German Soldiers.......worst Movie portrayal.

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101stDoc
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Post by 101stDoc » Wed Jul 23, 2003 12:26 pm

Baltasar wrote:The most of Band of brothers series was simply bullshit. Germans running around and hitting nothing. And then those stupid conversations :x
I dunno. I saw plenty of GIs get waxed in BoB.

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Post by FJR6 » Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:30 am

Hello,
maybe one of my points was not clear enough: for a series for which the makers went so much out of their way as to procure the right type of boots for the main characters, it should have been easy enough to look into portraying the methods of fighting of the Germans accurately.
Let's face it, the Germans in the series were always running around like chickens when the fox is coming, be they veterans or new recruits, there was no sign whatsoever of German infantry doctrine, no co-operation between vehicles and foot soldiers, no co-ordination in the infantry squads, nothing.
It is just that so much money was spent on getting eyelets right that more obvious problems in the series had not been addressed.
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Erwin Rosen
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Post by Erwin Rosen » Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:44 pm

You make some excellent points. I would say I agree with your arguement. I also have not seen German Infantry Doctrine applied to several engagement scenes.

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Post by Achilles » Fri Jul 25, 2003 1:12 pm

But the series is about a small group of veterans 9 months of war. It is not about German infantry tactics or indeed about infantry tactics of any army (on a section level). Throughout armies these tatcics are not very different...leadership quality\initiative maybe better in some, firepower may differ, command and control maybe superior in better trained units but the basic tactics are the same.

Anyhow what do you think you are going to see especially from an infantryman's view point? Superbly choreographed fire and movement? No, just the odd glimpse of a bobbing head 200 + yards away and the odd muzzle flash (when you can look). That's all. As Fred says (and sorry for the ****ing swearing) what you see on screen in a cinematic representation. Can you imagine watching a five hour fire fight on screen...not very much will be going on for most of it. About 1 minute or two of 'action' worth putting on screen. And I think I've mentioned the cinematic foreshortening of distances.

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Post by Stefan » Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:03 am

Tonight, I am going to view "The crossing", starring Jeff Daniels as George Washington. Now, shall we bet that the portrayal of the Hessen at Trenton will be exactly the one I suspect it to be? The only American who ever tried to create a fair and accurate screen representation of German troops was Sam Peckinpah in "Cross of Iron" (well, to be honest, the famous Hollywood bias applies to all other people and armies from the British in the War of Independence to the Iraqis in 2003 and also the allied nations of all times).

The ultimate candidate for worst film of all times: "Rough Riders" by John Milius, who tells the ignorant american audience that in fact the Imperial German Army (and not the Spanish) was fighting on San Juan Hill (of course, the evil and cowardly Pickelhauben bearers are first captured and then stabbed in cold blood by grinning american heros).

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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Sat Jul 26, 2003 9:32 am

Hi Stefan! No, in my humble opinion, the absolute worst was the 1975 film by John Milius, "The Wind and the Lion" starring Sean Connery and Candace Bergen. In this film, the director--in total disregard of history--had a Berber Chieftan (Sean Connery) and the U.S. Marine Corps fighting the Imperial German Army in Morroco in 1904 or 1906. What a travesty! Complete with brutal, monocle-wearing Prussian officers.
It would be funny if it weren't for the unfortunate fact that the general public in the U.S. knows so little about this era of history (pre-WWI, post Spanish-American War) that many people probably accepted this movie as fact. Proving once again the Hollywood adage that the U.S. has been fighting the "evil Germans" for the entire 20th Century!!!!!

