Battlefield

Follow!

Battlefield is a World War 2 documentary series initially issued in 1994-5 that explores some of the most important battles fought during the Second World War. The series employs a novel approach where each battle is the climax of an extended series of events. The presentation is particularly effective using a perspective you never get in most war documentaries. Battlefield provides detailed accounts of individual battles from World War II, including troop movements, arms deployed, motivation of key players. Rare footage specific to each battle is included. Very comprehensive, exhaustive, entertaining. These documentaries were produced and aired over several seasons as separate series. Series One is focused on the main key battles in WW2, and Series Two deals with other lesser known but also key battles. Series Three: Vietnam of the Battlefield Vietnam (documentary series) consists of twelve one-hour episodes from the acclaimed TV series devoted to Vietnam's key battles. Judgment of the Vietnam war has been clouded by issues which occurred away from Vietnam: the campus protests, the controversial presidencies of Johnson and Nixon, the agonised arguments over MIAs and POWs and the tormented veterans of that war. For so many people, the Vietnam War brings to mind events in America, not in Vietnam. When thoughts turn to Vietnam, attention focuses on a young girl burned by the napalm, piles of bodies at My Lai and the summary execution of a Viet Cong insurgent on the streets of Saigon.Those events are important, but they do not shed a great deal of light on the military realities of the conflict. Battlefield Series Three: Vietnam was the first definitive documentary of the Vietnam War as a war. It will intentionally avoid the subsidiary issues which cloud judgement of the war, so that a clearer picture of what actually happened on the ground and in the air will emerge. The Battlefield series was originally aired on BBC and later on PBS. The Military Channel currently shows a shortened version of the series. With a minimum of recreations, this show is nearly 100% actual combat footage. The narrator speaks throughout the series, with no interviews of actual battle veterans. Detailed analysis of the battle including leaders, commanders, soldiers and weapons is presented. Events preceding the featured battle are presented, as well as some aftermath details.

Rated with 8/10 by 2 users
Episode Description

1

The Battle of France

Blitzkrieg's most astonishing triumph, establishing Hitler as unassailable within continental Europe.

2

The Battle of Britain

The two mightiest air fleets in the world clashed in tumultuous mortal combat. At issue was Britain’s very survival.

3

The Battle of Midway

The stakes were no less dramatic when Americans met Japanese in this enthralling carrier-to-carrier battle of Midway. Both sides knew that the victor would rule the Pacific for years to come.

4

The Battle of Stalingrad

The annihilation of an entire army amidst the charred and frozen ruins of Stalingrad was catastrophe for Nazi arms. Thereafter, the colossus of the Red Army was never to lose the initiative in the East.

5

The Battle of Normandy

In August 1944, with the battle for the beaches won, Allied troops were advancing through Normandy. The Falaise Gap, southeast of Caen, represented the only remaining escape route for the Germans. In danger of being overrun, the Germans were determined to extract their forces before becoming completely encircled. The subsequent fighting in the hedgerows and fields was intense, as the Allies battled to overcome 150,000 determined Germans. The Gap was finally closed on August 19. Approximately 50,000 trapped German soldiers surrendered. Germans losses, especially of heavy guns and tanks, were catastrophic.

6

The Battle of Berlin

The furious, climatic last battle of Hitler’s war. Over half a million lives were lost as the Red Army finally crushed the last Nazi citadel.
Episode Description

1

The Battle for North Africa

The long struggle for North Africa provided US forces with invaluable battle experience, paving the way for the eventual re-conquest of Europe.

2

The Battle of the Atlantic

For the British the longest and most critical battle of the entire war. The German intention was to sever Britain's trading links with the world, guaranteeing her capitulation.

3

The Battle for Russia

Hitler's plan for the conquest of Russia called for a classic Blitzkrieg offensive, which would be pressed ruthlessly to its conclusion within the course of a single season's campaign.

