Documentary Films


A film by Jürgen Stumpfhaus

part 1: The Caravan of Sailors
part 2: The Last Ship Afloat

A production by LICHTBLICK Film
in co-production with WDR, MDR, NDR/arte, RBB/arte, Discovery Channel Germany
supported by Filmstiftung NRW, MEDIA Programme

2 x 52 & 2 x 44 minutes / Stereo / Color & b/w / HDCam

world sales: united docs

In the early days of the 20th century, the German Kaiser challenged the naval power of the British with a new and mighty battle fleet. Who would rule the world’s seas? A question that would be decided in the First World War. After the shock defeat of the British at Coronel, a battle which cost 1,700 seamen their lives, Winston Churchill demanded a merciless revenge. Off the Falkland Islands, the entire German overseas squadron with a crew of 2,200 men was sunk. Only two cruisers escaped the demise of their fleet, the DRESDEN and the EMDEN.

Churchill set a bounty on them, making them the most hunted ships on the Seven Seas. In the icy fjords of Patagonia and the tropical heat of the South Seas, both crews battled for their very survival. After a dramatic hunt they were both finally sunk. Nonetheless, most of their crew men escaped death and returned home safe and sound. How this came about and their long adventurous journey through the war-torn seas and continents is recounted by two very dramatic documentaries: THE CARAVAN OF SAILORS and THE LAST SHIP AFLOAT. Newly discovered archive materials on the decisive sea battles, naval reports and private journals permit a precise reconstruction of the events. For the first time, interviews with descendents and military historians, footage from the original scenes of action and dramatic re-enactments allow us to do justice to both of these exciting stories.

written and directed by: Jürgen Stumpfhaus
producer: Carl-Ludwig Rettinger
DoP: Thomas Bresinsky
editor: Martin Kayser-Landwehr
music: Brynmor Jones
commissional editors: WDR - Wolfgang Landgraeber
                                 MDR - Katja Wildermuth
                                 NDR/arte - Ulrike Dotzer
                                 RBB/arte - Soren Schumann
                                 Discovery Channel - Klaus Jahn
narrator: Otto Sander

Oliver Kniffki
Olaf Stieg
Steffen Schroeder
Max Block