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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5271
Joined: 2004
The Forgotten Battle
10/16/2021 4:33:32 PM
Netflix have just released this film, " Inspired by true events", which depicts the Battle of the Scheldt in the autumn of 1944. I watched it today.

The evocation of time and place works well. The characters are convincing, and there are vignettes of German, British, Dutch and Canadian experiences, with poignant and harrowing personal stories combined with the " big picture" perspective of what was happening in the war on the grand scale.

There is a furious battle scene in which Canadians attack along a narrow causeway, or Dam, into the teeth of German fire, with predictable results. I think I've seen one of George's posts about this in our This Day in History sector of the forum. The arena of battle is thoroughly dismal, muddy and waterlogged. Walcheren is prominent in the story. This is indeed a forgotten battle : there is some dramatic depiction of the glider force approaching Arnhem, but the main impact is the depiction of how the Dutch and Belgian civilians suffered as they were desperately awaiting liberation and were denied, as the Scheldt Estuary had not been cleared and the Germans retained a deadly foothold.

There were cliched themes, and perhaps some mawkish moments, but I give it a strong recommendation.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11980
Joined: 2009
The Forgotten Battle
10/16/2021 4:51:24 PM
Thanks Phil,

I don't have Netflix so I'm out of luck. But as you can imagine I would love to see this film. Is it just called, "Battle of the Scheldt" or does it have some other title?

The scene that you described at the causeway was extremely difficult for the Canadians. They were going to try to use boats initially and attempt an amphibious landing but the Sloe was a muddy mess and not navigable so the decision was made to attack down the 1200 m causeway which was only 40m wide. A terrible challenge. Wading through the mud was not an option either.

The Black Watch of Canada were cut up badly on the initial assault and retreated. The Calgary Highlanders tried on the same day and got to the deep crater that the German's had blown in the causeway to prevent vehicular traffic. The next day, the Highlanders secured a bridgehead.

Incidentally, that causeway no longer exists. The Netherlanders reclaimed the land on either side of it and the marshy and muddy Sloe is no more. It's all farmland now.

Did the producers do a credible job of describing the amphibious landings on Walcheren by the British commandos and the Scots from the 52nd Lowland Division.

Cheers,

George



George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11980
Joined: 2009
The Forgotten Battle
10/16/2021 5:00:28 PM
Ok Phil, I checked the Netflix website and I see that you have already given the title of the film, The Forgotten Battle.

I have to see this somehow. This is the type of film that Canadians should be making but have not.

Cheers,

George
Wazza
Sydney  Australia
Posts: 644
Joined: 2005
The Forgotten Battle
10/16/2021 7:31:54 PM
Sadly no real amphibious landings in this.
Still a great film let down by some glaring continuity errors as well as reversing the film (left handed and right handed scenes).
One of the main characters rifles changed constantly from MKIII to MKIV Enfield which I found annoying.

Best bits for me was the scenes involving the towed glider. Very rare in film.

I give it a 6 out of 10.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5271
Joined: 2004
The Forgotten Battle
10/17/2021 3:14:14 AM
George,

It was my particular wish to get your attention about this film, and I got quite agitated on your behalf while I was watching it, wondering if it accorded with your perception of what happened. It certainly depicts the causeway battle and there are a lot of Scottish Canadians involved.

Thanks for your contribution, Wazza, it needs someone of your technical knowledge and discernment to appreciate flaws that pass me by : I was captivated by the drama and thought it evoked that epic Attenborough film A Bridge Too Far that showed the Americans paddling across a river under terrible fire. To a degree, I reckon that this Netflix effort is inspired by the earlier Arnhem film, and seeks to make us aware of the less well known aspects of the war in the Low Countries in the autumn of 1944.

Six out of ten ? Perhaps I’m too easily pleased, but I would give it higher marks. I do hope you get to see it, George !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11980
Joined: 2009
The Forgotten Battle
10/17/2021 8:07:07 AM
Hello Phil,

Yes, two Scottish regiments attacked along the causeway. I must add that regiments in Canada were raised regionally and so the Black Watch was raised in Montreal and the Calgary Highlanders in Calgary, Alberta. Canadians of Scottish heritage were attracted to these regiments for sure but so were a lot of other Canadians of different ethnicity, including First Nations. If Montréal was your home town and you were an English speaking Canadian, then you could be attracted to the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment of Canada).

You may enjoy this video. When I read your first post I immediately went to the web to see whether I could find it the film in some place other than Netflix.

A 54 min video with a similar title came up. It is called, The Forgotten Battle: The story about the fight for the Scheldt.

It is another Dutch production and it is a documentary so not an action film. All the dialogue and the historians are Dutch so you have to adjust to the English subtitles. I enjoyed their views. They had a lot to say about Montgomery's failure to take the Scheldt estuary because he wanted to attack Germany more directly.

They were critical of Eisenhower because he acquiesced to Monty's demand to attack through Arnhem.

The dialogue included considerable information on the number of Dutch citizens killed throughout the battle. They seemed to suggest that the Canadians were very liberal about the use of artillery which would save the lives of the infantry but did kill a lot of Netherlanders.

I did learn that while the causeway to Walcheren Island and the battle on the island itself were critical, from the perspective of the Dutch, the greatest damage to life and property was on the south side of the Scheldt estuary, in the Breskens pocket from the Leopold Canal to the estuary itself.

The video does give good detail on the progress of the battle.

Give it a go. I think that you will enjoy it.

EDIT: I believe that the younger man who is listening to the historian describe the battle is the director of the film that you have recommended, Phil.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5271
Joined: 2004
The Forgotten Battle
10/17/2021 1:54:16 PM
Yes, George ! Thank you, I really did enjoy it.

It made me think of Monte Casino transferred to Flanders : an epic of misery fought out in dismal conditions, with controversial decisions made by people who were more fixated on their own grandeur than the proper exercise of co-ordinated strategy.

Prima Donnas strutting their stuff.

I liked the input of the Dutch women, who displayed emotion but retained equanimity.

What an utterly wretched affair that campaign was !

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Wazza
Sydney  Australia
Posts: 644
Joined: 2005
The Forgotten Battle
10/17/2021 2:38:25 PM
One thing I really liked but forgot to mention earlier was the attention to the uniforms and the use of 'Tortoise shell helmets' for the Canadians. Rarely if ever seen in any war movies that I can recall.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5271
Joined: 2004
The Forgotten Battle
10/17/2021 3:02:58 PM
The gaunt, haggard and desperate look of the Germans was pitched well.

They really convinced me. The film conveyed something of their terror and dismay.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 802
Joined: 2005
The Forgotten Battle
10/17/2021 6:00:44 PM
Thanks for the tip Phil, I'll check it soon.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6748
Joined: 2006
The Forgotten Battle
10/18/2021 10:41:38 PM
A Forgotten Battle, from a Forgotten Time, at a Forgotten Place!

I won't soon Forget it!
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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