Battlefield: Series 2

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War Documentary hosted by Tim Pigott-Smith, published by Discovery Channel in 1994 - English narration

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A comprehensive documentary series about the key battles of World War Two. This sweeping series offers detailed accounts of the key battles, combining extensive use of archival footage with full color 3D animation and a compelling and vivid narrative, complete with main weapon systems used and portraits of the principal leaders and commanders. Strategy and tactics are described in detail with excellent graphics, providing a fascinating analysis of the forces in conflict. A review of the political and military situation prior to battle and an examination of the weaponry and combat-readiness of the men are followed by original archive footage of important phases of the battle, supplemented by Situation Reports and finished off with a summary. Dramatic use of 3-D computer graphics and actual battle footage transport the viewer directly in the thick of the fight. Battlefield is a series that chronicles the decisive events and critical battles that shaped history. Archival footage from several sources includes film from the Moscow central military archives. Watch rare archival footage from vaults around the world! La Mancha Productions - A Co-Production with PolyGram Video International Ltd.

[edit] The Battle for North Africa

PRELUDE TO BATTLE: In 1942 the tide turned against the Axis powers in Egypt and Libya. Erwin Rommel, Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, was charged with the impossible: to use an ill-equipped, badly trained, thoroughly demoralized militia to wipe out Allied strongholds in Northern Africa. Rommel's battlefield cunning earned him a reputation of near invincibility. But Hitler, who thought the North African exercise unimportant, crippled Rommel's forces by inadequately supplying and outfitting them -- a fatal error.
Pitted against Rommel were General Bernard Montgomery and Dwight Eisenhower, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Montgomery's earlier successes at Dunkirk and defence of Kent solidified his sterling reputation. A hard taskmaster who nevertheless commanded fierce loyalty among his troops, Montgomery fully understood his mandate: to restore the weary Eighth Army to peak fighting condition. Eisenhower's limited battlefield experience was tempered by his brilliant diplomacy and ability to delegate. Those two masterful Allied commanders were facing an awesome Axis foe. At stake: vast stretches of priceless land, hundreds of thousands of lives, the fate of nations.
THE BATTLE: In 1942, battalions culled from every corner of the British Empire assembled on northern Africa's arid wastelands. Englishmen fought side-by-side with South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders and eventually with U.S. and French forces in a stirring display of unity. Their objective: to wipe the Axis powers off this continent. Britain's General Montgomery would contest every square yard of territory, advancing and retreating according to the unpredictably savage rhythms of war. In October the British 8th Army launched a heavy attack near the town of El Alamein. Two weeks later, an Anglo-American force landed in Morocco and Algeria. Both territories were under the administration of the French Vichy government. In the course of the following months there were several small battles as the Germans and their Italian allies were surrounded from the east and west. Despite considerable resistance from which the inexperienced American II Corps in particular suffered at Kasserine Pass, they were eventually driven through Tunisia to the coast.
Italy's inexperienced and weary troops were dragged into a six-month battle over Egypt and Libya for which they were ill equipped, outnumbered and outfoxed. Hundreds of thousands of Italy's finest servicemen would be sacrificed, and those spared would return as hollow-eyed ghosts -- spiritless, dishonored, defeated. Ultimately, a quarter of a million German and Italian soldiers would be bludgeoned into surrender. The Axis defeat in North Africa turned out to be a fatal blow to Italy. Hundreds of thousands of their best young men fell in the course of this retreat. In their efforts to resupply them, the Italian Navy and Air Force were also virtually wiped out. In this way Italy was so weakened that an invasion was possible. The long battle for North Africa paved the way for the eventual reconquest of Europe. It gave the American air, land and sea forces a priceless battlefield experience, sharpening their skills in preparation for more crucial contests in the years to come.

