DVD102 - Through Enemy Eyes vol.11
A Newsreel History of the Third Reich at War:
Go behind enemy lines on a journey that traces the rise and fall of German military fortunes... the great battles, the desperate hours captured via authentic uncut newsreels, exactly as presented to German wartime cinema audiences.
Now see the Second World War as you've never seen it before: Through Enemy Eyes.
All newsreels have been transferred from original 35 millimeter and 16 millimeter German prints and have been accurately translated and electronically subtitled in English.
Through Enemy Eyes Vol. 11 (Two Disk DVD Set)
DISK 1: Jun 23, 1943 - Aug 4, 1943
NEWSREEL 668: Orchestra Concert in a Tank Plant; Waffen-SS Anti-Tank Units; Italian Navy Day in Rome; Fighting in Leningrad and Kuban Area.
NEWSREEL 669: Goebbels Opens Munich Art Show; Bombs Damage German Cities; Waffen-SS Hits Partisans; Infantry Rests on Eastern Front.
NEWSREEL 670: The Cologne Cathedral in Ruins; Guderian Visits Tank-Driving School; Action on the Murmansk Front; Russian Military Volunteers on German Side.
NEWSREEL 672: Mass Grave of Ukrainians; Battle in the Orel Area; Luftwaffe Bombs Soviet Staging Areas; Heavy Battles in Belgorod Sector.
NEWSREEL 674: Hitler and Generals at Wolfsschanze; U-Boat Tanker Evades British Planes; Tank Battles in Orel Area; Captured Soviet Troops and Guns;
DISK 2: Aug 11, 1943 - Oct 20, 1943
NEWSREEL 675: German Night Fighters Engage British Bombers; Rommel and His Tanks in Salonika; Heavy Fighting in Sicily; German Troops Evacuate Orel.
NEWSREEL 679: Hitler Youth Summer Games; Soviet Thrust Repulsed on Eastern Front; Germans Retreat From Sicily; German Planes Torpedo British Mediterranean Convoy
NEWSREEL 680: Funeral of King Boris in Sofia; German Auxiliary Cruiser Thor Visits Japan; Soviet Casualties and Prisoners on Eastern Front; German Troops March Into Italy.
NEWSREEL 681: German Troops Capture Rome; Heavy Fighting at Allied Beachhead at Salerno; Mussolini Rescued in Abruzzi Mountains; SS Captain Skorzeny and Mussolini.
NEWSREEL 684: Hitler Decorates Four Luftwaffe Officers; Kuban Bridgehead Evacuated; German Troops Withdraw to Crimea; Stuka Formations in Action.
NEWSREEL 685: German Cavalry Reconnaissance on Sea of Azov; German Troops Evacuate Corsica; Mountain Infantry Land on Corfu; Battle Against Allied Bombers in Germany.
11 Original German Wartime Newsreels with English Subtitles.
256 Minutes - Nearly 4 Hours on Two DVD Disks.
June 23, 1943 - October 20, 1943
SPECIAL PRICE REDUCTION!
See and hear the entire war from the German perspective!
DVD102 - Through Enemy Eyes vol.11
Details: Germany, 1943, B&W, Total running time: 244 minutes, German with English subtitles.
$40.00 $30 +s/h
Volume 11 of the Through Enemy Eyes’ series begins one day following the second anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. In June 1943, the siege of Leningrad is unbroken, as shown by the arrival of colossal railway guns blasting the city in some of the most spectacular scenes of heavy artillery in action ever filmed.
Back in Germany, Wochenschau cameras document the latest paintings and sculpture displayed at Munich’s annual art show. Oustanding is Heinrich Berran’s “Mountain Fire”, perhaps reminiscent of something by Maxfield Parrish, and “After Convoy Battle”, from the unusual perspective of a u-boat’s conning tower crowded with officers and look-outs, by Richard Schreiber. Better known today, after the passage of more than sixty years, is Franz Eichenhorst’s “Remembering Stalingrad,” painted only a few months after the disaster there, showing wounded soldiers on guard in a trench, their facial expressions a mix of resignation and defiance. Represented are the latest works by the Third Reich’s most famous sculptors, Arno Brecker and Josef Thorak, including, respectively, the “Walking Woman” (it epitomizes the National Socialist style) and “Royal Rider,” a stylized dedication to Frederick the Great. Most of these pieces and other Third Reich art survived the war, presently warehoused somewhere by the U.S. government. Relatively few remained in Germany, where many (most?) are in basement storeage at the same Munich museum.
A long sequence in June 30th’s newsreel covers the entire process of home defence against night-time air raids, from the control center to anti-aircraft batteries hasteily manned, to the dispacthing of Messerschmitt-110 interceptors and their downing of an RAF bomber. During the day, the 60th Infantry Division in the south of France is re-named the Feldherrnhalle Division in an attempt to radicalize the regular Army with Hitler’s stormtroops. The parade marking this transformation is suitably impressive. Anti-partisan action in Russia is particularly interesting for the participation of French SS soldiers, one of who is decorated for valor. The expanding European character of the war in the East is evident in a parade of Russian volunteers.
