Go behind the lines! Bringing viewers compelling, real-world stories of heroism, military strategy, technological breakthroughs and turning points in history, Discovery Communications, Inc. transitioned its Discovery Wings Channel to the Military Channel on Monday, January 10, 2005. The network’s revamped slate of series and specials is designed to take viewers “behind the lines” to tell personal stories and offer in-depth explorations of military technology, battlefield strategy, aviation and history.
PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS AUGUST 2005
Times are Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Sunday, August 14, beginning at 6 PM
Military Channel will commemorate VJ Day with a special line-up of programming to give viewers a chronological overview of key events related to WWII in the Pacific Theater, from Pearl Harbor through the final events of the war.
Pearl Harbor in Color
Pearl Harbor In Color combines colorized footage with interviews from World War II survivors to illustrate the story of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The special delves into the historical facts, supported by graphics detailing the routes of Japanese attacks, along with personal anecdotes and dramatizations to provide a complete portrait of the events of Pearl Harbor”what happened before, during and after the attack. The Japanese perspective is also included, through anecdotes from veterans, as well as accounts from interned Japanese and Japanese-Americans who fought for the United States.
Sunday, August 14
Battle of Midway: A Twist of Fate
The Battle of Midway was the most important battle in the Pacific during World War II. Not only was it a demoralizing disaster for the Japanese Navy and war commanders, but it deprived the Japanese of their most important strategic resource”aircraft carriers. This special utilizes Japanese and American archival footage from the actual battle, as well as interviews with many of those who fought on both sides, to help tell the story of this famous battle, while recreations and computer graphics illustrate decisive turning points.
Sunday, August 14
World War II Battlefront: Solomon Islands
For the first time since America entered World War II, U.S. Marines would face Japanese infantrymen on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. In the jungles, two powerful armies clashed in a six-month battle that would claim nearly 30,000 lives.
Sunday, August 14
World War II Battlefront: Gilbert Islands
In November 1943, a group of tiny Pacific islands would become the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting in World War II. The Japanese defended the islands furiously against a U.S. invasion.
Sunday, August 14
Battlefield Diaries: Raid at Cabanatuan
On April 9, 1942, after four tragic months of battle, Allied commanders had little choice but to hand over their men to Japan in what became the largest surrender of forces in U.S. history. But of the 75,000 Allied soldiers taken prisoner, only an estimated 40,000 survived the torture and deprivation of Japanese captivity. As Japan slowly lost its grasp on the Philippine Islands, the Imperial Army saw prisoners as an unnecessary nuisance. After the brutal killing of 150 prisoners in 1944, Allied forces made immediate plans to rescue the POWs in a Cabanatuan prison. This is a story of risk, fear and bravery, and the incredible cooperation among Filipino and American civilians, guerillas and the U.S. Army as a whole.
Sunday, August 14
10 PM-12 AM
Boys of H Company
At 9 a.m. on February 19, 1945, the Marines of 5th Division, H Company lowered themselves down rope cargo nets into landing craft rocking in five-foot seas, less than a mile from the shore of the remote island of Iwo Jima. Nothing could have prepared the mostly very young and inexperienced soldiers for what lay ahead. Nearly 7,000 American soldiers were killed and more than 20,000 wounded, while the Japanese lost nearly 22,000 men. Using compelling first-person accounts and archival footage, this two-hour special follows in the bootsteps of the boys of H Company as they fight one of the costliest battles in American history.
Monday, August 15
At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the first experimental uranium bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” was released from the Enola Gay at a height of six miles over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It fell for 43 seconds and exploded in the air 1,850 feet above the city. This special tells the story, taking viewers back into the politics, planning, testing and eventual dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. With firsthand stories of survivors, Hiroshima provides a dramatic account of their experiences on that harrowing day, as they fought their way through a devastated, burning city.
MEDAL OF HONOR
World Premiere: Thursday, August 4, 8-10 PM
The Medal of Honor is the most distinguished military award in the history of the Armed Services. Almost always presented by the President of the United States, the Medal of Honor is the highest decoration given for valor in action. To date, the Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,440 recipients, and of these, a mere 129 soldiers are still alive today. Through on-camera interviews with these surviving honorees, supported by archival footage from the very battles in which their moments of valor occurred, MEDAL OF HONOR shares their courageous, intense and often painful stories of heroism.
World Premiere: Thursday, August 25, 8-10 PM
The simulation of warfare through games is as old as war itself. From ancient board games to the digital simulations of Operation Iraqi Freedom, military leaders, strategists and front-line troops have practiced many of the battles that have come to define military history. Until now, war games have been secretive, taking place deep inside the Pentagon and at secure military installations around the world. WAR GAMES takes viewers inside the latest games and exercises, introduces the decision-makers and examines how the military uses simulations to prepare and train armed forces for the real threats the United States faces today and in the future.
The Vietnam War was the most photographed war in history, but much of this footage and photography have rarely been seen. BATTLEFIELD VIETNAM draws upon this imagery to present a distinctive documentary of the Vietnam War from both the ground and air. Featured footage includes film shot by Vietnamese cameraman from both sides of the battle that has only recently become available, as well as French and Chinese photography. [TV-PG(V)]
Monday, August 1
The U.S. air campaign over North Vietnam truly was a “Rolling Thunder.” Starting just after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, U.S. pilots gradually bombed more targets more heavily, moved north toward the capitol of Hanoi and targeted areas closer to civilians than ever before. As Soviet backing brought anti-aircraft armaments and MIG fighters to the Communist North, what started as an internal civil war quickly became another arm of the Cold War. Pitting East against West in a test of willpower, the conflict tapped the economies and energies of both countries for the next 10 years.
