FIGHTING ON THE FRONTLINE EPISODE 2
UK | Channel 4 | AIRDATE: Sunday 2 October 2011 @ 9.00pm
With unprecedented access to Britain’s Armed Forces, this brand new three-part documentary series allows troops to reveal the inside story of what it’s really like fighting on a tour of duty in Afghanistan today. Filmed on and off the battlefield, each episode follows the story of a group of servicemen and women fighting the war from three unique perspectives: on foot, in the air and from behind the wheel of armoured vehicles.
Fighting on the Frontline strips away formality with shockingly candid interviews, deploying the no-holds-barred humour of the troops. In episode two, War Wagons, for the first time, cameras follow the soldiers in Afghanistan who take the fight to the enemy on board the British Army’s latest armoured vehicle: the Warthog. This heavy, tracked armoured vehicle can fight in places where other military vehicles cannot.
The crews call it ‘combat caravanning’, spending weeks at a time out on patrol in the deserts and main river valley of Helmand. The cameras capture the detail of this extraordinary camping trip as the crews try to snatch brief periods of relaxation, surrounded by an enemy that is always watching, ready to attack, but is rarely seen. The Warthog crews are from a Royal Scots Dragoon Guards regiment, which used to ride horses into battle. But they do develop affection for their modern-day mounts, naming them and constantly repairing and caring for them in order to stay on the move. When the fighting kicks off, camera rigs on the Warthogs uniquely capture the different angles of an intense battle with the Taliban, who are firing from less than 80 metres away.
The bullets ricochet off the vehicles and past the heads of the commanders, who are exposed in their turrets. As the tour progresses, the crews’ vulnerability is exposed when they strike their first IED (improvised explosive device) of the tour. Later, a rapid sequence of events leaves the Warthogs stranded in a river, like sitting ducks surrounded by the enemy.
Executive Producers: Simon Ford, Morgan Matthews; Series Producers: Ruth Kelly; Series Director: Jessie Versluys; Producer: Ruth Nicklin; Director: Robin Barnwell; Production Company: Minnow Films