The Steel Bayonet

The Steel Bayonet
Directed by Michael Carreras
Produced by Michael Carreras
Written by Howard Clewes
Starring Leo Genn
Kieron Moore
Michael Medwin
Music by Leonard Salzedo
Cinematography Jack Asher
Edited by Bill Lenny
Distributed by Hammer Film Productions
Release dates
May 1957
Running time
85 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Steel Bayonet is a 1957 British war film directed by Michael Carreras and starring Leo Genn, Kieron Moore and Michael Medwin.[1][2] Michael Caine also had a small role in the film, early in his career. It is set during the Second World War, in the Tunisian desert when a small British observation force are surrounded in a farm by overwhelming forces of the Afrika Korps. Filming took place on Salisbury Plain, which doubled for North Africa.


Tunisia 1943

As the end of the North African Campaign draws to a close, and the German and Italian forces are being pushed back on Tunis. A company of British Infantry are tasked with holding a small Arab farm against an expected last-ditch counter-attack; the farm's water tower will be used as an observation point by a few Royal Artillery spotters. To defend the farm British Lt. Colonel Derry picks a company led by Major Alan Gerrard; these men have been in the thick of the fighting around Tunis and are greatly reduced in number (described by the narrator as down to barely two platoons). So Gerrard's company set out on foot for the farm; on the way they are joined by Captain Dickie Mead and his signaller, Ames. Arriving at the farm, Gerrard's men chase out the occupants and dig slit trenches out in front of the farm. With the water tower and its ladder in clear view, Mead decides to wait until just before dawn to climb the tower while it is still dark. The next day Mead uses the his position to target the artillery onto the German forces, all is going well until the Germans send out a reconnaissance patrol to pin point the observation post, which Gerrard's men dispose of. With the Germans sure of their position, it becomes a test of nerve for Gerrard's men, seasoned troops and new boys alike. All of them stick it out until they are finally ordered to retreat with their job done. Mead decides to stay behind and cover their escape with artillery fire, leading to the death of Sergeant Major Gill and Private Middleditch. And when Mead finally succumbs to German fire, only the wounded Gerrard is left. With the Germans in the farm and his surviving men well on their way to safety, the mortally wounded Gerrard radios for the artillery to totally destroy the farm, killing Gerrard and the Germans' last chance at the same time.



  1. The Steel Bayonet at the Internet Movie Database
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