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You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they'll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it's as if they never existed. That's what Hitler wants and that's exactly what we are fighting for.
— Frank Stokes

As the Second World War rages fiercely, Frank Stokes expresses concern at the Nazi practice of stealing or destroying works of art across Europe. He is authorized to lead a unit, the Monuments Men, made up of art historians, museum directors, and other knowledgeable individuals, whose mission is to reclaim the art from the Nazis.

Linking up with French resistance members, the Monuments Men capture Nazi officers involved in the transport of art and recover such pieces as the Ghent Altarpiece and works from the Rothschild Collection. They encounter a mine laden with works of art (as well as gold teeth extracted from Holocaust victims), and are able to secure and recover the valuables even as the Soviet Red Army races in to secure some of it for themselves. After the war, Lieutenant Stokes continues to search for art treasures still hidden by the Nazis.

Battle vs. Denham's Expedition (by El Alamein)[]


The tide was calm for once, noted Lieutenant Frank Stokes, as he leaned against a stack of sturdy wooden crates piled up on the beach. Inside were mounds of gold, art, and treasure--liberated from the retreating Nazi forces and saved from an almost guaranteed fate, ignobly dynamited by the Fascists to prevent their safe return. Stokes wiped sweat from his brow and exhaled slowly, letting the late morning sun warm his face.

Sergeant Richard Campbell walked over to Stokes, his M1 carbine slung over his shoulder. "Some break, huh?" he commented drily.

"Y'know, Campbell, you definitely seemed reluctant to come on this mission when I first called you up," said Stokes. 

"We're certainly past our prime," replied Campbell.

"Even so--you still came. Looking back, do you have any regrets about it?"

From behind the two men came a grunt and a dull thud. Campbell looked over his shoulder at Sgt. Walter Garfield, sweating profusely and struggling to gain traction as he staggered up the loose sand.

"Garfield, maybe."


A few hours later, the Monuments Men had got most of the valuables loaded up on US Army trucks and transported to relative safety. A few boxes full of the stuff remained piled around the beach, but it wasn't enough to warrant an entire unit standing around guarding it (at least, not according to Stokes' superiors, much to his chagrin). For the couple of hours or so until the transports returned, the Monuments Men were on their own.

Over the horizon a small dark dot bobbed up and down on the water. Jean-Claude Clermont squinted and pointed off to it. "You guys see that?" he asked. "Looks like some ship coming our way." None of the other Monuments Men, aside from Lt. James Granger, could see well enough to identify the ship until it was much closer to the shore, but by then it was evident this was no combat-capable craft. 

"It's probably some fishermen or something... I dunno." Granger turned dismissively and walked back to the stack of boxes.

On board the S.S. Venture, Captain Englehorn stood out on the deck with Carl Denham, who excitedly pointed to the shoreline. "There, see? I told you we'd find the artifacts! This'll be great to capture on film!" Englehorn looked with annoyance at the movie director. "Every time we follow your lead, Denham, people die." Lumpy the Cook, who was busy readying a rowboat to disembark, snorted.

"Come on, Englehorn! There'll be some soddy old guards that we'll distract long enough to get a couple reels in, and we'll be out before they know it!"

Denham's Expedition: BrownBrownBrownBrownBrown

The Monuments Men: GreenGreenGreenGreenGreen

Garfield and Campbell stood up warily and waited as two rowboats full of armed men left the Venture and began to approach the shore.

"Hey, Lieutenant... those guys are armed," said Garfield. He readied his M1, removing the sling from his shoulder and dropping his finger next to the trigger. 

"What's that now?" Lt. James Granger walked over, clapping his hand down on Garfield's shoulder from behind. The old man jumped at the touch, and his finger slipped, pulling down hard on the trigger.

"Oh, Christ, it was an accident," Garfield started to say, moments before a rifle round from the rowboat tore through his throat in response. Green The M1 fell into the sand with a dull thud. Garfield reached a shaking hand up to gingerly touch the wound, blood pouring from his open mouth, before he sank to the ground dead. Granger looked up, shocked, as a second round sped by his head, missing by inches and kicking up sand several feet behind him.

"Incoming!" shouted Stokes, ducking down behind the crates of art they were sworn to protect. He aimed down the sight of his rifle and fired off several shots in rapid succession. One of them snapped inches away from the lens of Denham's camera as the manic director frantically recorded as much footage as he could get.

"My camera!" shouted Denham in despair, moments before Lumpy, at the oars, pulled him down.

"Forget the camera, man! We have bigger issues to deal with!"

The rowboats made it to the shore, and the men of Denham's Expedition ran sharply to the left, making for a pile of boulders in front of a tank obstacle. Driscoll rattled off a magazine from the Thompson to suppress his teammates as the Monuments Men concentrated their fire. As Denham cowered behind cover, Lumpy the Cook grabbed a Mauser from the director's grasp and stood up. Aiming briefly, he fired a shot and reached up to pull back the bolt on the weapon. Firing again, he scored a hit on Jean-Claude Clermont, who had been shooting his M1 Carbine. The bullet grazed his shin and sent the French soldier to the ground, grabbing at his leg. Grunting in satisfaction, Lumpy looked down to pull the bolt back again before Richard Campbell shot him in the upper chest. Lumpy fell forward, out of cover, and as Hayes and Englehorn stood to drag their injured friend back behind the rocks, Granger opened fire with his Thompson. Hayes and Englehorn were forced to duck back behind the rocks as the rounds danced around their position. At this point, Lumpy had gone into shock--his face was pale and the sand beneath him was stained heavy and dark with his blood. Brown

"I'm out!" panted Driscoll, his face slick with sweat, pointing at his Thompson.

