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Documentary telling the true story of the sinking of the liner Laconia by a German U-boat in 1942 through the eyes of six survivors. Six hundred miles from the coast of Africa, in September 1942, a German U-boat, U-156, sinks the British troopship Laconia which is en route from Cape Town to the United Kingdom. When realising that there are POWs and civilians on board, and that they are facing certain death without rescue, U-boat Commander Werner Hartenstein makes a decision which goes against the orders of German high command. The U-boat surfaces and Hartenstein instructs his men to save as many of the shipwrecked survivors as they can. Hartenstein also attempts to dive with all the survivors on board and, though this puts the submarine into a crash dive, control is regained and it resurfaces. He also has a Red Cross flag displayed and a message sent to the Allies to organise a rescue of the survivors. The Italian prisoners are taken off U-156 by another U-boat.
|S01E01||Episode 1||06/01/2011||On the 12th September 1942 the Laconia - a cruise ship turned troop ship - was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-156 commanded by Werner Hartenstein. She carried a motley crew of women, children, wounded soldiers and Italian Prisoners of War. Having sunk the ship, Hartenstein should have left them to their uncertain fate in the water, but instead he made the incredible decision to save as many lives as he could. A true story of unexpected gallantry and humanity in the fog of war.|
|S01E02||Episode 2||07/01/2011||U-boat commander Werner Hartenstein has torpedoed the Laconia and mounted an extraordinary rescue operation. U-156's deck is crowded with Allied survivors fished out of the South Atlantic. But in the fog of war confusion reigns and U-156 is spotted by an American bomber which moves in to attack.|
|S00E01||Survivors' Stories||08/01/2011||Documentary following the story of the sinking of the Cunard Liner Laconia in World War II through the personal testimonies of six survivors. The Laconia was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of West Africa in September 1942. Captain Hartenstein of the U-156 believed the ship to be a troop carrier but on finding that he had torpedoed civilians he launched a rescue operation taking people onto the U-boat and attaching lifeboats to the stern. The Americans based at Ascension Island intercepted a message for help from Hartenstein and sent a B-24 bomber to investigate. On locating the U-boat the Americans proceeded to drop several bombs, forcing the Germans to abandon the rescue. The survivors subsequently endured five days in a lifeboat with dwindling rations until they were finally picked up by the Vichy French Cruiser Le Gloire. The real life accounts of the survivors are supplemented with illustrative archival moving footage, photographs of the actual incident and short exerts from the drama 'The Sinking of the Laconia'.|