DVD104 - Through Enemy Eyes vol.13
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. 13 (Two Disk DVD Set)
DISK 1: Mar 29, 1944 - May 31, 1944
NEWSREEL 708: German Troops Arrive in Budapest; Soldiers Dig Positions in Snow on Finnish Front; Soviet Attack Repulsed in Pripet Marshes; German Paratroopers Fight in Cassino Area.
NEWSREEL 709: Ski Training at a Waffen-SS Mountain School; Trucks Struggle Through Mud on the Eastern Front; Rail and Factories Are Blown up in Nikolayev; Close Combat in Ruins of Cassino.
NEWSREEL 711: Horse Race in Berlin; Ruins of Monte Cassino Monastery; Gigant Planes Bring Supplies to Crimean Peninsula; Street Fighting in the Kovel Suburbs.
NEWSREEL 712: Hitler's Birthday Celebration; Hitler Inspects New Anti-Tank Weapons; Knight's Cross Awarded to a German Pilot; Allied Bombers Shot Down Over the Alps.
NEWSREEL 713: General Hube's Funeral in Berlin; SS Brigade Wallonia Returns to Brussels; Hungarian and German Troops on the Eastern Front; Floodgates Opened in Flanders and Holland.
NEWSREEL 715: Rommel Speaks to Troops at the Atlantic Wall; German and Rumanian Troops Withdraw in Crimea; Flak Action Against Low-flying Soviet Planes; Grossdeutschland Division in Defensive Action.
NEWSREEL 717: Japanese Bomb American Ships; Refugee Columns Flee Soviets in Rumania; German Police Capture Soviet Partisans; Allied Sub Hit by Depth Charges.
DISK 2: Jun 14, 1944 - Aug 10, 1944
NEWSREEL 719: Allies Land in Normandy; German Troops Fight Allied Airborne Units; SS Division Hitlerjugend in Action; Street Battles Rage in Bayeux Area.
NEWSREEL 720: Rear-guard Units Hit Allied Spearhead in Italy; Coastal Batteries Hammer Allied Ships off Normandy; Allied Equipment Wreckage on Beach; Allied Planes Attack Caen.
NEWSREEL 721: Hospital Ship Erlangen Attacked by Allied Bombers; General von Greim at Eastern Front Command Post; Le Havre After Allied Bomb Attack; Hedgerow Combat Near Saint-Lo.
NEWSREEL 722: General Dietl's Funeral in Berlin; Léon Degrelle Speaks to Wallonian Troops; Coastal and Naval Guns Duel Near Cherbourg; German Tank Counterattack in Bayeux Area.
NEWSREEL 723: Reich Labor Service Art Show in Prague; Goebbels Predicts Victory at Rally; German Mountain Troops in Finland; Intense Combat Action on Western Front
NEWSREEL 725: Ruins of Hitler HQ After Attempted Assassination; Last Meeting of Hitler and Mussolini; Heavy Fighting in Outskirts of Caen; V-1 Missile Deployment Against England.
NEWSREEL 726: Hitler Visits July Plot Victims in Hospital; Colonel Remer Speaks to Berlin Guard Battalion; Germans Retreat on Eastern Front; Allied Prisoner Column Harassed in Paris.
NEWSREEL 727: Men and Women Dig Trenches in the East; French Militia Interrogate Captured Terrorists; U-boat on Combat Mission in North Sea.
15 Original German Wartime Newsreels with English Subtitles.
271 Minutes - Nearly 4 Hours on Two DVD Disks.
March 29, 1944 - August 10, 1944
SPECIAL PRICE REDUCTION!
See and hear the entire war from the German perspective!
DVD104 - Through Enemy Eyes vol.13
Details: Germany, 1944, B&W, Total running time: 271 minutes, German with English subtitles.
$40.00 $30 +s/h
Volume 13 of the “Through Enemy Eyes” series is of special interest to students of World War Two: Disk One covers a period when the Allies had been halted on all fronts, offering Germany some hope of recapturing the initiative. Disk Two represents the death of that hope with the almost simultaneous Normandy Invasion, the fall of Rome and renewed Soviet offensive. Compounding these calamities were the mysterious death of General Dietl, among the Fuehrer’s most valuable field commanders, and the attempted assassination of Hitler himself. This is the historical background for a Wochenschau collection shown in Third Reich cinemas from early spring 1944 until late summer.
Harsh winter conditions still prevailed in Russia, as revealed by the opening newsreel for 29 March, when men suffering through a pitiless blizzard are nonetheless obliged to defend themselves against a numerically superior enemy. Leading the German 16th Army in the central sector at this time was Field Marshall Ernst Busch, shown here conducting a masterful fighting withdrawal that saved his forces from being surrounded to cost the Soviets enormous losses in manpower and materiel. His and Hitler’s East Front intentions were to hold up the Reds as much as possible, while inflicting maximum casualties in preparation for a counter-blow. Disk I documents their successful strategy is numerous combat scenes, in which knocked out Soviet armor is piled high, and Stormovik ground-attack bombers are set alight by flak.
