Friday, October 9, 2015

1939 Battle of Westerplatte

When I first heard of the movie 1939 Battle of Westerplatte I was intrigued. This is a little know engagement in a campaign that most students of World War II do not spend a great deal of time on.  As I had family living in Poland at the time any movie of the conflict is of interest to me.

This is a battle on a small peninsula on the Baltic between Polish and German forces. German naval infantry, SS troops and field artillery were pitted against 200 plus Polish garrison troops. In this lopsided battle the Germans also used the pre-dreadnought Schleswig-Holstein to fire at at Westerplatte.

The Poles held out for seven days longer than any one assumed possible; a moral victory for the Poles that had little to cheer about.

Now for the movie, it is almost two hours long and filled with the chaos of war.  Some reviews fault the production value of this but I felt it was as real as a movie could get. The battle scenes where designed with cinematography in mind and not actual tactics in action but it is a movie. I did like the artillery scenes as they limited the use of gasoline in their pyrotechnics and looked real.

The length of the movie comes about because there are many scenes dealing with Major Henryk Sucharski and Captain Franciszek DÄ…browski having command issues with leadership and the surrender. While important to the film, these scenes were over played.

The Poles had several cloth colors used in their uniforms giving painters many opportunities.  As a reference this makes it a must have for those gamers interested in this period.

I will take the time to learn more about this battle as I can see engagements from it being put on the table for Chain of Command.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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