We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here

Tankies: Tank Heroes of WWII

S1-E1 The Men and the Machines That Beat Hitler

S1-E1 The Men and the Machines That Beat Hitler

not currently available
Add this to your watchlist to find out when it is available via broadcast or catch-up.


Mark Urban, himself a former tank commander, recounts the story of the Fifth Royal Tank Regiment during the Second World War, from Normandy to North Africa and Italy. He’s good on the details, such as how superior German ergonomics as well as firepower gave them the upper hand in battle. But it’s the testimony of survivors and previously unseen letters and diaries that bring home the traumatic experience of armoured warfare to sobering effect.


Part one of two. BBC diplomatic editor and former army officer Mark Urban examines the exploits of six members of the 5th Royal Tank Regiment during the Second World War, beginning in northern France, where in 1940 rookie driver Gerry Solomon joined veterans including Jake Wardrop and Harry Finlayson. He follows in the soldiers' tracks across the deserts of North Africa, where he looks at the battles of Sidi Rezegh, Alam el Halfa and El Alamein, which changed the course of the conflict. With archive footage, including rarely seen colour film, as well as first-hand testimony from surviving veterans and letters and diaries.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Mark Urban
Director Francis Whately
Series Producer Francis Whately


Have Your Say What did you think of The Men and the Machines That Beat Hitler?

view all comments (0)