"There's more ammunition in the boats!" shouted Hayes. "Denham--I need you to go grab Jack some drums! We'll cover you! Go!"

Denham looked up in a panic as Jimmy, Hayes, and Englehorn popped out from cover, firing with their rifles. The ferocity of their fire temporarily forced the Monuments Men to duck behind their crates, but Denham still hadn't moved. Hayes set down his rifle and unholstered his Colt M1911, letting loose a more concentrated stream of fire as he yelled, "DENHAM! NOW!" Driscoll, in despair, pushed Denham to the side and made a break for the rowboats.

"There--there, by the rowboats!" shouted Frank Stokes. Granger turned his Thompson toward the exposed man, as Stokes turned his M1 Carbine to the pile of rocks. By now Clermont had picked himself up, steadying his injured leg against the crates, and leaned up with his rifle. As Hayes dropped the spent magazine of his pistol and slid in a fresh one, the Frenchman fired once. The round went clean through Hayes' head, scooping out his brains and sending them across the faces of his horrified teammates. Brown Clermont pulled the trigger again but the rifle had run dry. "We need more ammo," he called. "Stokes, the ammunition crates are further up the beach, behind the art."

"All right--cover me!" shouted Stokes, as he turned to break from cover.

Upon seeing his father figure die so suddenly and violently, Jimmy was thrown into a grief-filled fury. Throwing aside his gun, he picked up a machete from the fallen figure of Lumpy and charged up the beachhead. At that moment, Jack had recovered ammo from the rowboat and loaded a fresh magazine into his Thompson. Clermont leaned out from cover just in time to be tackled to the ground by the fanatical Jimmy. Clermont reached across his chest to grab at his KA-BAR knife, but Jimmy was on him in an instant. With the first powerful downward strike, Clermont's wrist was nearly severed, the hand hanging on by a few tattered strands of shredded flesh. Before he could even shout in pain, Clermont received a second blow to the face that nearly cleaved his skull in half lengthwise. Green Completely carried away in his battle frenzy, Jimmy continued to rain blows on the Frenchman's body.

As Driscoll and Englehorn started to advance along the beach, Campbell started to fall back, taken aback by Jimmy's ferocity. Granger, on the other hand, opened fire with his Thompson. The sheer volume of the bullets that slammed into Jimmy's body sent the young boy staggering backward several steps, his chest and stomach erupting into a bloody pulp, before he crashed into one of the wooden crates piled up and fell on top of them. Brown Just as quickly, Captain Englehorn was on Granger, cracking him hard on the head with his Luger. Granger fell hard, stunned, and dropped the Thompson, right as Englehorn grabbed him by the front of the shirt collar and forced the lengthened barrel of the Luger into his eye. Granger started to shout in pain before two point-blank shots silenced him. Green

As Stokes reached the far end of the beachhead by the ammo crates, he turned to find Campbell almost upon him. "We need to fall back," he said urgently. "They hit us real hard!"

Stokes pulled out his pistol and gripped his knife with his other hand. Pointing to the crates, he motioned for Campbell to duck down for an ambush. As Driscoll and Englehorn approached warily, Stokes stood up with his pistol and shot, hitting Englehorn straight in the chest. Englehorn took two steps back in shock, but recovered long enough to raise his Luger and fire wildly, sending several bullets through the crates. One of these shots randomly went through right to where Campbell was hiding. Green Stokes looked down briefly before composing himself and finishing off the wounded Englehorn with his Colt. Brown

By this time, Driscoll had closed the distance. As Stokes turned and pointed his gun at the adventurer, Driscoll grabbed his arm and raised it up. Stokes' shot went high and he was quickly overpowered by his younger and stronger adversary. Driscoll pinned Stokes' arm against his throat and pushed hard, cutting off his air supply. Stokes pushed back long enough to splutter out, "We were only trying to protect the last bastions of beauty in this godforsaken war."

Driscoll frowned before he leaned forward more firmly, strangling his opponent. "Yeah. Art," he said. "I've seen what it makes men do. I've seen what it's done to men. There are better men gone now because of it.

"Not an even trade, if you ask me." Green


Denham shakily stood out in the center of the beach, cradling his camera as it recorded the now-quiet waves. The Venture bobbed up and down in the distance. "Had it heard the sounds of the battle?" wondered Driscoll as he approached the shoreline.

Denham turned, his face pale and drawn, before recognizing Driscoll. "Oh Jack, thank God," he began, but Driscoll pushed past him, and walked over to the camera. With a cry of rage and grief, he picked up Denham's prized possession and hurled it into the waves that lapped hungrily at the sand.

Expert's Opinion[]

While the Monuments Men had newer weapons and arguably better teamwork, Denham's Expedition was in better physical shape and had superior combat experience thanks to their time on Skull Island. When it came down to it, the younger and more experienced warriors were able to keep fighting long after their older and greener opponents had tired out, enabling them to fight harder and secure victory.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.