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Summary: An edition of the British official newsreel "War Pictorial News", produced by the Ministry of Information, Middle East.
Description: I. 'THE COMMANDO SPIRIT SPREADS.' The commentary outlines the adoption of the main tenets of Commando fighting methods by the forces of the United Nations. Gurkha troops make extensive use of foliage as cover during jungle exercises in Ceylon. Gurkhas take off boots and socks prior to fording a watercourse. A Gurkha infantryman unsheathes his kukri knife and puts it between his teeth, cocking his M1 Thompson .45-in sub-machine gun. East African infantrymen negotiate a tough assault course, using rope ladders, high level walkways and trees. Members of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), based in South Africa, jump off a high escarpment into a pool of water and then climb out using ropes on the sheer escarpment wall. An assault course is undertaken described by the commentary as being modelled on the British Commando version with barbed wire obstacles and fixed explosive charges adding to authenticity. Having successfully negotiated barbed wire obstacles, the RAC men take cover in slit trenches as an instructor fires a .303-in Bren light machine gun with an attitude restrictor using live ammunition to further create battlefield authenticity. RAC men run across burning grasslands.
II. 'THE RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE.' The Soviet offensive of the winter of 1942 is described as being "beautifully synchronised with the British and American offensive in North Africa." Stock shot footage from the winter of 1941/1942 gives an impression of the harshness of conditions on the Eastern Front. Russian Infantry scan the horizon for signs of enemy activity using binoculars from the cover of a dugout. A Russian GAZ open-topped truck tows a 184/1 45mm PTP obr 1932g anti-tank gun into a suitable siting position. A Russian 76.2mm ZP obr 1931g anti-aircraft gun mounted on a dual axle carriage is used in the ground support role engaging distant enemy targets. Russian artillerymen fire 76.2mm Pushka obr 1939g howitzers in wooded and snow-covered terrain. Russian infantry drag a 7.62mm Stankovy Pulemyot Maksima obr 1910 (SPM) heavy machine gun mounted on a Sokolov carriage across snow covered ground to the cover of an Isba (Russian lodge house). Russian troops uncover an anti-tank box charge (T-IV Amatol 80/20 with plywood casing ?) from the snow and unscrew the detonating fuse to make the mine safe. Views of wrecked and abandoned German soft-skinned vehicles follow. Warmly clad Russian infantry stand next to a shivering and frost-bitten Wehrmacht prisoner, clad only in a torn battledress tunic.
Production Details: Ministry of Information, Middle East (Production sponsor)
War Pictorial News (Production company)
Martin, Charles (Production individual)
Keating, Rex1910-02-142005-01British newsreel commentator, WW2 period (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, Gurkhas (regiment/service)
British Army, East African infantry (regiment/service)
South African Army, South African Tank Corps (regiment/service)
Red Army (regiment/service)
Keywords: training, British - specialist: jungle warfare (Gurkhas) (object name)
training, British military: East African personnel (object name)
training, South African - specialist: Tank Corps (object name)
combat [simulated], Russian (object name)
casualties, Russian wounded - battlefield (object name)
casualties, German dead (object name)
prisoners of war, German - custody (object name)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 734 ft; Running time: 8 mins