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(2010 TV Mini-Series)

Plot Summary

  • Part one:- In 1942,the Laconia,an old British cruise liner turned troop ship, is returning to Liverpool from Egypt with civilian passengers and Italian prisoners. Its guns are outdated, its captain, Sharp, lost his last ship and the Italians, unhappy at being caged below the water line, are tormented by their Polish guards. Third officer Mortimer learns that his family have been killed in an air raid and seeks comfort with Hilda Smith, a mysterious widow who seems to have visited Germany recently. At that moment the ship is torpedoed by a German U-boat, whose humane captain, Kapitanleutnant Werner Hartenstein, learning that the Laconia was not a warship, decides to rescue the survivors, bringing some into the submarine and towing others in life-boats.

    - Written by don @ minifie-1
  • Six hundred miles from the coast of Africa, in September 1942, a German U-boat, U-156, sinks the British troopship Laconia carrying 1,800 Italian POWs, 80 British civilians, and 268 Polish and British soldiers. After realising that there were POWs and civilians on-board, and that they are facing certain death without rescue, U-Boat Commander Werner Hartenstein (Duken) makes a decision goes against the orders of Nazi high command. The U-boat surfaces and Hartenstein instructs his men to save as many of the shipwrecked survivors as they can. Over the next few days U-156 saved 400 people, with 200 people crammed on board the surface-level submarine and another 200 in lifeboats. Hartenstein gave orders for messages to be sent out to the Allies to organise a rescue of the survivors, but they were spotted by American B-24 Liberator bombers which moved in to attack. The Sinking of the Laconia takes a look at the human side of the remarkable events that took place: the friendships that developed, the small acts of heroism, and the triumph of the human spirit in the most incredible of situations.

    - Written by Wikipedia
  • Part Two: Kapitanleutnant Hartenstein sends out a call for assistance, which is picked up by British Naval Command in Sierra Leone. Fearing a trap, they inform the American air base at Ascension Island, but only of the sinking, not the presence of the U-boat or that its captain has signaled his intention not to attack anyone coming to assist the survivors. With his captain dead, Mortimer is the senior British officer amongst the survivors. Hilda is revealed to be of Anglo-German parentage, fleeing her native Germany after the rest of her family, anti-Nazi like herself, were killed by the Nazis. Hartenstein agrees to keep her secret as does Mortimer, moved by her plight as a genuine rapport builds between German and British, and Hartenstein drapes a makeshift Red Cross flag across the U-boat's deck. However, the U-boat is bombed by the Americans. Hartenstein recognizes the need to secure the safety of his boat and so puts the Laconia's survivors in lifeboats and casts them adrift to await rescue by a French ship he knows is on its way. Most make it to safety. Admiral Doenitz recognizes Hartenstein's humanity by awarding him the Knight's Cross. There is, however, a bitter coda.

    - Written by don @ minifie-1
  • Part one:- In 1942,the Laconia,an old British cruise liner turned troop ship, is returning to Liverpool from Egypt with civilian passengers and Italian prisoners. Its guns are outdated,its captain Sharp lost his last ship and the Italians,unhappy at being caged below the water line, are tormented by their Polish guards. Third officer Mortimer learns that his family have been killed in an air raid and seeks comfort with Hilda Smith,a mysterious widow who seems to have visited Germany recently.At that moment the ship is torpedoed by a German U-boat whose humane captain,Harbenstein,learning that the Laconia was not a war ship,decides to rescue the survivors,bringing some into the submarine and towing others in life-boats.

    - Written by don @ minifie-1
  • Part Two;-Captain Hartenstein sends out a call for assistance,which is picked up by British Naval Command. Fearing a trap they inform the American air base at Ascension Island but only of the sinking,not the U-boat. With his captain dead Mortimer is the senior Brirish officer as all the survivors are taken on board the submarine. Hilda is revealed to be of Anglo-Teutonic parentage,fleeing her native Germany after the rest of her family,anti-Nazi like herself, were killed by the Fascists. Hartenstein agrees to keep her secret as does Mortimer,moved by her plight as a genuine rapport builds between German and British,Hartenstein draping a makeshift Red Cross flag across the U-boat's deck. However,it is bombed by the Americans and Hartenstein places the 'Laconia's survivors in lifeboats and sends them ashore. All make it to land. Admiral Doenitz creates a one-off medal to recognize Hartenstein's humanity. There is,however, a bitter coda.

    - Written by don @ minifie-1

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