2 x 57 minute drama documentary
In the deserts of North Africa in 1941 and 1942, two legendary fighting forces were born: the Australian and British ‘Rats of Tobruk’ and General Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps. This is their story where we witness the day-to-day life of soldiers from both sides fighting in a desolate, unforgiving landscape, trying to survive poor rations, brutal heat and the constant threat of disease.
Centered on the siege of Tobruk and the battle for El Alamein, this 2-part series peels back the official history to reveal not only the personal stories from the front lines but provide an exciting, insightful and subtly revisionist account of one of the most celebrated campaigns of the Second World War.
Desert War explores the complex links between political leaders, senior commanders and intelligence services, all of which continually influenced the campaign. The fame of German General Erwin Rommel is reassessed in the light of the incredible story of a little-known Axis espionage triumph that delivered detailed summaries of Allied strengths, weaknesses and deployments into Rommel’s hands – with terrible consequences for those fighting for their lives in the desert.
Episode 1 Tobruk
As the Nazis sweep all before them in Europe, the Anglo-Australian garrison in the small town of Tobruk in North Africa inspires the world by resisting the most celebrated German General of the Second World War.
Episode 2 Alamein
A brilliant Axis intelligence coup helps Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps sweep forward to threaten Cairo and the Suez Canal. At a tiny railway halt called El Alamein, the Allied Eighth Army – bolstered by Australia’s ‘Rats of Tobruk’- draws a line in the sand and fights a battle that will transfix the world and help turn the tide of the Second World War.
Winner Gold Award Dramatised Documentaries, Episode 2, Australian Cinematographers Society Awards (WA) 2014
Winner Best Editing in a Documentary, AACTA Awards 2014
Winner Best Sound in a Documentary, AACTA Awards 2014
Nominated for Best Documentary Television Program, AACTA Awards 2014
Nominated for Best Cinematography in a Documentary, AACTA Awards 2014
Winner Best Editing in a Documentary Series, Australian Screen Editors Awards 2013
Winner Best Documentary Docudrama, ATOM Awards 2013
Winner Documentary Television Production of the Year, SPA Awards 2013
Best Editing Long Form, WA Screen Awards 2013
Best Sound Long Form, WA Screen Awards 2013
Nominated for Best Original Music Long Form, WA Screen Awards 2013
Nominated for Best Documentary History, Social & Political Issues, ATOM 2013
Director Steve Westh
Writers Steve Westh, Greg Colgan & Phil Craig
Director of Photography Jim Frater
Editors Lawrie Silvestrin & Uri Mizrahi
Executive Producers Andrew Ogilvie, Andrea Quesnelle & Phil Craig
An Electric Pictures and Nutopia Co-Production 2012