- Title: AMERICA'S ANSWER TO THE HUN [Main Title]
- Film Number: IWM 458
- Other titles:
- Summary: The American contribution to the war effort on the Western Front, summer 1918.
- Description: I. The film is often disjointed, but covers the transfer of American manpower and matériel across the Atlantic, culminating in their first major engagement in the Battle of Château-Thierry in June 1918. The captioning is outspoken, "the time has come when it is America's high privilege to spend her blood upon the fields of battle already hallowed by the sacrifice of her Allies' stalwart sons", with constant emphasis on the scale of American industrial might. "One million Americans" are in Europe, American shipping has increased by "more than two million tons", a steel and concrete landing dock is "three miles long", and a refrigeration plant is "the third largest in the world". II. (Reel 1) American gunners on the Western Front open fire with French-built 155mm howitzers and 75mm field guns. To supply these men cargo vessels cross the Atlantic under escort, unloading troops and equipment in France. (Reel 2) Locomotives are assembled (Austrian prisoners of war help in the work) and cars and lorries are unloaded. The troops move forward on foot and by train to their base villages, and from their trenches launch an attack through a wood. The resulting wounded are loaded onto a hospital train for a base hospital. (Reel 3) Trainee pilots are taught to fly French-built Nieuport 17 and 27 fighters, along with veterans of the volunteer Escadrille Lafayette, now part of the elite 94th 'Hat in the Ring' Pursuit Squadron, including Raoul Lufberry, Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow. Back in the battle zone shells for the 75mm and 155mm guns are moved up. American soldiers eat in the trenches. The French commander, General Passaga, at Boucq on 25th April 1918 presents the Croix de Guerre to Colonel Shelton, Major Doane and Chaplain de Valles of the US 104th Infantry Regiment, decorating some of the men, and pinning the Croix de Guerre on the regimental colours. The ceremony is watched by the divisional commander, Major-General Clarence R Edwards (26th Division). Major Theodore Roosevelt Jr decorates men of his own battalion of 26th Infantry Regiment at Bois-l'Evêque on 5th April 1918. American 400mm railway guns of 53rd Artillery Corps north of Mailly on 15th May, with 320mm Schneider railway guns. (Reel 4) French, British and US troops, including some wounded, talking together near Château-Thierry. As the bombardment opens on the front, lorries and columns of soldiers move up, and ambulances carry the wounded. General John Pershing addresses his staff in the open air. President Wilson makes a speech. The American celebration march through Paris, 4th July 1918. The film ends abruptly with a brief mention of Britain, "so long as Britannia rules the waves, democracy is safe".
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1914-1918
- Production Date: 1918
- Production Country: United States of America
- Production Details: Ministry of Information (Production sponsor) US Committee of Public Information (Production sponsor) US Signal Corps (Production company)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Passaga (General) (person) Pershing, John Joseph (person) Lufberry, Raoul (person) Campbell, Douglas (person) Winslow, Alan (person) Shelton (Colonel) (person) Doane (Major) (person) De Valles (Chaplain) (person) Edwards, Clarence R (person) Roosevelt, Theodore, Jr (person) Wilson, Woodrow (person) United States Army & American Expeditionary Force (regiment/service) United States Army & Army Air Corps & Pursuit Gp 1 & Pursuit Sqdn 94 (regiment/service) United States Army & Div 26 & Infantry Regt 104 (regiment/service) United States Army & Div 1 & Infantry Regt 26 (regiment/service) United States Army & Artillery Corps 53 (regiment/service)
- Keywords: propaganda, United States - inspirational (object name) weapons, French - gun: 155mm howitzer & [United States] (object name) weapons, French - gun: 75mm field gun & [United States] (object name) operations, United States military - movement: ship (object name) prisoners of war, Austro-Hungarian - custody (object name) supplies, United States, movement [RA] - misc: [+] (object name) operations, United States military - movement: march (object name) industry, United States - vehicles (object name) transport, United States military - rail (object name) transport, United States military - rail: hospital train (object name) medical, United States military - movement (object name) training, United States air (object name) aircraft, French - combat: Nieuport 17 & [United States] (object name) aircraft, French - combat: Nieuport 27 & [United States] (object name) ceremonies, French - event-related: investiture (object name) ceremonies, United States - event-related: investiture (object name) ceremonies, United States - event-related: Fourth of July (object name) weapons, French - gun: 400mm (railway mounted) (object name) weapons, French - gun: 320mm Schneider (railway mounted) (object name) society, United States military - sustenance (object name) society, United States military - friendship (object name) society, French military - friendship (object name) society, British military - friendship (object name) combat, United States - artillery bombardment (object name) operations, United States military - sortie (object name) 01/3(4-15).8 (event) 01/3(4-15).85 [1918 Château-Thierry] (event) France (geography) Boucq, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France (geography) Paris, Département de Ville de Paris, France (geography) Mailly, Meuthe-et-Moselle, France (geography) Bois-l'Evêque, Seine-Maritime, France (geography) Château-Thierry, Aisne, France (geography) half-light (concept)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent Soundtrack language: None Title language: English Subtitle language: English
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 4 Footage: 3357 ft; Running time: 57 mins
- Notes: Summary: a programme held in the Film and Video Archive describes this as "the first American official film taken for the Division of Films of the American Committee on [sic] Public Information and now presented under the auspices of the British Ministry of Information"; the programme further describes the film as being issued by (ie distributed by ?) the Topical Film Company. Although the film ends very abruptly, the programme appears to confirm that this is the original ending. For the 'Hat in the Ring' sequence see IWM 250, and also IWM 176. Remarks: the film gives a good impressionistic overview of the American picture of themselves in the war. It is not noticeably superior, either in the quality of its material or construction, to the average British war film of the period. One sequence of gunners working behind scrim in bright sunlight produces a very lovely 'dappled' effect.
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