The ultimate success or failure of many of the battles of World War II boiled down to men and machines locked in a fight to the death. But behind the scenes of these epic struggles were highly organised and highly disciplined servicemen and women who have now passed into the annals of military history. Special regiments, squadrons and naval services, together with clandestine forces and formations, gave the vast, overall fighting forces of World War II an extra edge in the most pivotal battles. Gladiators of World War II examines the establishment and background of the greatest fighting forces of the Second World War. Each program examines a different unit, dissecting its command structure, military objectives, battle formations and its success or failure in applying its tactics and strategy to each of the major theatres in which it fought. This series also examines, in the light of newly released information and recently discovered rare archive film, some of the individual stories of the men and women who were members of these fighting bodies. The stories of these warriors have seldom beer told before. These are the stories of the Gladiators of World War II.
The topic is presented thoroughly and with painstaking accuracy. During the program the narrator poses (again, with melodrama) several poignant rhetorical questions, such as "Did Stalin use secret reserve army divisions to stop the Wehrmacht from taking Stalingrad?" And in regard to the heroic rescue at Dunkirk, "Did Hitler purposely order his Panzer divisions to stop their advance, allowing the British and French armies to escape, because he didn't want to go to war with Britain?".
Three films for 7 to 11 year olds telling the story of the personal experience of three people who were children in World War II. Taking their young friend or relative, who is the same age as they were in the war, back to places that evoke memories of the 1940s, they describe their everyday life, the fears and excitement, and the experiences they faced. The young people have the opportunity to ask questions and compare their lives to those of children in the war. Using archive footage and stills merged with scenes today, the films are a powerful insight into the reality of children's lives in the war.