Art of the Scene – Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan

Capture

Upon its release, Saving Private Ryan was lauded for its realisitic portrayal of the storming of Omaha Beach by US GI’s in World War II. The scene is used today in the military to show the horrors and psychological impact of pitch warfare and is commonly named the “best” battle scene ever filmed.

Creating it was not an easy feat. At the steady hands of Steven Spielberg, the shooting took over 15 days to film using over 1,000 extras and the main actors. CineFix’s “Art of the Scene” works to capture that effort in a 10 minute video complete with interviews of the key staff members who worked to make it happen.

The shoot was ambitious, with many new technologies implemented to assist with the video, but its the behind-the-scenes work that was, at least to me, most impressive. Simply put, there was not enough uniforms from World War II remaining which prompted the manufacture of over 2000 realistic uniforms including contacting the original manufacturing company of the GI boots.

However, new technology was rigged up for “squibs” or bullet-impact simulators which were timed to the various weapons used in the shoot. A particularly difficult shoot was the MG42 as viewed behind the German gunners. The production team spend a whole night working on the squibs and only got two shots to get the scene correct or spend another day rigging squibs.

 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • gunsandrockets

    I prefer the Pitt movie Fury. Still flawed, but not as flawed as Saving Private Ryan. Besides, where else aside from documentary footage will you see a real German Tiger tank?

    • Tallan

      True, Saving Private Ryan is unforgivable for Tom Hanks saying “This may be the only thing we do in this war that matters”. When the Sole Survivor policy is pretty immoral. Did people know that it was voluntary and was extended to any wartime death in a family? Naturally favoring larger/richer families over smaller ones.

    • Edeco

      Not a fan of either. Flaws as you mention. Kelly’s Heroes is the best WWII movie imho.

      • Major Tom

        I preferred The Longest Day. Though mention should go to Midway, Tora Tora Tora, and Patton.

        • Edeco

          Ah yes, I liked Tora Tora Tora.

        • Bill

          Battle of the Bulge.

        • TVOrZ6dw

          All good movies, I would add A Bridge Too Far to the list.

        • Dan Atwater

          Casablanca

          🙂

        • James Matters

          Attack! with an all star cast led by Jack Palance has always been one of my personal favorites, along with Kubrick’s early “Paths of Glory”. Magnificent films.

        • Trey

          And as good as Tora Tora Tora was the movie Pearl Harbor was that much worse!

      • Ed Ward

        Not a fan of SPR? That’s the absolutely Un-American and I have only heard chicks say that ;)…Just a bit of levity here but honestly I’ve never heard anyone say they did not like SPR unless the ‘violence’ precluded objective analysis.

        • Evan

          Yeah, or it could just be that aside from the Omaha Beach scene, the rest of the movie was ridiculously unrealistic. C’mon, banging mortar rounds and then throwing them? It doesn’t take a genius to know that that isn’t how a mortar works. And that sniper with that ridiculous scope that he just changes out in the middle of a firefight and it immediately returns to zero? And those are just the two things I remember offhand, I haven’t seen the movie in about 10 years.

          Or maybe it’s just that being in the military tends to ruin war movies.

          • Ed Ward

            Evan, loosen up buddy–it’s a “Movie” not a documentary…Geez…

          • Evan

            Yeah, I get that. But it almost seems that when making the movie, they thought “nobody who ever actually fought in a war will ever see this, so let’s make plot points without doing any research whatsoever”, hence the mortar bit and other things. It’s perfectly OK to tell a fictional story taking place during a historical event, I don’t have a problem with that. However, it makes it much better if that fictional story is told in a way that makes it believable, by making sure that the plot points are at least conceivably realistic. If you’re not going to do that, you might as well make Inglorious Basterds, where it was deliberate rewriting of history.

          • Ed Ward

            I agree with that from an intellectual perspective–the problem is that Hollywood will not subscribe to this philosophy of ‘realism’ due to ticket sales which they fear would plummet if the ‘over-dramatization’ were removed from films…honestly, when I look around and see some of the people attending these flicks I can’t say I disagree…

          • Evan

            I don’t think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. No reason that they can’t keep the drama while avoiding the gross historical inaccuracies that just appear lazy to people who know.

            And half the time, the changes that they make are less cool than reality anyway. Take Braveheart for example: it was grossly inaccurate on basically everything from the concept of “freedom” in feudal Europe to Edward I “Longshanks” being pagan. However, the real William Wallace was cooler than the movie version, and even flayed a strip of skin from head to heel of an enemy of his to make a sword belt out of. Movie audiences devour gratuitous brutality like that. It also wouldn’t have hurt them at all to use costumes that at least attempted to be accurate and put a bridge at the Battle of Sterling Bridge.

          • Dan

            “the gross historical inaccuracies that just appear lazy to people who know.” That’s just it, the people who don’t know out number those that do know, and Hollywood knows this so they cut corners, because most people won’t know the difference.

          • Doug73

            Exactly. 98% of any movie’s audience aren’t going to be “people in the know”. And movies are primarily made to make money. It’s a business. Entertainment business, to be exact.

            Thus, if SPR or any other movie doesn’t appeal to that very small “in the know” minority it really isn’t a problem from the objective of the production house. At least, not if the movie otherwise appeals to a large number of people. And SPR most certainly did.

            Besides, as someone else wrote, it’s a movie not a documentary. Some people take “movies” a little too seriously. I enjoyed SPR, and wouldn’t allow myself to get too distracted by historical inaccuracies. Because again..it’s a movie, made for entertainment. Not a documentary meant to educate on the finer points of war doctrine and weapons use.

          • M40

            Yup… always marveled at how Hollywood expects that a good guy can take hits to shoulders, legs, torso, etc, and just keep on going… maybe with a few small blood stains and some teeth gritting to show he’s “toughing it out”. However, when bad guys are hit, they immediately fall dead… with no writhing, grasping, screaming, gurgling or death throes.

