Narrow Escapes of World War II

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War Documentary hosted by Colin Tierney, published by UKTV in 2011 - English narration

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Narrow Escapes of World War II tells the real stories of courageous and deadly fights against impossible odds. The extraordinary stories of heroes; men who stand up and fight when everything seems lost. Those brilliant generals, ferocious warriors and individual acts of courage that can turn the tide in a war, and whose stories can still be told as shining examples of bravery and courage. This series combines eyewitness and expert testimony with specially shot material, dramatic reconstruction and archive much of it previously unseen. Revisit some of the most daring missions of World War II as recounted by leading historians, military experts, and occasionally by the participants themselves. These 13 gripping episodes feature operations that took place all over the world—from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the steppes of southern Russia, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the frozen waters of the Baltic and the skies over Nazi-occupied France. With the benefit of original film footage, informative maps, and dramatic recreations, Narrow Escapes tells stories of valor, suffering, dedication, and determination—exploits of bravery that helped shape the outcome of the Second World War and continue to inspire today. A WMR Productions and IMG Entertainment Co-Production

[edit] The Amiens Raid

Amazing wartime tales. A gripping account of one of the most daring raids of WWII - the squadron of low-flying bombers who freed Resistance fighters from Amiens Jail.
In advance of the Allied landings at Normandy, the British plan the aerial bombing of Amiens Prison, where a hundred Resistance fighters await execution.
It was one of the most daring raids of World War II. Led by Group Captain Charles Pickard, a squadron of Mosquito bombers, often flying just twelve feet off the ground, sped across the English Channel. Their task to smash down the walls of Amiens Jail and free the Resistance fighters inside. But waiting for them was a squadron of German fighters. This film features the gripping recollections of Maxwell Sparks, one of Pickard s pilots and authentic footage from the raid.

[edit] The Doolittle Raid

Humbling tales of heroism from WWII. Hear first-hand about America's astonishing first air raid on the Japanese archipelago, led by Colonel 'Jimmy' Doolittle. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, America seeks a way to hit back at Japan. Col. Jimmy Doolittle puts B-25 bombers on aircraft carriers and sails towards Japan, aware that the crews have little chance of surviving the mission. This story of one of the most daring bombing raids of World War Two, told through the eyes of some of those who took part in early 1942. From the US, flying ace Jimmy Doolittle, was the answer against the Japanese force. The operation would push them to the limit of their flying range. Everything would have to go exactly to plan.
In the wake of the humiliation of Pearl harbour, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle was asked to mount an astonishing raid. For the first time ever, bombers would be put onto aircraft carriers and shipped over near Japan. They would then hit Tokyo. The trouble was, the bombers couldn t land on the aircraft carriers. Instead, the crews had to fly to China and then bail out. Many ditched in the sea. Others met up with resistance fighters and then tried to evade the Japanese. Several were captured. This film has exceptional footage of the raid itself and testimony from several of the surviving Doolittle raiders.

[edit] Wingate and the Chindits

Amazing feats of wartime heroism. The Chindits were the army's elite jungle troops who beat the Japanese in a daring mission. Hear their jaw-dropping story.
To take on the undefeated "supermen" of the Japanese army advancing toward India, the British call on Orde Wingate, who forms a special "Chindits" unit for sabotage inside Japanese-controlled Burma. 1943, Orde Wingate was an extraordinary British General, forming the Chindits as the Japanese appeared to be planning to invade India. They marched deep into the jungles of Burma to destroy Japanese supply lines and disrupt their advance. Remarkable eyewitness interviews, of how the Chindits survived in the jungle and walked to freedom. They were the bravest of the brave. Led by the bible-thumping, onion chewing maverick, Orde Wingate, the Chindits were the British army s elite jungle troops the first to take on the Japanese and beat them. This film contains jaw-dropping testimony from survivors, dramatic reconstruction and archive and it tells the story of the Chindits first near-suicidal mission behind Japanese lines. How often do get the chance to look into a man s eyes as he tells how he had to shoot a wounded comrade in the head, or hear a poem composed on the death of a mule?

