Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W
A Drama of the battle of the Somme during World war One.
A hillside with burnt trees being bombarded, troops walking up
" September 1914 Germans are holding the French ground they invaded into with colossal resources..." From the Alps to the sea France was scarred by trenches. A map." The Somme was the strongest link in the German chain in 1916." Barbed wire, German soldiers in trenches- cleaning a sword, putting a sign up:"ZUM THAL DER SIEBE" (AT THE SIGH OF LOVE VALLEY), inside the bunker, a row of soldiers walking in trench, in the bunker soldiers stand at tension, more come down to order. 2 soldiers carrying a machine gun, a few are laughing in front of a poster in the bunker- a caricature of a soldier holding a bottle and it says: "England's Hoffnuns" (England's hope).
"...yet that link had to be broken...to relieve the pressure from the French at Verdun and to strike where our success would most weaken the enemy...In the early summer of 1916 the New Armies of Britain were concentrating like seasoned veterans upon the Somme" hundreds of soldiers are marching alongside horsemen, Scots marching playing pipes, loading shells. "The British preparations did not escape the enemy observers, who from their kite balloons directed destructive shell fire on our lines"
cable report: no casualties. Germans from the kite: O.K. Herr Kamerad, direct hit. British: "the balloons have registered to an inch, Sir. They are blowing us to rags. Can't something be done?..Oh good!"
A Piper aircraft flies by the Germans balloon, c\u of pilot who jumps from the balloon. Shell bombing. British report to base. 3 soldiers are playing cards in bunker. Bombardment outside, a soldier escapes from the outside- they laugh.
"The stupendous labours of preparations were finished by the 30th of
June 1916" officers reading a secret message: "All companies to be on jumping off point by Z minutes 2 hours 1st of July, captain F.G.Allistone."
"All that night along a front of 18 miles, masses of troops moved to their assault position" troops are marching, a view from their backs, a flush of guns over the horizon. 2 troops are resting, officers are talking, salute, "now then my lucky lads fall in" all in a line marching again.
[damaged perforation on amber print]
[the next minute appears twice in the negative and dupe prints]
British soldier carrying a wounded troop, his face is bandaged-up, another sees them, take his helmet off, stand in tension and says: "For what we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful, I don't think!" then walks on with a row of troops behind him into the trench. In the field, cutting the barbed wire to progress. A German patrol sees them. German troops are lying down in bunker, when a soldier comes in to report to the guard: "the patrol reports the English are cutting gaps in their wire, Herr Hauptmann" a pause of consideration followed by order: "Stand the men to Feldwebe!" troops get- up and stand ready at tension. Their officer:"The English are about to attack...I look to you of the machine Gun Corps to show them what it means to face our fire.
"At 7:15am on the 1st of July the bombardment rose to hurricane fury" showing the bombing of a hillside, feeding a large field gun. 7:25, 7:29 on the clocks, foot tapping in expectancy, soldier's faces waiting. ZERO pull the trigger, a big cloud of bombing is seen over the hill, all British troops are advancing, climbing up from the trenches, running over the field, some fall more supply of troops are advancing in a line over the horizon. Germans in a bunker carrying out a machine gun.
End of reel 2
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