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DESERT - THE WAR IN NORTH AFRICA:
The war in North Africa took nearly three years to resolve, fought and refought over the same 600 miles of desert between Alexandria and Benghazi. At last, Montgomery's celebrated 'Desert Rats' beat Rommel's Afrika Korps at the famous battle of El Alamein. The surviving combatants tell the story of the other war against sandstorms, heat, flies, thirst and dysentery, and Field Marshal Lord Harding, General Sir Richard O'Connor, Sir Francis de Guingand and Siegfried Westphal are among those describing the top-level decision-making of the North Africa campaign.
Written & Produced by: Peter Batty
The encirclement and defeat of the German Army at Stalingrad held more importance than the horrifying number of men lost. For the first time, the Germans were beaten in the field and the legend of German mastery on land was dispelled. For Hitler, Stalingrad became a magnet, an obsession, with half a million men fighting for six months around it and inside it. So important was Stalingrad to both sides that neither dared give it up. Hitler was finally beaten by the very people he once termed as 'sub-human'.
Written by: Jerome Kuehl - Directed by : Hugh Raggett
German attempts to starve Britain by attacking ships bringing supplies from North America were very nearly successful. The Allied ships, despite convoy techniques, navy escorts and elementary underwater detection devices, were very vulnerable. Doenitz developed the technique of co-ordinating his submarine forces into 'wolf-packs' to attack ships from above and below the surface - but liaison was not a British strong point; co-operation between the Navy and the Air Force in the field, as well as at sea, was very bad.
Written by: J P W Mallalieu - Produced by : Ted Childs
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REDSTAR - THE SOVIET UNION 1941-43:
In Leningrad, a city of three million inhabitants, 200,000 people were killed by German shells and further 630,000 died from cold or starvation. Russia's terrible total of war losses was 20,000,000 military and civilian. Yet Leningrad survived, and the Russian armies went on to rout the Germans. Three months before the attack on Russia began, Hitler told his generals that this was to be a war of destruction - there could be no question of soldierly comradeship with the Russians; they were, to his mind, 'sub-humans'.
Written by: Neal Ascherson - Produced & Directed
WHIRLWIND - BOMBING GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 1939-APRIL 1944:
The arrival of Arthur 'Bomber' Harris to take charge of Bomber Command heralded a new attitude. He was in favour of revenge on a massive scale. He accepted the target statistics and started a system of night 'area' bombing as an alternative to individual target raids which previously had proved disastrous for the British. In July 1943 at Hamburg, at least 30,000 people died, many of them killed by the heat which, in places, reached an estimated 1000¿¿C. German civilian morale, for the first time, was shattered.
Written by: Charles Douglas Home - Produced by: Ted Childs
TOUGH OLD GUT:
Churchill persuaded the Americans to join the Allies on the road to Rome and in November 1942, eleven months after Pearl Harbour, they met the Wehrmacht for the first time. In Tunisia they suffered their worst defeat but the Afrika Korps' eventual defeat gave a major boost to British Mediterranean strategy. Two months later, Allied troops landed in Sicily, Mussolini was deposed and the victory revived the British. Progress northwards through Italy was difficult and hampered by the onset of the Italian winter, however, gradually the Allied position improved.
Written by David Wheeler - Produced by : Ben Shepherd
IT'S A LOVELY DAY TOMORROW:
The jungle and monsoon conditions, for five months of every year, made the lot of the Burma Army a nightmare, whilst the Japanese were able to thrive. The Burma Army in 1942 was weakened by alien conditions, hampered by poor communications, terrorised by Japanese air superiority. It suffered the longest retreat in British Military history, with many casualties and thousands captured by the Japanese. Mountbatten's arrival as commander of S.E. Asia in 1943 was a turning point where the 'supermen' myth was exploded by the first Japanese defeat at Arrakan.
Written by: John Williams - Produced and Directed by John Pett
Following defeat in the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe focus was no longer on London but on more provincial cities. U-boat operations in the Atlantic meant that food supplies were not coming through. Women were conscripted for the first time and called to work in the fields and factories. Rationing brought black marketers in its wake. The strain of the war effort resulted in strikes and the American presence caused social problems. Rejoicing at their departure for Normandy was quickly eclipsed by the advent of the V1 rockets.
Written by: Angus Calder - Produced by: Philip Whitehead