ENGINEERS CLEAR THE ROAD OVER THE SLOPES OF MOUNT POPA TO KYAUKPADAUNG (20/4/1945)
This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 197).
Reel 1: A duck, the regimental mascot of 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, is seen wearing a miniature tunic (complete with medal ribbon of the 1939 - 43 Star) and tam o'shanter bonnet fitted by Sergeant A Wynne and Private J Connolly. Donald seen strutting about in 'undress uniform' before going for a swim. A file of infantry from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment pass a burnt-out Lee medium tank, destroyed by a 250-lb Japanese aerial bomb used as a mine. Another Lee passes…
Reel 1: A duck, the regimental mascot of 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, is seen wearing a miniature tunic (complete with medal ribbon of the 1939 - 43 Star) and tam o'shanter bonnet fitted by Sergeant A Wynne and Private J Connolly. Donald seen strutting about in 'undress uniform' before going for a swim. A file of infantry from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment pass a burnt-out Lee medium tank, destroyed by a 250-lb Japanese aerial bomb used as a mine. Another Lee passes the burnt-out tank. A Lee with infantry following. A sapper uses a mine detector. A 250-lb aerial bomb is unearthed and defused. The defused bomb is pushed to the side of the road. Close-up of the bomb's detonator, showing the command wire allowing it to be detonated from a distance. Engineers clearing stones and rubble. Removing the detonator from a Japanese 'pancake' mine. The mine itself is removed. Infantry use their bayonets to probe the ground for soft patches which indicate mines. Two disarmed mines; a sapper places another next to them. Unearthing a mine with a 1907 Pattern bayonet. Two rectangular blocks (explosive charges, possibly based on picric acid) are removed. Infantry file past a large boulder blasted out of the hillside by the Japanese in order to block the road. Engineers look for booby traps near the rock before attempting to remove it. A Lee tank is used to drag the boulder along the road. A bulldozer tries to shunt the rock off the side of the road but fails to move it. The Lee tows the rock a little further. Infantry passing.
Reel 2: The bulldozer makes a second attempt and the boulder slides away down the hillside. A large crater in the road; sappers use pneumatic drills to break the road surface around the edge of the crater before repairing it. The engineers use rocks from the hillside to fill the hole (focus from this point rather soft). Bulldozer shunting rocks. (Focus corrected) RAF Hawker Hurricane fighter-bombers circling overhead and bombing an enemy position; a cloud of dust can be seen from the bombing. Lieutenant-Colonel O G W White leaning on the barrel of a Japanese 150mm artillery piece very thoroughly camouflaged in a banana grove. Close-ups of the gun reveal that the breech block has been removed, presumably by the retreating Japanese. A 105mm gun buried in the ground with only a small portion visible. A platoon of 2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment walking in double file along a road in Popalon village. One file leaves the road and advances through low vegetation. Troops walking through undergrowth. A number of upright poles and scattered debris suggest a number of wooden buildings have been burnt down.
Royal Engineers of 2nd Division clear obstacles on a hillside road on Mount Popa, Burma, to enable infantry and tanks to advance, and footage of 'Donald Duck' a regimental mascot.
This film gives a good impression of the hard physical work involved in military engineering, and the time-consuming and resource-intesive nature of road clearance and construction. The dopesheet identifies these sappers as being of 208th Field Company, Royal Engineers. An Engineer officer, Lieutenant Simkinson, is also named.
Mount Popa is an extinct volcano at the northern end of the Pegu Yomas (mountain range) that reaches almost 5,000 feet above sea level and 2,500 feet above the surrounding plain. It has great cultural significance, being said to be the home of a number of powerful spirit deities. In military terms it offered a superb observation point with views in all directions and was strongly garrisoned. The Japanese lacked the manpower or firepower necessary to turn it into a real bastion, however, and it was cleared by two battalions of 268th Brigade by 19 April 1945.
Sergeant Watson shot other film of operations by 2nd Division around Mount Popa. See related items.
- ENGINEERS CLEAR THE ROAD OVER THE SLOPES OF MOUNT POPA TO KYAUKPADAUNG (20/4/1945) (Allocated)
- Running Time:
- 14 minutes
- Film Gauge (Format):
- 1214 ft
- Production Countries:
- War Office Directorate of Public Relations
- Watson, W (Sergeant)
- Production company
- SEAC Film Unit