Viewers interested in Luftwaffe aircraft will find close-up shots of a Dornier-215 medium bomber during an after dark raid especially fascinating.
As though self-conscious of high u-boat losses suffered during this period, the Wochenschau for 7 July concludes with the sinking of a Royal Navy submarine in the English Channel. Thereafter, Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz reviews several thousand new sailors. The Type VII and larger IX u-boats to which they are assigned glide pass in review, their after decks mounted with state-of-the-art quad 20-mm cannons, reflecting the growing intensity of Allied attacks on German submarines.
Action switches to Russia, where Axis successes in the battles around Orel and Belgorod stabilze the front. There is fabulous coverage of Heinkel-111s plastering Soviet troop build ups and smashing railway lines. Clouds of flak explode throughout the air, but a Mig is riddled by the medium bombers’ gunners and sent spiraling out of control. On the ground, the seriousness of the situation is obvious in the increased size and protection of German tanks and assault guns, their previously exposed flanks draped now with immense plates of thick armor. We see growing numbers of Tiger tanks in ferocious combat with outnumbering Red Army T-34s. In no time, the horizon is strewn with burning Soviet tanks.
Some of most extraordinary footage featured in Volume 11 belongs to the Nebelwerfer cannons. These were highly mobile, six-barrelled rocket-launchers that shot eighty-pound fragmentation grenades. German newsreel cameramen unquestionably achieved some of their best work in photographing these amazing, truly awe-inspiring weapons, so much so, we can sympathize with the G.I.s who broke and ran at North Africa’s Kassarine Pass from General Rommel under Nebelwerfer fire in February 1943. Although specifically designed to massacre concentrations of enemy troops, these oversized mortars were also known for stopping tanks and destroying the largest artillery, if enough rounds happened to randomly fall on these targets. Indeed, among Stalin’s annihilated forces appear the gutted hulks of American Grant and Lee tanks. Watching such tightly grouped fire laid down by Nebelwerfer cannons, it is hard to believe anything could survive such a relentless barrage.
Beginning with the July 21st Wochenschau, however, the collapse of Axis forces in the East is all to obvious. Although the narration talks of “shortening the elastic front,” German retreat is apparent. It was not a rout, however, and determined rearguard action kept the Reds at bay. But the newsreels cannot conceal the fact that the initiative has passed to the enemy.
Things are brighter in the south, where the Allies are shown being mired in Italy, Mussolini is rescued in the war’s most spectacular feat of its kind, and German paratroops seize several, strategic islands ahead of the Anglo-Americans in the Mediterranean Sea, including Corfu, after hard fighting, but these were to be the last conquests made by the Third Reich. The Italo-German evacuation of Sicily through the Straits of Messina was one of the most successful operations of its kind in history, because it prevented the vast bulk of Axis materials and troops from either destruction of capture, ennabling them to fight throughout the Italian peninsula for the next two years. Volume 11’s coverage of this monumental defensive victory is among the most riveting, as Italian ships dodge enemy bomber attacks --- there are some very close calls --- and German ack-ack furiously pounds away at the enemy in the sky. Very exciting stuff.
The air war over Germany was another bright spot, where fighter pilots such as Rall and Nowotny, shown here being congratualted by Hitler, were having a prolonged field-day, shooting down record numbers of British Lancasters and U.S. Liberators, their smashed carcasses mounded into scrap heaps.
Viewers interested in the war at sea will find the September 8th Wochenschau especially valuable for its very rare images of one of the greatest, though seldom photographed warships of all time. We see a former banana boat turned auxiliary shelling one Allied merchant vessel after another from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans into the Pacific. Thor sank eighteen freighters in a single cruise, escaping everything the Royal Navy could do to destroy her. She met her end, undefeated, during repairs to neighboring ship that accidentally caught fire. Featured is Captain Guenther Gumprich, here celebrated by admiring Japanese naval officers after the Thor docks at Kobe.
As such, Volume 11 is somewhat unique, in that it offers a particularly wide spread of action wherever the war was being fought from late June to October 1943, when the tide had finally turned against the Axis powers.
Reviewer’s note: While purchasing all fourteen volumes of “Through Enemy Eyes” may be too sizeable an investment for most students of World War Two, they will find nowhere else --- in either the written or spoken word --- original source material that will provide them with a broader, more profound understanding of and appreciation for that seminal conflict. To watch it every day, from first to last newsreel, is a life-changing experience, comparable to seeing and hearing Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Whatever viewers bring with them to this collection will be expanded a thousandfold. In short, the “Through Enemy Eyes” series is by far the most important, single document to have emerged from the Second World War, bar none.
- Marc Roland
Trouble with viewing all these Wochenschau newsreels, I get so excited, I always feel like looking for a recruitment office somewhere. - Marc Roland