The History Channel series The Lost Evidence recounts the moments of key battles in the European and Pacific theaters through the use of recently unearthed reconnaissance photos that were taken during the actual battle as well as in the days and weeks prior. Interviews with men on both sides of each battle offer a fresh look at the war.
Volume two of this incredible series will continue to recount the moments of key battles in the European and Pacific theatres through the use of recently unearthed photos that were taken from high above the killing grounds. Aerial reconnaissance aircraft captured images of the desperate action below, now these original high-resolution images have been layered over a three dimensional contour map creating a unique perspective on the battle. For over 60 years these photographs have remained lost, or forgotten…until now.
Cutting edge technology, unique archive film, re-enactments and extraordinary interviews with the men on both sides of the battles contribute to a fresh look at the war, as seen from the air as well as by those in the thick of the fighting. In THE HIDDEN TRUTH OF WORLD WAR II the stories of the war’s most ferocious attacks, climactic battles and ultimate victories vividly to life.
Produced by Flashback Television for The History Channel
Part 1: Battle of Berlin
On 16th April 1945, 9000 Russian guns unleashed a devastating bombardment on German troops manning the outer defences of Berlin. More than a million Red Army soldiers had assembled to smash their way through to the heart of the city. Time had run out for Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
However, the battle-hardened veterans of the Red Army faced an enemy fighting with a ferocity born of desperation. In the streets of the city, their tank formations become easy prey for fanatical tank hunting teams of SS men and boys of the Hitler Youth. Furthermore, at the heart of the defence effort was Hitler himself. The beleaguered Fuhrer doggedly refused to admit defeat, demanding endless suicidal counterattacks.
We see aerial reconnaissance photographs taken during the course of the battle. The majority of these aerial images have not been seen for sixty years. They have been combined with cutting edge computer graphics to create three dimensional models of Hitler’s embattled capital city. For the first time, it is possible to follow the dramatic and bloody progress of the savage battle which brought the war in Europe to an end.
Part 2: North Africa
In November 1942, the largest amphibious assault force the world had yet witnessed assembled. Three allied Task Forces and 107,000 men swiftly headed to North Africa to link up with the British Eighth Army in Libya in order to crush Nazi forces in the region. They effectively aimed to smash down the door into Hitler’s back yard, gaining access to the ‘soft underbelly of Europe’.
For the first time during the Second World War, American forces came face to face with German troops. In the harsh and unyielding terrain of North Africa, the feared German Afrika Korps – under the command of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel – handed out a brutal lesson in desert warfare to the inexperienced American troops; they came perilously close to driving the Americans out of Tunisia.
Part 3: Peleliu
The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between September and November 1944 on the island of Peleliu.
The U.S. Forces, originally consisting of only the 1st Marine Division, later relieved by the Army’s 81st Infantry Division, fought to capture an airstrip on the small coral island. U.S. Major General William Rupertus, commander of 1st Marine Division, predicted that the island would be secured within four days, but due to Japan’s well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted for over two months.
The battle remains one of the war’s most controversial, due to its questionable strategic value and high death toll. When considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War.
Part 4: Monte Cassino
In September 1943, a three hundred thousand strong Allied army invaded Italy; they aimed to undermine Hitler’s control of what Winston Churchill called the “underbelly of Europe.” Although Mussolini’s fascist government surrendered on 8 September 1943, Germany’s much feared paratroops, the Fallschirmjager, remained to defend the country. At Monte Cassino, a town sixty miles south of Rome, the forces of General Harold Alexander faced the frantic defenders of Hitler’s Reich in a series of bloody and controversial battles.
In this groundbreaking documentary, we examine photographs taken by the reconnaissance aircraft that flew high above the carnage capturing the vicissitudes of the battle. British and German aerial photographs taken at the time have been layered over a three dimensional contour map in order to create a CGI model of the battles for Monte Cassino.
For the first time, these original high-resolution images allow the viewer to track the battle, step by step, from the air. Using cutting edge technology, unique archive film, re-enactments and extraordinary interviews with the men who were there, this documentary provides a unique and refreshing insight into the complex killing grounds of Monte Cassino.