War + Military | 1950 | Sound | B/W
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World War Two Pacific war. Music over black screen. Fade into crashing waves at sea. Commentary and now, target Suribachi fade out, fade in to Tokyo, spring 1945.
Air-raid siren. Anti-aircraft gun crews in battle dress. Soldier looks through field glasses. Civilians run into an underground shelter. Soldiers run through a shelter made of sandbags. Tokyo is the top objective for Allied air raids from neighbouring islands such as the Marianas. Formation of b-29 bombers. View of Mount Fuji (?) from bomber's nose. They are bringing war to the makers of war. Mustangs escort the bombers. Shot of the crew. A view through the bombardier's aiming device. Bombs being dropped. Explosions seen from the bomber's position. Buildings being hit. Soldiers run down metal staircases. A freight train destroyed. The attacks are strategically aimed at destroying communications, supply lines and industry.
Night-time shots of houses burning after fire raids. A skyline of buildings that have been hit. Sixty-six cities have been attacked. Firemen attempt to put out a fire. Long-range Mustangs accompany the B-29 on raids. Japanese aircraft, bombers and biplanes, destroyed on the ground as seen by a gun camera. Similar shots of ships being attacked. Rockets hit buildings and factories. Trains being strafed. The bombers return, leaving vapour trails.
Shots of the crew at their duties. B-29 comes into land. Member of ground crew waves at plane. B-29 lands on a rough strip, in front of a mountain. Iwo Jima is an important air base. An air crew points out damage the bomber has received. Hole in bomber's fuselage. The base will save the lives of 25,000 American airmen. Airborne shot of Iwo Jima base. View of the islands waves on a shore. Before the final campaign of air strikes a different war had to be waged.
Military camps in the jungle. A black soldier blows reveille - 'only a fraction of the millions in uniform fired a shot in anger'. Long rows of tents used as barracks, men stand outside. Men washing in open-air showers. The 'routine monotony' of their war. A soldier uses his upturned helmet to shave from. A soldier has his hair clipped. Washing being put on a line. Men walking across the camp to eat. Officers enter the canteen first, the men are queuing. The sailors eating and talking over dinner, the music plays over them. A sailor deals with a huge pile of sheets in front of a very big washing machine. Rapid shots of some of the 'shops' on the base: 'supply depot', 'electric shop', 'carpenter shop', 'issue room - you gotta chit?'. A sailor enters a shop and obtains a part from the man behind the desk. A man services a machine gun (M-60?). Ground crew working on various air-craft and engines. Two men repair a small boat. Parts and supplies being loaded onto a troop carrying boat. A sailor is painting a pin-up Mascot on the side of a hull. Several ships in the harbour of the base. The sign for the 'Harbour Entrance Control Post'. The missions they carry out are uninteresting.
A ship uses a lamp to signal in Morse. The cargo ships are called buskets or sieves by their crew. A cargo ship approaches the base. It comes into the harbour. The crew unload the sacks and pile them on the dockside. Men are given the post that has arrived from home. A letter is opened which contains a sweetheart's photo. Men sharing a smoke. A sailor sleeps with his head on a bench. The men around him are playing cards. Men reading and playing dice in front of a truck. One winds a gramophone. A backgammon board held down with shoes. Groups of sailors eat ice-cream from tubs outside a building. A game of volleyball in front of palm trees. Table tennis game. A competition to throw a knife at a piece of paper stuck on to a board. Horseshoes being thrown at a post. The South Sea islands were tranquil, full of mystery and romance but the GIs have brought horseshoes and horseplay, beer and baseball, jive and jazz. A baseball game watched by a crowd.
The approach to a landing platform seen from a boat. Smiling sailors. A sign for 'Florida Islands Recreation Centre' lists numbered activities. The men from the boat queue up along the platform. Each one is given beer. A man plays the saxophone, the film's music plays over him. A makeshift Navy jazz band. An enthusiastic drummer. A sailor dances in his shorts and home-made grass skirt. A game of chess, men reading newspapers and writing letters. A silhouetted sailor against the night sky, fade into a great many ships and boats seen from the air. In the waning days of the war there is still a lot of work to be done.
Men on convoys to forward positions ready ammunition and supplies. An aircraft carrier preparing to set sail. Crew on various positions and duties around the ship. A shot of the engine room shows inside the turbine. The convoy faces an enemy as great as the Japanese - the sea. A tornado seen from the ships. The sea gets more restless. Waves crash onto the deck. The Stars and Stripes flaps strongly in the wind. The commentary quotes a verse of 'Eternal father, strong to save' - 'for those in peril on the sea'. Aircraft with wings folded being manoeuvred on deck. A crew member looks out to sea. Someone tries to walk on the deck. Planes being secured to the deck. The bow moving through the waves. A camouflaged frigate (?) pitches strongly in the sea. The storm blowing across the decks. A gun crew bail out the turret. A plane (Marauder?) has collapsed on the deck. Men trying to work on the decks of various ships. Corsairs stowed on the carrier's deck. Two aircraft have smashed against each other. The ships make their way through the storm. A flag in tatters above a badly hit deck. Palm trees on an island being blown in the storm. Rain floods the base, running through the jungle. A bulldozer moves the mud. Marines sandbag the base. The South Pacific is, according to them, the only place in the world where you can stand in mud up to your waist and have dust blown in your eyes. A marine carrying a sack trudges through the mud.
Packing up the base. Men in combat gear march up the hill. The assault troops knew each island ahead is worse than the last but Iwo Jima will be the toughest yet. Men and supplies being loaded onto a troop carrier. They are shown their bunks. The boats at sea, heading for Iwo Jima. Men asleep on deck. A band playing on deck. Two sailors jive with each other. In front of a crowd, two other sailors dance with each other. Men on deck, reading or relaxing. Men in the bunks asleep. A marine in uniform walks along the decks behind a row of men looking over the railing - possibly a studio shot.
Iwo Jima seen from the air. The battleships and attack ships take up their position. Ship's radar and operator, selecting targets. February 1945 will see a 72 hours of bombardment, 'the most concentrated of World War II'. A crew member adjusts the gun's range. The guns are aimed and loaded. The firing begins. Explosions on the island. The crew assess the progress though binoculars. Ships continue to fire. No music is played, only the guns can be heard. Landing craft are launched in large numbers. The island has to be taken in a headlong assault. There are 23,000 Japanese soldiers ashore. Marines on the landing craft. One is called Glamour Goal'. Tracer shots from the ships over the Marine landing. Men and tanks are landed. The Marines take cover on the shore, pinned down by Japanese fire. A Marine is stretchered to the landing boat. More injured are taken off. A call for support goes to the aircraft carrier. A Combat Information Centre prepares the attack by aircraft. Corsairs are seen taking off from the carrier. The carrier seen from a plane's cockpit. Marauders begin bombing Japanese positions. The explosions seen from the landing beach. More and more men, equipment and vehicles are landed from bigger craft. They aim to take Suribachi. Tanks and vehicles crossing the beach. The five thousand marines who will be killed in the campaign will be 'balanced' by the 25,00 airmen saved by the island's later use.
Marines advancing on foot. A plane crashes. Mobile rocket launchers fire. Men positioned at the bottom of a hill. The marines move up Suribachi. The Stars and Stripes is raised by a group of marines in the pose made famous by Joe Rosenthal's photograph. A wipe to the memorial at the top of Suribachi, where the flag is flying. A detail on the memorial shows the raising of the flag.
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