[edit] The Black Battalion

Tales of WWII bravery. The 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, a depleted unit of black soldiers, risked everything to tenaciously fight off the Nazis at Bastogne. When Hitler launches his final major offensive on the Western front, everything turns on the ability of the U.S. Army to hold the town of Bastogne. Outnumbered 10 to one, an artillery unit of African American soldierswith little combat experience and even less respect from their white colleaguesmust stand fast against the battle-hardened troops of the Waffen-SS. Unsung heroes: the battalion of black soldiers who were surrounded, down to their last ten rounds, and yet who helped win the Battle of the Bulge.
At Christmas, 1944, Hitler made his last great gamble to win the war. His plan: to cut the Allied army in two in the so-called Battle of the Bulge. Key to it all was the taking of the town of Bastogne. But waiting for his troops there was the 333rd Field Artillery. It was made up of black soldiers, led by white offices from America s segregated south. They were sneered at by most US troops. But at Bastogne they made one of the heroic stands of the war, surviving atrocities by the SS and prejudice from their own side. This film features the emotional reminiscences of George Shomo, one of the last survivors of the 333rd.

[edit] Lucky Laycock's Escape from Crete

Death-defying tales from WWII. How legendary Major-General Robert 'Lucky' Laycock rallied his ill-equipped unit to see off a German attack on Crete. After the German invasion of Crete in May 1941, Winston Churchill orders the 25,000 British and Commonwealth troops stationed there to defend the island at all costs. A force of specially trained commandos under Col. Robert Laycock arrives to sabotage the Germans, but their mission soon changes. 20th May, 1941, German forces attacked the island of Crete in the largest airborne assault ever. This dramatic story of how the island is lost and Robert Laycock's mission changes into a desperate rear guard action against German mountain troops. Watch first-hand accounts of Navy veteran's courageous evacuation and Laycock's leadership. Handsome, clever and born to lead Major-General Robert Lucky Laycock was Winston Churchill s head of Combined Operations, his most fearsome commando leader and a legend amongst Special Forces. He was also very lucky to survive the war. Along with his brigademajor, the novelist, Evelyn Waugh, he made one of the most remarkable escapes of World War Two, as their ill-equipped unit desperately held off of a mighty German attack on Crete so that 30,000 British soldiers could escape.

[edit] Manstein Holds the Line

Death-defying tales from World War II. How Erich Von Manstein's miraculous escape from the Red Army later became the basis for NATO's defence plans. By the spring of 1943, the German army is on the run across southern Russia. Gen. Erich von Manstein has plans for a new, highly mobile form of defensive warfare that might reverse the course of the war in the East. But first he has to convince Hitler, who is adamantly opposed to any kind of retreat, strategic or otherwise. Spring 1943, the German army on the Eastern front was in deep trouble. This is the confrontation between two of WWII's greatest generals. Erich von Manstein - Hitler's most brilliant tactician. Georgy Zhukov - Stalin's enforcer. Historians have estimated Manstein’s defensive warfare tactics may have prolonged the war by up to 12 months. He loathed the Fuhrer and was never a Nazi. But Erich von Manstein was also Hitler's most brilliant general - the architect of Germany's invasion of France. But now he was on the run, outnumbered eight to one by the Red Army on the Eastern Front. What von Manstein did next would be taught in military academies for decades to come and become the basis for NATO's defence plans against the Soviets after the war. He conducted one of the great defences in all history. Manstein won such respect Winston Churchill even paid for his defence when he went on trial after the war.

