Private Ryan question.....

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by chipm, Mar 27, 2020 at 12:13 AM.

  1. chipm

    chipm Active Member

    In the movie, i guess about half way through.
    They come upon a German machine "nest" that has (i think) 3 guys. They let that one German go free, and he returns later in the movie.
    My question.......would soldiers in a "similar" situation charge a machine gun position like that.?
    Thank You
     
  2. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    In movies, absolutely, all the time.

    In real life, less often fortunately.

    In keeping with a real life American comparison you could do worse than seek out the late Audie Murphy's citations for gallantry in Italy.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
    Dave55 and canuck like this.
  3. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    ....and Stan Hollis - the only chap to win a VC on D Day. Although I've not researched him in detail, I understand he was effectively a 'very angry, fired up, one man Army'.
     
    TTH, Dave55 and JimHerriot like this.
  4. tmac

    tmac Senior Member Patron

    From what I remember of the film (which I thought was excellent), the assault on the machine-gun position seemed out of sync with the thrust of the script. There was no need for Miller and his men to have attacked it - they could simply have bypassed it. It was no threat to them and their primary mission was finding Ryan. I think the episode was simply a vehicle for Miller revealing that he had been a teacher in civilian life. But overall it was a bit of a clunky add-on. I know nothing of military tactics, but I doubt they'd attack a heavy machine-gun virtually head-on. Surely the the First World War had taught that lesson.
     
  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Indeed British tactical infantry doctrine by 1918 dealt with Mg nests by infiltrating around them and isolating them (or directing tanks to deal with them) but whether British doctrine got taken up by US forces is another matter
     
  6. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Plus you'd surely use the sniper to snipe at them (maybe while the others were attacking) rather than charge them
     
  7. chipm

    chipm Active Member

    This is what i was thinking when i watched it.......
     
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Leaving the realism argument to one side, I thought it was explained away as Miller feeling it's his responsibility to deal with it, not leaving it for some other poor sods to walk into.
     
    canuck likes this.
  9. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Which was more important than completing his mission
     
  10. chipm

    chipm Active Member

    You are correct, of course.
    My question is.......was it likely that a "Real Soldier" in his spot, would have made the decision to attack the machine gun the way he did.?
     
  11. idler

    idler GeneralList

    It seems unlikely. It could justifiably have been avoided as it would have put 'the mission' at risk. You'd also expect there to be more troops about than a lone MG nest, so you wouldn't want to risk waking them up.
     
  12. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    That he was, when in action. Robin Hastings, his CO on D-Day, said that Hollis seemed to be "personally dedicated to winning the war" in a way which was not common among the other soldiers he knew. I recall reading that Hollis saw some French civilians massacred by the Germans in 1940 and that the war became a very personal thing for him after that. Supposedly he carved notches on his weapon for every German he killed.
     
  13. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The point of the scene, I felt, was that Miller was losing his tactical common sense under the strain and starting to crack up. He'd been in a couple of campaigns by then, his hand shook sometimes. American infantrymen sometimes called this state "fighting mean." You didn't want to be around a guy like that, because his war-neurosis fueled over-aggressiveness could get you killed. And of course in the scene Miller's decision to attack the MG does get one of his men killed.
     
    Owen likes this.
  14. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I know zero about military tactics (or anything else military except equipment), but couldn't they call on mortars?
     
    TTH likes this.
  15. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Do they have a pack radio to do that? I can't recall that they did. They are on a detached mission well ahead of their own MLR and the Walkie-Talkie did not have a lot of range.
     
  16. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I don't know. I'm about to be ostracized but I hated that movie and only struggled through it once.
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I've only seen it twice.
     
  18. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    It's not as bad as some people say. The opening scene is brilliant, one of the finest things ever done. The actors are good too, especially Hanks.
     
    bofors and canuck like this.
  19. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Agreed. I am typically not a fan of American war films but there were several redeeming aspects to the movie. The opening and final scenes were well done. I also appreciated the "representative" scenes of the mother receiving bad news, the death of the medic, sorting through the dog tags, describing the casualties taking the artillery positions, General Marshall 'reading' the letter and the soldier dying in the rain.
     
  20. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    I think the whole thing about War films is that they have to combine macho with lots of activity and heroics squeezed into a short (film) time.

    Although my late father never mentioned it, I've seen a brief written account of when he and his Tank Commander rescued the Pilot from a crashed Rocket Typhoon. There are therefore two scenarios:
    1. The reality which can't be confirmed; they probably ambled across the road, helped the chap out and waited for the medics to arrive. Of course it could have been a bit more dramatic but who knows.
    2. The film version: this would no doubt feature the plane starting to catch fire, the frantic efforts to open the jammed canopy, the Pilot struggling to release his foot jammed under the rudder pedals, the rush to get him out and, of course, the rather spectacular explosion as they all threw themselves to the ground just in time....
     
    timuk and Dave55 like this.

Share This Page