Best war movie factual errors of all time
Factual error: Me 262's were armed with 30 mm cannon in the nose, a round penetrating a canopy would leave a hole much larger than was depicted, and being high-explosive, once it detonated inside the cockpit, the pilot was toast. One of the red tails had a number of holes in his canopy.
Factual error: When a group of soldiers goes to Maximus' villa to burn it and kill his family, his son points them, saying in perfect Italian "Mama! I soldati!" I just don't understand why he speaks Italian in a movie in English, where people are supposed to speak Latin, in a province where this language was never ever spoken.
Factual error: During the final battle, Gordo the tank driver calls out, "Panzerfaust, four o'clock!", as he looks through his periscope. He could not have seen any targets at four o'clock, as the driver's periscope could barely rotate towards the eleven and one o'clock positions, close to the left and right front corners of the tank's hull. The four o'clock position would be near the right rear of the tank.
Factual error: Shortly after our hero ejects you see the pilot flailing around trying to pull the ejection handle. In a Navy aircraft with two crew, the NATOPS manual (Naval Aviation Training and Operations Manual) clearly states that the seats must be set in the "command eject mode". This means, regardless of who initiates the ejection procedure, the rear seat goes first, followed by the pilot 1/2 later. There is no need for the pilot to pull the ejection handle.
Factual error: In the last battle scene when you see shots of the German destroyer through the periscope the last one shot before it's blown up is really bad angling. The ship is far away but in the scope it's very close and the periscope (in order to get that camera angle) is 100 ft in the air.
Factual error: The ribbon of Richard Burton's Distinguished Flying Cross is on upside down. The Air Force Cross following it is the right way up. The stripes on both should point the same way, as they do on the uniform of his colleague in the mess. Nobody would be allowed to get away with a mistake like this - another officer or senior NCO would soon point it out. In addition, as a long-service veteran (his colleague says he served in the Battle of Britain) he should be wearing the ribbon of the 1939-1944 Star (as it was then), which was issued to all qualified personnel from 1943.
Factual error: Mel Gibson sits around the campfire at the railway camp with the lads, reading newspaper reports of the April 25, 1915 landing at Gallipoli. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade (including the 10th Light Horse Regiment from Western Australia) landed at Gallipoli on 20 May 1915. This would have given him less than 3 weeks to enlist, train, travel to Egypt by ship and land on the Peninsula. A bit of a stretch. In reality, the 10 Light Horse regiment was raised in October 1914, with the 1st-3rd reinforcements departing Fremantle February 19-22, 1915.
Factual error: The Tiger tanks portrayed in the movie are actually Soviet T-34s. You could tell by looking at their wheels. Real Tigers had interleaved wheels. These Tigers had the T-34 suspension. Obviously, Tigers are so rare (only one operational Tiger left) that another tank had to be substituted. But an excellent job was done to make the T-34s look like Tigers.
Factual error: Miller rigs his booby trap by attaching the wires from the bomb to a pole down which a metal runner slides, so that when the runner touches the wires it completes the circuit and detonates the bomb. The trouble is, the pole is made of steel, and steel is very conductive indeed. Miller attaches the exposed end of the wire to the pole without any insulation or gap. The circuit will actually be completed when Miller attaches the battery, and he and his booby trap will be blown sky high.
Factual error: Here's a big historical mistake. The character of German Admiral Lütjens is depicted overall in this film as a wild-eyed Nazi fanatic. In real life, he was distinctly anti-Nazi, vehemently protested the anti-Semitic actions of Hitler's regime, and was himself subject to intense Nazi scrutiny as he was a quarter Jewish and his wife was half Jewish. He was one of many German naval officers who fought only for their country, not Hitler.
Factual error: After the birth of the baby, James Stewart and "Doc" Witherspoon are discussing the course of the war. "Doc" relates that he has always lived in Virginia and that his son died at Gettysburg at Little Round Top. No Virginia regiments fought at Little Round Top - only Alabama, Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas regiments.
Factual error: Toshiro Mifune's character, Kikuchiyo, travels to the bandits' camp and steals one of their two remaining fuselock muskets. Shortly afterward, the bandits fire twice at the samurai within five seconds with their last firearm. A fuselock takes as much as two minutes to reload, prime, and fire.
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