            On a side note, a bad guy’s “rank” in a criminal enterprise is directly proportional to the level of punishment he can take. A single gunshot will immediately kill a low-level bad-guy, whereas it will take many gunshots to put the head honcho down. This also means that a low-level henchman guarding a door can be taken out of commission (seemingly indefinitely) with a single punch. The head honcho will invariably take dozens of punches, kicks, clubs, bats, etc… right in the noggin… and just keep getting back up.

            The Hollywood idea of what is “bulletproof” is also quite laughable. I’ve seen people take shelter from rifle fire behind walls, appliances, car doors, desks, overturned tables, etc. It would seem pretty much any surface placed between a person and a gun will magically become bulletproof.

          • DataMatters

            Speaking of, this was the issue I hated most about Mel Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers” was that every shot was a kill by the Americans. It just is not possible. Also, the end of that film was not historically accurate was it? Didn’t the US lose that battle?

          • M40

            The battle of Ia Drang was sort of a two part affair. The movie you cite (We Were Soldiers) depicts “part I”, a two day battle of intense fighting where the 7th Cav (1st Bn) eventually repulsed a rather huge number of both North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong. They did inflict some heavy losses on the enemy.

            The movie didn’t depict “part II” which occurred after 1st Bn was releived by 2nd Bn. The 2nd was ambushed and took heavy losses. America “lost” that engagement in the sense that they retreated after losing nearly 250 soldiers. However, it’s estimated that they killed over a thousand enemy. But losing soldiers only really mattered to the Americans. As Ho Chi Minh famously stated, “You can kill ten of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win.” The commies were never known for their respect for human lives.

          • Tassiebush

            And the sniper quoting Bible verse while shooting cos like a moving mouth doesn’t stop you from shooting accurately

          • romney2011

            Ok, vets, the viewing public did not all serve. Great scenes are important, but so is a good script and story. I never served, would not serve this government now if I could. Would die for my family, country, freedom, Constitution. Don’t know military, do know how to fight at 74. God bless America and help us save America.

        • Edeco

          Hehe, it’s kind of the violence; I find it saccharine, two-dimensional, takes itself too seriousely. It doesn’t make proper use of the violence.

        • Nolan

          I think everybody liked it when it first came out cause it set new standards for realism. But over time the film, has not stood up.

      • Jason Guhl

        I know it’s the wrong side, but Das Boot anyone?

      • greasyjohn

        Thin Red Line is a more enduring piece.

        • Edeco

          I’d rate it higher than SPR, but still not a fan. I’m not addicted to classic western linear plots, for instance I liked MASH for years before I started finding it tasteless. I mean, call me a knuckle-dragger if you like, but Thin Red Line is crazy the way it jumps from subplot to subplot.

        • GOT12

          imo thin red line is one of the worst movies ever made unless you like chick flicks

        • Hamme

          Commie military film for cinephiles.

      • Trey

        I will go with the longest day is probably the best World War 2 movie Next would be the big red one

    • Tassiebush

      Fury was great until suddenly they were able to beat off a hardened SS company from and immobilized tank at an easily bypassed crossroads in the dark.

      • Al

        It was kinda bizarre, as the movie showed the SS carrying panzerfausts, and they never used them.

        • Trey

          They may well not have had them in the table of organization and equipment but by that point in the war units picked up all sorts of equipment as they went along there are many photos have US troops carrying panzerfaust and to my knowledge those or not issued either. Personally I didn’t like Fury that much. Saving Private Ryan would have been a better moving had their bragging on historical accuracy been a little less loud and they’re actually historical accuracy a little better. For instance the sniper scope bit was truly annoying.

        • Hyok Kim

          Early on, even the children knew how to use them!

      • skusmc

        A buddy and I were debating this the other day, and I think all of the tactical “errors” in Fury; the Tiger leaving it’s ambush position to charge the Shermans, the inaccuracy of the German Pak 40’s, the SS charging the roadblock etc. could be explained by the fact that it’s spring 45′. All of the experienced soldiers were either dead or surrendered and what we’re watching is conscripted kids, admin, and previously listed as unfit fight.

        No everything is explainable, like where is the ever present late war American CAS, or how a Tiger I survived to spring of 45, but the ineptitude of German infantry in the last month of the war seems reasonable to me.

        • Tassiebush

          I like your thinking because it’ll let me enjoy it and that sort of thinking is also helpful doing tax returns. 🙂

        • Hyok Kim

          “…….but the ineptitude of German infantry in the last month of the war seems reasonable to me.”

          It was true to a certain extent, but not overall.
          For an example, in one engagement, a Tiger turned tail and ran with the turret not turning backward (front of the turret was the strongest part of the tiger) when hit by a Sherman in the front of the turret with no damage. The Sherman fired another shell, and hit the Tiger in the rear of the turret when the Tiger turned and ran with the front of the turret not facing the Sherman, destroying the Tiger. (the rear of the turret was the weakest part of the Tiger other than the top)
          An experienced crew would have backtracked, stopped, located the Sherman and fired, the front of the turret still facing the Sherman.

          However, overall, the Germans were still better soldiers.

          “But interestingly enough, on the main point that the Germans were the more effective soldiers, Patton would almost certainly agree (himself excluded, of course). As Yeide writes, in contrast to his public statements, his diary and letters often deplore the lack of initiative of his troops. Even during the Battle of the Bulge, he wrote, “The Germans are colder and hungrier than we are, but they fight better.”

          http://www.hoover.org/research/german-view-patton

          • n0truscotsman

            http://tankarchives.blogspot.ca/2013/05/german-soldier-quality.html

            THis is contexted back in *1941* (!)

            And with severely deficient manpower levels, one could surmise that such problems would be far more prolific by the 44-45 era.

