Airborne Ranger

11th Jan 2005

We Were Soldiers (2002)

Question: An entry on the wearing of full combat gear and arms on the transport to 'Nam has been corrected, reason being that this is done today. This is correct, as rapid deployment in zones with little or nonexistent local military infrastructure exists requires every soldier to be operational when hitting ground. But was this the case at the time in Vietnam? Sure, this is early in the war, before a full scale upbuild but were incoming troops really transported this way, even in '65?

Airborne Ranger

Chosen answer: Yes and no. This has been done on and off since the 101st Airborned dropped on D-Day. Mainly it depends on the area being travelled through and the destination.

Grumpy Scot

Show generally

Question: BoB is virtually free from major script "errors" like in Saving Private Ryan. I am referring to strongly questionable military tactical behavior, which bother me a lot with SVP. (Miller making his own interpretation of military priorities, the strange assault on the machine gun nest etc.). To which extent did the BoB crew consider the script "errors" of SPR when they made BoB? Or is it a mere coincidence that the feeling of military amateurism one gets from watching SPR, is completely gone with BoB?

Airborne Ranger

Chosen answer: The makers of Band of Brothers were very particular about getting things right. It helped immeasurably that BoB was initially based on the book by the military historian Stephen Ambrose, who based it entirely on interviews with the real individuals. Scripts for the episodes were shown to some of the surviving members of Easy Company, and their suggestions were incorporated into the show, as, indeed, were they. It's not so much that they actively considered the 'errors' of SPR - it's more that the source material (the recollections of those who were really there) that was available to them was so accurate that none of these types of errors ever entered the equation.

Tailkinker Premium member

19th Jul 2004

We Were Soldiers (2002)

Question: The early versions of the M16 had severe problems with jamming. There may have been several causes; instructions issued that the rifle was "self-cleaning", improper ammunition design, improper magazine design (therefore in a later stage 18 rounds instead of 20 were used in the mag). It is not necessarily a mistake, certainly not by the filmmaker, but there are several writers mentioning serious casualties amongst fighting troops specifically because of jamming M16 rifles. Why does this book/film not even include a hint of that problem which surely must have existed at that time and place?

Airborne Ranger

Chosen answer: There is no definitive information on this topic, and although factually accurate, a technical problem with a weapon was probably not enough to build an entire sub-plot, and would not hold the interest of the moviegoer. There were enough casualties without having to take into consideration weapon malfunction.

Macalou

Answer: The M16's used in this battle were second generation M16A1's easily distinguished by the forward bolt assist on the right hand side of the rifle. The original M16 had no bolt assist and the jamming was caused by a different propellant that made the weapon very dirty.

stiiggy

Question: Does anybody have an explanation to the apparent violation of orders by Miller's team? Their orders are to find and bring back Pvt Ryan, yet they engage themselves in one battle after another, repeatedly jeopardizing their mission. One would expect the mission objective to be exclusive, and that engagements with the enemy should be avoided of possible.

Airborne Ranger

Chosen answer: Miller is a good officer. He won't carry out his orders at the expense of having American soldiers die. Losing Ryan at the battle would have doomed his unit. He knows that not losing this town is more important to the war effort than saving Ryan.

Grumpy Scot

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