More than two hours of unique films!
* Crack that Tank!
Part of the Army's "Fighting Men" series shown only to
troops. Tanks were justifiably feared by the infantry. In this nuts &
bolts training film, an experienced "tanker" gives troopers
the inside dope on what they need to know to take them on, including
digging in for protection and camouflaging your position, what parts
of a tank are most vulnerable, how to "blind" a tank, how
to force tanks to "button up," using the right weapons
including anti tank guns, rifle grenades and even Molotov cocktails
-- and a lot more. Supplemented with numerous examples shot in the
field and captured German film of armored attacks.
* Photography Fights
This is a dramatic recreation of actual events. A small group of U.S.
Navy aerial photography analysts labor away in a steaming bunker at
an obscure Pacific island airbase during the battle for Guadalcanal,
combing over air reconnaissance photos developed by a dour, pop song
singing seamen in their little lab. They use magnifying "gizmos"
to view the pictures, hoping to find new evidence of Japanese
activity. Their position is bombed regularly by the enemy, sometimes
with fatal results. The tale is told in a deadpan style, chocked full
of period lingo. They work closely with a laid-back F4F-7 Wildcat
recon pilot who flies their missions. "As usual," not much
out of the ordinary happens. That is until an anomaly is detected in
a photo taken of a spot in the jungle at Munda on the Japanese held
Island of New Georgia, within striking distance of Guadalcanal.
Careful analysis reveals likely airfield construction under
camouflage. Heavy American airstrikes are launched to hit it.
In actual fact, the Japanese were using
palm trees suspended from cables on Munda to hide construction
activities. The airbase was eventually completed, but its
effectiveness was severely hindered by early detection and continuous
airstrikes until it was overrun later in the War by Allied forces.
* Kill or Be Killed
) Another training film in the Army's "Fighting Men" series
shown only to the troops. Americans are brought up with the ideal of
"fair play" in sports competition. The goal of this film is
to bluntly drive home the reality that "fair play" can get
you killed in a hurry on a battlefield. The idea is to kill the enemy
first, without putting yourself in unnecessary danger. (Just because
an enemy is sprawled out like a corpse, don't walk up to him
nonchalantly without a weapon at the ready.) The emphasis here is on
one on one encounters, including hand to hand combat, using any means
necessary, with a weapon that will be most appropriate for that
situation. When to use a rifle instead of a pistol. How to pursue a
fleeing enemy soldier. Using sawed off shot guns, bludgeons, brass
knuckles, trench knives and a kick in the privates for close combat.
This film is purposely designed to shock trainees out of complacency
and into a "kill or be killed" mindset.
* Suspended Runway
23:00) This amazing 'How To" documentary is from the top secret
World War 2 archives of the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) the
forerunner of the C.I.A. It could be right out of a James Bond film.
In essence, you'll learn how to quickly construct a "Suspended
Runway" capable of landing, raising and lowering and launching
light aircraft in the jungle, above the undergrowth. Using an
elevated 500 foot cable & harness suspended between support
masts, you can pu up a suspended runway in where a conventional
runway can't be built. All you'll need is a nine man crew and an
equipment parts bundle that can be brought in by a 5 ton truck or air
dropped to remote locations. This ingenious system was invented and
perfected by U.S .Army Lt James Brodie. You'll see every step in the
the installation of a suspended runway in the field by G.I.s using
ropes and block and tackle without any power tools. You'll see a real
launching and retrieving a Taylorcraft L2B "Grasshopper
"observation plane. This film is a gear heads delight, in the
tradition of "Field Assembly of a P-47 Thunderbolt."
* Building a Tank
(1941, B&W 20;00)
You'll get a behind the scenes look in a defense building the complex
M3 Lee medium tank. The Lee was the Army's first mass produced World
War 2 battle tank, as seen in the Humphrey Bogart Hollywood classic
"Sahara." It featured a turret mounted 37mm quick firing
antitank gun and a hull mounted 75mm gun. It was exported in large
numbers to Britain, Commonwealth countries and the Soviet Union as
the "Grant,"with several British mandated modifications. It
first saw combat in North Africa in 1942 where it was more than a match
for contemporary Axis tanks like the Panzer III and proved very
reliable with its air cooled aircraft engine. When large numbers of
M4 Shermans became available in 1943 and the Germans introduced their
powerful Panther & Tiger tanks, the M3 was withdrawn from Europe,
but continued in service a little longer in the Pacific & with
the Indian Army.
