Saving Private Ryan

Discussions on WW2 and pre-WW2 related movies, games, military art and other fiction.
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subskipper
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Post by subskipper » 09 Aug 2002 16:38

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the reason for the Germans having shaved heads was the fact that actual active service soldiers were used. I can't really remember where or when I read this so if someone could confirm/deny I'd appreciate it. :)



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James Patrick
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Post by James Patrick » 09 Aug 2002 17:08

They used the same soldiers in Braveheart (they were Irish I think).

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Lawrence Tandy
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Post by Lawrence Tandy » 09 Aug 2002 21:27

I know they used alot of re enactors for SPR too. Maybe these guys shaved heads for authenticity or maybe for the reasons you guys said. But I know it wasn't to portray the Germans as skinheads.

LT

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Post by Roland » 10 Aug 2002 02:42

Lawrence is right again. Actualy german solders did not shave their heads, but cut a hear realy short. It was a common practice in the eastern front to help to combat lice. My father was a veteran of ww2 and I remember him telling me that on meny ocasions. However I have no knowledge if german solders did that in western front too.

Regards!

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Lawrence Tandy
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Post by Lawrence Tandy » 10 Aug 2002 02:48

I think the SS men in SPR were from the 2nd SS, who saw extensive action in Russia, so I bet old habits die hard. Being on the line so much ensured that they knew that lice didn't descriminate between countries, as long as you were filthy enough.

LT

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Post by RCR_Raider » 10 Aug 2002 22:07

Canada did have a very positive, vicotry ridden ground campaign. Just like in World War 1.

However, while you mentioned the defaet at Hon Kong, the worst defeat of the war was the Dieppe Raid.

This raid was also the first action of American troops against the Germans (50 US Rangers)

Apart from the 50 Rangers, 5000 Candians troops and 900 British Commandos took part in the 1942 "test raid"

It was designed by the British to test the feasablity of small, Battalion size raids on coastal cites, and to get the Germans to step up defences on the English channel (Drawing resources away from other fronts)

The raid was a disaster, 1000 troops were killed, 2000 taken prisoner, the rest escaped into the sea.

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AirborneAllTheWay
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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 11 Aug 2002 00:01

But without Dieppe, we would never have had D-Day, it taught us alot about landing operations. But at the expense of many Canadian soldiers.

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Lawrence Tandy
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Post by Lawrence Tandy » 11 Aug 2002 00:28

RCR_Raider wrote:Canada did have a very positive, vicotry ridden ground campaign. Just like in World War 1.

However, while you mentioned the defaet at Hon Kong, the worst defeat of the war was the Dieppe Raid.

This raid was also the first action of American troops against the Germans (50 US Rangers)

Apart from the 50 Rangers, 5000 Candians troops and 900 British Commandos took part in the 1942 "test raid"

It was designed by the British to test the feasablity of small, Battalion size raids on coastal cites, and to get the Germans to step up defences on the English channel (Drawing resources away from other fronts)

The raid was a disaster, 1000 troops were killed, 2000 taken prisoner, the rest escaped into the sea.


Yes, I am well aware of dieppe. I only used Hong Kong as an example because it pertained to something I wanted to say about soldiers from India. Thanks anyway, IMHO the value of the Dieppe raid can never be over stressed. Especially the cost.

LT

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Getting back on topic...

Post by MJP » 11 Aug 2002 14:55

While I thought SPR was entertaining it was also rife with historical inaccuracies...

I find it interesting that Hollywood would go through all the trouble of transforming a T-34 into such a nice looking Tiger; but couldn't even do the 10 minutes of research it would have taken to discover that 2 SS (Das Reich) didn't even arrive in Normany until the end of June... In the movie the engagement at the bridge with 2 SS happened on June 13. Das Reich was no where near the AO on 13 June. Another 5 minutes of research would have told them that the only Tigers in Normandy on June 13 belonged to Wittman and were in the process of decimating a collum of the British 7th armored division at Villars Bocage. Furthermore some research on German tactics would have enlightened them to the fact that no experienced unit would ever send armor into a built up area ahead of the infantry. That is suicide and an elite formation like Das Reich would certainly not make such a foolish error.

There are many more mistakes but I think I've made my point. What annoys me is the film makers gained nothing by changing history in this manner. They obviously had an agenda but who knows what it was.

The best war movies from an historical perspective I've seen are "Das Boot" and "A Bridge too far".

Just my .02...

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AirborneAllTheWay
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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 11 Aug 2002 15:03

Das Boot, yes i would agree, but A Bridge Too Far, with the modern tanks painted grey, its a great film but a bit patriotic and it doesnt portray the german actions correctly. Its still one of my favourites though. But then my all time favourite is kellys heroes!

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Post by MJP » 11 Aug 2002 15:11

"Kelly's Heros" is a great movie from an entertainment perspective (actually one of my favorites) but it's obviously pure fiction and has zero historical value. "A Bridge Too Far" is very well done and very faithful to the book of the same title written by Cornelius Ryan's. I've read many books on the battle and the movie captures most of the important historical details without adding any useless fluff or changing historical events to satisfy some Hollywood nitwit.

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AirborneAllTheWay
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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 11 Aug 2002 15:18

If you want to read a good book on Arnhem, then look at 'it never snows in September', its superb and will make you look at the operation in a different light.

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Post by MJP » 11 Aug 2002 15:25

I have read it several times. In my opinion it's the best book written on the Market Garden battle. I agree wiith you, it does paint a different picture but that was the intention of the author considering it's written from the perspective of the Germans. My point regarding the movie "A Bridge Too Far" was Hollywood did right by Ryan's book and didn't mess with history. It's not perfect but it's probably about as close as we can expect Hollywood to get.

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AirborneAllTheWay
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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 11 Aug 2002 19:32

MJP,

yes I guess you are right... Any chance we can get Spielburg to re do A Bridge Too Far????

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Post by MJP » 12 Aug 2002 22:49

Actually I would rather see "It Never Snows in September" made into a movie. I'm not holding my breath though...

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