WWII in HD

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WWII in HD
WWII in HD Promo Poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Genre Documentary
War
Directed by Frederic Lumiere
Matthew Ginsburg
Produced by Liz Reph
Frederic Lumiere
Written by Matthew Ginsburg, Ben Kaplan, Hunter Dunn, Liz Reph, Bruce Kennedy, Alec Michod
Narrated by Gary Sinise
Starring Justin Bartha
Rob Corddry
Tim DeKay
Mark Hefti
James Kyson Lee
Ron Livingston
LL Cool J
Rob Lowe
Josh Lucas
Jason Ritter
Amy Smart
Steve Zahn
Music by Lorne Balfe, Two Steps From Hell
Country United States
Language English
Original channel History
Original run November 15, 2009 (2009-11-15)  – November 19, 2009 (2009-11-19)
Running time 45 minutes
No. of episodes 10
Official website

WWII in HD (known as World War II: Lost Films in the UK) is a 10-part American documentary television miniseries that originally aired from November 15 to November 19, 2009 on the History Channel. The program focuses on the firsthand experiences of twelve American service members during World War II, including an Army nurse, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a second generation Japanese American and prisoner of war, and an Austrian Jewish immigrant. The twelve members recorded their time in both theaters and some had later interviews; found footage from the battlefield was paired with the stories of the twelve service members.

The episodes premiered on five consecutive days, with two episodes per day. The series is narrated by Gary Sinise and was produced by Lou Reda Productions in Easton, Pennsylvania, United States.

Featured people[edit]

Jimmie Kanaya[edit]

(voiced by James Kyson Lee) The son of Japanese immigrants, who served in the U.S. Army and was imprisoned in Europe.

Jack Werner[edit]

(Voiced by Justin Bartha) Retired 1st Sergeant Hans "Jack" Werner (born in Vienna, Austria) is a retired Austrian American member of the 7th Infantry Division, 13th Combat Engineers of the H and S Company, a division of the Army. Being Jewish, Hans fled Austria to the United States after the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. Hans, who changed his "far too German" name to Jack, traveled to Hollywood to become an actor. He later joined the 7th Infantry, stationed at Camp Ord, California,[1] as a Private months before the attack on Pearl Harbor and although he wanted to fight in Europe, he was stationed with "undisciplined" on Attu Island during the Battle of Attu. After the Battle of Kwajalein and Battle of Leyte Gulf, Werner participated in Battle of Okinawa and after the war ended, he retired to live with his re-united wife and had 3 children. He died on July 17, 2011.[2]

Shelby Westbrook[edit]

(Voiced by LL Cool J) Shelby Westbrook was a Fighter Pilot in World War II fighting with the 332nd Fighter Group (Tuskegee Airmen). He trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1943 before fighting in Europe in 1944. He was stationed in Italy in an all black airbase (since the army was still segregated). On one day of combat, his Mustang was damaged and he managed to land in a field deep in German controlled Yugoslavia. Lt. Westbrook managed to escape with the help of resistance members that were being supplied by the allies and within 30 days, he was back at his base in Italy ready to return to active duty.

Because of his dedicated service record while fighting in Southern France in support of "Operation Dragoon" (the Allied Invasion of Southern France), Lt. Westbrook was awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal (French: Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur)in November 2013.

Jack Yusen[edit]

(Voiced by Jason Ritter) Jack Yusen was a navy member when he joined in 1944. He was assigned the USS Samuel B. Roberts. Assigned to escort transport ships in the Atlantic Ocean from German U-Boat Attacks. The ship was latter assigned to move to the Pacific theatre where it engaged in the recapture of the Philippines. The ship was part of Taffy-3 escort when it engaged in the famous Battle of Samar on October 25, 1944. The ship was sunk by the Japanese task force and he abandoned ship. He spent several days in the shark infested ocean when he was finally rescued. He is retired and lives with his wife.

Rockie Blunt[edit]

(Voiced by Rob Corddry) Roscoe C. Blunt, Jr. was journalist, jazz drummer, and veteran of the U.S. Army's 84th Infantry Division from World War II. He was the youngest soldier to be awarded the Expert Infantry Badge. After returning home from the war, he became an award-winning investigative journalist as well as an expert jazz and big-band drummer. He is the author of three books, including "Inside the Battle of the Bulge" and "Foot Soldier: A Combat Infantryman's War in Europe", (Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2002). He lived in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts,[3] until his death on February 10, 2011.

June Wandrey[edit]

(Voiced by Amy Smart) June Wandrey Mann (1920–2005), was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps from Wautoma, Wisconsin. She was the author of Bedpan Commando, an account of her military service in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany from 1942 to 1946, during which she was awarded eight battle stars.

Mann's book garnered significant public and media attention, leading to numerous television, radio and personal appearances, including on Larry King Live, NBC Nightly News and the Paul Harvey Show, among others.

On June 22, 1995, Mann met with President Bill Clinton in Nettuno, Italy, as part of celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Anzio Beachhead Invasion.

She was a life member of numerous veterans' associations, including the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Anzio Beachhead Association, 36th Inf. Div., 3rd Inf. Div., and the 10th & 40th Combat Engineers.

Bert Stiles[edit]

Main article: Bert Stiles

(Voiced by Josh Lucas) Bert Stiles (August 30, 1920 – November 26, 1944) was an American author of short stories who was killed in action during World War II while serving as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces.

Robert Sherrod[edit]

Main article: Robert Sherrod

(Voiced by Rob Lowe) Robert Lee Sherrod (February 8, 1909 – February 13, 1994) was an American journalist, editor and author. He was a war correspondent for TIME and LIFE magazines, covering combat from World War II to the Vietnam War. During World War II, embedded with the U.S. Marines, he covered the battles at Attu, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. He also authored five books on World War II, including Tarawa: The Story of a Battle (1944) and the definitive History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (1952). He was an editor of TIME during World War II and later he was editor of The Saturday Evening Post, then vice-president of Curtis Publishing Company.