            The myth that German soldiers were somehow *superior* is just that, a myth. Pattons opinon aside.

          • Hyok Kim

            “THis is contexted back in *1941* (!)”

            …….and how was the quality of U.S. military in 1941 compared to 1945?

            “And with severely deficient manpower levels, one could surmise that such problems would be far more prolific by the 44-45 era.”

            ……so by that kind of reasoning, you would say Allies soldiers quality had correspondingly decreased or increased from 1941 to 1945?

            “The myth that German soldiers were somehow *superior* is just that, a myth. Pattons opinon aside.”

            By 1945, the Germans soldiers who had survived in the field from 1941 on ward (as opposed to those who just got inducted from what would have been regarded not fit for combat) would have had far more combat training and experience than average Allied soldiers who landed on Normandy.

            Patton was the one who had to face the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. Btw. It wasn’t the quality of Allied soldiers who won the Bulge. The credit should go to proximity fuze.

          • n0truscotsman

            “…….and how was the quality of U.S. military in 1941 compared to 1945?”

            Read the memoirs of any US armored unit and your question will be answered. In a nut shell, the US Military was day and night higher quality by 1945, especially ground units that had immensely experienced officers and NCOs.

            “so by that kind of reasoning, you would say Allies soldiers quality had
            correspondingly decreased or increased from 1941 to 1945?”

            Increased, and Germany’s situation was the *opposite*. They were losing the war, suffered immense material and manpower losses due to both fronts (1944 was particularly traumatic for the Wehrmacht), and, as a consequence, were eventually scraping the bottom of the manpower barrel.

            Contrast this with the Allies, who had their entire industries geared towards war, had millions mobilized and trained, and had sufficient raw materials to conduct prolonged combat operations. The Germans were losing in all three of these categories.

            “would have had far more combat training and experience than average Allied soldiers who landed on Normandy.”

            The most experienced and capable veterans would NOT have been stationed at Normandy. They would have been fighting the Soviets, which were a far more pressing concern than any hypothetical Allied invasion in the west at the time. The quality of the units defending the beaches was proof of this assertion.

            “It wasn’t the quality of Allied soldiers who won the Bulge.”

            Tell that to the elements of the 101st Airborne dug in at bastogne. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101st_Airborne_Division#/media/File:McAuliffeBastogneChristmasLetter101Airborne.jpg

            Or the 705th Tank Destroyer Btn.

          • Hyok Kim

            “…….and how was the quality of U.S. military in 1941 compared to 1945?” – Hyok Kim

            “Read the memoirs of any US armored unit and your question will be answered. In a nut shell, the US Military was day and night higher quality by 1945, especially ground units that had immensely experienced officers and NCOs.” – n0truscotsman

            Of course, I had already known that, and that’s why I asked. The Germans overall (the ones who had been inducted by 1941 had immensely more experience than U.S. by that point in time.

            “so by that kind of reasoning, you would say Allies soldiers quality had
            correspondingly decreased or increased from 1941 to 1945?” – Hyok Kim

            “Increased, and Germany’s situation was the *opposite*. They were losing the war, suffered immense material and manpower losses due to both fronts (1944 was particularly traumatic for the Wehrmacht), and, as a consequence, were eventually scraping the bottom of the manpower barrel.” – n0truscotsman

            That still does not dispute that the Germans had vastly more experience than the Allies overall (the ones who had been inducted by 1941). You’re confusing logistics and the ones who had just been inducted around late 1944, with the ones who had been inducted by 1941.

            Btw. The Soviets also suffered immense loss in the early years, but by 1945, the quality of Soviet Soldiers had increased, not decreased. They were losing more men/materials than the Germans even when they were winning! It was due to vastly more experience gained in modern warfare through the loss in the early years. Not the best way to gain experience, but still more experience made them better soldiers than the early years.

            “Contrast this with the Allies, who had their entire industries geared towards war,……” – n0truscotsman

            …….and the Germans hadn’t?

            “…. had millions mobilized and trained,…….” – n0truscotsman

            ………and the Germans hadn’t? Btw. those millions mobilized and trained were mostly greenhorns with very little experience in modern warfare, unlike the Germans inducted by 1941.

            “…. and had sufficient raw materials to conduct prolonged combat operations.” – – n0truscotsman

            ……..now, that is true, however, you were talking about who were the better soldiers.

            “The myth that German soldiers were somehow *superior* is just that, a myth.” – n0truscotsman

            “The Germans were losing in all three of these categories.” – n0truscotsman

            False, they were losing only in one category, the overall logistics, however, that was not because the Germans were less efficient in the use of logistics, or lesser soldiers, but due to the fact that they simply had never as much raw materials as the Allies to begin with.

            Btw. That still doesn’t have anything to do with who had better soldiers. Better soldiers could lose the war due to poor logistics, but that does not mean they lost the war due to poor soldiery.

            “would have had far more combat training and experience than average Allied soldiers who landed on Normandy.” – Hyok Kim

            “The most experienced and capable veterans would NOT have been stationed at Normandy. They would have been fighting the Soviets, which were a far more pressing concern than any hypothetical Allied invasion in the west at the time. The quality of the units defending the beaches was proof of this assertion.” – n0truscotsman

            False. It was not due to the lack of quality of troops that the D-day didn’t fail. It was due to Hitler’s meddling, keeping the panzer reserves far away from the beach, AND not allowing it to move to Normandy during the first critical 48 hours.

            Even Eisenhower disagreed with you.

            http://nationalinterest.org/feature/five-ways-d-day-could-have-been-disaster-10601

            “It wasn’t the quality of Allied soldiers who won the Bulge.” – Hyok Kim

            “Tell that to the elements of the 101st Airborne dug in at bastogne. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…” – n0truscotsman

            …..and it was Patton’s Third Army who saved those Airborne dug in at bastogne.

