Trench, The

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The Trench
Athetrench.jpg
Movie poster
Country UKD.jpg UK
FRA.jpg France
Directed by William Boyd
Release Date 1999
Language English
Studio Arts Council of England
Galatée Films
Distributor Somme Productions
Main Cast
Character Actor
Pte. Billy Macfarlane Paul Nicholls
Sgt. Telford Winter Daniel Craig
Lt. Ellis Harte Julian Rhind-Tutt
LCpl. Victor Dell Danny Dyer
Pte. Colin Daventry James D'Arcy
Lt. Col. Villiers Adrian Lukis
Pte. Rag Rookwood Cillian Murphy


The Trench is a 1999 World War I film set in the 48 hours prior to the Battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916. The film follows a group of British soldiers from the Royal Fusiliers and captures their experiences during the build-up to the battle. Many of them are led to believe that the imminent action will be a walk-over and that casualties will be minimal due to an ongoing immense bombardment of the German lines. Only the platoon's war-weary Sergeant (an early role for Daniel Craig) truly knows the extent of what the troops will be faced with.


The following weapons were used in the film The Trench:


Contents


Handguns

Webley Mk.VI

2nd Lieutenant Harte can be seen with a Webley Mk VI revolver throughout the film both in and out of his holster. This revolver was first produced in 1915 as the standard sidearm for British and Commonwealth forces. Due to shortages of this firearm, multiple alternatives could be encountered such as revolvers purchased from Smith & Wesson and Colt in America and chambered in .455.

.455 Webley Mk. VI.
Lieutenant-Colonel Villiers walks through the trench with his sidearm holstered. This is presumably a Webley however, in reality, this could be anything as officers often purchased their own sidearm provided it fired a .455 cartridge.
Sergeant Telford Winter (Daniel Craig) breaks open and inspects the Webley given to him by Harte for use in a raid on the German lines.
Lieutenant Harte (Julian Rhind-Tutt) checks his watch with his Webley drawn before the attack is scheduled to begin.
Harte points his Webley at Private Billy MacFarlane and urges him out of the trench once the attack has begun.

Webley & Scott Signal Pistol

During the night raid on the German line, a Webley & Scott Signal Pistol is used by Lance Corporal Victor Dell (Danny Dyer) to provide illumination as well as to indicate the time (one flare is fired every 15 minutes). Whilst Webley & Scott were responsible for the design of this pistol, many were made to the same pattern by various other contractors.

Webley & Scott Signal Pistol.
Dell breaks open and loads the Webley. Note the crate of 1" flare cartridges, commonly called "Very" lights after their inventor, in the foreground.
A flare is fired from the Webley.
A green flare in the night sky. Commonly, Very flares were produced in white-star and red as well as green.

Rifles

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE)

The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) is seen in the hands of the British soldiers throughout the film. By 1916 the Lee-Enfield was being produced in the Mk. III* configuration which lacked some of the features of the Mk. III for quicker production. These dropped features included windage-adjustable sights, magazine cut-off plates, round knurled cocking pieces and long-range volley sights.

.303 SMLE Mk. III.
Sergeant Winter (Daniel Craig) collars an unruly soldier whilst carrying his SMLE and warns him not to play "silly buggers".
MacFarlane (Paul Nicholls) playfully pretends to shoot a rat whilst on sentry duty.
Lance Corporal Dell (Danny Dyer) leans on his Lee-Enfield whilst chatting to his comrades.
Private "Rag" Rookwood (Cillian Murphy) spreads some Irish humour with his rifle slung over his shoulder.
Winter extracts a case from a Lee-Enfield after a soldier shoots himself in the leg to avoid going into action.
In this shot, Winter opens the magazine cut-off plate on his rifle before loading it. This indicates his rifle as a Mk. III as opposed to Mk. III*. This is a nice detail as a long-serving soldier like Winter might have a sightly older rifle than the younger men in his platoon.
Winter fixes a Pattern 1907 bayonet to his rifle before ordering everyone else to do likewise.
Private Daventry (James D'Arcy) strolls towards the German trenches during the final attack with his SMLE, bayonet fixed.

Machine Guns

Lewis Gun

A pair of Lewis Guns are seen in the background immediately prior to the attack. Neither are seen firing at any stage. This American-designed machine gun was produced by the Birmingham Small Arms company in Britain from 1915 onwards and was used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces during both World Wars chambered in .303. They would also go on to see service in the U.S. armed forces chambered in .30-06.

Lewis gun.
A Lewis gun is brought forward ready for the attack to be launched.
A Lewis gunner waits for the attack to begin.
Another gunner. Notice the cartridges filling the pan magazine of the gun. These are most likely dummy rounds since the Lewis guns in the film are never seen firing blanks.

Explosives

Mills Bomb

Mills hand grenades are used during the trench raid scene of the film. The Mills Bomb was adopted as the No. 5 grenade in 1915 and was designed by golf club maker, Sir William Mills. Later models of the grenade saw service through the Second World War and beyond, not being entirely replaced until the 1970s.

Mills Hand Grenade.
Soldiers mill about next to a box of Mills bombs.
Winter shakes hands with Lieutenant Harte before leaving to raid the German trench. The red stripes on his grenades would indicate them as filled (with explosives) as opposed to practice grenades. Naturally, there is no doubt that the actual grenades used in the film were just prop dummies.



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