WW1 Films

The Lost Battalion

Film released on 2 December 2001
Published on YouTube 11 August 2012

The Lost Battalion is the name given to nine companies of the United States 77th Division, roughly 554 men, isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before 194 remaining men were rescued. They were led by Major Charles White Whittlesey. On 2 October, the division quickly advanced into the Argonne, under the belief that French forces were supporting the left flank and two American units including the 92nd Division were supporting the right flank. Unknown to Whittlesey’s unit, the French advance had been stalled. Without this knowledge, the Americans had moved beyond the rest of the Allied line and found themselves completely cut off and surrounded by German forces. For the next six days, suffering heavy losses, the men of the division were forced to fight off several attacks by the Germans, who saw the small American units as a threat to their whole line.

The battalion suffered many hardships. Food was short, and water was available only by crawling under fire to a nearby stream. Ammunition ran low. Communications were also a problem, and at times they would be bombarded by shells from their own artillery. As every runner dispatched by Whittlesey either became lost or ran into German patrols, carrier pigeons became the only method of communicating with headquarters. In an infamous incident on 4 October, inaccurate coordinates were delivered by one of the pigeons and the unit was subjected to “friendly fire”. The unit was saved by another pigeon, Cher Ami, delivering the following message:

“WE ARE ALONG THE ROAD PARALLEL 276.4. OUR ARTILLERY IS DROPPING A BARRAGE DIRECTLY ON US. FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT.”

Despite this, they held their ground and caused enough of a distraction for other Allied units to break through the German lines, which forced the Germans to retreat.

Director: Russell Mulcahy
Writer: James Carabatsos
Stars: Ricky Schroder, Phil McKee, Jamie Harris


Coward

A Short Film set during World War 1
Published on YouTube 11 January 2013

Directed By: David Roddham

Starring: Martin McCann, Sean Stewart, Cillian Roche, Charlie Clements, Joe Van Moyland, Mark O’ Halloran and Brian Markey

306 British soldiers were executed for the offences of disobedience and desertion. Many were later believed to be suffering from shell-shock. In 2006, 88 years after the end of the war, the British government agreed to pardon all 306.

“COWARD” is a 28 minute film set during World War 1 that brings to light some of the brutal treatment soldiers received for suffering what would now be known as shell-shock. It follows two cousins, Andrew and James, from their home in Northern Ireland who join the British Army to fight for their Country and make their families proud. Through their eyes we see the reality of life on the front lines.


Life in the Trenches

Published on YouTube 28 January 2015

The story of trench warfare during World War I, with a focus on the lives of British soldiers. Includes dramatizations of the actual experiences of soldiers.


WW1 Uncut: Surviving the U-Boats

A BBC Production
Published on YouTube 31 July 2014

Dr. Sam Willis investigates the reality of being attacked by one of the German navy’s highly effective submarine fleet: a U-Boat. At first, the British Admiralty underestimated the offensive threat posed by the German U-Boats but they very quickly realized that the Royal Navy was facing one of the greatest threats in its history. Yet it wasn’t just the Navy that had to contend with the lurking threat beneath the waves. In 1915, the German Admiralty began to pursue its controversial policy of unrestricted warfare against all enemy shipping.


WW1 Uncut: A Tommy’s Sex Life

A BBC Production
Published on YouTube 23 May 2014

Rising comedy talent Thomas Gray plays the part of a young junior officer who has just returned to duty after a raucous last night on leave. It may surprise many but this fictional account of British Army soldiers visiting a brothel in northern France is based on one of the less well-known aspects of WW1.


The Trench

Film released on 17 September 1999
Published on YouTube 8 February 2016

A story about a group of soldiers last days before the battle of the Somme in 1916 it shows the conditions in the trenches during World War One and takes you into the minds of the soldiers.

Directed by William Boyd
Writen by William Boyd
Staring: Paul Nicholls, Daniel Craig and Julian Rhind-Tutt


WW1 Film Presentations by the BBC

Six short film presentations produced by the BBC highlighting what it was like for a soldier on the Western Front. Contains contemporary photographs, dramatised diary readings and interviews with veterans of World War One.


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