Battle of the Bulge

Continuity mistake: Near the beginning, Lt. Col. Daniel Kiley is in a scout plane and flies over Col. Martin Hessler, who is in a German staff car below. Kiley tells the pilot to "rev the engine" just above the car to entice Hessler to look up at them, so he can get a good photograph of his face. The plan works, and the ground level movie camera shows Hessler looking up. When the "photo from the air" is later developed, it shows Hessler looking up from the ground level camera's perspective, eyes focused about 30 degrees behind the airplane and giving a profile of Hessler.

2

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Col. Hessler is visited by a courtesan, he refuses her "services", opens the door and hands her her fur coat. In the next shot, the door is closed again and the colonel still has the courtesan's fur coat.

Continuity mistake: When the German saboteurs dressed in American MP uniforms jump out of their plane, all the parachutes are black, except two that are white. When the scene cuts to those soldiers on the ground gathering their parachutes to hide them, they are ALL white.

Continuity mistake: After inspecting the new Tiger tanks, Col. Hessler approaches Gen. Koehler, smiling. The next quick shot of Hessler shows him just starting to smile.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: Before the massacre scene, a German truck is reversing with a German soldier walking with it on the left side of the screen. When Lieutenant Weaver looks to his right, the same truck is backing up, and the same German soldier is now on the right side of the screen. The film was obviously flipped.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: In the initial German panzer attack against the Americans, a German tank 104's left side track and road wheels are damaged by a bazooka shell, resulting in a missing front road wheel and a loose/sagging track. However, when the tank turns off the road and goes down the slope, the left track is taut and the missing road wheel has magically appeared.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: Views from the German tanks show American troops being cut down and run over by the German tanks, but the long camera shots from the American side show no dead bodies anywhere on the battlefield.

Scott215

Factual error: In the final scene showing the retreating German army, the land they are travelling over is fairly flat and devoid of trees. The Battle of the Bulge was fought in the thickly forested and hilly Ardennes Forest.

More mistakes in Battle of the Bulge

Cpl. Conrad: This new command is an illusion. Give it up.
Col. Martin Hessler: I am Martin Hessler. Four years ago, my panzers overran Poland in one week, that was no illusion. In 39 days, my tanks smashed all the way to Paris, that was no illusion. I conquered the Crimea, that was no illusion. Today, I was given a brigade of Tiger tanks. When I have a brigade of tanks, that is reality.

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Trivia: Robert Shaw's character is based on Kampfgruppe Jochim Peiper of 1st SS Leibstandart Adolph Hitler, Panzer Division. Peiper was a ruthless but extremely effective officer who had learnt his trade in death on the Russian front. Peiper survived the battle and the war and although he was initially sentenced to death for his part in the Malmedy massacre his sentence was commuted. He was killed in France in 1976 when his house was firebombed in a revenge attack.

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Question: What is the English translation of the panzer song when Hessler meets his commanders?

Answer: I believe that in the film, the men are repeatedly singing only the first verse. However, I have found the complete translation of all five verses and posted it here: "The Panzer Song (Panzerlied) " 1: Whether in storm or in snow /Whether the sun smiles on us/ The day blazing hot /Or the night ice cold/ Our faces are dusty/ But our spirits are cheerful /Yes, our spirits are cheerful/ Our tank roars Into the windstorm. 2: With thundering engines /As fast as lightning/ We engage the enemy/ Safe in our tanks/ Far ahead of our comrades /In battle we stand alone/ Yes, stand alone Into enemy territory. 3: If an enemy tank /Appears in our sight /We ram throttles full/ And close with the foe! /We give our lives freely /For the army of our realm/ Yes, the army of our realm/ To die for Germany Is our highest honour. 4: With barriers and tanks/ Our opponent tries to stop us /We laugh at his efforts/ And travel around them/And when the guns threatingly/ Hide in the yellow sand/ Yes, in the yellow sand/ We search for paths /No-one else has found. 5: And if some day /Faithless luck abandons us /And we can't return home/ The deadly bullet strikes/ And fate calls us /Yes, fate calls us /Then our tank is An honourable grave. Source: http://defence.pk/threads/german-ww2-and-pre-ww2-march-songs.146130.

Michael Albert
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