[edit] The Battle of the Atlantic

PRELUDE TO BATTLE: Britain's five-year fight to survive launched a stubborn battle for mastery of the Atlantic -- a struggle waged on both sides by the hardiest of men and the most determined of leaders. Left virtually stranded in Europe after Germany's invasions of Poland and France, Britain faced the severing of its very lifeblood: Hitler was bent on starving the Empire into surrender. Looking back on the critical phases of the Second World War, the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill recalls: "The only thing that worried me very much during the entire war was the submarine danger". The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest and most difficult battle of World War II for Great Britain. If it had been lost, the crucial supplies from the U.S. could not have come - at first with weapons and food, and later with extensive troop contingents.
The Royal Navy was considered to be the strongest navy in the world, but the German submarines brought Britain to the brink of defeat as they attacked defenseless merchant ships carrying the supplies. In addition, it was the aim of the German submarines to cut off Great Britain from all its trade relations and thus to force it to surrender.
THE BATTLE: 1940. The North Atlantic has been turned into a vast, blood-soaked theater of war -- a watery grave for hundreds of vessels bearing the very backbone of Great Britain. Hitler's U-boats roamed the sea in "wolfpacks." These gangs of killer subs hunted virtually defenseless convoys of Allied merchant ships, slaughtering their crews with effortless yet deadly accuracy. Everywhere in the expanses and depths of the Atlantic were teeming with these underwater hunters, who patrolled individually or in groups and picked out vulnerable targets for their torpedoes. The Kriegsmarine boasted expert technology, surprisingly accurate reconnaissance and fearless crews. Resistance was deemed futile. And swiftly dwindling supplies in Britain would soon force surrender of His Majesty's navy. German destroyers and fighter-bombers operating from coastal positions on the continent increased this permanent threat and carried millions of tonnage of ships to the bottom of the sea.
But British resolve only increased. Ever-more-sophisticated defense tactics and accurate reconnaissance kept the predatory U-boats at bay. In addition, Germany's declaration of war on the United States in 1941 gave Hitler's navy thousands of additional, tempting targets -- and a cunning new enemy. The entry of the Americans into the war brought some relief, but it would take another eighteen months of effort and sacrifice before the submarines were finally defeated and the sea routes in the Atlantic were again safe for the transport of arms and supplies to Europe. THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC depicts all the ingenius tactics, deft maneuvres and lethal blunders of World War II's most important sea battle.

[edit] The Battle for Russia

PRELUDE TO BATTLE: In 1939, dictators Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler signed a non-aggression pact which traded Russian foodstuffs for German arms. What "The Battle for Russia: Prelude to Battle" reveals is that each was buying time in order to prepare for their hideous fight to the finish -- a melee notorious for its ferocity and unspeakable barbarism. Hitler's plan for the conquest of Russia required a classic blitzkrieg offensive, which was to be ruthlessly carried out until it was terminated within a few months. Although the element of surprise could be used effectively and three million soldiers and an overwhelming air force superiority were available, the plan failed. Because of this failure, Germany was embroiled in a long, terrible war in which it had neither the troops nor the resources to emerge victorious.
Since 1928, Stalin had been ruthlessly decimating the regiments of his once-formidable military by executing or imprisoning his political enemies. Such paranoia had spelled the Red Army's humiliation at the hands of the Finnish armed forces in the winter of 1940 -- a fiasco witnessed by the entire world -- and Stalin was determined to restore Russian dignity. However, the shocking blunders perpetrated by both leaders cost their nations dearly in supplies, artillery...and human lives.
THE BATTLE: Hitler pitched three million men -- 78 percent of his entire army -- into his audacious campaign to crush Moscow, and eventually Russia herself. He would proclaim it "The Greatest Battle in History!" The initial German successes, though spectacular, were short-lived. As the gray troops advanced eastwards towards Moscow, the climatic and geographical conditions proved to be insurmountable obstacles. Rain and snow slowed the advance to crawl. So the ailing Soviet troops could be regrouped and gather new strength.
When the Germans were stuck in the freezing fist of an extreme winter in December, the Red Army launched the first of a series of highly effective counter-offensives. Though surprised by the Germans' initial assault, Stalin's hardy forces refused to buckle. Three million of the Red Army would eventually be captured by the Germans, yet more and more emerged to continue the fight, vividly demonstrating that the soul of Russia was far more rugged than her invaders had wagered. When the spring thaw put an end to the fighting, the German troops in Russia were so badly damaged that Hitler was forced to give up his dreams of conquest. New plans had to be made: for a long and grueling war that he had already lost from the start.

[edit] The Battle for Italy

PRELUDE TO BATTLE: Even as Italian dictator Benito Mussolini struggled in vain to extract his country from World War II, Adolf Hitler prepared to send the German Army to fully occupy Italy. He had little confidence in his Italian ally. Winston Churchill hoped to knock Italy out of the war in order to keep the Russians from gaining the upper hand while carving up the post-war pie. Franklin Roosevelt, bent on ending the war quickly, believed the only solution was an incursion into occupied France. Invading Italy seemed wasteful and pointless. And Stalin's priorities lay far to the East. Hitler eyed these rifts widening between his enemies and waited for his chance to exploit them.
On the ravaged shores of newly won northern Africa, the Allies prepared to launch a devastating attack across the sea. The first objective would be the rugged island of Sicily, from whose shores they could dominate the entire Mediterranean. The crowning glory would be Italy itself. The aim was to conquer Rome and thus end Italy's participation in the war. Then advance further towards Austria in order to be able to exert pressure on the Reich from the south. But Hitler's ruthless armies, abetted by the breathtakingly savage Italian landscape, refused to give up their glittering prize without a bitter, bloody struggle.
THE BATTLE: The campaign began in July 1943 with the landings in Sicily. The Italian resistance collapsed quickly, but the German units stationed on the island fought brilliantly from the second line and were able to escape to safety by escaping across the Strait of Messina. When the Allies invaded the Italian mainland near Salerno, the German troops stationed in Italy anticipated Italy's surrender. They seized power and German reinforcement troops were sent to Salerno. And they had no intention of giving up Italy. The Allies would pay dearly in blood for every inch of Italy.
The road to Rome would prove horrifyingly brutal for both sides, and increasingly difficult for the Allies. The geographical conditions made it possible to build new defensive positions in short time. On their march north, the Allies were continually held up by German positions. The best known was the so-called Gustav Line, which ran on the slopes of the fortress elevations of the Monte Cassino monastery and on the heights around the city of Anzio. Although the fighting in Italy lasted almost to the end of the war, the overcoming of the Gustav Line and the liberation of Rome are now considered the real end of the campaign.

