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Title:DESTRUCTION OF A GERMAN BLOCKHOUSE BY A 9.2 HOWITZER [Main Title]
Film Number:IWM 259
Other titles:OFFICIAL PICTURES OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE - SECOND SERIES [Series Title]
Summary: A 9.2-inch howitzer of the Royal Garrison Artillery 'walking' its shells on top of a German blockhouse, Western Front, January 1916.
Description: The howitzer is in a leafless wood. Its crew remove its camouflage, load the howitzer and elevate it (this is the number 4 gun of the battery). They uncover a pile of shells and roll them forward ready to be lifted up by special tongs. The howitzer fires, then is sponged out and reloaded three times. Another camera in a hide a short distance away from a German blockhouse records through a loophole the shells falling nearer to the target. Two officers in their Observation Post use trench periscopes to spot the fall of shot, and send a message via a field telephone to an RGA sergeant-trumpeter, who relays it to a second-lieutenant. Four more shells burst around the blockhouse, and the eighth shell fired scores a direct hit destroying the building. The gunners clean out their gun and do maintenance work before re-covering it with camouflage.
Production Details: War Office (Production sponsor)
British Topical Committee for War Films (Production company)
Malins, Geoffrey H (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, Royal Artillery, Royal Garrison Artillery (regiment/service)
Keywords: weapons, British - gun: 9.2-inch howitzer & [+] (object name)
destruction, German military - aimed: artillery bombardment & [+] (object name)
defences, German - emplacement: blockhouse & [wrecked] (object name)
communications, British military - wire (object name)
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: 1
Footage: 472 ft; Running time: 8 mins
Notes: Remarks: extremely entertaining, quite well filmed, and apparently completely genuine. Malins describes the episode in his book 'How I Filmed the War' and, in his introduction to the IWM's reprint of the Malins book (pages xx-xxi), Nicholas Hiley quotes two further sources to confirm Malins's own account of the risks taken to film this particular scene.