Film: 5788

War + Military | 1940 | Sound | B/W

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Synopsis:

World War Two. El Alamein, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya. Men of the 8th Army, who on 23rd October 1942 defeat Rommel's army in North Africa during World War Two. The Western Desert in Libya's stark landscape with odd military vehicles. Soldier looks through a compass (close-up). Armoured car, rear view. Soldier, bare-chested, waves flies off another man, seated, while he cleans a gun. Man with net across his face oils a truck. Sandstorm approaches a truck; huge sandstorm in desert. "War has ebbed and flowed". Truck with 'caterpillar' tracks and soldiers races across sand, artillery across sand, Bren gun carriers, tanks, formation of planes, car with officer standing and pointing - he is General Auchinleck. He passes a tank on the side of the road. Map of the north coast of Africa showing El Alamein. Rural scene of Egypt. A mosque in Cairo. Pan across Alexandria (one shot) and the Suez Canal (one travelling shot). Rommel's lines of supply stretched. Barbed wire with the sea behind. The Quattara Depression, desert, salt marsh. Column of trucks on road. Auchinleck with soldier. Soldiers dig in. Soldier using pneumatic drill. Digging a trench. Laying mines, covering them with sand. Soldiers in rows lay mines. Sand-bagging. Bare-chested soldiers move equipment, set up machine guns, shells prepared next to artillery. Nets placed for camouflage. Artillery guns fired. Tanks through the desert, aerial shots, German planes approach, ground to air artillery fire at fighter planes. Fighter planes on both sides. Explosions in the desert. Close-up of soldier on artillery gun; he marks his 'hits' on the barrel. Churchill with pith helmet walks through crowds of soldiers. He stands in car shaking hands with soldiers, he doffs his cap and drives away. General Alexander with Churchill and Montgomery. All three walking through desert. Directive signed by Churchill seen. Munitions production in Britain. Women in head-scarves on lathes and drills; clocking-in; travelling overhead shot of ammunition factory. Shells lifted by cranes. Artillery and aircraft production. Pan across huge factory floor with many people. Mechanics inside half-finished cockpits. Assembling wings on a plane. Bomber aircraft leaves factory (Lancaster?). Sherman tank assembly line. Placing cannon in turret. More tanks on assembly line. Overhead shots of half-finished tanks. Ships at sea. Map of Africa showing supply routes. Air route across Africa. Black man fells palm tree. Landing grounds prepared. Tarmac-ing runways. Planes assembled in Africa. Plane takes off. Planes fly over rainforest and a river. Burning tanks, bombed out tanks, more burning tanks, corpses of dead soldiers, German graves with Swastikas. Debris of the battlefield. Column of burnt out trucks, soldiers sit and wait in fox-holes. Re-supplying the 8th Army. Tanks and supplies off ships in harbour. Indian troops with turbans. Line of Egyptian men unload boxes. Tanks on a train. Troops with full kit board a train. Train moves off with soldiers and tanks on board. Road sign with arrows says 'Western Desert'. Freight steam-train with truck column in foreground. Aerial view of very long line of trucks on a road. Rommel, close-up. Close-up of pilot in plane, bombs dropped. Aerial view of bombing of a harbour, very good shots. Burning destroyer. Fighter plane skims over the sea and attacks ship. Camera gun film of attacked ship. Interior of British submarine. View of ship through periscope. Officer looks through periscope. Engine room control. Light on panel comes on, lighting up word 'Fire'. Torpedo through the water. Destroyer explodes. Low camera angle of bare-chested men marching - officers talk to camera of need to keep army fit. Men do exercises, assault course and hand-to-hand fighting. Hand-to-bayonet fighting. Rolling out of the back of a truck. Army from coast to ten miles inland. Map shows German and Italian front. Layout of opposing Allied forces. Rommel talks to journalists in Berlin and shakes Goebbel's hands. Hitler with Rommel. Hitler gives him the baton of Field-Marshal. General Alexander, Admiral Harwood and Air Marshal Tedder sit at table discussing. Montgomery and Air Vice-Marshal Cunningham together. Plan of battle explained to