Warships – Death at Sea

A 4x 52’/43′ Documentary Series by Florian Dedio & Michaela McMahon
in collaboration with Marie Perrin & Anna Schwarz

If you want to rule the world, you have to rule the oceans. Those who want to rule the oceans need the best, the most, the strongest warships – and the most capable people to lead them into battle.
A Warship silhouetted against the sun
Sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken USS West Virginia (BB-48) during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor. USS Tennessee (BB-43) is inboard of the sunken battleship.

Warships have always been the most expensive of all types of weapons. Building them promises prestige and power – but sending them into battle always means a huge risk. Naval battles can decide the fate of nations in a matter of hours. For millennia, warships and naval warfare hardly changed – until the 19th century, when iron was replaced by steel and sails by steam engines. This is precisely where this series comes in. In four episodes, “Warships – Death at Sea” tells the story of warships from the end of the 20th century to the present day. Even more: the series takes us on board.

We experience what it was like to witness some of the most significant battles, the most catastrophic accidents, and the most fateful missions of the last century. Self-testimonies and images of sailors, officers and engineers who wrote down their memories, their intentions and their ideas in war diaries and memoirs provide insights into naval warfare before and during World War I and World War II.

Eyewitnesses tell us in exclusive interviews about their missions and give us a sense of what it was like to serve on their ships – filled with the pride of serving their country and at the same time surrounded by fear for their own lives, the constant companion on their missions.

Sailors aboard USS Indianapolis
A Documentary Series By: Florian Dedio & Michaela McMahon
in collaboration with: Marie Perrin und Anna Schwarz
Camera: Laurent Chalet, Corentin Soibinet, Shane Collela
Edited By: Dirk Seliger, Martin Reimers, Marc Thomas
Sound: Frédéric Heinrich, Arthur Despres
Music: Laurent Eyquem, Eike Hosenfeld, Denis Moritz, Tim Stanzel, Jens Fischer, Achim Gieseler, Johannes Beere, Michael Kadelbach, Henrik Albrecht, Markus Löhr, Dirk Busshart, Wolfram de Marco, Jens Fischer, Christoph Schauer, Martin Grassl
Narrated By: TBD; Sound Mix: Tobias Fritzsch
Post-production: Christoph Lewinske, Jakob Leue, Volker Schulze
Animation: Happy Flamingos (Josselin Mahot & Romuald Masclet)
Graphics: AJM Studios, Jean-Michel Tari
Historical Consultants: Stephan Huck, Nina Nustede
Archive Research: Max Övynd Wiesner, Claudia Hentze
Creative Producer: Anna Kwak-Sialelli, Veronika Christmann
Production: Nathalie Dietrich (LOOKSfilm), Sylvain Goulamhoussen (IMAGISSIME),
Jenny Heininger (ZDFinfo)
Production Management: Astrid Ozanne, Jan Müller, Leonardo Re
Head of Creative Producing: Birgit Rasch; Legal Affairs: Daniel Köpcke
Producers: Regina Bouchheri (LOOKSfilm), Gunnar Dedio (LOOKSfilm),Élodie Polo-Ackermann (IMAGISSIME)
Commissioning Editors ZDFinfo: Christian Deick, Silvia Menzel
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