- Title: EXERCISE JANTZEN [Main Title]
- Film Number: DRA 711
- Other titles:
- Summary: Four-reel edited film with commentary and animated maps describing Exercise Jantzen, a large-scale amphibious exercise on the Pembrokeshire coast in July 1943, aimed at practising the supply organisation for a corps landing, and discussing the lessons of the exercise.
- Description: Reel 1: Titles and scrolling text with music. Text gives purpose of exercise as 'to practise Beach Maintenance... [and] the movement of troops'. Animated fictional map, showing an imaginery invasion of an enemy coast by two British armies and an independent corps, with the exercise simulating the corps operation. Map (a line drawing) of South Wales showing Port Talbot, Swansea and Tenby, the embarkation ports for the exercise, and the movement of troops from Concentration Areas to Assembly Areas and to Transit Areas. Footage showing examples of a Landing Craft Personnel (LCP), an Alligator amphibious vehicle, of (Thames?) barges, a coaster, and a collapsible boat, and the numbers of each employed. Footage of vessels being loaded at Port Talbot with vehicles and engineering plant (rollers, dumptrucks etc) being put aboard. Footage of stores being put aboard with commentary explanation of tactical ('fighting stores'), composite ('day-to-day requirements') and commodity ('stores in bulk') loading, and gives the expected supply lift as 23,000 tons by the fourteenth day after landing (D+14). Animated map of ships moving into position. At Tenby barges (in place of LCMs (Landing Craft Mechanised) and LSTs (Landing Ship Tank) are loaded on a beach. Infantry embark after marching from their transit area; 'some of them find the weight of their kit too much'. Vehicles are embarked, with discussion of the importance of practice and occasional need to manhandle vehicles aboard. Ordnance Survey (or similar) map of the landing area with commentary describing beach and tide conditions, and details of roads and terrain etc. Line map with division of the beach into sectors (T, U, V, W, X, and Y) and planned chronology of events; intermediate position at 4 hours after landing (H+4), covering position at H+18, and an advance beginning at D+6. Also explains the establishment of Beach Maintenance Areas (BMA), followed by a Force Maintenance Area (FMA) and Advanced Landing Grounds. Reel 2: Commentary gives 'Zero Hour' as 1230 on 22 July 1943. Men come ashore from LCPs and one soldier seen wearing 'Royal Navy Commando' shoulder title and Combined Operations flash. Umpires decide the tactical situation: '...enemy resistance....assumed to have ended soon after the assault landing'. Sweeping the beach for mines. Commentary and footage describe the preparation of beach exits and stores dumps, and the improvement of the beach surface and the establishment of a Beach Company HQ to receive traffic. Motor transport comes ashore; commentary highlights importance of vehicles being deployed at the correct depth. Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers recovery teams retrieve 'drowned' vehicles. Men come ashore and are transferred forwards. Beach anti-aircraft defence; two views of Ordnance QF 40mm Bofors guns and two shots of very low flypasts by RAF Mosquito aircraft. Discussion of the Royal Army Medical Corps' arrangements and casualty clearing stations. Reconnaissance party for BMA, consisting of jeeps and motorcyclists, sets out. The first coasters arrive with supplies and are beached. Commentary and footage describes various methods for unloading and their relative merits; by collapsible boat, by Alligator amphibian, by lorry after 'drying out', by barge both while afloat and while beached, and then from barges to lorries. Use of Ruston-Bucyrus RB10 and RB19 cranes and the work of a Royal Engineers Docks Operating Company. Reel 3: Commentary remarks on delay due to inexperience dealing with barges. Problems of slow lorry turn-around and the use of transport from anti-aircraft and unit transport, worsened by lack of uniformity in road signs. Criticism of handling of stores and poor use of natural cover. Movement of supplied from dumps to railheads and proper use of cover. Activities of a Royal Engineer field company supporting the beach group, responsible for stores and maintenance of tracks. Difficulties in providing sufficient staff to serve both the beach group and advancing forces. Wide variety of stores, some of awkward size, shape or weight. Water believed to have been tainted in transit is poured away and a water point established. Salvage of waste material. Medical services; view of a tent with sign reading 'Field Surgical Unit'. A large Red Cross aerial recognition symbol is laid out. Problems of ambulance turn-around. A tented operating theatre. Activities of a Royal Engineers airfield construction group; commentary describes that a 1,200 yard runway was to be laid in 48 hours, but in the event was not complete until 1100 on D+4, due to late arrival of