History GCSE: Winning D-Day - The Sword Beach landings

British veterans give their account of the D-Day landings on Sword Beach; the first step towards defeating Nazi Germany.

They recall the huge naval bombardment that preceded the landing, and weakened the Nazi guns.

We hear what is was like to run across the beach under heavy fire, avoiding snipers, shells and mines.

Historian Dan Snow uses aerial photographs and maps to explain the ambitious objective of taking the city of Caen, seven miles inland, and the interim objective of taking the heavily defended Hillman Bunker.

He visits the bunker, now a museum, and we hear how one soldier's heroism led to the Nazis there surrendering.

The veterans reflect on the 4000 men who died on D-Day, and the friends that they lost.

This short film is from the BBC series, D-Day: The Last Heroes.

PLEASE NOTE: This short film contains scenes which some viewers may find upsetting. Teacher review is recommended prior to use in class.

Teacher Notes

This short film provides a useful detailed account of the British landings on Sword, using reconstructions and veteran accounts of what happened on that day.

Students could watch this short film and discuss why this victory was so important and why it marked the beginning of the end for the Nazi occupation of Europe.

They could also use it as a base upon which to research the logistics of the attack (e..g. the use of Mulberry harbours and the Pluto fuel line).

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching history at GCSE and above in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 and above in Scotland.

More from D-Day: The Last Heroes

Planning D-Day
The Battle for Omaha