4

The Battle for Italy

When victory in North Africa seemed assured,Allied Planners turned their attention to Italy. The objective was to seize Rome, knock Italy out of the war and push north towards Austria.

5

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

To restore American prestige in the Pacific, Roosevelt authorized an invasion of the Philippines, a former US territory and the scene of a humiliating defeat at the hands of Japan in 1942.

6

The Battle of the Rhine

During the last months of 1944, the British and Americans pressed steadily through France and Belgium to the western frontiers of the Third Reich.
Episode Description

1

Dien Bien Phu - The Legacy

Covers the battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and the resulting expulsion of the French and the division of the country into a North and South Vietnam.

2

The Undeclared War

Covers the US's growing invovlement from military advisors to combat troops after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Also covered is Operation Starlight which was the US Marines first battle against the Vietcong in 1965.

3

Search and Destroy

Covers the US Army's first battle against the NVA at the Ia Drang Valley in 1965 and the strategy and tactics of the US and North Vietnamese in their efforts to win the war.

4

The Showdown in the Iron Triangle

Covers the US Operations which try to seek and destroy the Vietcong and induce them into set piece battles in various areas between Saigon and Cambodia in 1966-67.

5

Countdown to Tet

Covers the events in 1967 which lead the Vietcong to plan an all out attack on South Vietnam during the Tet New Year of 1968.

6

The Tet Offensive

Covers the Tet Offensive of 1968 in great detail, especially the street battles in Saigon and Hue and the resulting near annihilation of the Vietcong.

7

War on the DMZ

Covers the battles and US Operations that raged around the DMZ in the years before 1968.

8

Siege at the Khe Sahn

Covers in great detail the largest battle of the war around the US Marine base at Khe Sanh, including the surrounding hill battles and the many B-52 strikes. This episode is the highlight of the series for me, it covers this battle better than any other documentary I've seen. A lot of the battle was artillery fire being exchanged on both sides and this episode covers exactly where the artillery pieces were placed and shows how the US was able to resupply its troops on the nearby hills while under heavy fire, it was very well done.

9

Air War Vietnam

Covers the early years of the Air War with American and South Vietnamese pilots flying tandem to the beginning of the Rolling Thunder campaign.

10

Rolling Thunder

Covers the air attacks on North Vietnam by US forces during Operation Rolling Thunder in 1965-68.

11

Peace With Honour

Covers the struggle US forces have in turning the ground war over to the South Vietnamese and their effort to destroy NVA bases in Laos and Cambodia in 1970. This episode ends with the NVA's buildup before the Easter Offensive of 1972.

12

The Fall of Saigon

Covers the Easter Offensive of 1972 and the unrestricted Christmas Bombings which leads to the Paris Peace Accords of 1973 and the end of the War for the US. This episode finishes with the battles that occurred in the two years after the US left and the resulting defeat of South Vietnam with the fall of Saigon.
Episode Description

1

The Battle of Kursk

In the summer of 1943 more than 2,000,000 men and 6,000 tanks of the German and Soviet Armies faced each other near the Soviet city of Kursk. The ensuing battle was, to this day, the largest tank battle ever fought in history. It marked the last major offensive operation of German forces in the East and, combined with the Soviet victory at Stalingrad, was the decisive turning point on the Eastern Front.

2

Air War Over Germany

The Allies were determined to take the war to Germany both to disrupt German war production and weaken civilian morale, and in retaliation for the Nazi terror bombing of England. The "Strategic Bombing Campaign" by the RAF and the USAAF was one of the most controversial campaigns of WWII and cost thousands of Allied lives and caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths.

3

Manchuria - The Forgotten Victory

The remarkable Soviet victory over the once mighty Japanese Kwangtung Army in the mountains of Manchuria is one of the least known of the Second World War. This was no steam roller triumph of greater numbers and brute force but a victory for superior weaponry, brilliant tactical use of surprise and bold command that was achieved in little more than a fortnight. This is a brand new episode from the landmark television series 'Battlefield'. Featuring fascinating archive footage from all over the world the programme includes a review of the political and military situation before the battle, portraits of leaders and commanders, an explanation of weapons and tactics and the story of the battle itself. Vivid graphics place the battle into the context of the war as a whole.

