U-571

Character mistake: At the beginning of the movie, the German sub gets surprised and severely damaged by a destroyer. The sonar man first notices the enemy destroyer approaching, but only a short time before the destroyer is already literally on top of the sub. German sonar at the time had the capacity to detect ships up to more than 7 miles away, so the sonar man really had to be asleep at his sonar station not to notice the destroyer approaching.

Character mistake: Near the beginning of the film, when Tyler calls the crew of the S-33 to quarters, look at the guy two back from Mazzola, on the far right. He has his hands clasped behind his back while he's supposed to be at attention. When Tyler says "At ease," he realizes his mistake, drops his hands to his sides where they're supposed to be, then clasps them behind his back again as he stands at ease.

Character mistake: After accurately depth charging U-571, the German destroyer crew suddenly turns out to be almost comically and unrealistically incompetent at the end of the movie. Not only do they barely hit U-571 with their guns, but they also can't keep up with the sub. But even with both submarine diesel engines running flank speed (of which U-571 only has one badly damaged engine operational), a common WWII destroyer would easily be twice as fast as a Type VII U-boat. The destroyer could swiftly close the distance and could either ram U-571 or cross the sub's wake to bring all its weapons to bear and make it more difficult to get hit by the sub. Of course the destroyer doesn't do that but stays perfectly in U-571's wake for an easy kill shot from its stern tube. In reality, it was considered an incredible feat to sink a destroyer with a torpedo, since they were agile at full speed, could easily dodge torpedoes and had shallow draft. This destroyer crew however, seems actively trying to get killed.

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.

More mistakes in U-571

Chief Klough: Those Krauts sure know how to build a boat.

More quotes from U-571

Trivia: U-571 cause quite a stir in England especially in the small northern town of Horsforth (where I actually live), because we felt the movie 'Hollywood-ised' a British victory. The people of Horsforth raised an astonishing £241,000 in one week (about £4million today) to fund the building of the HMS Aubretia, the ship that captured the first enigma machine when it depth charged U-110. It caused so much upset amongst people that President Bill Clinton wrote a letter to the people of Horsforth praising the town for their part in the war effort. The letter is now on display in the local museum.

More trivia for U-571

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