Inside the newly constructed Detroit
Tank Arsenal, you'll see all aspects of M3 production using 10,000
workers. One of the under appreciated aspects of the process was the
design and production of over 4,000 precision machine tools needed to
manufacture and assemble all elements of the Lee, all of which had to
be in place with trained workers before a single tank could roll off
the assembly line.
* Road Expedients
21:00) Like our popular video "Tank Expedients," this is
another film in a series used to train troops on quick & dirty
solutions for problems in encountered in the field of battle: aka
"Expedients." In this case, for building roads in a wide
variety of terrains and climates, using material and equipment
available on the spot. Among the many examples shown on location are
elevated wood plank roads, corduroy roads using tree trunks,
different solutions for jungles and deserts, re-purposing airfield
landing mats for roads in marshes and using chicken wire to bind
material in the desert. Inventive solutions for a wide variety of
* Medical Service in the Invasion of
(1944,B&W,15;00) Most documentaries on "D-Day"
focus on the logistics that went into military aspects of the
combined amphibious & airborne assaults. This fascinating
"Restricted" documentary gives a behind the scenes look
into the complex planning and execution that went into providing
rapid and effective medical services for wounded servicemen &
women, saving thousands of lives. In the U.K. a series of purpose
built facilities were built to handle incoming casualties: Holding
Hospitals with Emergency ERs on the Southern Coast of England,
Transit Hospitals a bit inland for intermediate treatment and
routing, and General Hospitals in the midlands and North for extended
care. There's are never before seen footage of soldiers being treated
by medics on the beach on D-Day before being evacuated on specially
modified LSTs the had fully equipped ER that could treat 200 patients
on the way across the channel. By D-Day plus four, fully staffed
Evacuation Hospitals were set up in Normandy, with Triage Units close
to the front line. Within a week, aircraft were taking the seriously
wounded to England for immediate treatment. But at the heart of the
story are doctors, nurses and Medical Corpsman saving lives, often
risking their own, under very adverse conditions.
* D-Day & Normandy Campaign Daily
Situation Maps: 12th Army Group Headquarters, June 6 though August
(1944 -Color Maps - 7:00) From the U.S. National Archives.
This remarkable series of Top Secret "situation maps,"
shown in slow motion time lapse, are the actual ones used by Allied
12th Army Group Headquarters to show the position of Allied and
German military units in the Normandy Invasion area from D-Day June 6
through the "Breakout" across Northern France through
August 25th, 1944. Standard military unit symbols are used as
necessary from Battalion through Army Group HQs. The "Front
Lines" are clearly shown. This gives a unique perspective on the
course of events. Advances, followed by stalemates, build ups, and
then advances in other areas, until front lines are blurred in the
rapid dash across France to Paris & beyond.
*Movies at War
10;00) When I talk to World War 2 vets, often some of their fondest
memories come from watching movies in the field during a "break
in the action," in tiny ad hoc theaters. But the role of
"movies" for American forces goes far beyond entertainment,
which is what this short documentary is all about. All of the
training films shown on our web site were produced as part of the
"War Effort," both by Armed Forces Film Production Units
around the world and at dedicated production studios in Hollywood.
The Academy Award winning 'Why We Fight"' series was produced
to educate the American public on the root causes of the War. More
than a thousand training films were shot, to be viewed by millions of
troops. (Most of them, unfortunately, have been lost or destroyed.)
And these films were not only seen by American troops, they were
distributed to our Allies and dubbed into numerous languages,
including Chinese, as you'll see in this film. Some of the highlights
of the film are scenes of servicemen & women watching movies
around the world, from relatively fancy wooden theaters like the
wooden one built on Bougainville to projecting movies on bed sheets,
watched under pouring rain by troops huddled in ponchos.