This silent film "On the Firing Line with the Germans" features original combat footage from World War I shot in Turkey, Germany France and Belgium. This version is not complete and originates from a reduction print made from 35mm to 16mm. The film was presented by the Morrow Film Company and originally released in 1915. While of varying quality, this incredible compilation of German newsreel footage gives a rare glimpse into WWI.Wilbur H. Durborough spent seven months with the German army in Russia and Turkey, as well as on other fronts, and shot 16,000 feet of film. The Industrial Moving Picture Co. of Chicago edited the film to the nine reel length seen here. All of the film, which was produced in conjunction with Oswald F. Schuette, a Chicago Daily News war correspondent, was shot with two Universal cameras. The film opened in Milwaukee on November 28, 1915. It opened in Chicago on December 6, 1915. The net profits of the showings at the Park Theater in Chicago were to go to the American Red Cross for use in war-stricken countries without discrimination. Durborough lectured during some of the showings. According to an ad for the film, Durborough was seen in at least fifty percent of the film's scenes. This statement was made to establish the film's authenticity. A film with a similar title, Germany on the Firing Line, which was exhibited in New York in January 1916, was advertised as being taken by the German government.
The film begins with images of the Sultan of Turkey reviewing navy units at :26. At 1:10 German sharpshooters are shown going into action. At 1:52 a machinegun position is shown. At 2:05 a fake gun is shown being used to fool enemy forces during a retreat. At 4:00 Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria is seen with his staff.5:19 French prisoners are moved to detention camps. 5:49 German gun pits. 7:00 Bavarian cavalry charges enemy trenches. 7:57 Brussels falls to the victorious Germans. 11:19 a shattered Belgian village is seen as a result of heavy German bombardment. 13:18 German engineers build a pontoon bridge. 15:00 German trenches on the front line are seen. 16:13 field battery bombards the enemy. At 17:49 Emperor William II reviews front line troops. (Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until his abdication on 9 November 1918.)23:40 German nurses attend wounded. 23:57 a block house is constructed for the German division commander. 26:20 remains of Lille, France are seen after Germans drove out the French defenders. 27:51, German troops dine in a French chateau they've liberated. 29:00, German troops camouflage cannons and temporary horse stables to prevent discovery by enemy observers. 30:20 a blacksmith is at work shoeing horses and helping with the cavalry troops. At 31:59 buses are seen on the streets of London being used as war transport. 33:00, Guns and trenches abandoned by the British as they retreat from Maubeuge in Northern France near the Belgian border. At 35:40 a German infantry company surrenders. At 35:56 French troops are seen on the line with Belgian cavalry troops moving to join them. At 36:54 fighting at close range on the River Lys, French troops try to repel a German advance. At 39:27 Belgians at Waelhem burn houses. At 41:00 the wreck of the German liner Gneisenau, sunk by the British at the mouth of the river Scheldt is seen. At 42:55 depositors swarm the National Bank of Brussels in an attempt to withdraw their life savings before the collapse of the bank. At 44:14 wounded are evacuated to an ambulance.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com