            “In the south, Patton’s Third Army was battling to relieve Bastogne. At 16:50 on 26 December, the lead element, Company D, 37th Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division, reached Bastogne, ending the siege.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bulge#Allied_counteroffensive

            Btw. the very same Patton credited the proximity fuze, neither 101st Airborne or the 705th Tank Destroyer Battlionr for winning the battle of Bulge.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_fuze#Deployment

            “And Commanding General of the Third Army, George S. Patton said, “The funny fuze won the Battle of the Bulge for us. I think that when all armies get this shell we will have to devise some new method of warfare.”

            http://crosleyautoclub.com/Proximity_Fuze.html

            “In the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign, the Germans attacked the 106th on 16 December 1944. The division’s 422nd and 423rd Infantry Regiments were encircled and cut off by a junction of enemy forces in the vicinity of Schonberg. They regrouped for a counterattack, but were blocked by the enemy. The two regiments surrendered on 19 December. The Germans gained 6000 prisoners in one of the largest mass surrenders in American military history. Nearly 50% of the division’s strength was brushed aside in the first days of the Battle of the Bulge.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/106th_Infantry_Division_(United_States)#History

            ……..and that’s what the soldiers from the army winning the war does?

            How many German regiments surrendered during Operation Barbarossa despite fierce Soviet counter-attack on mass scale?

          • n0truscotsman

            and I see you continued your use of circular reasoning and assumptions.

            “Of course, I had already known that, and that’s why I asked. The Germans overall (the ones who had been inducted by 1941 had immensely more experience than U.S. by that point in time.”

            You cannot seem to grasp the concept that because Germany suffered immense losses since 1941, especially in 1944, its multi-year combat veterans were few and far between, and since Germany faced a severe manpower shortage, units became comprised of increasingly inexperienced soldiers (which explained the fielding of 16 year old boys ((excluding the Volkssturm))

            With the United States not suffering a fraction of the losses Germany did, and the Soviet Union’s losses tapering off, both armies gained significant experience as the Germans waned. Simple.

            “That still does not dispute that the Germans had vastly more experience than the Allies overall (the ones who had been inducted by 1941)”

            Following towards the end of 1944, no they did not because German units were fitted with the most inexperienced troops.

            And that is a questionable claim considering other “Allied” nations like the Soviet Union and Great Britain.

            “You’re confusing logistics and the ones who had just been inducted around late 1944, with the ones who had been inducted by 1941.”

            Im not confusing anything. If you bothered to apply simple reading comprehension, you would have seen me claim that those in since 1941 became increasingly less commonplace.

            “Btw. The Soviets also suffered immense loss in the early years, but by 1945, the quality of Soviet Soldiers had increased, not decreased.”

            Yeah no kidding. Which is what I said above.

            That doesn’t mean Germany’s ‘quality’ rose by the end of ’44 due to a wide variety of factors too numerous to mention. Germany’s population compared to the United States or Soviet Union, for example, should be the most obvious one.

            “False. It was not due to the lack of quality of troops that the D-day didn’t fail. It was due to Hitler’s meddling, keeping the panzer reserves far away from the beach, AND not allowing it to move to Normandy during the first critical 48 hours.”

            Strawman penalty.

            I didn’t claim that D-day faield because of the lack of quality troops, that is your assumption. Scrolling above, you made the claim that those units were high quality (compared to what pray tell? A’ Greater Germany’ armored group?), which I challenged due to the numerous other factors facing the German war situation (like the effing Soviets on the east, which were a far more pressing concern).

            “The quality of German infantry divisions varied greatly. The army field divisions and the Luftwaffe parachute divisions were largely experienced and well equipped, even though their size had been reduced to cope with manpower shortages. Most had good artillery provision, and were leavened by officers and NCOs with valuable combat experience in the East. The more numerous ‘static’ coast divisions were much less effective. These had little in the way of transport, and were merely expected to man fixed defences and hold their ground. They contained older troops, the medically unfit, and men recovering from wounds. Some also had contingents of Osttruppen, conscripts or volunteers from the Soviet Union and other eastern territories occupied by Germany. Many were former Soviet POWs and were generally regarded as having little value. These Ost battalions made up one-sixth of Seventh Army’s total number of men.”

            http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-german-response-to-d-day

            Which parallels my claim made previously.

            And I see you completely missed my point regarding the mention of the units at Bastogne, which were a few examples.

            Re-read it and try again.

            Prox fuses are utterly useless if you have spineless idiots holding ground. Although it is commonplace for people to credit technology solely as the only factor in winning the war.

            Thats not even mentioning (a failure on your part) that the Ardennes offensive hastened Germany’s defeat. With or without prox fuses.

          • Hyok Kim

            “Read the memoirs of any US armored unit and your question will be answered. In a nut shell, the US Military was day and night higher quality by 1945, especially ground units that had immensely experienced officers and NCOs.” – n0truscotsman

            “In the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign, the Germans attacked the 106th on 16 December 1944. The division’s 422nd and 423rd Infantry Regiments were encircled and cut off by a junction of enemy forces in the vicinity of Schonberg. They regrouped for a counterattack, but were blocked by the enemy. The two regiments surrendered on 19 December. The Germans gained 6000 prisoners in one of the largest mass surrenders in American military history. Nearly 50% of the division’s strength was brushed aside in the first days of the Battle of the Bulge.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/106th_Infantry_Division_(United_States)#History

            “The myth that German soldiers were somehow *superior* is just that, a myth. Pattons opinon aside.” – n0truscotsman

            “It wasn’t the quality of Allied soldiers who won the Bulge.” – Hyok Kim

            “Tell that to the elements of the 101st Airborne dug in at bastogne. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…” – n0truscotsman

            “In the south, Patton’s Third Army was battling to relieve Bastogne. At 16:50 on 26 December, the lead element, Company D, 37th Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division, reached Bastogne, ending the siege.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bulge#Allied_counteroffensive

