Filming with Cromwell Film Productions


Over the past 18 months the SBG has enjoyed working with Cromwell film productions making W.W.II films and documentaries for the "Discovery" and "History" channel as well as "sell through" videos. Below is a report of the last filming serssion that the S BG took part in and a link to previous filming with Cromwell.

Filming Weekend June 22/23 1999

Filming Weekend March 1998

Once again the services of the SBG were required by Cromwell in the making of one of their documentary films. This weekend on June 22/23 1999 saw a good number of SBG members present, our Half track, a "ryan" Marder and an original BMW combo (which was used in "saving private ryan" but the scene was "cut"), and a Sherman tank. The filming was a continuation of Cromwells story about a section of SS Grenadiers on a mission throughout W.W.II and culminating during the Normandy and Ardennes campaign. Two film crews were in action and the SBG were split between blowing up the Sherman as it attacked the Bailey bridge whilst the rest of the filming was spent around the rubble and bombed out houses etc. It was hoped to use one of the "ryan" Tigers but unfortunately both were in France being used on another film location. As ever with film sets it was an early start and by 9am the troops were kitted up and the cameras rolling.



Along with some 20 SBG there was approx. 6 actors of Cromwells mixed in with us. A section of SBG led by Hscha. Siegel set up an ambush at one end of the large metal bridge at Longmoor camp. Various angles were filmed and centred mostly around Hscha. Siegel and his section "brewing up" the Sherman with an original Panzerschreck as it attempted to cross the bridge. Also filmed was Obergren. "Killer" Gurowski doing the same job but with a Panzerfaust.

Throughout the day we had the use of a fully auto MG34 and set upon Hscha. Siegels lafette tripod it certainly saw some work during the day. Other Grenadiers were armed with a mixture of K98k rifles and fully auto MP40's. Just like the final scenes in "saving private ryan" every scene was preceded with much smoke to add more atmousphere to the scenario. The boom mic was held in place, the cameras set up, camera angles were adjusted and sound recording was tested then the familiar word "action" was shouted and the SBG went into action !. As ever the Grenadiers of the SBG's 3.Kp looked perfect and with added make up of dirt and grime our soldaten looked as mean as ever!.


Whilst the bridge scenes were being filmed a second camera crew was filming the remainder of the SBG as our troops attacked over the rubble. There was much smoke, bombs and bullets flying everywhere which again reminded us of the filmset of "saving private ryan". As the 3.Kp attacked over and through some of the bombed out buildings on the outskirts of the town the Marder came up in close support.

Meanwhile the Half track was filmed in the background roaring into action along the roads leading into the town itself. All very authentic looking. As we approached the buildings the GI's opened fire and explosions simulated. Then we were attacked on both flanks and our attack swung from the houses back to the bombed out buildings. Every so often the combat stopped and Cromwells actors were put into various positions and filmed for the "talking" scenes. This part of the story told how they were running desperately short of ammo at which point the BMW R12 arrived mid battle with vital supplies.


In the early afternoon everything stopped for tea (as it does with us Brits, even if we are re-enacting the Waffen-SS !) and after some refreshments it was back into action and " To the Battle !". The rest of the day was spent with everybody attacking the town where a few "token" Yank GI's were seen running about in and out of the buildings. As the Half track and Marder prepared to enter the roads between the buildings the American Sherman swung around the corner and into the attack. After blowing up the Half track it trained its turret on the Marder but the Marder had fired first and put the Sherman out of action. However, an Allied bombardment ensued wiping out nearly all of the German troops and remaining vehicles just leaving a couple of Cromwells actors left alive and looking for an escape. With the Marders barrel pointing down, the Half track run into a pile of rubble, the Sherman out of action at the end of the town, the smoke, the explosions and bullets made a very realistic and believable scenario.


For a final scene all vehicles and troops were moved back to the bridge. This scene called for every Grenadier available to storm across the bridge where at one end a small group of GI's were preparing to blow it up !. As we rushed the bridge some of Cromwells actors "broke off" and a very realistic scene was shot with an SS Grenadier kicking the detonator from the hand of a GI and then attacking him with his rifle butt. The blood and gore almost equalled that from "saving private ryan" . Once across the bridge the MG34 crew was deployed to give covering fire to the other attacking troops.The time was now approaching 7pm and the days filming came to a halt. After we had cleaned up we were given a premier showing of the unedited film that Cromwell had been making over the past year including footage from our last trip to Longmoor camp in the winter of 1998. Some of the scenes were very realistic, more so the unrehearsed combat and attack scenes taken during some of our previous "private" re-enactments. Other authentic scenes included the first filming we did with Cromwell over a year ago involving the Jagd Panzer. Thus ended a very entertaining, productive, interesting and enjoyable weekend for the SBG.