Tanks, Productions, and Great People.


As the team sorts through head shots, Skype auditions, and storyboards, the productions charges ahead, much like an armored column on the steppes of the Soviet Union. With upcoming screen tests held in Chicago for the roles of Anna & Erich, it’s a busy time here at The Vanquished. If you think you’ve got the acting chops for either of these rewarding and multi-layered roles, send us your contact information through the website.

In the words of Monty Python, now for something completely different…..the fans! Vanquished follower Peter Pogwizd of Chicago sent in the following image of himself at Fort Benning, Georgia, posing with the infamous German King Tiger Tank.  One of the largest tanks ever produced across the globe, it was widely feared by the Western Allies during the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944.  However, the amount of fuel this beast consumed in battle was too much for the already stretched German supply lines.  Another case of too little, too late for the German Army.


Switching gears again, Producer Adam Bednar had the great fortune to cross paths with Robert E. Wilhelm III, a premiere military historian that you may recognize from Deadliest Warrior.  With a keen interest in the German military of World War Two, it’s no wonder that he made his way onto The Vanquished page!  We’re always excited to connect with like-minded professionals that are dedicated to dispelling many of the myths in Hollywood about the German Armed Forces of 1932-1945.

Check him out in action!  Broom handle Mauser much?

Robert also serves as producer and director for an upcoming short film, The Marscher Lords:  The Brotherhood of Death.  Slated for release in summer 2014, it focuses on the struggles of two brothers, one a Teutonic Knight, the other a Lord, during the 13th Century barbarian invasions of Europe.  In a time when studios seem bereft of original ideas, it’s great to see folks bringing light to under-represented periods in history.  The Vanquished team wishes the best to Robert and his team and look forward to hopefully collaborating in the future!   Also, be sure to give them a like!


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Adam Bednar

“The Door Knocker” – The PAK-36

At the conclusion of the First World War, the victorious Allied nations implemented the Versailles Treaty, setting back Germany economically, politically, and militarily.  The peace terms imposed sweeping sanctions that severely limited the extent of Germany’s armed forces.  Viewing this as an insult to their national pride, German military leaders began planning for rearmament in the mid-1920s.  They aggressively sought to expand their arms production while under the watchful eyes of Britain and France.

Long-range, yet cumbersome artillery had dominated the battlefields of the 1918.  Understanding that the future of warfare was in lightning-fast strikes against the enemy, German planners began to refine existing designs for horse-drawn guns.  They imagined a lighter, faster gun that would be able to follow front-line troops into enemy territory.  But by the early 1930’s, it was evident that a new design was needed.

Utilizing magnesium-alloy wheels, the re-designated 3.7cm PAK-35/36 began to replace older model infantry guns in 1935.  It first saw action the following year during the Spanish Civil War and performed well in a variety of conditions.

Despite its success against lightly armored vehicles and tanks, the PAK-36 was outclassed by 1940.  It was particularly ineffective heavier British and French tanks, and soon became all but impractical as an anti-tank gun.  It fared no better on the Eastern Front, where the fast-moving Soviet T-34 could take countless direct hits from the PAK-36 without effect.

German PAK-36 crews soon named their weapon the “Door Knocker” for its ability to give away the weapons location by harmlessly bouncing rounds off a T-34’s armor.  Countless Germans learned this nickname the hard way, leading to the gun being replaced by heavier and heavier anti-tank weapons.  However, the PAK-36 could still achieve a kill shot against a T-34, but it required a near point-blank shot aimed at the tank’s side or rear armor.

These guns stayed in service until the end of the war and were frequently turned over the Germany’s allies fighting in the East.  Although completely obsolete by 1942, the PAK-36 still proved effective against scout cars, reconnaissance vehicles and enemy infantry units.  This weapon, as featured in The Vanquished, plays a crucial role as 5th Kompanie GrossDeutschland begins to see their fortunes in Russia turn against them, much like the parallel story of the PAK-36 anti-tank gun.