[edit] The Siege of Kohima

Feats of wartime derring-do. In 1944, 1,500 outnumbered British troops amazingly held Japanese forces at the key Burmese town of Kohima. Hear their amazing story. In a bid to topple the British Raj, 15000 Japanese troops invade India from neighboring Burma in March 1944. Their route takes them through Kohima, a sleepy village in the Himalayan foothills. If Kohima fell, the route to India would be open. In their way were just 1500 British troops, many from the West Kents, whose nickname was "the Dirty 500". Through gripping first-hand testimony, this film shows how the West Kents hung on for two weeks despite dwindling supplies of food and water down to just half a glass a day. This was vicious fighting, much of it hand to hand across the local British governor's tennis court. In the end, it was the Japanese who were routed
Outnumbered by ten to one, a tiny garrison of British and Indian soldiers stood firm against the might of the Imperial Japanese Army. One of the greatest sieges of WWII, the final conflict coming down to a matter of yards between enemy trenches. India, and it's wealth of natural resources, could have been at the mercy of the Japanese.

[edit] Roy Urquhart's Escape from Arnhem

Major-General 'Roy' Urquhart led the doomed British attack on Arnhem, but somehow made it back across the Rhine, dodging enemy gunfire and patrols. In September 1944, 40,000 Allied troops descend on occupied Holland to secure the bridges over the countrys many waterways, pave the way for an invasion of Germany, and bring about an end to the war. But for British soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Roy Urquhart, the new mission becomes survival. September 1944 everyone thought Hitler was finished. It was the biggest airborne assault in history - 40,000 men would descend on occupied Holland to answer the big question of how to press home the advantage and end the war. Leading the vanguard was Major General Roy Urquhart, courageous and head strong, fulfilled a textbook operation. Major-General Roy Urquhart was a magnificent soldier ferocious in battle and yet always protective of his men. He had just one weakness. Flying made him sick. He was therefore a truly odd choice to be put in command of the 1st Airborne division - the Paras. When he led the doomed British attack on Arnhem, he found himself overwhelmed, outnumbered and trapped. How he and his driver made it back across the River Rhine, escaping shells, and German patrols is one of the great epics of personal bravery.

[edit] Morshead Holds Tobruk

Courageous wartime tales. Australian Leslie Morshead and his troops held off Rommel's Afrika Korps at the crucial port of Tobruk for an astonishing eight weeks. By Easter 1941, all that stands between Afrika Korps commander Erwin Rommel and Egypts Suez Canal is Tobruk. Australias Gen. Leslie Morshead and his defenders are ordered to hold the Libyan port for eight weeks while the defenses of Egypt can be strengthened. The Rats of Tobruk are convinced that if they fail, the war against Germany will be lost. The heroic story of Australian General Leslie Morshead and his brilliant defence of Tobruk. In 1941 it was besieged by Hitler's favourite General, Erwin Rommel. The vital artery that led to Britain's Empire, the Suez Canal was at stake. If Tobruk's defenders could hold on, it would be the narrowest escape of WWII. Leslie Morshead is Australia s greatest general. Known as Ming the Merciless to his troops, for eight weeks he and his Aussie troops held off the might of German General Erwin Rommel s Afrika Korps at the key port of Tobruk. Surrounded by Germans, Morshead decided that the best form of defence was attack. For eight weeks his men repelled the Germans, one soldier even bayoneting to death an entire German patrol. The films features the extraordinary recollections of Sergeant Ray Ellis who who manned a howitzer throughout the siege.

[edit] Evacuation in the Baltic

The largest evacuation of the Second World War saw two million civilians and soldiers taken away in an extraordinary German operation that lasted for four months. As the war enters its final months, the nearly 2 million Germans living in East Prussia flee an advancing Red Army no longer distinguishing between German soldiers and German civilians. Hundreds of thousands make for the Baltic ports the start of the single biggest evacuation of WWII. In early 1945 nearly two million people were trapped in the German enclave of East Prussia by the advancing Red Army. The Russians had an appalling reputation for rape, pillage and murder. Told through the eyes of two of the survivors, Operation Hannibal, five times bigger than Dunkirk. Yet, outside Germany, it's almost unknown. It was the biggest evacuation of World War Two three times bigger than Dunkirk. Over 2 million civilian and soldiers soldiers were spirited away from under the noses of the Red Army and the Royal Navy in an extraordinary German operation. It lasted for over four months, finishing on the very last day of the war. This film contains the deeply moving memories of Horst Woit, who was then just ten years old and who survived the worst maritime disaster in history when the ship taking him to Germany was torpedoed.

