This is the story of 'Operation Market-Garden', the code name of the offensive which was supposed to bring the Allies victory before the end of 1944. Despite the bravery of the Allied troops, the attack was a costly failure... the war would not be over by Christmas.
In 1942, after a crushing defeat in France and the loss of Singapore to Japan, British forces produced Germany's first major defeat at El Alamein, in northwestern Egypt. It was an unqualified success, and signaled to the British that the war was not hopeless. As Churchill later remarked, "Before Alamein we never had a victory; after Alamein we never had a defeat."
View the famous D-Day landings of 1944 from the ships of the Allied invasion fleet and from the positions of the German army as it tried desperately to defend the beaches of Normandy. Taken from the hugely-popular television series “Line of Fire”, this programme harnesses state of the art computer technology to explore, explain and bring new perspectives to one of the most vital battles of World War Two. It also features rare archive footage, specially treated recreations and authoritative comment by leading military historians from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. About 'Line of Fire' Line of Fire is history with a difference. For the first time the great battlefields of the world are presented in a unique animated environment, providing new insights into military history's most compelling events. Each powerful episode combines unrivalled graphics with atmospheric recreations to analyse every facet of famous battles from medieval times to the Second World War.
The controversial battle waged by American and Polish troops to gain ground around the Italian monastery of Monte Cassino.
The bitter, bloody and inhuman struggle for Stalingrad was the turning point of the war on the Eastern Front and a pivotal moment of World War Two. Germany's defeat there signalled to the Allies at large that Hitler and the Reich could be beaten.
Experience the terrible final battle for Berlin in 1945 from the perspective of the attacking Red Army and the positions of the shattered German forces that made a final desperate defence of the city.
The great German spring offensive of 1918 was the Kaiser's last attempt to make a decisive breakthrough during World War I. For a time, it seemed it would succeed, but the attack petered out through exhaustion and supply difficulties. Germany would never regain the initiative.
Discover why the last major German offensive of World War Two so nearly succeeded and how heroic defensive actions by American GIs thwarted their plans.
The fight at Goose Green in May 1982 was the most famous battle of the Falklands War, which saw British and Argentine troops struggle for control of the Falkland Islands. In the wake of the shock Argentine invasion, Britain sent a hastily assembled Task Force to the South Atlantic charged with the job of restoring British sovereignty. The Argentine positions at Goose Green were thought to pose a threat to the British advance across the Islands and troops from the Parachute Regiment were sent to deal with it.
June 1982 saw the final battles of the Falklands War. For the servicemen of the British Task Force, the campaign to defeat a determined enemy had been difficult and costly, but now the capital Stanley, the final prize, lay within their grasp. This programme tells the story of the drive to liberate Port Stanley, during which battles such as those at Tumbledown and Mount Longdon found their way into the pages of British military history.
The story of the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, the echoes of which are still heard today in the middle east. In May of that year, Egypt, under President Nasser, blocked the Tiran Straits to Israeli shipping and began to gather huge numbers of troops in the Sinai Peninsula. At the same time King Hussein's Jordan allowed Iraqi troops across her border. Israel was swift to respond to this turn of events and there was a devastating pre-emptive air strike against the Egyptian airforce. Jordanian and Syrian attacks were halted and repelled, after only six short days Israel had captured East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Sinai itself.
On August 3rd 1990, Iraq, under its ferocious dictator Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait, its oil-rich neighbour. Not long out of a war with Iran, Iraq badly under-estimated the reaction of the watching world to its unprovoked attack; in particular, they believed that the US would not dare to become involved. A coalition against Iraq was formed and it struck back in January 1991. Iraq's air defence system and the country's infra-structure were taken apart by air attacks that utilised the very latest warfare technology - and it was technology as much as anything else that brought Iraq's armed forces to its knees. Saddam had promised the 'mother of all battles' - words that came to haunt him and his army as they were caught in the open on the bloody road to Basra.
