BBC Documentary - Tankies - 5 RTR, Jan 6th.

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by bexley84, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Looking ahead to January TV - as always apologies to non UK residents.

    BBC Two - Tankies: Tank Heroes of World War II, Episode 1
    "Episode 1 of 2
    The Second World War was the ultimate conflict of the machine age, and the tank was its iconic symbol. The "tankies" who fought inside had experience of much of the conflict from the fall of France, to the deserts of Africa, from the invasion of Italy to D-Day, and on to the final victory in Germany.

    In this two part series, historian, BBC Diplomatic Editor, and former officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, Mark Urban tells the story of six remarkable men from one armoured unit - The Fifth Royal Tank Regiment, also known as the Filthy Fifth.

    Using first hand testimony from the last surviving veterans alongside previously unseen letters and diaries, Mark Urban brings the story of an extraordinary "band of brothers" to life, and in visceral detail. At the same time he analyses the evolution of Tank production in Britain and illustrates how we fell far behind our German enemies, in both technology and tactics, relying instead on dogged determination and a relentless drive to victory, whatever the costs.

    In part one, Mark begins his journey in Northern France introducing our band of brothers in the midst of the Fall of France and the retreat to Dunkirk. Characters such as "rookie" tank driver Gerry Solomon join veterans, themselves still only in their twenties, such as and Jake Wardrop and Harry Finlayson.

    Mark Urban then follows in the Tankies footsteps across the deserts of North Africa. Here he looks at the game changing tank battles of Sidi Rezegh, Alam Halfa and of course the battle that changed the course of the Second World War, Alamein. He then takes us back to England where the "Tankies" expect a well-earned rest; instead they are confronted with the news that as battle hardened troops they must fight again, this time on the beaches of Normandy.

    With spectacular archive footage, including rarely seen colour footage, "Tankies" brings to life the Second World War from a unique point of view."

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Cheers - I will keep an eye out for that one.

    Though I thought it was 'The Shitty Fifth'!
  3. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    Thanks for posting, look forward to watching it.
  4. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Thanks for the heads up
  5. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Thanks for the heads up

    Me too. Thanks Richard.

  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Idler- that reference was only used when others were being polite - such as in the Mess

    know a relative of a Major who won an M.C. at Anzio so can give her aheads up as I shall not be able to see the programme living where I do as the BBc continue to spend on handshakes instead of programmes.....

  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Oooo looks good.
    Cheers for heads up.
  8. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I've heard good things about this series - very much looking forward to it.
  9. Roxy

    Roxy Senior Member


    It's on HD as well.

  10. Five-Five

    Five-Five Senior Member

    Very much looking forward to this docu, nice to see 5th RTR getting a bit of coverage.
  11. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    I don't think it hurts re-reminding everyone about this programme tonight (along with Ron's other note) - I'll post the iPlayer link for the UK resident mob tomorrow.

  12. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    For those interested in tank warfare of the Second World War.Should be interesting bearing in mind the discussion generated by the Tiger.

    Two part documentary starting tonight at 9pm on BBC 2 entitled Tank Heroes of World War II.

    Presented by Mark Urban, a former tank commander,it relates the experiences of six men from the 5th RTR aka "The Filthy Fifth"
  13. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

  14. Bond

    Bond Senior Member

    I thought it was very well done and I look forward to the 2nd part. It had lots of good footage from the desert and personal accounts from members of 5th RTR.
  15. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Well made programme, especially liked the thoughts of the vets on the various tactics, comparing some to "charge of the light brigade" stuff. The 1st time it was used came as a surprise to the opposition but not there-after. Most of the vets were not over impressed with the leadership or the information given to them, or should I say lack of info.
  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    The Second Battle of El Alamein took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942 near the Egyptian coastal city of El Alamein, and the Allies' victory marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. It followed the First Battle of El Alamein, which had stalled the Axis advance into Egypt, after which, in August 1942, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery had taken command of the British Eighth Army from General Claude Auchinleck. This Allied victory turned the tide in the North African Campaign and ended the Axis threat to Egypt, the Suez Canal, and of gaining access to the Middle Eastern and Persian oil fields via North Africa. From a psychological perspective, El Alamein revived the morale of the Allied side, being the first major offensive against the Germans since the start of the European war in 1939 in which the Western Allies achieved a decisive victory
    The much derided Wikipedia is at it's best when you need basic information on a subject...... fast !

    The reason I've given this excerpt from Wikipedia is that last night's program featured, amongst other things, the battle of El Alemain and we got a first class glimpse of what it was like to see tank warfare in the desert.

    As I've stated many a time, i didn't go in the Army until 1st October 1942 so the second battle of El Alemain was fought without my help but I did, like everyone else, read about it at the time and gloried at the efforts of the 8th Army and Monty.

    At the time, I was not to know that I would be shipped out to Algiers in April '43 or that i was to fight with the 8th Army in Sicily & Italy but my interest in desert warfare is still such that I watched and greatly enjoyed last night's offering.

    The men featured in the program were all lucid, modest and most importantly, still all had their proverbial marbles.

    I was particularly interested to see the Stuart Honeys in action but would liked to have seen some reference made to their later role as Recce turret-less tanks. The fact that I eventually went into action in one of these hybrids may have had something to do with my regrets about this lack of coverage.

    If you want to see a Honey tank with it's turret, have a look here at Posting #4.

    Looking forward very much to seeing the rest of the series.

    With a bit of luck, perhaps the mods could twist Gerry's arm to offer his own comment ?


    Through the wonders of image faking I have removed the turret :rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    One of the more important aspects of the victories at both El Halpha and El Alamein of the re-education and new strategy imposed by the British Army by both Alanbooke and Montgomery -in their new tasks of CIGS and 8th Army leader - we never looked back after getting rid of much deadwood - and never suffering any losses towards final Victory- we have much to thank those two men for their work

  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    One aspect was the evolution of the engineering that was so necessary to compete against the Germans.the fact that the Americans came up with the Grant, based on "tried and tested" components.However there was much left to do to challenge the German tank....must have had some effect on everyone who saw the armour and firepower of the German tanks.

    Remember this time well.I had a Sunday newspaper round ...ninepence for about 3 hours.. and a selection of headlines to read on the round.Remember those desert victories of the 8th Army as they pushed the Africa Korps west...the battlefield maps outlining the thrusts of the two armies...what a geography lesson.

    One thing that sticks in my mind was the newsreels at the cinemas reporting the news from North Africa.The newsreels were always introduced by the tune "Hillsborough" which I have always associated with those victories....a catchy tune.

    The other point was a revisit to the make up of the Montgomery character.Churchill had a track record of sacking his desert generals but Monty, making his stand at El Alamein was confident and despite the urgency of Churchill ensured that he would fight Rommel only on his terms.As one of the six stated, Monty insisted that he would not attack until he had built up sufficient superiority in terms of men and equipment,in other words the odds were stacked against worked and the rest is history.

    As regards tanks,my NZ cousin's husband was captured by the Italians early on in the North African campaign.As an infantryman,he said the game was up when they were surrounded by he recorded,"rifles are no good against tanks"

    Looking forward to Part 2.
  19. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    A good quality programme and very interesting. All in all fine class TV.
  20. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    Loved every minute of it, especially the colour footage.

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