunters is off to a bad start: The Teachers are anything but professional, their nations and cultures clashing and opposing each other. Different methods of training and different methods of fighting only complicate matters. The problem is especially harsh with the trainers on the B-26 and the Iolar, Zeytun Docent (Fabia-Dina Occhio) and Finnegan Teagas of the Tribe of Antrim (Kean Tuadóir of the Tribe of Wexford). The situation between the two teachers heats up considerably as, during Operation Spriocearcaitheoir, the SDF-Navy forces the Lutetiian Navy Submarine Squalo to surface.
Only the interference of their colleague, Asteria Capi (Amy Laoch of the Tribe of Dundalk), who leads the training on the CR-18 Torpedo Bomber), and their students prevents blows. The first solo-flights, planned to be a celebratory occasion, pass in silence.
The situation with Kyrenaia heats up as well: The diplomatic channels inquire politely, if a opening of Markaz's waters to Kyrenaian Supply Convoys could be considered. Although diplomatic, the Sheikh's answer angers Kian-Sultan. He orders the RKN to start planning an aggressive opening of the waters of Markaz.
Training continues. During one of the training exercises under Capi, several of the pilots notice aircraft, which "most definately aren't ours." Interceptors arrive too late to catch the plane.
The alert status is ramped up in Markaz as the Kyrenaian Navy learns of the new enemies in the air, but dismisses them as insignificant. Carrier Group 1 is dispatched, its mission to intrude into Markazian Waters and to pass through them to Eadhra and to intimidate the Markazians into letting them and their supply ships pass by usage of their vastly superior numbers and aircraft. With four of the new Alsiyadia-class Aircraft Carriers and their aircraft complement well over 400 aircraft, plus their escorts, they are vastly superior in numbers, however not in equipment.
With the enemy approaching, the instructors still have trouble to overcome their issues with each other, but they put it on hold for the good of their students and their land. Their students train harder then ever before - until an accident on the runway claims the lives of three men.
Cast and Crew
- Fabia-Dina Occhio as Flight Instructor Zeytun Docent (leading the training on the Braccio B-26 Interceptor).
- Kean Tuadóir of the Tribe of Wexford as Flight Instructor Finnegan Teagas of the Tribe of Antrim (leading the training on the Sciathán Iolar).
- Amy Laoch of the Tribe of Dundalk as Flight Instructor Asteria Capi (leading the training on the CR-18 Torpedo Bomber).
- Nora Shifra of the Tribe of Monaghan as
- Sheikh Yasir II. as Sheikh Yasir I. of Markaz.
- as Kian-Sultan.
Important Members of the Crew
- Amy Ollmhór of the Tribe of Dundalk, Director of Aerial Photography.
- Marla Eitleoir of the Tribe of Fingal, Vice-Director of Aerial Photography, Head of Stunt-Pilots.
The Book and the Novel
While the book is based partially on historic events, School of Hunters is mostly telling ficticious events.
While Kyrenaian Planners indeed were angered by the denial of Markaz to let supply convoys and reinforcements pass through its waters, there was never a formulated plan for an Eamaliat Allusus (in fact, the name would be used as code name for the revenge operation after the 1948 Sinope Terror Attack).
List of Aircraft seen in the Movie
- Braccio B-26 Interceptor.
- Sciathán Léachtóir.
- Sciathán Iolar.
- Cellule Repubblicane CR-18 Libellula Torpedo Bomber.
- Kyrenaian Aircraft Factories KAF-109 Tayrih Fighter.
- Kyrenaian Aircraft Factories KAF-15 Esfwr Dive Bomber.
- Kyrenaian Aircraft Factories KAF-29 Eandlib Torpedo Bomber.
- Kyrenaian Aircraft Factories KAF-31 Sahaleyn Reconnaissance Plane.