            “But interestingly enough, on the main point that the Germans were the more effective soldiers, Patton would almost certainly agree (himself excluded, of course). As Yeide writes, in contrast to his public statements, his diary and letters often deplore the lack of initiative of his troops. Even during the Battle of the Bulge, he wrote, “The Germans are colder and hungrier than we are, but they fight better.”

            http://www.hoover.org/research/german-view-patton

            “The myth that German soldiers were somehow *superior* is just that, a myth. Pattons opinon aside.” – n0truscotsman

            “You cannot seem to grasp the concept that because Germany suffered immense losses since 1941, especially in 1944, its multi-year combat veterans were few and far between, and since Germany faced a severe manpower shortage, units became comprised of increasingly inexperienced soldiers (which explained the fielding of 16 year old boys ((excluding the Volkssturm))
            With the United States not suffering a fraction of the losses Germany did, and the Soviet Union’s losses tapering off, both armies gained significant experience as the Germans waned. Simple.” – n0truscotsman

            “That still does not dispute that the Germans had vastly more experience than the Allies overall (the ones who had been inducted by 1941)” – Hyok Kim

            “Following towards the end of 1944, no they did not because German units were fitted with the most inexperienced troops.” – n0truscotsman

            “The army field divisions and the Luftwaffe parachute divisions were largely experienced and well equipped, even though their size had been reduced to cope with manpower shortages. Most had good artillery provision, and were leavened by officers and NCOs with valuable combat experience in the East.” – n0truscotsman

            “Im not confusing anything. If you bothered to apply simple reading comprehension, you would have seen me claim that those in since 1941 became increasingly less commonplace.” – n0truscotsman

            “But interestingly enough, on the main point that the Germans were the more effective soldiers, Patton would almost certainly agree (himself excluded, of course). As Yeide writes, in contrast to his public statements, his diary and letters often deplore the lack of initiative of his troops. Even during the Battle of the Bulge, he wrote, “The Germans are colder and hungrier than we are, but they fight better.”

            http://www.hoover.org/research/german-view-patton

            “False. It was not due to the lack of quality of troops that the D-day didn’t fail. It was due to Hitler’s meddling, keeping the panzer reserves far away from the beach, AND not allowing it to move to Normandy during the first critical 48 hours.” – Hyok Kim

            “Strawman penalty. I didn’t claim that D-day faield because of the lack of quality troops, that is your assumption.” – n0truscotsman

            “The most experienced and capable veterans would NOT have been stationed at Normandy. They would have been fighting the Soviets, which were a far more pressing concern than any hypothetical Allied invasion in the west at the time. The quality of the units defending the beaches was proof of this assertion.” – n0truscotsman

            Flip-flop

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flip–flop

            “Prox fuses are utterly useless if you have spineless idiots holding ground. Although it is commonplace for people to credit technology solely as the only factor in winning the war.” – n0truscotsman

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_fuze#Deployment

            “And Commanding General of the Third Army, George S. Patton said, “The funny fuze won the Battle of the Bulge for us. I think that when all armies get this shell we will have to devise some new method of warfare.”

            http://crosleyautoclub.com/Proximity_Fuze.html

            “But interestingly enough, on the main point that the Germans were the more effective soldiers, Patton would almost certainly agree (himself excluded, of course). As Yeide writes, in contrast to his public statements, his diary and letters often deplore the lack of initiative of his troops. Even during the Battle of the Bulge, he wrote, “The Germans are colder and hungrier than we are, but they fight better.”

            http://www.hoover.org/research/german-view-patton

            n0truscotsman > Patton ?

            Scrolling above, you made the claim that those units were high quality (compared to what pray tell? – n0truscotsman

            “In the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign, the Germans attacked the 106th on 16 December 1944. The division’s 422nd and 423rd Infantry Regiments were encircled and cut off by a junction of enemy forces in the vicinity of Schonberg. They regrouped for a counterattack, but were blocked by the enemy. The two regiments surrendered on 19 December. The Germans gained 6000 prisoners in one of the largest mass surrenders in American military history. Nearly 50% of the division’s strength was brushed aside in the first days of the Battle of the Bulge.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/106th_Infantry_Division_(United_States)#History

            “But interestingly enough, on the main point that the Germans were the more effective soldiers, Patton would almost certainly agree (himself excluded, of course). As Yeide writes, in contrast to his public statements, his diary and letters often deplore the lack of initiative of his troops. Even during the Battle of the Bulge, he wrote, “The Germans are colder and hungrier than we are, but they fight better.”

            http://www.hoover.org/research/german-view-patton

            “…and I see you continued your use of circular reasoning and assumptions.” – n0truscotsman

      • n0truscotsman

        I rolled my eyes a bit seeing 76mm rounds bounce off a tiger’s front armor.

        As indicated by credible historical sources, that Tiger would have been one roasted cat.

        • Tassiebush

          I did not realize that. It’s a paradoxical film. Awesome then it does stuff like that!

        • Trey

          To some extent a picture of capacity of various rounds and guns is not as clear-cut as we like to think. For instance the 76-millimeter American Gun did very well against captured German armor at Aberdeen, but it turns out that some of the armor made by the Germans was better or worse than other so some of the armor they tested did not stop 76 millimeter and others did it was the US Army’s decision to take an average value and assume that on average the 76-millimeter could penetrate the frontal armor of a panther or even a tiger this of course was sometimes true at close range and sometimes not.

          • NofDen

            There is a case where a Tiger was sitting in a hedgerow and wasted four sherman tanks. Finally one went around behind the tiger and took him out.
            The american sherman guns although it sound like it is close to the
            german tanks guns really wasn’t.