[edit] The Battle of Leyte Gulf

PRELUDE TO BATTLE: American submarine fleets were wreaking havoc with Japanese shipping, prompting severe shortages of fuel. Superior American airmen were slowly stripping the Japanese of their best and most experienced fighter pilots. And the lies the Japanese government were dispensing to its own citizens regarding the course of the war were growing more difficult to cover up. These events led up to the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt entrusted the U.S. forces in the Pacific to generals MacArthur and Chester Nimitz -- an unheard of dual command structure that threatened to derail during crucial moments of battle. Two of the world's mightiest navies would assemble the most awesome fleets in history. Countless suply boats, destroyers and aircraft carriers -- self-sufficient to the point of being able to last months alone on the open sea, steamed toward their designated positions on the aquatic chessboard of the southern Pacific.
THE BATTLE: In October 1944, the first landing maneuvers on the island of Leyte met with little resistance, and the American infantry was able to advance quickly to the interior of the island. Four days later, however, the decisive battle on the coast was to take place. This confrontation, the largest sea battle in modern history, lasted from October 24th to October 26th, 1944, the ships involved ranged from giant Japanese super battleships to tiny little American wooden patrol boats. It was here that Japanese kamikaze pilots were observed for the first time - believing in a fanatical way in the victory of Japan and dying for it.
Although the Americans outnumbered the Imperial Japanese Fleet both in the sea and in the air, there was a critical period in the battle during which the invading fleet found itself on the verge of defeat. Eventually a group of destroyers and auxiliary aircraft carriers was able to repel the attacks of a larger Japanese battleship unit and thus achieve a truly remarkable victory. With this battle, American naval power was established in the Pacific. At the same time, the fate of the once overpowering imperial fleet was sealed.

[edit] The Battle for the Rhine

PRELUDE TO BATTLE: During the final months of 1944, British and American forces marched relentlessly through France and Belgium towards the western borders of the Third Reich. Flowing in between the border: the great, wide river of the Rhine. For the Germans, the Rhine was also a psychological barrier. They were determined to defend it to the last. After Hitler's counter-offensive in the Ardennes had failed, the Germans withdrew behind the Rhine line. In the process, all Rhine bridges were systematically destroyed and a fortress was installed on the eastern bank of the Rhine. Mounting Allied victories and the pathetic condition of many captured Germans suggested a battered, dying Wehrmacht. Lulled into overconfidence, senior Allied commanders quarreled over whose division would lead the final assault on the Third Reich -- and taste easy victory. Unfortunately, their lust for glory caused the Allies to ignore intelligence pouring in from behind enemy lines...
Though Germany was suffering heavy losses, she was far from defeated. Her soldiers were the world's hardiest: experienced killing machines forbidden by Hitler to ever retreat -- on punishment by death. The Allies faced not only this desperately angry regiment and its insane commander, but also the Rhine itself, an awesome natural barrier ingeniously fortified by Hitler's own architects of war. Conquest of the Third Reich maddeningly out of reach.
THE BATTLE: Though briefly humiliated at Arnhem, the Allies plunged onward toward Berlin in late 1944, drunk with confidence -- and dangerously underestimating their German foes... With absolutely no warning, German forces struck back at the invaders and threatened to slash Allied military supply lines. Along the banks of the river Rhine, Hitler's strategists wove a brilliantly sinister web of death meant to decisively block, ensnare Allied invaders from the heart of the Third Reich. And the maddeningly fickle treachery of the Rhine itself would claim thousands of lives -- from both shores. Bridges would be destroyed, erected and destroyed once more. But the glorious Rhine refused to surrender easily.
In March 1945 the Rhine was overcome with the help of considerable artillery and air bombardments. This resulted in the total collapse of the German resistance. The Western Allies' march through Germany was completed within a few weeks. They penetrated as far as Austria and Czechoslovakia and met the Red Army on the Elbe. The battle for the Rhine was the last great battle in the west. Through them the Americans and British established themselves as equal partners along with Russia, and to take over the administration of post-war Germany.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4
Video Bitrate: 2 045 Kbps
Video Resolution: 704x544
Display Aspect Ratio: 1.294
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 1 h 55 min
Number Of Parts: 6
Part Size: 1.80 GB
Source: DVD
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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