The Unheard Tapes & 5 More Documentaries To Learn About D-Day

By Olivia Emily

3 weeks ago

As the world marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, here are six important documentaries explaining exactly what happened


This week marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the operation that began the liberation of France in WWII, and the battle that laid the foundations for the Allied Victory on the Western Front, which would be secured a year later. In the early hours of 6 June 1944, the assault began with 18,000 troops dropped behind enemy lines, tasked with securing exit routes and destroying German communications. In total, by 30 June, 850,000 troops had landed at Normandy, using nearly 7,000 ships and over 11,500 aircraft. It’s the largest seaborne invasion in history, and it is remembered on 6 June every year because it was also one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, with 10,000 Allied soldiers killed on 6 June alone.

The best way to learn more about D-Day is to watch a documentary all about it. In honour of the 80th anniversary, the BBC has created The Unheard Tapes, which is streaming now on BBC iPlayer. Here’s exactly what to expect, plus five more D-Day documentaries we recommend for some informative watching this month.

6 D-Day Documentaries Worth The Watch

1.  

D-Day: The Unheard Tapes

This three-part docuseries brings the testimonies of D-Day eyewitnesses to life using lip-syncing actors who resemble the interviewees at the time of war. Created especially for the 80th anniversary, it is an immersive, powerful watch, reimagining the documentary genre with incredible archival audio.

© BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Justin Downing

watch

2.  

D-Day: The Last Heroes

Presented by historian Dan Snow, this 2013 docuseries draws on D-Day survivors’ testimonies and a swathe of archival material to reconstruct the events leading up to D-Day, from two years of meticulous planning to what happened when the soldiers landed on the beaches.

watch

3.  

The Plane That Led D-Day

This three part documentary centres on a chance discovery: the carcass of the plane that led D-Day in a scrap yard. A C-47 paratrooper aircraft nicknamed ‘That’s All, Brother’, the plane took off from England in the early hours of 6 June 1944 to drop Allied soldiers into Normandy. Its discovery triggered a scramble to save the aircraft so it could embark on a Transatlantic mission to honour America’s fallen soldiers in Europe.

watch

4.  

D-Day: The Shortest Day

Centring on the meticulous planning in the lead up, this hour-long D-Day documentary draws on testimonies from British American, German and Commonwealth survivors of D-Day.

© Ammo Content

watch

5.  

Storming Juno

For a Canadian perspective, Storming Juno is one of the must-watch D-Day documentaries. Drawing on interviews with veterans and using careful reenactments, the documentary highlights the vital role Canadian soldiers played in the invasion, focussing on Juno Beach, which was one five sections of the Normandy coast the invasion sought to secure (the other being Utah, Omaha, Gold and Sword), entirely led by First Canadian Army.

watch

6.  

6 June 44: The Light Of Dawn

This two-part documentary gives a comprehensive review of Operation Overlord, using archival footage, expert interviews and personal narratives to capture the sheer scale and intensity of the operation. Plus, The Light of Dawn details how Hitler tried to intervene at this pivotal point in WWII.

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