The small British Expeditionary Force, moving up into Belgium on the left flank of the French 5th Army, met with the full weight of the German 1st Army advancing towards Paris under the Schlieffen Plan. A short but intense fire fight - where the British caused heavy casualties to the thick masses of enemy infantry - was followed by a British withdrawal out of the canal salient. This manoeuvre was made more urgent by news that the French Army on the right flank was in retreat.
At Cambrai in November 1917, a tank force of over three hundred tanks punched a hole four miles deep into the German lines in the space of a single morning, But the Germans counter-attacked and the result of the battle was a virtual draw, with the front lines shifting slightly. However the battle of Cambrai marked a major turning point in the course of the war - as the era of trench warfare was coming to an end and technology was beginning to reign supreme on the battlefields of Europe.
The story of the Allied campaign in the Dardanelles that was supposed to knock Turkey out of World War One. Winston Churchill convinced Allied High Command that an attack at Gallipoli would also open up vital supply lines to Russia and establish a third front against Austria-The Australian and New Zealand troops who fought and died during the ten month Gallipoli campaign that saw an estimated 36,000 Commonwealth troops lose their lives before the allied withdrawal in January 1916. It was not only Turkish shot and shell at infamous places such Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay that claimed so many lives, but also those other traditional hidden enemies of the solder - sickness and disease.
July 1st 1916 was the blackest day in the history of the British Army when a combination of bad planning and German bullets sent Kitchener's Army to their doom. An army that had taken two years to build took only a day to destroy.
The historic Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, a turning point in the American Civil War, in which the Confederate troops and the Federal force fought an escalating battle at a cost of more than 50,000 lives.
The battle of Balaclava, aka The Charge of the Light Brigade, was the famous engagement during the Crimean War in which a Russian commander attempted to lift the siege of Sevastopol by attacking with 25,000 troops.
Graphic reconstructions are used to illustrate how Wellington's departure from military tradition at Waterloo secured victory over the French and managed to change the course of European history
The Battle of Borodino, fought on September 7, 1812, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia, involving more than 250,000 troops and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties. It was a pivotal point in the campaign, as it was the last offensive action fought by Napoleon in Russia.
View the most famous naval engagement in history from Admiral Lord Nelson's perspective and see what Villenueve's Allied fleet could see as the English fleet approached them on that fateful October day in 1805. From the hugely-popular television series “Line of Fire”, this programme harnesses state of the art computer technology to explore, explain and bring new perspectives to the story of Nelson's victory. Featuring specially treated recreations, “Trafalgar” also includes authoritative comment and analysis by leading military historians from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
As the famous sun of Austerlitz rose through the pale mist on the morning of December 2nd 1805, the stage was set for one of the most decisive battles of the Napoleonic era. By evening, the combined armies of Austria and Russia would be utterly destroyed. It was to be Napoleon's greatest victory, achieved by a commander at the very peak of his powers.
This battle was fought on 25 October 1415 at Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War, between Henry V of England and a much larger force of French under a divided command. Henry completely defeated the French, hastening the English conquest of Normandy. Some 6,000 French died and hundreds, including the richest nobles, were taken prisoner. Henry gained France and the French princess Catherine of Valois as his wife. The village of Agincourt (modern Azincourt) is 48 km/30 mi south of Calais, in northern France.
On 16 April 1746, on Drummossie Moor overlooking Inverness, a well supplied Hanoverian army led by the Duke of Cumberland annihilated the much smaller army of Lord John Murray and the leader he mistrusted, Prince Charles Edward Stuart. It was Bonnie Prince Charlie's final assault on the English, and the bloodiest of all the Jacobite battles. It was also the last battle fought on British soil.
Proclaimed by Pope Gregory VIII, the Third Crusade set out to reclaim Jerusalem from Saladin, the sultan of Egypt and Syria, who had seized it after the battle of Hittin in 1187. Led by the three great leaders of western Christendom Richard I, Frederick I and Philip II, the Crusaders left home with high hopes and expectations. Their hopes, however, would be dashed and expectations would largely go unmet. Frederick drowned before even reaching the Holy Land and as a consequence the German effort fell apart. Tensions between the English and the French saw Philip return home early. The siege of Acre was brought to a successful conclusion in 1191 and there was a morale-boosting victory over Saladin's armies at Arsuf during the same year, but by the time domestic problems forced Richard to return home 1192, Jerusalem was still in Muslim hands.