4

Pearl Harbor

The infamous Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was one of the most significant events of World War II. Though brilliantly planned and executed, and though it dealt a crippling blow to the US Pacific Fleet, it failed to inflict any damage on the US aircraft carriers. Moreover, the attack brought the US and its industrial might into the war with disastrous consequences for the Axis powers.

5

Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal was the first major land battle of the Southern Pacific campaign. The island was considered key to the defense of eastern Australia and was the first step in the "march" up the Solomon Island chain to neutralize the key Japanese base at Rabaul, open up the road to the Philippines, and ultimately to Japan itself.

6

The Siege of Leningrad

This is the story of one of Second World War's most harrowing episodes. The 890 day siege of the Soviet Union's second city has come to epitomise the misery, suffering and savagery of the war on the Eastern Front. The city was not finally liberated by Soviet troops until 19th January 1944 - by that time 600,000 of its citizens had starved to death and 200,000 more had perished in the bombing. This is a brand new episode from the landmark television series 'Battlefield'. Featuring fascinating archive footage from all over the world the programme includes a review of the political and military situation before the battle, portraits of leaders and commanders, an explanation of weapons and tactics and the story of the battle itself. Vivid graphics place the battle into the context of the war as a whole.
Episode Description

1

The Battles for Tunisia

The campaign in Tunisia saw the battles that fi nally ended the brutal war in the desert. The arrival of the British 1st Army gave the Allies a six-to-one numerical advantage in troops and a fi fteen-toone superiority in tanks, guns, and aircraft. The Allied blockade in the Mediterranean also began to bite, making the beleaguered Germans short of fuel, food, and ammunition. Eventually, all German troops in Tunisia surrendered.

2

El Alamein

Covering the leaders, the equipment, and the men, as well as the battles, it covers the period from the beginning of the war in Africa until the end where the Axis is expelled. The main battle covered here is the last battle of El Alamein.

3

The Battle for Monte Cassino

Covering the entire Italian campaign including the battle of Monte Cassino.

4

The West Wall

This is the story of the construction and defense of Hitler's three-mile deep web of fortifications, pillboxes, troop shelters, and anti-tank obstacles that ran along Germany's western frontier. "The Siegfried Line," as it was nicknamed by the Allies, and the natural barrier formed by the Rhine River, were key to Germany's defense of its Western Front. The breaching of the Siegfried Line at the Battle of the West Wall, and the subsequent crossing of the Rhine barrier at Remagen, heralded the collapse of German resistance in the West.

5

Operation Market Garden

This episode tells the tragic story of the "bridge too far" and the ill-fated Operation Market Garden--the Allied operation that was supposed to end World War II in 1944. Montgomery's rather fanciful conclusion that Market Garden was "90% successful" was hardly supported by the facts. The operation was an unmitigated failure.

6

The Battle for Caen

The city of Caen was perhaps the greatest major obstacle in the path of the Allied advance inland after their landings in Normandy, 6 June 1944. Consequently it was a key objective for 3rd British Division, landing on Sword Beach. The Allies were unable to capture the strategically important city on D-Day, however, in the teeth of armoured counter-attacks from 21st Panzer Division. Renewed attempts by 3rd Canadian Division on 7-8 June were foiled by 12th SS Panzer Division 'Hitlerjugend', as were 7th British Armoured Division's thrusts towards the city on 11-14 June. On 25 June Operation 'Epsom' was launched to take Caen. Preceded by RAF Bomber Command attacks, further British and Canadian assaults on 4 July stalled before the whole of the city could be taken. On 7 July Operation 'Charnwood' forced the Germans to withdraw from northern Caen. A much heavier bombardment opened Operation 'Goodwood' on 18 July, in the course of which the Canadians finally managed to liberate the rest of Caen, by now largely demolished after five weeks of intensive fighting.
Episode Description

