“The Americans on Hell’s Highway” depicts the most massive daytime drop of airborne troops in military history: The 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions parachuted into occupied Holland to capture and secure several bridges that crossed the Rhine into Germany. How these outnumbered troops seized bridges – and defended “Hell’s Highway”, running back through Dutch countryside to the Belgian border – is the story told in this outstanding documentary. With military historian Ellwood von Seibold serving as battlefield guide, we are quickly drawn into the drama of Market Garden and its sobering mission to cross the Rhine, bypass the enemy’s heavily fortified Siegfried Line and end the war in Europe by Christmas 1944. Seibold, dressed in an authentic Airborne combat uniform, shares anecdotes that drive home the bravery and sacrifice of those soldiers who parachuted into enemy territory on Sept. 17, 1944. “Hell’s Highway” intercuts archival and re-creation footage most effectively, creating a compelling visual montage that makes the solid, to-the-point narration even more compelling. Seibold excels in his battlefield tour, helping to re-create the dramatic capture of the Grave Bridge, recounting the bravery of Pfc. Joe Mann that earned him the Medal of Honor, and explaining how the sacrifice of one Dutch resistance fighter stopped the Germans from blowing up the Nijmegen Bridge. The program’s soundtrack, footage quality and graphic treatments are excellent throughout, and the DVD includes several entertaining extras: a “making of” short film, nearly six minutes of video shot during the 65th anniversary celebrations, a gallery of high-quality still images, and some short clips in which Seibold explains the formidable firepower of the German 88 mm anti-tank gun, and why America’s main battle tank – the Sherman – was called “Tommy Cooker” by the British and “Ronson” by the enemy. Philip M. Callaghan is The American Legion’s media marketing director.
Runtime 56 mins
This is a demo of the video.