Richard Tregaskis[edit]

Richard Tregaskis (left) with Major General Alexander A. Vandegrift (right) in a United States Marine Corps photograph dated 1942.
Main article: Richard Tregaskis

(Voiced by Tim DeKay) Richard William Tregaskis (1916–1973) was a reporter for the International News Service who served as a frontline reporter for the Marines during both theatres of operation. Tregaskis was ineligible for the draft as he had Type 1 diabetes and he instead became a reporter during the Guadalcanal Campaign on a small island in the Solomon Islands in late 1942 and early 1943. He used notes written during the campaign to produce a novel entitled Guadalcanal Diary, which became an instant success. The book was made into a film by 20th Century Fox, released in late 1943,[4] while Richard transferred from the Pacific to Europe, covering the invasions of both Sicily and the Italian mainland. After a shrapnel shell was lodged in his brain, he retired from reporting World War II and later returned to the front lines to cover the Korean War and Vietnam War.[5]

Archie Sweeney[edit]

(Voiced by Mark Hefti).[6] From upstate New York, he was one of the first peacetime draftees in the United States after President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940.

Charles Scheffel[edit]

(Voiced by Ron Livingston)[7] He was wounded twice, and asked to be sent back to his own unit after the first injury. He was sent home after a second injury resulted in the amputation of his trigger finger. He was married to his wife, Ruth, until her death in 1999. They have three children. Charles Scheffel died on June 24, 2011. His body, by his wishes, was donated to medical research. He joined his wife of 57 years, 12 years after her death.

Nolen Marbrey[edit]

(Voiced by Steve Zahn).[8]

Episodes[edit]

# Title Original airdate
1 "Darkness Falls" November 15, 2009 (2009-11-15)
As Europe falls under Nazi control, America is unprepared for war and the attack on Pearl Harbor. The first bloody battles are fought on Guadalcanal and in North Africa.
2 "Hard Way Back" November 15, 2009 (2009-11-15)
The Allies take on the daunting forces of the Axis, with victory far from certain. Charles Scheffel battles Rommel's forces in Tunisia and Jack Werner faces bitter combat in the northern Pacific.
3 "Bloody Resolve" November 16, 2009 (2009-11-16)
The Marines assault Tarawa in one of the bloodiest battles yet waged. MacArthur island-hops and Italy's front lines claim a casualty.
4 "Battle Stations" November 16, 2009 (2009-11-16)
The Allies lay plans for the invasion of France; Bert Stiles and the 8th Air Force attempt to clear the skies over Normandy, while the Pacific remains unresolved.D day arrives.
5 "Day of Days" November 17, 2009 (2009-11-17)
The episode follows Charles Scheffel in Normandy and Jack Yusen in his early weeks in the navy. The Allies are bogged down in Normandy's hedgerows in the aftermath of D-Day, while on Saipan, victory turns to horror. Robert Sherrod witnesses the Battle of Saipan and the infamous mass suicides committed by the local civilians.
6 "Point of No Return" November 17, 2009 (2009-11-17)
The Allies race toward Germany as American Marines battle for ground on Peleliu and across the bloody Pacific.
7 "Striking Distance" November 18, 2009 (2009-11-18)
American forces storm the Philippines while Shelby Westbrook is shot down over Europe. Jack Yusen battles the dangers of the deep when his ship is sunk after a heroic duel.
8 "Glory and Guts" November 18, 2009 (2009-11-18)
The Marine assault on Iwo Jima brings horror and glory. Pilot Bert Stiles engages a German fighter with disastrous consequences. Reinforcements arrive in Europe to push the Allies toward victory.
9 "Edge of the Abyss" November 19, 2009 (2009-11-19)
The Battle of the Bulge pushes the Allies to the brink, and Rockie Blunt barely survives the fight. Okinawa erupts as the Japanese make their last stand. Hitler is handed a final ultimatum.
10 "End Game" November 19, 2009 (2009-11-19)
With the end in sight, Okinawa is a bloody obstacle to victory. The Third Reich ends with a single gunshot. America delivers the final blow to Japan and the world celebrates the fall of the Axis.

WWII in HD: The Air War[edit]

In November 2010, History aired WWII in HD: The Air War, focusing on the Eighth Air Force's strategic campaign against the German Luftwaffe in the months leading up to D-Day. The special, using never-before-seen 8mm color footage, centers on the firsthand experiences of B-17 bombardier Joe Armanini (voice of Casey Affleck), P-47 fighter pilot Steve Pisanos (Sean Astin), B-17 pilot John Gibbons (Chris O'Donnell), and Stars and Stripes correspondent Andy Rooney (Elijah Wood). Rob Lowe narrates the program produced by Lou Reda Productions.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ United States Army Center of Military History (2009). "Lineage and Honors Information: 7th Infantry Division". Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  2. ^ History (2009). "Show Bios – Jack Werner". Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  3. ^ Roscoe C. Blunt, Jr., "Foot Soldier: A Combat Infantryman's War in Europe", (Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2002).
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley (November 18, 1943). "Movie Review – Guadalcanal Diary – 'Guadalcanal Diary', a Stirring Action Drama of the Marine Corps, with Wm. Bendix and Lloyd Nolan Opens at Roxy". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  5. ^ History (2009). "Show Bios – Richard Tregaskis". Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1473176
  7. ^ "Oklahoman featured on "WWII in HD" Nov. 15-19 on History | Television Blog". Blog.newsok.com. 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001872

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]