Railroads and National Defense


This railroad film was produced by the Association of American Railroads to show how the railroads are operating during the Korean War.

Newsreel : Iron War Horse and Fighting Dutch

This newsreel is part of the Army/Navy Screen Magazine, a WWII newsreel program produced from June 1943 until early 1946 by the Army Signal Corps under the supervision of director Frank Capra. It includes several segments. First, "Iron War Horse" which shows the operational training of troops at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana to maintain railroads at the battle front. "Seized from the Japs" shows rare captured Japanese military newsreel films, including an amphibious assault. 
Finally "The Fighting Dutch" shows the people of Holland and their response to the German invasion, with Free Dutch forces joining the Allied fight -- training in Mississippi to fly P-40 Warhawks and other aircraft, and manning Dutch transport ships in the South Pacific and Africa. The Netherlands entered World War II on May 10, 1940, when invading German forces quickly overran them. On December 7, 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Netherlands government in exile also declared war on Japan. Operation Market Garden, which started in 1944, liberated the southern and eastern parts of the country, but full liberation did not come until the surrender of Germany on May 5, 1945. Camp Claiborne was a U.S. Army military camp during World War II located in Rapides Parish in central Louisiana. The camp was under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Eighth Service Command, and included 23,000 acres (93 km²). The camp was just north of the town of present day Forest Hill, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 165 and Louisiana Highway 112. To simulate wartime repairs of railroads, the Claiborne-Polk Military Railroad was built. 
The railroad was about 50 miles long and had 25 bridges. It crossed the Calcasieu River. It ran from Camp Claiborne—on the Missouri Pacific south of Alexandria—westward 48 miles to Camp Polk—on the Kansas City Southern south of Leesville. Construction began on 4 September 1941, and the Golden Spike ceremony was held on 11 July 1942. In October 1942, the soldiers who had built the Claiborne-Polk Military Railroad shipped out to Iran, where they helped operate the Trans-Iranian Railroad. The foundation of the locomotive shop and other remnants can still be seen. The 725th and other ROBs referred to it as the "Crime and Punishment" railroad, and was built by the 711th ROB and Army engineers. The engines used were 40 years old, and the freight cars, some not US made, were two generations old. Some European cars had only 4 wheels, and did not do well on curves. Derailments occurred so often that they pulled a crane to pick up derailed cars and repair the roadbed. Often, even the crane derailed. Sometimes the rails sunk under the swamp, and cars were lost in the quicksand. More than one engineer reported seeing the rails swaying and vibrating for some time after the train had passed. It was reported that one engine was lost in the quicksand and is still there.
 In other cases, buildings were erected on top of the lost equipment, using it as a foundation. We encourage viewers to add comments and, especially, to provide additional information about our videos by adding a comment! See something interesting? Tell people what it is and what they can see by writing something for example like: "01:00:12:00 -- President Roosevelt is seen meeting with Winston Churchill at the Quebec Conference." This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com


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