Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst
is a 1957
British war film
that tells the story of the British frigate HMS Amethyst
caught up in the Chinese Civil War
It was based upon the book written by Lawrence Earl. The film was known in the US by the alternative titles Battle Hell
, Escape of the Amethyst
, Their Greatest Glory
and Yangtze Incident
. Non-English language titles include the direct German translation of Yangtse-Zwischenfall
, and Commando sur le Yang-Tse
in France. In Belgium it was known as Feu sur le Yangtse
(French) and Vuur op de Yangtse
(Flemish/Dutch), both meaning "Fire on the Yangtse"
The film was entered into the 1957 Cannes Film Festival
On 19 April 1949, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Amethyst
sails up the Yangtze River
on her way to Nanking, the Chinese capital, to deliver supplies to the British Embassy. Suddenly, without warning, People's Liberation Army
(PLA) shore batteries open fire and after a heavy engagement, Amethyst
lies grounded in the mud and badly damaged. Fifty-four of her crew are dead, dying or seriously wounded while others deteriorate from the tropical heat and the lack of essential medicines. The local Communist official Colonel Peng (played by Akim Tamiroff) is adamant: either accept responsibility for the entire incident, or the Amethyst
will remain his prisoner.
After an attempt by HMS Consort
to tow Amethyst
off the mud bank fails, Lieutenant-Commander......