          • Trey

            Yes the 76mm gun of the Sherman was by no means equal to the 88mm German gun or the 75KwK gun especially at 500+ yards. The 76mm at close range under 300 yards was able to penetrate the armor of both Panther and Tiger a fair part of the time, The problem of course is getting to 300 yards.

            That many of the M4’s at the fight in the bocage had green crews and then replacements of nearly untrained crews may have had a good deal to do with the losses. That many of the M4’s would be using the 75mm without HVAP makes the the Tiger / Panther much more survivable in June ’44

            But it has been fairly well documents that “death traps” by cooper was not as accurate of a book as most that have quoted it thought it was.

          • n0truscotsman

            Yeah I should have been more clear on that. There was certainly no guarantee that the rounds would pen first time, every time, with ww2-era AP performing far less consistently than modern sabot.

            oh how things have changed..

          • Hyok Kim

            Due to their misconceptions related to this, and also due to tests that seemed to prove that the 76 mm gun was able to destroy both the Tiger and the Panther, the leadership of Army Ground Forces were not especially concerned by the Tiger. The tests of the 76 mm were later ruled inaccurate, with Eisenhower even remarking he was wrongly told by Ordnance the 76 mm could knock out any German tank. The Army also failed to anticipate the Germans would make the Panther the standard tank of their panzer divisions in 1944, supported by some Tigers.[48]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Sherman#Armament

          • n0truscotsman

            I have Zaloga’s “Armored Thunderbolt”, and wish wikipedia editors would actually cite the footnoted book *correctly*. This further proves my previous points on other threads that wikipedia’s military equipment articles are very questionable in their accuracy, *especially* in regards to the Sherman article.

            But the good news is that it is improving, thanks to guys like Moran.

            Firstly, the Army wasn’t concerned by Tigers because so few were encountered. This was especially the case when we had just entered North Africa, though would remain the case until the end of the war.

            Secondly, the Army incorrectly conflated Panther usage with Tiger usage, with the later being used in its intended role as a heavy tank, which the Panther wasn’t.

            Lastly, while the Panther’s frontal, sloped armor could deflect 76mm easily at distances, and its superior 7.5cm cannon could easily counter the American threat, there are far more variables than just raw tank specifications. With the engagement ranges typical of Western Europe, and the rarity of both Tiger types, not to mention the diminishing German capabilities, the deficiencies of American guns weren’t war losing.

            This is not even getting into Soviet testing conducted with the Sherman or their astonishing combat experience.

            So were the US 75 or 76 *good*? they were *good enough* given the circumstances holding back potentially better anti-armor guns. My point still stands that such an encounter as depicated in the movie would have resulted in a slagged Tiger.

          • Hyok Kim

            “This further proves my previous points on other threads that wikipedia’s military equipment articles are very questionable in their accuracy, *especially* in regards to the Sherman article.”

            I agree to an extent, however, with regards to Tigers and Shermans, I agree with wiki articles, based on many books I have read on both Tigers and Shermans. A tanker was more likely to survive inside a Tiger than a Sherman.

            “Firstly, the Army wasn’t concerned by Tigers because so few were encountered. This was especially the case when we had just entered North Africa, though would remain the case until the end of the war.
            Secondly, the Army incorrectly conflated Panther usage with Tiger usage, with the later being used in its intended role as a heavy tank, which the Panther wasn’t”

            I agree, I read than they even conflated assault artillery with Tigers. By that point, about 80% of ‘panzers’ were assault artillery.

            “Lastly, while the Panther’s frontal, sloped armor could deflect 76mm easily at distances, and its superior 7.5cm cannon could easily counter the American threat, there are far more variables than just raw tank specifications. With the engagement ranges typical of Western Europe, and the rarity of both Tiger types, not to mention the diminishing German capabilities, the deficiencies of American guns weren’t war losing.”

            I agree, but you commented this.

            “I rolled my eyes a bit seeing 76mm rounds bounce off a tiger’s front armor.
            As indicated by credible historical sources, that Tiger would have been one roasted cat.”

            ….at ‘close’ range, yes.

            “So were the US 75 or 76 *good*? they were *good enough* given the circumstances holding back potentially better anti-armor guns. My point still stands that such an encounter as depicted in the movie would have resulted in a slagged Tiger.”

            I agree that Shermans were tanks built to win the war, (cheaper to build, easy to repair, maintain, and retrieve, more comfortable to operate inside, easier and faster to aim at close to medium distance, requires less training to operate at peak efficiency and effectiveness) Tigers built to win battles, especially defensive battles (very accurate, powerful, even at long distance, but slower to aim, especially at close to medium distance, not very comfortable to operate, requires a lot of training to operate it at peak efficiency and effectiveness, neither very reliable nor durable, a real pain to maintain, especially the earlier interleaved tracks, virtually impossible to retrieve when stranded in the field under fire).

            However, the scene depicted in the movie showed the Tiger fighting in the elements it was designed to fight, defensive battle from an ambush position

            Personally, I think the Tiger would have wasted all four Shermans in no time.

        • Hyok Kim

          Depending on range, and the angle struck. Btw. Neither would have fired while moving. No, fully stabilized guns during those days.

      • Hyok Kim

        ……..and they had panzerfaust!

        Plus the Tiger would not have charged. Their advantage was in long range.

    • LG

      There was no reason for the Tiger to break cover and close the distance. The Tiger had the elements of surprise and range advantage on the Shermans. Good gunnery from the Tiger could have taken out all the column, unless the Shermans scattered and reformed before they were all hors de combat. Even if the Tiger had not hit all the Shermans The Tiger could have withdrawn behind it’s cover and taken on the remaining Shermans as they slowed in the hedgerows.

      • Martin M

        That very scene is why I haven’t bothered to see the film. I cannot stand when films that are supposed to be so serious do things so wrong.