After months of rising tension, the English Civil War finally exploded into life on the slopes of Edgehill on the 23rd of October 1642. It was to be a confused and bitter business, marked by the foolishness of Prince Rupert and the Royalist cavalry, who left the field at a crucial stage of the battle. As darkness fell, nearly 3000 men lay dead and the die was cast: the English Civil War would be no short and decisive affair.
The Battle of Naseby on the 14th of June 1645 all but decided the outcome of the English Civil War. As the sun set on a dramatic day, the Oxford field army of King Charles had been comprehensively beaten and completely destroyed. The King had shown considerable personal courage during the battle, however his cause was not helped by Prince Rupert's infamous attack on the baggage train, which meant that the day was lost before he could return to the field.
In a mighty attempt to crush the Scots, King Edward II placed himself at the head of the invasion of Scotland. In their desperate hour of need came Scotland's greatest medieval king, Robert, known simply as "The Bruce". The two forces would meet at a small stream within sight of Stirling Castle - the Bannockburn. The thunderous battle fought there would decide the fate of a nation.
The Battle of Marston Moor on July 2nd 1644 was one of the most important of the entire English Civil War. It was here that a force of some 27,000 Parliamentarian and Scottish troops routed an army of just 18,000 Royalists. Crucially, the Royalist stronghold of York was lost and King Charles' cause in the north virtually collapsed. It was a defeat from which the King would never recover.
During the long years of the Dark Ages, the sight which signalled fear and terror for the inhabitants of coastal Britain was the first glimpse of an unfamiliar sail on the horizon. The sighting of the famous long ships heralded the arrival of Viking raiders; the harbingers of death and destruction.
The great battle fought near the English seaside town of Hastings on October 14th 1066 was perhaps the most significant in England's history. The great victory won that day by Duke William of Normandy over Harold II of England was to shape forever the destiny of a nation. For at the end of a day of furious battle, the sun set not only on the dead and wounded who littered Senlac Hill, but also on the entire Anglo-Saxon way of life.
In 58 BC, Julius Caesar pushed north from Rome into the unruly lands of the barbarians. Less than eight years later, the empire extended all the way to the Atlantic, and Roman legions were making incursions into Britain. The key to Caesar's victory lay not in the superiority of the Roman war machine but in his mastery of strategy, tactics, discipline and military engineering. According to Plutarch, Caesar's campaign resulted in 800 conquered cities, 300 subdued tribes, a million slaves and 3-million dead on the battlefield - all this, not to mention Caesar's elevation to First Man in Rome.
In 55 BC the ambitious Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, turned envious eyes towards the mysterious isle called Britain. Within a few short years, the mighty Roman war machine had tamed the Celtic tribal society and transformed it into a province of the Roman Empire. This is the story of the dark years of ancient Britain when the well-disciplined Roman legions faced the fury of the united Celtic peoples of Britain.
The Macedonian king Alexander was one of history's greatest military commanders, a reputation that was earned by a series of victories at famous battles such as Granicus, Issus and Gaugemala. This episode explains how those battles were won and how Alexander wrote his name into the pages of military history.
The tactics used by Hannibal at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC are still used by military historians to teach and illustrate the "ring of steel", the double envelopment manoeuvre. A number of classical and military historians examine this battle in detail and place it in the context of imperial conflict between Rome and Carthage.
How the Persian army underestimated the might of Greek forces at Marathon in 490 BC. But how did the victors achieve their aim?
This episode looks at the Pelopponesian War between Athens and Sparta and the decisive siege and downfall of Athens in 404 BC.
Genghis Khan succeeds his father at age 13 overcomes hostile tribes to become a remarkable ruler.
Note: This episode is listed as #38 on the producer's website. http://www.eagle-vision.tv/Brand/230
Note: This episode is listed as #33 on the producer's website. http://www.eagle-vision.tv/Brand/230