The Forgotten Battle Plot Synopsis
World War II is our setting and after a slick animation showing the advancement of the Allies across a map of Europe, The Forgotten Battle wastes absolutely no time getting right to the heart of the drama.
It’s September 1944 and the Allies have captured the port of Antwerp. However, celebrations are halted given the Germans still control the Scheldt estuary, preventing precious supplies from reaching Antwerp.
Walcheren Island is the key to the German’s defence, prompting Operation Market Garden – and the ensuing skirmishes beyond that – to be launched.
The film follows three different characters – Teun, Marinus and William – whose stories run parallel before intersecting during crucial parts of the film’s narrative.
What happens to Teun and her brother, Dirk?
Early on in the movie, Dirk throws a rock at a German trucker, subsequently killing three soldiers as the driver loses control and runs them over. With Dirk in hiding – and eventually giving himself up for arrest – Teuntje Visser finds herself working with the Allied forces.
Teun is tasked with delivering maps and schematics to the Allied forces but instead passes this mission on to her friend Janna instead. The Allied forces attack Walcheren and force the German troops to abandon their post. Teun is taken captive as a result but when the Germans grow ever more desperate, a rogue soldier tries to rape Teun.
Now, throughout the movie Marinus has been conflicted in his actions, torn over what side of the fight he should be on. We’ll circle back to him in a second but the important part here is that he makes a heroic decision, saving Teun from a nasty fate by stabbing the soldier.
Unfortunately Marinus is injured in the ensuing skirmish and dies as a result of his injuries. However, he does so with a clean conscience, knowing he’s done his best to help those in need.
What happens to Marinus?
Now, throughout the movie Marinus has been grappling with his guilt. He struggles with the idea of nationalism and isn’t quite sure where his allegiance stands. As a Dutchman, he obviously has ties to the Netherlands but also finds himself enlisted with the German army.
After being thrown back on the frontlines following a stint in hospital, Marinus is right in the thick of action. As fate would have it, he finds himself face to face with William late on, the downed pilot from the Allied forces. The pair share a tense and knowing stare-down together, unblinking while they assess the other’s moves.
Both soldiers decide against shooting and instead walk away. This is a pretty telling moment, one that sees the two protagonists understand that this war isn’t just a simple matter of black and white – especially given the haunted look on both their faces.
Eventually Marinus finds himself in Walcheren where he helps Teun, purging his conscience of ill-thought and dying a heroic soldier’s death.
How does William’s story conclude?
William Sinclair is a young fighter pilot and when we first see him, he’s cocky and on the cusp of being grounded and prevented from flying again. His colleagues aren’t exactly pleased with him, given his connections to reach this lucrative position in the first place. However, Will convinces his commanding officer, Tony Turner, that he’s been given the green-light to fly.
Will is enthusiast and happy to get involved in the war until his plane crashes in the Scheldt river. Stuck on an island swarming with German troops, a heavily injured Tony, and turncoat comrades, don’t help his future prospects.
Eventually William’s entire group capitulates and he finds himself on his own. Will makes his way to the Canadian base camp where he helps liberate Walcheren by fighting on the front lines. Eventually the German forces buckle and the Allies take control of Antwerp.
Given Will’s anger at Tony being brutally murdered in front of him by terrified and distrusting Germans, the fact that he and Marinus don’t actually shoot each other just prior to this is indicative of the understanding between soldiers. It could well be that Will saw the confliction in Marinus’ eyes and decided against pulling the trigger.
How does The Forgotten Battle end?
The film itself ends with our three narratives concluding naturally, with Walcheren liberated and our characters all coming to a natural end; Teun walks with the Allied forces while Will recovers from his ordeal. The final sobering facts about this battle though paint a much grimmer picture than we’ve been shown across the two hour run-time.
During the battle of Scheldt, 3231 Allies, 4250 Germans and a further 2283 civilians lost their lives. The Netherlands was eventually liberated on May 5th 1945 though, but the cost of this is heavy and paved with bloodshed – much like most of the conflicts across the campaign.
Read More: The Forgotten Battle Movie Review
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