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Post by Fridolin » Sat Jul 26, 2003 10:14 am

Let's face it. Actual infantry combat makes for a very poor movie. The basis of it is, as Achilles puts it, the 'empty battlefield'. No charges in the open, no soldiers to be seen, slow movements and endless waiting interrupted by sudden outbursts of quick action and again waiting... the tempo of actual combat is sometimes incredibly slow. Nothing really spectacular except in a very few types of combat, such as the early stages of an amphibious assault or a massive armoured onslaught in the Russian steppes. Most times, only by focusing on a squad or individual can a movie on modern war show something 'interesting'. In the front line, at the eye level of a standing person, nine out of ten times you would see a deserted battlefield.
There is a war film that I very much dislike because of its poor 'Philosophy' and incredibly absurd dialogues between grunts, the 'Thin Red Line'. However, the portrait of combat in the early part of the movie (the assault up the hill) in which no Jap is to be seen, people fall without ever seeing the enemy, and nobody seems to know what is really happening, is among the closest to an infantry assault I've seen in a movie... and it is pretty boring except for teaching purposes
As for that often mentioned scene in BoB in which a SS company ismowed down... well, apparently it happened that way. Wartime memoirs are full of such apparently incredible actions, which are remembered and told because they were unusual, not because a massacre like that was the staple diet of the attacking infantryman.
As for German cooperation between tanks and infantry... apart from the fact that it was often poor in the later stages of the war, in a really well rehearsed scene, no landser would be seen for more than a fraction of a second, and we'll have just the occasional glimpse of a tank. Only incredible noise anmd confusion. The Arnhem scene in which some German tanks await in ambush was IMHO quite realistic.
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Post by Tolga Alkan » Sat Jul 26, 2003 1:25 pm

Saving Private Ryan is drawing worse and evil German profile.
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Post by 101stDoc » Sat Jul 26, 2003 1:47 pm

Fridolin wrote:Let's face it. Actual infantry combat makes for a very poor movie.
Well, I suppose in general I can agree to that. But I think, if you want to talk about making an "excellent" movie about infantry-style combat...I am not sure it can ever be done unless someday immersive VR technology is done. And even then it will probably be unlikely, as the possibilities of the reality of war do not exist there (getting mained, killed etc). By that I mean the actual real deal. Being afraid and/or being resigned to death.

There's an age old saying...obly those that have been there know the truth. I'd say I mostly agree with this. Filmmakers can only endeavor to make things "as real as possible".

Part of me is REALLY suprised theaters have not brough things like "Smellovision" back. Even for limited releases. THey're finally bringing 3D back for that SPy Kids movie, but I wonder if that will crap out.

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Post by Stefan » Sat Jul 26, 2003 3:51 pm

As I promised, I watched "The crossing", and I have really to admit that I was surprised and delighted by the quality of this TV movie. The portrayal of the Hessen was absolutely acceptable. When Washington at first refused to visit the dying Oberst Rall because he was "a mercenary fighting for money", he was even told by Greene that "we started the revolution because of the british taxation, so aren't we all fighting for our profits?" 8)

Now I'm looking forward to seeing Jeff Daniels again in "Gods and Generals", but who knows how long it takes until that film is available in German :?

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Post by Fridolin » Sat Jul 26, 2003 4:03 pm

As it happens, I watched Gods and Generals yesterday. I bought it in DVD via Amazon from the States... multizone player!! :D

Now, Gods and Generals is much, much worse than Gettysburg. Boring, dialogues are so bad as to be funny, and battles scenes even more steorotyped and less realistic than in the previous movie. At least, Buford's defence -which depicted tactics in a quite credible way-, Round Top, or Pickett's charge werte impressive in numbers and reenactors did it well. I use it to explain linear musket era tactics. Gods and General is more of a TV movie than Gettysburg. Sorry to dissapoint you, Stefan!.
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Post by 101stDoc » Sat Jul 26, 2003 6:07 pm

Fridolin wrote:Now, Gods and Generals is much, much worse than Gettysburg.
My biggest gripe with Gettysburg was that the charge of the 1st MNVI was not included. That was quite probably just as important as the 20th MEVI's stand and charge, and just as dramatic (and resulted in one of the worst bloodyings to a Union rgt during the battle).

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » Sat Jul 26, 2003 8:34 pm

My inner jury is still out on Gods and Generals--but I am thinking that I give it thumbs down, fro the reasons others indicated. Oh--and because this movie is four hours long, the pain of viewing an unsatisfactory film is even more pronounced.