There are terrific shots of Panther tanks rolling forward at high speed against the Soviet steamroller, and German convoys moving in the opposite, westerly direction across the Black Sea. A gasoline dump is hit by Red Air Force planes with fiery results, while Axis forces temporarily recover lost ground, such as the city of Kovel, where Waffen-SS troops were surrounded. After their rescue, Busch appears wearing the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross he received two years earlier, when he saved German forces besieging Leningrad from a massive enemy assault. A year following this newsreel, shortly before war’s end, his Army Group Northwest would be unable to halt the Allied advance into Germany. Captured by U.S. forces on 3 May 1945, he was interned at a British prisoner-of-war camp, where the sixty-year-old Busch succumbed to brutal treatment two months later.
The action switches to the Italian Front, where German resistance stalled the Anglo-American advance at Monte Cassino. The fighting there is showcased in several Disk I newsreels, which feature numerous close-ups of Wehrmacht uniforms and equipment, especially mortars and machine-guns. Paratroopers knock out Sherman tanks and down Allied attack planes with heavy anti-aircraft fire. We see their commander, Richard Heidrich, commanding general of the I Fallschirmjaegerkorps. Like Field marshal Busch, he would be taken by the Americans on 2 May 1945 and handed over to the British, who handled Heidrich so roughly, he died of his mistreatment just two years later at just fifty-one years of age.
The 26 April newsreel contains some very exciting footage USAAF bombers being savaged by Focke-Wulf and Messerschmitt interceptors. Particularly dramatic passes occurs when the entire front end of a B-24 Liberator explodes under the direct hits of 20-mm shells, and a B-17 Flying Fortress has its two port engines set on fire at close range. Luftwaffe fighter pilot Johannes "Hannes" Trautloft addresses a bevy of new pilots. He would survive 560 combat sorties to claim 58 kills, passing away in 1995 at age 83.
The 3 May Wochenschau begins with the state funeral at the monumental Tannenberg Memorial of Hans-Valentin Hube, whose successful evacuation of Axis forces through the Straits of Messina in 1943 was among the extraordinary feats of military history. The brilliant Panzer General was among too many officers known for their loyalty to Hitler --- such as General Dietl, likewise killed in “an accident” --- to die under mysterious circumstances. Luftwaffe Stuka pilot, Hans-Urlich Rudel, the world’s most successful military aviator, appears in the 31st May newsreel, as he and his comrades decimate Soviet armored columns.
On the Atlantic coast, gigantic railway guns are put through their paces in anticipation of the D-Day Invasion, and Rommel, the man in charge, gives his officers an up-beat accessment of their chances. In truth, he was entirely confident that the fortifications he had built up over the previous seven months would frustrate any enemy landings, writing to his wife, Lucy, “I really don’t see how we can lose.” What he really didn’t see were the traitors around him. Just before D-Day, aware that the Anglo-Americans were about to attack, they sent him home to Germany on leave, assuring him all was quiet for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, General Speidel and his superior in Paris, Stulpnagel, refused to issue orders to fire on the June 6th invaders, who were allowed to secure the beach-head unopposed. Learning of the invasion only by a public radio broadcast, Rommel had to travel all the way back to Normandy by private car. By the time he arrived, the battle had already been turned over to the enemy.
Disk 2 is quite naturally taken up for the most part with extensive coverage of the fighting in France. Despite having been betrayed, German resistance was ferocious and effective, and some of the scenes of destroyed Allied armor columns are strangely reminiscent of Hitler’s 1940 Blitzkrieg through the same country. As such, the newsreels from June to August are replete with ground-fighting imagery, in which famous vehicles, such as the Jagtdiger tank and Hetzer tank-destroyerare shown off to their best advantage.
Among the most renowed operators of these weapons was Michael Wittmann, perhaps the greatest tank ace of all time. Until a freak shot killed him on 8 August 1944, the SS-Hauptstuermfuehrer destroyed 138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns, plus other armored vehicles too many to count. On 13 June 1944, during a battle with the 4th County of London Yeomanry, British 7th Armoured Division, while commanding a single Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger, Wittmann knocked out 15 tanks, 2 anti-tank guns, and 13 personnel carriers within the space of 15 minutes. His achievement gives some idea of the action featured here.
The attempt on Hitler’s life is covered by the 26 July newsreel. What it cannot convey was the upsurge in German morale its failure engendered. Up until that moment, the war had been going bady for the Reich, because the same Army generals who botched the assasination had been sabotaging the Wehrmacht. With their arrest and execution, the direction of the war would be in loyal hands. The only question people asked then: Was it too late?
Disk 2 ends somewhat peculiarly with the final newsreel of Volume 13. The last segment in the 10 August Wochenschau is lengthy coverage of a night-time u-boat cruise minus any narration. The action is allowed to speak for itself, as we hear all the sounds inside an operational submarine, and see its numerous details serviced in close quarters by determined seamen. Accordingly, this feature is among the most realistic documentaries of its kind ever filmed. After escaping an aerial attack, the u-boat successfully torpedoes an enemy destroyer. Unless the Kriegsmarine captain can be identified, it is impossible to determine the identity of his vessel, or when and where it cruised. Certainly, at the time this newsreel was released, German submarines were being hunted to extinction, and setting out aboard a u-boat was virtually a suicidal exercise. In any case, for a wealth of military detail, on land, at sea or in the air, Volume 13 is hard to rival.
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