stores. Footage shows the use of plant and steel mesh, and an RAF Regiment 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun. Two RAF Mustang Mk III aircraft arrive; commentary relates the inclusion of an RAF Servicing Commando, seen working on a Mustang, in the landing force but also a lack of ammunition or POL (Petrol, Oil, and Lubricants), and a confusion between Army and RAF stores. Reel 4: D+6; end of deliveries to BMA dumps and instead to depots of FMA. Transport delayed by the distance inland of the FMA. Depots and workshops gain useful experience with views of a tented workshop. Standard of unit administration varies with experience; good weather provides a 'comfortable start'. Later bad weather stresses importance in particular of field hygiene. A scene in which a motorcyclist delivers a message to an officer who summons his second-in-command; Pioneer and technical troops man defences; one post has an increasingly obsolete .55-inch Boys anti-tank rifle. Commentary states the local Home Guard had provided the enemy force and had mounted guerrilla attacks and raids. Details of signals arrangements, with line party, telephone exchange and aerials for wireless communications. On D+10 stormy weather disrupts operations; coasters are driven up the beach and some sectors closed. A concrete barge for delivery of petrol is shown beached and leaking. A bulldozer tries to seal the barge with sand but fails. Local National Fire Service personnel applying fire retardant foam. Comment on the safety of POL supplies and use of jerry cans on roller runways. Periods spent in anti-gas clothing. Line map explaining change of BMA to transit areas, and creation of stores transit areas to improve lorry turn-around time. Table of supplies moved shows target of 23,400 tons and daily target of 900 tons missed (16,230 and 625 respectively). Summing up: exercise first attempt at moving large quantities of stores over beach with considerable tidal range; unreality of exercise as craft and equipment not up to date, no vehicles or fighting troops; beach maintenance organisation basically sound; importance of individual and collective training; needs of First Corps not fully met due to complicated loading of barges, lack of experience with barges, and uneconomic use of transport; importance of careful consideration of loading priorities; tactical loading uneconomic; importance of military supervision of loading. Final emphasis on collective training of troops. End title.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1943-07-22 1943-08
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: War Office (Production sponsor) Army Kinematograph Service (Production company)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, Royal Engineers (regiment/service) British Army, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Corps of Signals (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Army Medical Corps (regiment/service) Home Guard (regiment/service) Royal Navy (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, Royal Air Force Regiment (regiment/service) National Fire Service (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK (geography) Port Talbot, Glamorganshire, Wales, UK (geography) Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales, UK (geography) Bristol Channel, England, UK (geography) D-Day, Normandy Landings 1944, North West Europe, Second World War (event) Home Front, UK, Second World War (event) Operation Overlord, Second World War (event) Amphibious Warfare (theme) British Army 1939-1945 (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Sound Soundtrack language: English Title language: English
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 4 Footage: 3029 ft; Running time: 34 mins
- Notes: Made a year after the failure of the Dieppe landing, and with almost a year still to go before the invasion of Normandy, this film provides an interesting halfway illustration of the development of the techniques of amphibious warfare, and makes clear the administrative and organisational complexity of these operations. Though dealing with only a relatively small exercise, the various problems encountered and described in this film make for interesting comparisons with how similar problems (on a much more massive scale) were overcome during the Normandy landings. The rear-ramped barges in Reel 1 had apparently been brought from the River Thames. They were sailed to ports on the south coast for conversion work, then further still and around Land's End to Tenby. They would later serve as auxiliary landing craft during the Normandy landings. Despite dealing with the very dry logistical and organisational aspects of amphibious operations, this film is well shot and coherent. It would doubtless have been of great interest to its presumed audience of staff officers.
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Related IWM Collections Objects:
APY 20 (THE RAF IN COMBINED OPERATIONS [Main Title])