Arras, Bullecourt and Hindenburg Line

Running time
7 min 21 sec

Engineers demolishing houses. Interior of Arras Cathedral. German batteries shell Allied positions. Shelling of a recently captured village. German shells bursting in Arras and the effect. Australian transport round a mine crater. Queenslanders and Tasmanians in front of Bullecourt. Australian artillery observers watching bombardment of Hindenburg line.

Text description

[On a black text card, white text reads, "Our engineers over-came the difficulty by blowing down the remainder of houses around the crater, for making up new roads.

In black and white footage, a damaged house explodes into billowing clouds of dust. The clouds clear to reveal a pile of rubble and shattered walls. A second explosion leaves a chimney standing among debris.

Text card: Interior of Arras Cathedral.

From inside the brick cathedral the cross topping the still standing façade is visible through the missing roof. A single brick archway rises above the damaged brick walls. Stately columns line the rubble-filled nave. Each column is topped with a scrolled Corinthian design. A decorated archway tops the open door. Pairs of columns lead to a side alcove.

Text card: German batteries endeavour to shell our positions.

Across a dark muddy field, thick pale smoke drifts past skeletal trees. Clouds of smoke billow over the rough ground. Beyond the churned mud smoke drifts above a field dotted with craters. Beyond a muddy ridge smoke rises between trees. Artillery sits in the muddy field. Smoke rises above one gun that is covered by a low canopy. Smoke billows behind the cannon. Smoke drifts across the crater-pocked field. Beyond a dark barrier, dirt fountains high in the air.

Text card: The enemy shell a recently captured village.

Across grey fields, smoke rises above low buildings. The buildings have white walls and thatched roofs. Bare-limbed trees dot the village. Dark smoke spurts high into the air and forms changing shapes as it drifts above the village.

Text card: South Africans make a raid into the enemy trenches...

Across a churned grey field, tiny distant figures file quickly along the horizon. Puffs of smoke drift overhead. Silhouetted against the pale sky, the figures gather in one area.

Text card: ...and bring back 3 prisoners.

Closer, the uniformed soldiers return across the uneven ground, many holding their rifles in one hand. Long, sharp bayonets protrude from the weapons. At bayonet point, a man holds his hands up as he steps down into a trench. His guard follows. Wearing round brimmed helmets, soldiers climb down into the trenches. Wide-eyed prisoners are hustled along a trench.

Text card: German shells bursting in Arras and the effect.

Debris hurtles across a dirt road that curves between damaged buildings. Smoke drifts across the road, past an abandoned vehicle. Beside the road dirt explodes into the air. A ruined multi-storey building has one side torn away. Buckled floors are piled with rubble, tangled debris hangs down broken walls.

Text card: Australian Transport rounding mine crater.

Soldiers moving along the rim of a huge crater are dwarfed by the surrounding devastation. A team of four horses pulls a cart along the crater's edge and into the jagged remains of the village. Soldiers guide teams of eight horses pulling large carts. Soldiers on horseback and foot escort them. Soldiers carry gear past the crater. Surrounded by shattered houses, the crater is the size of a large swimming pool. Broken wooden beams stick from the ground.

Text card: Queenslanders and Tasmanians in front of Bullecourt.

At the base of a steep slope, a soldier sits by a tall pile of sandbags. More soldiers in round helmets lounge on the roof of a dugout. One slips through the low entrance between piled sandbags. Beside the dugout, a soldier swings a pick, another lugs away a sack. A soldier takes equipment from a hut.

Text card: Australian artillery observers watching bombardment of the Hindenburg Line.

Standing by a narrow trench, soldiers gaze out over a barren field. One soldier climbs into the trench. As artillery mounted on large wheels fires, the long barrels slide back under their curved covers. Soldiers cover their ears. Lying and sitting on the sloped wall of a trench, soldiers peer through binoculars. A soldier looks down the barrel of his rifle, then places it across his legs.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".]

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