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Greatest Raid of World War II Previous Broadcasts

KQED 9: Wed, Jan 14, 2015 -- 11:00 PM

In December 1942, 10 young marines set off to raid the port of Bordeaux in Nazi-occupied France. Their mission - Operation Frankton - was to blow up the ships that provided essential supplies for the German war machine. To reach their target, the men used so-called 'Cockleshell' canoes, specially designed for covert infiltration into enemy harbours. They had to paddle for nights on end up 70 miles of the largest and most heavily defended estuary in Europe - Gironde.
An audacious operation, they succeeded in blowing up one ship and severely damaging 4 others and according to Winston Churchill, shortened World War II by 6 months. Of the 10, 6 men were captured and executed by the Germans and 2 died of hypothermia. At the same time, a network of British trained spies were already in Bordeaux, preparing to strike the same target. Were these competing missions the result of the 'fog of war' or Whitehall rivalry? One thing is for certain, 12 young men risked their lives in an operation that should never have taken place.
In this documentary, former member of the Special Boat Service turned politician Lord Ashdown uses his experience to shed light on the challenges faced by the 'Cockleshell Heroes', recreating their incredible journey up the Gironde estuary. He also looks at the how the battle inside Whitehall raged almost as hard as the war against Nazi Germany. Churchill had created a series of competing armies, harnessing the spirit of individualism and ingenuity in the fight against Hitler - an approach that also led to confusion, suspicion and distrust. Using dramatic reconstructions to recreate the daring raid, Cockleshell Heroes brings to life a mission that would come to symbolize the fighting spirit of the British, and throws new light on the institutional rivalry that would ultimately lead the country from its darkest hours to victory.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Fri, Jan 16, 2015 -- 3:00 AM
  • KQED Life: Thu, Jan 15, 2015 -- 9:00 PM
  • KQED 9: Thu, Jan 15, 2015 -- 5:00 AM
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      (DT25-1 through 25-3) Another station on Fremont Tower needs to perform more maintenance work overnight, requiring other TV stations to shut down their signals for the safety of the workers. KQET’s signal will turn off late Thurs/early Friday between midnight and 12:30am, and should return by 6am Friday morning. Many receivers will be able to […]

    • KQET planned overnight outage, early Wed 3/11

      (DT25-1 through 25-3) Another station on Fremont Tower needs to perform maintenance work overnight, requiring that other TV stations shut down their signals for the safety of the workers. KQET’s signal will turn off late Tues/early Wednesday between midnight and 12:30am, and should return by 5am Wednesday morning. Many receivers will be able to recover […]

    • Thurs 3/05, DT54-1 thru DT54-5: 2 planned, extremely brief Over the Air outages

      (DT54.1 through DT54.5) Our Over the Air signals from our KQEH transmitter on Monument Peak (the DT54s) will need to be switched from our Main antenna to our Auxillary antenna while climbers inspect the tower for possible maintenance needs. Once the inspection is done, we will switch back. The two switches will account for two […]

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