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Post by DrCruel » Thu Jul 31, 2003 8:27 pm

I can't think of a movie that's realistic. The game Operation Flashpoint - Resistance is pretty good, however - sneak up successfully on an encampment and you have a target rich environment, but as soon as the shooting starts everyone goes to ground and then, Heaven help you.

In that game, I've laid out in the woods, gunfire all around me, not seeing or knowing where the fighting is, until some enemy soldier stumbles onto me and fills me full of holes. I've also had my sniper rifle on a covered rise, picking off dozens of enemy soldiers without having them so much as shoot back in my direction. All depends on how the dice fall.

Were Italian soldiers poor? Not the Foglore. Usually they performed abysmally, but when Rommel gave a team of them 88mm guns and trained them in Wehrmacht doctrine, they preformed incredibly well. The SS? Great kit, but the rank-and-file vets despised them - thought of them as gung-ho idiots and used them up accordingly. Again, it depended greatly on the particular leadership on the scene.

German soldiers weren't especially good. Their doctrine was. US tactical doctrine was terrible, and even worse in practice - Gwynne Dyer quoted a figure done by US Army researchers during WW II, that found that only 15%-25% of US soldiers in a firefight would so much as shoot their weapons, let alone engage the enemy. Of these, 9 out of ten shots were not even fired at any discernable targets - just cover fire, or to make noise. By contrast, virtually all German soldier would engage the enemy - because, instead of engaging the enemy directly like his US counterpart, a German squad-level NCO would go from man to man and direct their fire. Likewise Germans always aggressively patrolled their area, no matter how weak their manpower was; Americans rarely did. Again, an NCO issue and a matter of employed doctrine.

Remember the BoB scene, when the Captain faked a patrol at the end of the war, because he didn't want to lose any more men? Most US troops were not elite paratroopers, and were doing this sort of thing from the beginning. I know from personal experience - when my unit was stationed in Bosnia, there was a marked difference between the 10th Mountain's perimeter patrols and guard mount and that of the 1st Calavry artillery crews that replaced them. I literally was on a guard mount, when the COR and the whole mobile perimeter watch went to sleep in the West Gate hut; the COR placed me on guard mount, with my orders being to open the gate for vehicular traffic and to watch out for the SOG (who never bothered to inspect his mount).

A hundred soldiers, massacred without response? If a Serbian squad of seasoned troops came on through the West Gate that day with blood in their eyes, they could have wasted the entire south watch, then gone on to literally wreak havoc throughout Camp Eagle. I doubt I'd have even gotten a shot off.

That's the real military experience. Boring as Hell, you likely never will see combat, but if you do it'll be quick and utterly savage. You'll either hit them hard, or they'll do it to you. That's why, if you want to be "elite" like the Germans were in WW II, you go looking for the enemy, always. Most (sane) people aren't up to it.

What makes for an elite soldier? Killer instinct, good wits, bright but not too bright. A gangster's mentality - hit them first, with surprise, kill as many of them as quick as you can then bugger out. He has to be energetic, but able to sit quietly for hours waiting for a target. He has to take instructions, and be able to make decent decisions quickly. Your best bet are teenage athletes too stupid to know that they can die. Because, no matter how good they are (or think they are), that's what's going to happen to plenty of them as soon as the bullets fly. And of course, he has to have an abundance of plain dumb luck. The House has odds on this game, and - guess what? - you aren't the House.

Here, someone else can have this soapbox now.

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Post by Rob S. » Sun Aug 03, 2003 12:42 am

BoB isn't supposed to be (and isn't) a true accurate depiction of war. Your problem is that it shows your Germanic warriors in a light your fantasies tell you is untrue.
There is nothing fantasizing about attributing Germans with fighting harder than the Allies (probably equal to the British and Commonwealth). That was simply the impression that the commanders themselves recorded. The reasons for it? I'm not completely sure. I do know that often times Soviets would not receive enough training. For the US perhaps it's because many American soldiers still did not believe in the cause of fighting in a foreign war. Isolationism was still alive and well in ww2.

But one thing we can't dismiss is that despite knowledge of the impending loss the Germans managed to pull off quite a fight. I believe your accusations are unfounded considering you already admit to the fighting skill of the average American GI.

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