[edit] Moore's March

A Scottish soldier who hiked 200 miles through the Libyan desert without water or supplies recalls Ronald Moore, the leader of his party. With the Italians preparing to invade Egypt in the summer of 1940, the British armys Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) causes havoc far behind the front. But after an LRDG patrol is attacked, a tough New Zealander named Ron Moore leads the survivors barefoot through the desert, 300 miles from Allied lines. Pat Clayton, the model for the character played by Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient. Clayton's unit targeted Kufra. But the Italians, listening in, sent out a superior force to meet and assault them. Chaos, vehicles destroyed and captured troopers until hero Ronald Moore led one of the most extraordinary marches in military history. How desperate does have a man to be to suck the blood out of his own arm? That s just one of the astonishing pieces of personal testimony given by Alex Winchester, a Scottish soldier who survived walking over 200 miles through the Libyan desert. Moore s March occurred when a patrol of the Long Range Desert Group, was caught behind enemy lines. Trooper Ronald Moore, a tough New Zealander then led three men, including Winchester, back to safety through 50 degree heat, with almost no water or supplies. On the way, they entered Special Forces legend.

[edit] Operation Pedestal

A profile of Dudley Mason, who was awarded the George Cross after the tanker he was commanding came under attack during Operation Pedestal in August 1942 to relieve Malta. By 1942, the fight between the Allies and the Axis for control of the Mediterranean is focused on tiny Malta. From there, British aircraft and submarines have been preying on enemy supply ships. When Hitler and Mussolini decide to crush Malta, Churchill dispatches a huge convoy to run the gauntlet of Axis air and naval power to reach the beleaguered island stronghold. For the Axis powers in 1942, control of the Mediterranean was vital. Rommel had been fighting the British in Libya and Egypt, supplied by ships bringing arms across the Mediterranean from Europe. In their path lay Malta a lone British base, on the verge of disintegration after a massive bomb attack. Did the ensuing huge gamble pay off? Featuring never seen before footage of the actual events, this film tells the story of how Dudley Mason, a quiet sea captain from Surbiton won the George Cross for his role in the relief of Malta. In one of the most remarkable voyages in history, he was part of a convoy that fought its way through five solid days of massed German attacks by air and sea from Gibraltar all the way to Malta. His ship, The Ohio, was appallingly damaged, but Mason managed to bring it into harbour in Malta, floating with the assistance of two destroyers, and unload its precious cargo of oil. The ship sank immediately afterwards on camera.

[edit] Breakout Through Hell's Gate

With their backs to the Dnieper River in January 1944, 60,000 German troops face encirclement by a larger Soviet force. After an airfield supplying the defenders falls to the Russians, their survival depends on rejoining the rest of the German army. They head for a narrow corridor flanked by Russian soldiers, tanks, artillery, and cavalry known thereafter as Hells Gate. This is the story of how Leon Degrelle together with a motley mixture of Finns, Estonians and fellow Belgians held off the might of the brilliant Russian General Marshal Georgiy Zhukov's army. 40,000 men would escape from the Red Army's grasp in a manoeuvre that became known as "the breakthrough at Hell's Gate." He was the outstanding Russian General who had captured a huge German army at Stalingrad and he was hungry for more. Marshal Georgiy Zhukov was brilliant, ruthless and loved killing Germans. And it looked like he had done it again. 60,000 German soldiers were trapped, their backs against the River Dnieper as three million Russians moved in. But this time, Zhukov was up against a very unusual kind of Nazi. Leon Degrelle wasn t German at all. He was Belgian - a failed politician who, in his devotion to the Fuhrer had become a grunt soldier in an SS regiment. Together with a motley mixture of Finns, Estonians and fellow Belgians - he would hold off the might of Zhukov's army enabling 56,000 men to escape.

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Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4
Video Bitrate: 2 296 kb/s
Video Resolution: 852x480
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 29.970 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 48 min 51 s - 51 min 56 s
Number Of Parts: 13
Part Size: 897 MB
Source: DVD
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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