Monday, August 8
Search & Destroy
Ho Chi Minh’s communist revolution was on the verge of complete victory in early 1965. The National Liberation Front was poised to destroy the forces of the government of South Vietnam. But the United States, desperate to stem the Communist tide, decided at last to send combat troops to Indochina. This episode details the events that led to the decision and the consequences that followed.
Monday, August 15
Showdown in the Iron Triangle
They had guerilla warfare. They had the cover of jungle. They had the omnipresent Ho Chi Minh Trail. But, most remarkably, the North Vietnamese army (NVA) and the Viet Cong had the “Iron Triangle,” an intricate layout of tunnels northwest of the South’s capitol of Saigon. With these tunnels, they moved people, food, guns, supplies”anything they needed to survive. It kept the U.S. and other fighters at bay, fighting an invisible enemy that always seemed well stocked. Nothing short of simply blasting the tunnels one at a time would make a dent in the NVA’s underground network.
Monday, August 22
Siege at the Sanh
In early 1968, American Marines and allied forces fought against the North Vietnamese in one of the most dramatic battles of the Vietnam War. For 77 days, two powerful NVA divisions laid siege to the U.S. Marine Corps base at Khe Sahn. This episode follows the events that made up this intense battle.
Monday, August 29
The Tet Offensive
In January 1968, the North Vietnamese government proposed a ceasefire with the approach of Tet, the lunar new year. It was a ruse of high proportion. They spent the holiday pounding the South and U.S. military bases with unprecedented intensity, taking all by surprise, attacking over 60 cities and towns and advancing on the South in a wake-up call echoed around the world. Those leading the daily Pentagon briefings that downplayed the monetary and mortal cost of the war suddenly found themselves challenged by media reports and footage of the month-long NVA campaign, turning the tide of national and global awareness. The Tet offensive changed everything.
THE FIRST WORLD WAR
THE FIRST WORLD WAR strips away nearly 90 years to look back to the reality of the “war to end all wars.” World War I started as a global conflict involving nations on every continent and people of all classes and races. Using archival and specially filmed footage from authentic locations in 22 countries, this multilayered mini-series examines myths and answers key questions, from the origins of the war to its bitter end.
Tuesday, August 2
Breaking the Deadlock
Stalemate; attrition; constant slaughter”the traditional and mistaken view of the war on the Western Front. But there was constant movement along the 500-mile front, with generals striving to break through the trench systems. Casualties were extremely high”750,000 French and German men lost their lives at Verdun”and some men adopted a system of informal truces. After the failure of the Somme offensive, the Allies developed new tactics and weapons to break the German line. In November 1917 at Cambrai, British tanks rolled beyond the German lines, but the Germans soon reoccupied lost ground. The victors on the Western Front would have to learn how to consolidate success.
Tuesday, August 9
When the war broke out, the world’s navies were dominated by new, untested technologies. Within the first days of the war, German submarines turned the North Sea into a no-go area for British battleships; the British responded with a blockade of Europe. Germany launched submarine attacks against civilian ships and tried to dodge the blockade. Though America acted as arsenal and banker to the warring nations, the country was reluctant to join in. It was only after British code-breakers deciphered the Zimmermann Telegram, which revealed that Germany was encouraging Mexico to attack America, that America joined the war, to the Allies’ relief.
Tuesday, Aug. 16
Increasingly throughout the First World War, governments faced the risk of mutiny, strikes and civil disobedience. The dangerous effects of war weariness were seen in near-fatal French army mutinies, catastrophic Italian mass desertions and widespread British industrial unrest. But as governments worried about how to contain unrest on their own side, they worked to encourage revolution among the enemy. Britain sponsored the Arab revolt through Lawrence of Arabia, and Germany backed Irish independence with arms for the Easter Rising and funded Lenin’s Russian coup d’état in October 1917. Revolution had become a weapon of war, a way to hit the enemy from within.
Tuesday, Aug. 23
Germany’s Last Gamble
In March 1918, Germany launched a massive offensive on the Western Front”her last chance to win the war. The Russian Revolution had taken Russia out of the war, freeing up a million German soldiers, but Germany had to act before the Americans arrived. Within the first few days, the British army retreated and Paris was bombed. But Germany faced challenges on all fronts: her key allies were on the point of collapse, while German civilians were losing their appetite for war and weary German soldiers resorted to looting. This episode recreates the drama of the final offensive, against a background of Germany’s treacherous allies and a crumbling home front.
Tuesday, Aug. 30
War Without End
The war came to a surprising end with the sudden collapse of the Central Powers. The Allies set out to achieve on paper what their armies had not done in the field”obtain Germany’s unconditional surrender. President Woodrow Wilson tried to create a liberal postwar world but came down hard on Germany, which protested the terms of the Versailles Treaty. In its immediate aftermath, many of the people affected by the war saw a purpose in it, as a defense of homeland and a war for civilization. The First World War had moved Europe from the era of empires to the era of nation-states.