It’s often difficult for Americans to understand that while we love and respect our armed servicemen, they are not the only heroes serving around the world. Honest war movies are a great window for seeing the heroic acts by other armies in some of this world’s darkest moments. The Siege of Jadotville goes even deeper covering a conflict that many aren’t aware of and a group of Irish soldiers who fought a complicated battle very well. This movie may not make it onto the top lists of all-time war movies but it depicts the complicated relationship between politics and war very well.
The actual Siege of Jadotville occurred between Irish soldiers on a UN peacekeeping mission and a mixed army of Katangese and French mercenaries in 1961. The conflict was part of the six year mix of civil wars and cold war interventions in the Republic of the Congo following its independence in 1960. The movie covers a UN operation named Morthor intended to remove mercenaries who were fighting for the newly seceded State of Katanga. After a bungled attempt to hold a radio station that resulted in civilian deaths, Moise Tshombe, the self proclaimed leader of Katanga, declared that the UN forces were there not to keep the peace but to enforce the peace and ordered his forces to remove the UN soldiers. The Irish “A company” held the mining town of Jadotville for 6 days without losing a single man while Swedish reinforcements were locked out of assisting them. On top of that, the high command of the Irish army and the UN gave little support to A company even going so far as to defame the soldiers who fought in order to cover for the political failures.
Overall the movie was a fitting tribute to these soldiers that shines a light on a story not told very often. The action was incredible and realistic, you really cared about these characters, and situation keeps you glued to the screen. It may not sit up at the top of any war movie list but it is definitely worth your attention. Best of all this is a Netflix original movie and available to stream now so check it out!