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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Trenches of Hell Indiana Jones
"Trenches of Hell"
(Originally TV episode "Somme, Early August 1916")
(0:00-44:28 on the Trenches of Hell DVD)
Written by Jonathan Hensleigh
Story by George Lucas
Directed by Simon Wincer
Bookends directed by Carl Schultz
Original air date: March 11, 1992

When all the officers of Indy’s Belgian platoon are killed in battle, he is left in charge until a French lieutenant takes over in Somme.


Read the "August 1916" entry of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this episode


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This episode takes place in Somme, France in early August 1916.


Didja Know?


The title used for this episode ("Trenches of Hell") comes from the title of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Trenches of Hell (also known as Young Indiana Jones and the Great Escape when televised in Australia), a TV movie repackaged for the Family Channel from the two episodes of the Young Indiana Chronicles "Somme, Early August 1916" and "Germany, Mid-August 1916".


Much of the distant view battlefield coverage in this episode has the appearance of having been borrowed from one or more old movies set during WWI, but I've been unable to identify the sources of the footage. The borrowed shots tend to have a fuzzier look than those shot for the episode. 


Notes from the Old Indy bookends of The Young Indiana Chronicles


Watch the bookends of this episode at YouTube 


Old Indy refers to the young, rude donut shop clerk as "Bonzo brain." This may be a reference to the 1951 and 1952 comedy films Bedtime for Bonzo and Bonzo Goes to College, about a chimpanzee that is raised by a human couple like a human child.


The closing bookend ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, with Old Indy being taken in by the police for assaulting the rude donut shop clerk. The cliffhanger picks up again in the bookends of "Prisoner of War".


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB. The FSB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The boxed set of DVDs of the complete The Young Indiana Chronicles TV series has notations and drawings in the storage slot for each disk that suggest they are meant to be excerpts from Indy's journal. Most of these notes and drawings do not appear in the The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones book. Here is the slot image for this episode:


The August 1916 entry covers, minimally, the events of this episode.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


donut shop clerks

rude donut shop clerk

elderly woman

Indiana Jones

Remy Baudouin

Jacques (dies in this episode)


Captain Gascoyne

Major Bilideau

Lieutenant Alain Moreau (dies in this episode)

Sergeant Bernard Giscard (dies in this episode)


Captain Cote (mentioned only, deceased)


Siegfried Sassoon

Robert Graves

Moreau's wife (mentioned only)

police officers 




As the episode proper opens in 1916, Indy and Remy have been assigned to the battlefield trenches of the Somme region of France, out of the military base at La Chavatte. The Somme is a river in northern France. La Chavatte is a town near the river. In this episode, we see part of the Battle of the Somme, one of the deadliest battles in history, lasting from July to November 1916 and accounting for one million casualties.


The blue, white, and red tricolor of the flag of France is seen flying at the station as Indy and Remy's train pulls in. The train is engine 524 1110, one of several trains seen in The Young Indiana Chronicles that is housed at the Czech Railway Museum at Lužná, Czech Republic.


Since we last saw him, heading with Remy for basic training in the Belgian Army in May (at the end of "Love's Sweet Song"), Indy has already been promoted to corporal, while Remy remains a private. They are part of the 9th Belgian Infantry which gets assigned to the French 14th Company during the Battle of the Somme. The 9th Belgian Infantry was virtually decimated at Flanders, with all the officers killed, leaving Indy in charge of the unit as a mere corporal.


Indy's Belgian unit succeeds in capturing Chateau La Maisonette from the Germans. This appears to be a fictitious location.


Lieutenant Moreau's wristwatch seen at 11:39 on the DVD is a Clarenzia. This was an actual Swiss watchmaker at the time. The watch also shows the correct month of August (AOU and VEN for abbreviations of "August" and "Friday" in French).


The French and Belgian forces are seen armed with Lebel 1886 rifles. These were among the rifle models used by French and Belgian troops during WWI.


At 11:41 on the DVD, Lieutenant Moreau holds a German Rast-Gasser 1898 revolver. This was not an official issue firearm of the French Army. Perhaps Moreau took it off a fallen German after an earlier battle.


At 12:02 on the DVD, the German forces fire a mocked up Austrian Schwarzlose M1907 machine gun made from a Czech ZB-53 / Vz.37. Indy takes over control of it later in the episode.


At 13:45 on the DVD, Indy collects up some Model 1912 stick grenades.


The rifles used by the German forces in the trench at 16:41 on the DVD are mostly Mauser Karabiner 98k's (though this weapon was not manufactured until 1935!).


At 18:23 on the DVD, notice that Indy is wearing the locket given to him by Princess Sophie in "The Perils of Cupid".


At 22:38 on the DVD, the Wilhelm scream is heard, a vocal sound effect frequently used by famed sound designer Ben Burtt. The scream is heard again at 33:00.


At 24:59 on the DVD, the chalkboard outside the Cafe du Midi (Midday Coffee) reads Plats du jour (daily specials). I'm not able to make out the writing of the specials themselves.


At 25:09 on the DVD, a sign in the French plaza reads New Monico. At 26:11, Chamberlain Photography is seen. These appear to be fictitious establishments.


Even though he recently married Suzette in London in "Love's Sweet Song", Remy continues to mess around with women while on leave, as seen at 26:42 on the DVD (and later episodes).


    As the tennis winners and losers discuss "beer over wine", Graves quotes, "Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour," which Indy identifies as being from Shakespeare's Richard II, Act One, Scene Three. This is correct.

    Robert Graves (1895-1985) was a British writer and poet, possibly best known for his historical novel I, Claudius. His friend here, Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), also became a writer and poet. The two actually did serve in the same unit in WWI.


The poem "Dreamers" that Sassoon has Indy read aloud is an actual one by Sassoon, though not officially written until 1918.


The poster behind Indy's head in the cafe at 29:37 on the DVD reads, "Je suis une brave poule de guerre je mange peu et je produis beaucoup." This translates to "I am a brave chicken of war, I eat little and I produce a lot." This phrase was part of a WWI poster composed by French school children to encourage the French to join the war effort.


The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Prisoner of War Notes from the junior novelization of this episode, Prisoner of War by Les Martin

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, 1993)


Characters appearing in the novel not mentioned in the televised episode




Didja Notice?


This novelization covers about the last 10 minutes of our current episode ("Trenches of Hell") and then all of the following episode, "Prisoner of War". Pages 1-20 cover "Trenches of Hell".


Page 5 refers to the war as "the Great War", the common epithet of what became more commonly known as World War I once World War II started.


Page 6 explains that Jacques hates officers even more than he does the Germans, which is the main reason Indy is suspicious of him after the death of Captain Cote. In the televised episode it is less clear that Jacques has such a dislike for all officers, not just Indy as a person, when the young corporal comes to take charge of the company when all of the officers and sergeants are killed in battle at Flanders.


Memorable Dialog


I'm not wasting a French lieutenant on a bunch of Belgians.mp3

because it's my duty.mp3

they look young.mp3


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