Production Team & Cast Interviews

So we’ve finally cleared the last of the mud off of our vehicles, equipment, and uniforms from last weekend.  It was a tiring and busy time, but we got some stellar footage with our leading actress, Maggie McDonnell.  After scouring a MidWestern historical site for locations, we captured some compelling images for our Social Media sites.  From scenes of Russian campsite at dawn, to Partisan fighters meeting with Red Army soldiers, going through our hundreds of pictures and countless video clips once again energizes our efforts.  We strive for authenticity and challenge ourselves on a daily basis to replicate the sights, smells, and sounds of the Eastern Front.  While this may be challenging to accomplish over sixty years later, our talented producers and cast have not only met our expectations, but exceeded them.  We applaud their efforts.

A special thanks goes out to the members of the 95th Rifles reenacting group, who stood in as our fearless Red Army extras.  Many of their ranks are filled with Russian reenactors, who helped us by adding some period dialogue to our scenes.

Richard Russo, Adam Bednar, and Maggie McDonnell took some time out of the busy filming to talk about how The Vanquished came to be.  Take a look at the following interviews with some of the key people behind this exciting new miniseries!

Production Update: May 2012

We here at The Vanquished have been busy group over the past few days.  Our production team is comprised of seasoned reenactors; we travelled to a major World War Two reenactment in Indiana over the weekend.  Hundreds of Russian, German, British and American reenactors congregated at a historic farmhouse site to bring history to life.  The Vanquished team was there, accompanied by the 5th Kompanie Grossdeutschland group, one of the premier German reenacting units in the Midwest.  They were quite a sight for sore eyes in their “weathered” impression, which combined period equipment, uniforms, and LOTS of mud.  They looked like they had walked straight out of an Eastern Front newsreel from 1942.

Leading actress Maggie McDonnell joined our ranks (pun intended?), showing grit and determination throughout our shooting schedule, something of which her character, Anna Firstenberg, would be very proud.  Working with German cavalry, Russian reenactors and a professional film crew, we got some outstanding footage.  With hundreds of pictures and several production interviews to go through, here’s a little taste of what we worked on over the weekend.

Thanks are in order to all the dedicated reenactors that assisted us during the two-day event.  Once again, the enthusiasm they have displayed for the series is impressive.  We look forward to working with all of you again in the near future!  Anyways, take a gander at what we captured below.  And check back soon, for the interviews will be up in no time!

Behind The Scenes

As the production team here at The Vanquished grows ever-larger, we are excited about the ideas that new contributors bring to the table.  We recently added a smashing screenwriter to our ranks (pun intended?) that has already demonstrated that she will be a pillar of support to the series as we progress.  But even as we expand, our core group must wear many hats on a daily basis.

From creating period-appropriate dialogue, to scouting locations, each of us has to be able to switch roles in an instant.  Though this juggling act can be a delicate act at times, our passion for the series itself is unwavering.  I seldom know people that will sit for 13 ½ hours trying to figure out what the proper structure of a partisan band would be in 1942.  We are discovering new things about this time period each day, which proves to be an extremely rewarding experience.  I don’t know if understanding how to scavenge food on the steppes of Russia is a useful skill in Chicago, but I’ll take it.  Maybe it will make a good first date story (fingers crossed).


But equally as rewarding is when we get to take all that hard-earned expertise and see it put onto film.  We had just such a chance over the weekend, when we filmed Anna’s climatic capture by the young German Captain, Erich.  Be sure to check out the clip in the post directly below.  In addition, we captured some fantastic footage of a partisan attack on a German motorcycle courier.Our quarters for the night?  An authentic underground bunker created by members of a local WWII reenactment group.  It may have been cramped at times, and kerosene doesn’t last forever (who knew?), but the ambiance was well worth it.  Rising at the break of dawn to capture to perfect lighting, I’d say that we got some stellar footage.  The team worked together well, as always.  And despite my incessant need to make minor tweaks to the script between takes, we accomplished a great deal.

Cell phone coverage under 10 feet of earth?  That’s another story….


Anna’s Capture Test Footage

After an exhausting weekend scouring the Midwest for locations, the team at The Vanquished settled on an idyllic turn-of-the-century bridge for the climatic encounter between Anna and young German captain Erich.  This proves to be a culminating moment in the war for both characters, as the consequences of this short meeting will have long-reaching implications.

Check out the below test footage from our recent film shoot.  Also, be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel, as we will be adding more content throughout the entire summer.  Also look for several clips from our new documentary “Behind the Scenes of The Vanquished”.  Enjoy!

Thanks to Gene Alevar for his help in capturing this scene.