Hell Below

Watch Hell Below

  • TV-PG
  • 2016
  • 3 Seasons
  • 7.8  (188)

Hell Below is an educational TV series that premiered in the Smithsonian Channel in 2016. The show explores the history of submarine warfare during World War II, the Cold War, and other significant conflicts that often go unnoticed. Hosted by Mark Oliver, Jesse Irving, and Tannar Gillespie, Hell Below brings to life the stories of daring submarine operations, which changed the course of major battles in history. Each episode focuses on a particular mission or battle and features expert testimony, archival footage, and detailed reenactments.

The show's cameras take viewers deep into the ocean, where they experience the military maneuvers performed by both Allied and Axis submarine crews. From the cramped quarters of an attack submarine to the open sea, Hell Below captures every moment of human drama and perilous combat.

What sets Hell Below apart from other war documentaries is its unique approach. The show focuses not only on the technology and tactics used by submarine crews but also on their personal stories. By interviewing actual submariners from both sides, the show humanizes the conflict, giving viewers a glimpse into the real people behind the military uniforms.

For example, one episode features the story of a German U-Boat captain who, after sinking a British freighter, discovers a lifeboat full of British seamen. The captain and his crew face a moral dilemma as they decide whether to murder the British prisoners or let them swim to safety. The tension in this episode is palpable, putting viewers in the crew's shoes as they grapple with a difficult decision.

Another episode covers the US submarine, the USS Bowfin, on its mission to sink Japanese cargo ships in the Pacific. Viewers are treated to a rare glimpse of life aboard a US Navy submarine during WWII, as the crew encounters seabirds, sharks, and the ever-present danger of torpedo attacks.

While Hell Below's focus on submarine warfare sets it apart from other war documentaries, it's also a visually stunning show. The cinematography captures the beauty of the open sea, from quiet, serene sunrises to furious storms that threaten both ship and crew. The show also makes extensive use of CGI to show viewers what happens both above and below the waterline as submarines hunt for their prey, showcasing the cutting-edge technology that made these underwater vessels such a powerful weapon in the arsenal of major world powers.

Viewers of Hell Below can't help but be drawn into the stories of these brave submariners as they navigate the perilous waters of war. For history buffs and military enthusiasts, the show offers a richly detailed and gripping look at a facet of warfare that often goes unnoticed. For others, Hell Below is simply an immersive and thrilling show, bringing to life a part of history that's both fascinating and chilling.

Overall, Hell Below is a well-produced educational series that's both entertaining and informative. From the battles of WWII to the Cold War and beyond, the show explores the untold stories of submarine warfare in a way that's never been done before. With a mix of expert testimony, archival footage, and detailed reenactments, Hell Below is a must-watch for anyone interested in military history.

Hell Below is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (18 episodes). The series first aired on July 17, 2016.

Hell Below
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Iwo Jima Pilot Rescue
6. Iwo Jima Pilot Rescue
November 22, 2020
As carrier groups deliver destruction to Japanese strongholds, American subs risk everything to surface in enemy waters and rescue downed aviators.
Commander Down
5. Commander Down
August 5, 2020
After a spectacular collision and ensuing attack from a Japanese ship, an American submarine crew begins a desperate struggle for survival.
Torpedo Rampage
4. Torpedo Rampage
July 29, 2020
An American submarine commander manages to penetrate the defenses of a Japanese convoy in the Luzon Strait; the tables are turned, however, when the convoy's escorts go on the attack.
The Longest Journey
3. The Longest Journey
July 22, 2020
On Christmas morning 1944, an Allied merchant ship off the coast of Australia fights off a torpedo attack by a German U-Boat with its deck guns.
Enigma Capture
2. Enigma Capture
July 15, 2020
In direct violation of Hitler's orders a German U-Boat Commander sinks a passenger ship on the first day of the war sparking an international crisis.
Killer Strike
1. Killer Strike
July 8, 2020
In the opening weeks of World War II, a German U-Boat Commander launches a shocking attack against the Royal Navy in its own home port.
Where to Watch Hell Below
Hell Below is available for streaming on the Smithsonian CHANNEL website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Hell Below on demand at Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu, FuboTV, Google Play and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    July 17, 2016
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (188)