1

The Battle for the Crimea

Hitler's obsession with the Crimea was the source of fierce disagreements with his General staff, who, according to the Fuhrer, 'knew nothing about the economics of war'. So it was that the German 11th Army under Manstein broke through the Soviet lines in October 1941 - but this was only the beginning of a series of bloody battles that cost the Russians two whole armies. For his bombardment and capture of Sevastapol, Manstein was promoted to Field Marshal. However, the tide turned after the disastrous German defeats at Stalingrad and Kursk. Cut off and isolated in the Crimea, the Germans faced massive Russian attacks and Sevastapol surrendered - against Hitler's orders - in May 1944. Twelve German and Rumanian divisions were completely destroyed and 25,000 prisoners were taken.

2

Scandinavia: The Forgotten Front

The vicious 14-week war between the Finns and the Russians ended in March 1940 when the Finns finally surrendered a large part of its territory to the Soviet invaders. 500,000 were evacuated from the Karelian isthmus, the scene of the war's most terrible fighting. It was a hollow victory, since for much of the war the Russians took a drubbing from the determined and resourceful Finns, who organised the defence of their country brilliantly. It is believed that one million Russians lost their lives during the fighting and the weaknesses of the Red Army were exposed for the world to see. Hitler was suitably encouraged, for he had already determined on the invasion and conquest of his erstwhile allied partner. Meanwhile, during the early months of the war, Hitler became increasingly aware of the potential threat of Norway and mounted the world's first airborne invasion there in February 1940. At the same time, German Forces invaded Denmark. Over the next few years, the horrors and intrigues of the Quisling government in Norway unfolded amidst determined Norwegian resistance.

3

The War Against the U-Boats

The convoys that sailed across the Atlantic Ocean bringing vital supplies to Britain faced one of the most deadly threats of the war. Hidden deep beneath the waves were German U-boats. This program follows the evolution of the Atlantic War, from the beginnings of the U-Boat war, to the "Happy Time" when German submarines almost brought Britain to her knees, to the eventual Allied triumph for control of the Atlantic sea-lanes. Also see the critical role that superior Allied technology played in winning the war and how British cryptographers successfully broke the German naval codes.

4

Destination Okinawa

The battle for Okinawa, chosen to be the final springboard for an Allied invasion of Japan, claimed more American lives than any other battle in the Pacific campaign. The Japanese had constructed a formidable series of defenses and were prepared to fight for every inch of the island's soil. The battle included a 700-plane Kamikaze raid against the US naval fleet. US casualties were estimated to be 49,000. Ultimately US forces took control of the island in June 1945 and in August, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war against Japan to a dramatic end.

5

Campaign in the Balkans

In August 1943 the Romanians--no doubt prompted by merciless Allied bombing--changed sides. Thereafter, events moved swiftly: the Russians soon captured the vital Ploesti oil fields, a huge loss to the German war effort, and within days the Soviets captured Bucharest. A nervous Bulgaria sued for peace with the Allies, but the Russians pushed on into Sofia. Despite German delaying tactics, Hungary fell next. In Yugoslavia the Germans held grimly on to Belgrade until October. The bloody mop-up fighting was left to the Soviets and lasted until the end of the war.

6

The Battle for the Mediterranean

This is the story of the crucial battles for control of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the irreplaceable oil fields of the Middle East. The program covers the great battles between the Italian Navy and British Navy, the land campaigns in the North African desert between Rommel's Afrika Korp and the British 8th Army, and Britain's struggle to retain its control of Malta. Additionally featured is the war for control of the skies between the German Luftwaffe and the RAF, eventually joined by the US Army Air Force, and the story of the war in Greece.