all. Plans discussed around a tank. Lots of shots of troops listening. Bombs loaded into planes. Shells into tanks. Fuelling and arming planes. Arming machine-guns. Jerry-cans of water and tins of corned beef. Documents collected from soldiers. Soldiers having haircuts. Cooking and eating in the desert. Writing letters. Smoking. Highland bagpipes played as soldiers look on. Tanks by sunset further forward. Battle of El Alamein [filmed at Pinewood studios] in the moonlight. Long artillery shells exploding, a gunfire noises sequence. Loud, big bangs and voices shouting "Fire!". Lit up faces and artillery positions. Bagpiper moves infantry forward. Barrage. Fly past. Soldiers advancing across desert. Tanks across desert and up sand dunes. Map showing progress. Soldiers with guns in trenches. 'Over the top' type scenes. Soldiers out of trenches run forward. Loading and firing heavy guns. Diving planes. Camera gun footage of air-to-air attacks. Planes crash to ground; burning planes on ground. Battle of Kidney Ridge - 7th Armoured Division. Loading gun; man shouts "Fire!" Tanks speed through desert, lots and lots of artillery, soldiers poised in dug-outs. Men through barbed wire. Two German soldiers surrender. Machine-guns fire. Australian division in coastal area. Close-up of bayonet poked into sand (looking for mines?!). Line of soldiers doing this. Explosion. One soldier doesn't get up again. The man next to him turns over the dead man. Lots of battle scenes. Rommel in tank. Truck with Red Cross drives through battle. Stretcher-bearers, line of ambulances, stretcher into ambulance, men limping, carried on shoulders. Wounded soldiers of the battle. Corpses, feet of the dead, more corpses. Soldier tends seated soldier in bandages. Close-up of German prisoners. Rommel consults map with officers. Scramble to planes. Man puts on parachute and gets into plane, adjusts machine-gun. 'Thumbs up' from the cockpit. A flare is fired. Planes take off together. Ground-to-air bombardment. Large number of ships seen from the air. Dropping bombs. Tanks file past. More maps showing coastal advance. Soldiers fight around a tank, using tank as 'cover'. More guns firing and loading. Soldiers run past dead soldiers on the ground. Speeding tanks. Montgomery looks through binoculars. Long lines of tanks. Generals observe battle through binoculars. Lots of tanks; tanks fire, explosion next to tank, tank battle, tanks burning. Three shots of men firing machine-guns. Explosions. Soldiers lie on their front firing rifles. November 3rd - Tank battle. Radio: 'BBC Home and Forces Programme'. Bruce Belkridge tells of success; room full of women at long tables cheer at the news. One says, "That'll show 'em!"; another, "Plenty more where that came from!" Burning Panzer tanks of the retreating German force. Captured German artillery and aircraft. Captured Italian divisions. Huge number of captured Germans, eight Italian generals, Von Toma, commander of the Afrika Korps and Burckhardt, leader of the German paratroopers. 20,000 enemy dead. The commentary speaks of booby traps on Allied dead. Enemy columns attacked - aerial views. Trucks attacked by machine-gun from a fighter plane. Tanks and armoured vehicles through wet desert roads. Sign to 'Murza Matruh' and 'Sollum' (one brief shot), sign to 'Sidi Barrani'. Twisting road in Hell Fire Pass. Mined road to Benghazi. Ships at Sollum, unloading barrels. View of Tobruk. Lowering the German flag on November 13th 1942. Cirene; entering Benghazi. Sunken ships in the harbour. Ships unloading supplies at Benghazi, petrol barrels. Sign says 'Misurata and Homs'. Road to Homs, truck passes. Soldier directs traffic. Battle on the outskirts of Tripoli. Close-up of men carrying stretcher with wounded man. Surrender of Tripoli by the governors and mayor of the city. No towns now left to Italy. Tanks enter Tripoli while very quiet men watch along a long palm tree-lined street. Bagpipe parade. Allied advance of 1400 miles. Montgomery in motorcade through street, he salutes from his car. Soldiers raise a Union Jack over fort in Tripoli. Telegram from General Alexander to the Prime Minister saying the enemy was eliminated from North Africa. Churchill salutes regiment as they march past. Planes fly past. Artillery victory parade and tanks. Australian troops.


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