1hr 28mins
Dir: Sergei Nolbandov
Starring: Godfrey Tearle and Mary Morris

In occupied Yugoslavia, partisans fight the Nazis

This major war propaganda film was made by Ealing Studios at the height of hostilities and part of the story involves the sabotage of Nazi supply trains. With filming in Occupied Europe completely out of the question British rolling-stock was used, and although a French ‘Pacific’ does appear in one shot it is clearly a model. In fact, the film uses models for quite a number of scenes, and to good effect too, yet there is enough real railway footage to offer other interest. Two LNER A3 Class 4-6-2’s were modified with smoke deflectors and stovepipe chimneys to appear as continental locos (somewhat ironic of course, given that German style smoke deflectors were fitted to the A3’s during the 1960s). The first appears in various shots numbered ‘2743’ and ‘743’, so that is number 2743 Felstead with just a number blacked out in different takes so as to give the impression that it is a different loco. The other A3, however, has no bufferbeam number at all. Note that in most of the shots it can be seen that the LNER lettering on the sides of the tender has also been blacked out. The scene whereby the partisans rescue prisoners of war from a train at a Yugoslav railway station appears to have been filmed in the sidings of a quarry, and in one shot what appears to be an LNER J52 Class 0-6-0ST can be seen in the background. Finally there are several sequences filmed in and around a tunnel, though it is not known where this was shot.

In one of the opening railway scenes, a pair of partisans walk beside a railway line
LNER A3 Pacific No.743 approaches the camera in this low-level runby. In reality, this is No.2743 Felstead, named after the racehorse that won the 1928 Derby. Incidentally, all the original A1 Class locomotives were rebuilt to the improved specifications of the Class A3’s, but Felstead was the first of the A3’s as built from new when delivered in August 1928.
The partisan fighters overlook the arrival of the POW train from higher ground. Notice the lineside hut in the centre distance is the same as the one seen in the first shot on this page.
‘743’ arrives into a Yugoslav station. Although the building is a prop the rest of this scene is real. That appears to be a J52 saddle tank on the right.
Partisans take their positions beside some railway wagons
German soldiers begin to board the train in this scene that may involve a studio recreation of a freight train
Yugoslavian freedom fighters take refuge inside a tunnel
A view towards the tunnel mouth
The locomotive at the head of the approaching train has a continental style headlamp attached to the smokebox
The locomotive draws slowly past the camera with German soldiers riding on the bufferbeam and running plate. The number on the front looks as though it might read 2742, but it is likely to be 2743 again.
This image shows two things. The first is that the approaching A3 has no front end number, and it may be an A1. Secondly, the image is reversed.
This is a shot of 743 again, and it is the right way round (smokebox hinges always run from right to left). Note the smoke deflectors and stovepipe chimney added to give the loco a vaguely foreign appearence.