        • LG

          I lost all interest in the movie after that point. Brad Pitt’s duty after his vehicle was disabled, was to inform the exposed rear echelon hospital etc. that they were about to be attacked and get every cook, bottle washer, and graves registration soldiers ready to repulse the attack.

    • Evan

      I liked Fury, but the tank should have been called “Stereotype” and not “Fury”. Seriously, the crew of a young, inexperienced boot, a redneck, a Mexican guy who curses in Spanish, and a religious guy who quotes the Bible all led by a hardened, grizzled veteran? The only one missing was the guy from Brooklyn with the exaggerated accent.

      • iksnilol

        Hey, as a foreign guy that curses in foreignese I can confirm that “stereotype” is true.

        😛

        • Evan

          Most Mexican guys in the US military curse in English in my experience. Though I did learn quite a few Spanish swear words from my time in the Corps.

          • iksnilol

            Man, I’d be disappointed in those Mexicans.

            I’d revoke their foreigner card.

        • Edeco

          I picture it involving rolled ‘r’s and no ‘th’ sounds 😛

          • iksnilol

            Something like that. I cracked my skull long time ago. Left some marks in the form of speech impediments (I say the opposite of what I want to say) and I change accents without noticing (in English, it is between Russian accent and Scottish).

        • Tassiebush

          I couldn’t make out a thing you said? You just sounded so darn foreign!

        • Core

          lol I’m a grizzled veteran redneck religious guy that occasionally cirses in Spanish..

      • DataMatters

        Or the Jewish-American immigrant who would be immediately put to death if captured!

      • noob

        well Fury’s unlucky previous bow gunner/assistant driver who Norman replaces could have been that one guy from Brooklyn, but we never see him give us a piece of his mind.

    • Hyok Kim

      The Tiger would not have closed in. Their real advantage was in long range.

  • LG

    I prefer The Battle of Britain, the original All Quiet on the Western Front, Cross of Iron, Das Boot, and The Devil’s General.

    • Evan

      I never saw Battle of Britain, because of the Bf109s that are clearly not actual Bf109s. Das Boot was excellent. Never saw All Quiet on the Western Front (isn’t that WWI?) and never heard of the others.

      • LG

        The Battle of Britain used real Bf109s and He111. They were from the Spanish air force who used them long after WW2. The Bf109s did not have the DB engines. Since they were Spanish they had Hispano-Suiza conversions. The Devil’s General stars Kurt Jurgen, himself entered in a camp by the Germans during WW2. Kurt plays a stylized late life of Ernst Udet, the highest surviving ace of WW1. The original All Quiet on the Western front had scores of veterans with actual weapons and uniforms. Some of the veterans said that the filming was so accurate that they had flashbacks to when they were in combat. Das Boot recounts actual experiences of a U Boat, not all in one mission as in the movie. It was filmed on a type VII U-Boot. The story came from a PR kriegsmariner who served on the boats. Cross of Iron is a timeless classic.

        • Evan

          Oh, The engines could be the difference. Because the Bf109s in Battle of Britain look to me like P-40s kitted out to look like Bf109s. I didn’t realize that it was a post-war engine conversion, which could easily change the look of the entire front end of the aircraft.

          • LG

            Just as in The Blue Max, the aircraft were almost faithful reproduction. All the aircraft had tailwheels. At that time only tail skids without any wheel brakes were the standard. Also the Fokker Dr1 should have had a ROTARY engine and not a Radial. Also those rotary engines had the cylinders spinning with the propellor and the crankshaft stationary. They were throttles by an interruptor switch. Hence in the original Dawn Patrol’s correct engine sounds.

          • milesfortis

            I think you need to reword that. “with the propellor and the crankshaft stationary.
            The crankshaft may have been stationary in a rotary engine, but the prop was connected to the cylinders, or it wouldn’t spin.

          • schizuki

            Ah, the Oxford Comma proves its worth again!

          • LG

            A real contraption to fabricate well enough to run was the British Centaur engine with sleve valves rotating around the cylinder. This was to decrease the diameter of the engine by obviating overhead valves.

          • milesfortis

            I believe I’ve seen schematics of that thing.
            A long time ago a friendly Sergeant Major described the German G-11 rifle as a ‘cuckoo clock’ (and I agreed), but the Germans had nothing on English engineers.

          • LG

            Why make it simple when you can make it sooooo complex!

    • n0truscotsman

      Cross of Iron is notable because very few western movies explore the scale of the war on the eastern front.

      In fact, video games have absolutely smashed the movie industry when it comes to coverage of that conflict.

  • Nimrod

    I loved SPR but still scratch my head over the left handed sniper. Seriously, they couldn’t get the actor (Barry pepper) to shoot right handed? It is painful to watch.

    • Evan

      What’s wrong with it? I can – and do – shoot bolt guns left handed. And I can’t speak the the Army, but I know the Marines in WWII had left handed shooters shooting lefty. Of all the things wrong with that movie, you had to pick THAT?

      • LG

        The switching of his weapon from scenes to scenes was inexcusable.

        • Evan

          Yes it was, but his shooting lefty wasn’t a problem at all.

          • LG

            I agree.

  • Evan

    Even if there was nothing else wrong with the movie – and there certainly is – the bit where they bang the base of the mortar rounds and then throw them like footballs was enough to ruin it for me.

    • iksnilol

      I dunno. It worked for Beauford T. Anderson.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauford_T._Anderson

      Also for Charles E. Kelly

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_E._Kelly_(soldier)

      • Evan

        Interesting. I know it wouldn’t work for modern mortars, as the primer in the base works just like any other primer, and the fuze is armed by acceleration (or something to that effect). WWII era mortars might have worked differently.

        • LG

          On the old 60 immortal rounds of WW2, as I remember, after pulling the arming pin or band the contact fuse in the nose was ready to go. That was a problem in the pacific with our mortars. The overhead trees, limb, etc would detonate the round high above the ground loosing effect.

