September 1944. The Battle of Arnhem was one of the most audacious but ultimately controversial battles of the Second World War. Airborne drops in Holland were to secure important bridges on the route to taken by ground forces racing to gain a foothold across the Rhine. Had it succeeded it might have ended the war by Christmas 1944.
Arnhem: A Bridge Too Far â€“ the True Story follows the route of the 3 airborne divisions â€“ British 1st, US 101st and 82nd â€“ and presents new insights into the operation called Market Garden. It also follows the 2nd Army in their drive up a single, narrow road to relieve the beleaguered British airborne forces in Arnhem. Arnhem expert, Brigadier Frank Steer MBE, provides a completely new and unique tour of the battlefield and the drama that unfolded in the epic days of the battle.
The programme is illustrated with the pick of British, German and American archive film, much of it rarely seen, and talks to the veterans who took part in the epic battle of Arnhem â€“ the largest airborne operation in history.
On the Night of May 16-17 1943, Lancasters of 617 Squadron, using bouncing bombs devised by Barnes Wallis, destroyed the Mohne and Eder dams in the Ruhr valley.
It was one of the most brilliant feats of bombing ever achieved. The special bombs had to be dropped from an altitude of precisely sixty feet with no margin for error â€“ all the while under fire.
The Dam Busters Raid, as it has since become known, was also one of the most dangerous missions of the war. Of the nineteen Lancasters which took part, eight were lost and a further two seriously damaged. Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who led the attack, was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross.
DAMBUSTERS; THE TRUE STORY offers a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the mission. It features exclusive interviews with surviving pilots from the raid, as well as a fascinating insight into the development of the bouncing bomb given by Wallisâ€™s designer. This historic DVD includes previously unseen archive film of the Dambustersâ€™ Lancasters testing the bouncing bomb just before the raids, as well as a visit to the Tornados of todayâ€™s 617 Squadron, inheritors of an heroic tradition.
The Battle of the Atlantic:
THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC was the longest single campaign of world War Two, and the most bloody and bitter of them all. U-Boat â€˜Wolf packsâ€™ played a deadly game of cat and mouse with the merchant convoys on which Britain depended for its very survival.
One quarter of all British merchant seamen lost their lives â€“ a higher proportion than any of the fighting services. Losses on the German side were appalling too; in 1943, the average U-Boat had a life expectancy of just three or four patrols â€“ and its crewmen a one in three chance of getting out alive. Of the 1,131 commissioned, 735 failed to return.
The U-Boat menace started almost immediately war broke out and rapidly grew into the single greatest threat to Britain. In just three nights in October 1940, three convoys lost 38 ships to the Wolf packs. By the end of the year, 1,281 shops had been sunk.
To counter the U-Boat menace, Britain expanded the role of Coastal Command using Catalinas and Liberators to provide range escorts, but bombing the concrete U-Boat pens proved futile and U-Boat production increased at a frantic pace.
In the last six months of 1942 they sank 3 million tonnes of shopping but, at last, the tide was beginning to turn. Britain had secretly cracked the â€˜Enigmaâ€™ codes and Allied air and sea forces were proving far more effective at hunting down and sinking the U-Boats.
In May 1943, 41 U-Boats were sunk for the loss of just 50 merchant ships and, by 1944, the life expectancy of an operational U-Boat had fallen to 1 to 2 missions. In August that year, the RAF 617 â€˜Dambusterâ€™ squadron finally succeeded in smashing the heavily reinforced concrete U-Boat pens with 11,000lb. Tall Boy bombs.
With no safety now at sea or in dock, the U-Boat menace was effectively over.
THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC tells the complete story of the campaign from start to finish with some of the best available footage of the hardest of all battles and interviews with veterans from both sides.
- Region 4
- Standard Edition
- 1.33 : 1
- Dolby Digital Surround 2.0
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