The NS "holding-out" film takes places in 1806, the same year in which Napoleon celebrated his triumphant campaign in Europe. In Germany, most strongholds fall after the defeat of Jena and Auerstädt, while others willingly open their gates to the French troops. The city of Kolberg under the triumvirate of Gneisenau, Schill and Mayor Nettelbeck head the resistance. They organize a working militia, complete with canon-equipped ground fortifications.
As the French troops march into the city, Gneisenau is able to hold them just outside the gates. But the citizens′ resistance is meaningless against the superiority of Napoleon′s troops. The first rebound comes at the battle at Friedland. The Treatise of Tilsit forces the cease-fire. Schill leaves the city; six short years later, Gneisenau becomes a decided enemy of Napoleon.