  • Nicholas C

    I was a bit peeved that Shakespeare in Love got best picture over Saving Private Ryan that year.

  • skusmc

    Question; should I let my six year old boy watch Saving Private Ryan?

    I know there’s a grown man crying in it and I don’t want him to think that that kind of behavior is OK.

    • iksnilol

      Are you sarcastic?

      Crying is completely okay, it even has an evolutionary purpose (alert that something isn’t okay without alerting every damn sabretooth tiger in the area like a scream would).

      For Mikhail’s sake, watch out for those people who can’t cry. Those are messed up individuals.

    • DataMatters

      I wouldn’t. The violence is far too intense for a six year old.

  • Good movie—-

  • The_Champ

    Wow, a lot of hate here for Saving Private Ryan. Yes it had its pit-falls, nothing is perfect. But it redefined the genre and set a new standard for every war flick that followed. Up until that point no war film did action scenes quite so well. And afterwards, EVERY war film tried to emulate it.

    And lets not forget it paved the way for ‘Band of Brothers’, which in my books is the peak of the genre(all be it in TV format), and not likely to be outdone.

    • BDUB

      Well said.

    • GomeznSA

      Hmmm, “no war film did action scenes quite so well” – I dunno, have you watched The Longest Day lately? Or A Bridge Too Far for that matter. For the amount of time, money and effort SPR ‘should’ have gotten it all right………………

      • The_Champ

        Sure I’ve watched plenty of the old classics, and many of them are great in their own right. ‘A Bridge Too Far’ is one of my favorites.
        However, Spielberg did something different in trying to portray combat on screen in a much more chaotic and dirty and violent manner. It makes for captivating viewing, and the first time I watched it in theaters was truly gut wrenching.

        I would argue that ‘Band of Brothers’ (which Spielberg also had a hand in) took that style of filming action and polished and perfected it.
        No film will ever get everything perfect or please everyone. We could sit here and critique the small mistakes or political subtext till the cows come home. But I’ll still argue that SPR was truly a landmark and benchmark in war films.

      • valorius

        longest day couldnt lick the ball sweat off private ryan.

    • Ed Ward

      ^^^BINGO^^^

  • Edeco

    Indeed, more cynical yet more adorable than other war movies. Complete all-around improvement for me.

  • stone cruiser

    Does the sound in the ad really have to be all the way up, or is it just me.

  • HKguns

    Hardly.

  • Zapp Brannigan

    I know it’s just a movie, but it always bugged me that Tom Hanks’ character had the captain’s bars so prominently on his helmet. From what I was told, the officers did not do that or any other obvious displays of rank as it would make them sniper bait.

  • Evan

    Noted. I know that it wouldn’t work with modern mortars, but WWII mortars could be different.

    • Bland Samurai

      You are correct. That was a feature limited to rounds of the era. It was quickly changed after the war.

      • iksnilol

        Darn punk kids using mortar rounds as grenades. MADNESS I TELL’S YA.

        • Bland Samurai

          Insanity is the Germans incorporating pull-fuzes so their rifle grenades could double as hand grenades!!

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    No air cover. Historically inaccurate. Hated that movie.

  • GOT12

    i agree, it could have been a great movie if they hadnt copied lines from several other movies.

  • NofDen

    If you have never been in combat(I served but not in combat) the landing on the beach in this is the best ever. When I saw this movie when it came out in 1998, The shots
    were ricocheting and I ducked.
    I would to see it again in a movie theater.

  • Erik Davis

    My hatred for this movie burns with the fury of a thousand supernovas. Mongo is dead right. Terrible movie that drips with liberal self-loathing, mind-numbingly stupid decisions that no one alive and present in that war would make, and ultimately mocks the nobility of the Great Crusade. Who in their right mind would take a RANGER CAPTAIN(!?!?), detach him from his unit during the most tenuous hours and days of an amphibious operation, and send him traipsing across the French countryside in BROAD DAYLIGHT to find one guy!? I can’t believe people like this movie…

    • Doug73

      Do you mean to tell us this MOVIE might not have been 100% historically accurate?!?

      Oh Lord, knowing this now changes everything for me…

  • Saferight

    still beats the crap out of “American Sniper”….

  • Mike

    Zulu. All that needs to be said

  • spiff1

    Wonder what the survival rate was for officers with their rank on the front of their helmets… Good target!

  • CavScout

    “The scene is used today in the military to show the horrors and psychological impact of pitch warfare and is commonly named the “best” battle scene ever filmed.”
    No it’s not.

  • valorius

    the house to house fighting scene in the end of saving private ryan is at least as good.

  • valorius

    the first and last scenes in private ryan capture everything but the smell.

  • valorius

    the final battle scene is sensational.

    • Hyok Kim

      Inaccurate tank models, inaccurate tactics.

  • Old Vet

    I feel so very lucky to have one of the two jackets made for Tom Hanks for this film. One was destroyed by squibs near the end of the movie as you may recall. My cousin used to work in costuming/artwork departments in Hollywood and gave it to me because he knew I was a WWII buff. I tried to contact Tom to return it a couple of years ago but his people never even acknowledged my letter. I shall hand it down to my kids at some point now. I really enjoyed the movie, I guess because my mother’s only brother was killed fighting the Germans in March of 1945, just weeks before the surrender. She never really recovered from it. I was born 3 months later in June.

  • Hyok Kim

    Where they take out the machinegun nest, the final battle with tanks, and battle scene just before ‘Stop’.

  • Hyok Kim

    The narrator claims that Normandy had been heavily foritified. Not. Had it been heavily fortified, D-day would have failed. It was the Channel coast that had been heavily fortified. No German general had expected Normandy to be the main landing site. Only Adm. Kranke had correctly anticipated Normandy landing, but as an admiral, the head of the least important branch, his words carried little weight.