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WAR! What is it good for?

#1 User is offline   Cause 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 08:09 AM

Absolutely riveting Television and Movies!

I recently rewatched Generation Kill which in turn made me rewatch Band of Brothers. I think both are absolutely incredible mini-series about the wars they cover. They are entertaining, they are dare I say educational (its the closest I will ever come to understanding what it was like to be at D-day) and they both make me want to know more about the real life soldiers and events they cover.

Band of Brothers for examples portrays Captain Herbert Sobel. A man who the show and the men of Easy company describe as incompetent in the field and as petty and vindictive. However he trained Easy company harder than any other company and many of the men who hate him nevertheless credit him for making easy company able to do what they did. He is not portrayed well. Googling him I learnt he was a career officer, had four kids, tried to commit suicide and failed but blinded himself and spent his remaining 17 years in a retirement home. He had no services. It strikes me as a tragedy that this is his story. I imagine that while nothing the men of Easy company say is false I nevertheless imagine he had his own Point of view. Other officers are portrayed as similarly flawed while others are shown as the glue that holds the company together. Lt Spiers is shown as a brilliant officer who leads his men well but it seems likely that he killed a few German POWs on D-day (its controversial to this day). Which is technically a war crime but is likely to have been quite common on the day apparently and Paratroopers may even have been given a kind of unofficial order to do so. They couldn't hold the prisoners without sacrificing their advance and they couldn't risk letting them go. One of the most powerful moments of the show for me is when after VE day when the soldiers are starting to celebrate they are reminded that they will have to go fight in Japan now. The army does introduce a point system though and people with 85 points or more can be discharged and go home. Some of the men of easy company dropped into the fight in D-day, fought in market garden in Belgium, the fought in the battle of the bulge, they took the eagle nest and were present in the entire European campaign and they are still stuck with 81 points. At the same time on the homefront as these men are told they will be sent to Japan things are already starting to go back to normal and they are vacationing in Miami and having parties etc. The nuclear bombing of japan is controversial to this day but this show, better than a dry explanation of it on paper, does an amazing job of showing how from the perspective of many of the men, wary from war, that those bombs were godsends.

Similarly the show Generation Kill shows many officers as outright incompetent. They show the war as being a complete fuster cluck with nobody in command knowing what they are doing, everyone out for glory and one stupid mission after the other. Yet the show is also there to remind you that nobody in the force recon marine company was killed in action and that the US forces rolled over Iraq with ease. Despite all the fog of war and mistakes as seen from the ground you have to think command knew somewhat what they were doing. Nevertheless the show depicts real life events where a passing convoy of Marine surgeons opens fire on the force recon marine convoy because they saw a target in the dark. For all our satellites, GPS and radios at some point in every war I guess you have to have a guy with a gun standing in god knows where doing the best you can. When victory is won the show also does a brilliant job of showing you that America was certainly underprepared for the occupation. Despite having 3 companies and some of the best marines in their force they can only do one patrol a day. In the entire battalion they have only one translator who can speak the local language.

So my point for making this thread is to ask what other TV shows or Movies in this genre have had an impact on you?
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#2 User is offline   Tiste Simeon 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 08:38 AM

Excuse me I came into this thread to find out what it is good for.
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#3 User is offline   Cause 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 09:48 AM

View PostTiste Simeon, on 09 October 2018 - 08:38 AM, said:

Excuse me I came into this thread to find out what it is good for.


Absolutely Nothing!
War, huh, yeah
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#4 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 10:36 AM

I think there has been a serious lack of TV shows that display the absolute blundering ignorance of many commanders in WW1, barring black adder obviously
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Posted 09 October 2018 - 10:52 AM

View PostMacros, on 09 October 2018 - 10:36 AM, said:

I think there has been a serious lack of TV shows that display the absolute blundering ignorance of many commanders in WW1, barring black adder obviously


I will never understand how the hell people volunteered for that hell hole! I think their is a special place in hell for members of the white feather society.

I forgot to mention in my original post.

I think I will check out Generation War, which is a german made miniseries of WW2 from the german perspective.

Also I miss the discovery channel when it actually was about documentaries. I would love to see a documentary about the Iraq war. See some of it unpacked. I suppose its too recent and too much is still classified. Heads should have rolled for this one.
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#6 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 11:57 AM

I remember reading an interview with the last surviving or oldest surviving British WW1 vet. He always maintained the heiracrhy in every nation should have been tried and executed for organising mass murder
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#7 User is offline   Cause 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 12:13 PM

Baldrick: The thing is: The way I see it, these days there's a war on, right? and, ages ago, there wasn't a war on, right? So, there must have been a moment when there not being a war on went away, right? and there being a war on came along. So, what I want to know is: How did we get from the one case of affairs to the other case of affairs?



Edmund: Do you mean "Why did the war start?"


Baldrick: Yeah.


George: The war started because of the vile Hun and his villainous empire-building.


Edmund: George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. I hardly think that we can be entirely absolved of blame on the imperialistic front.


George: Oh, no, sir, absolutely not. [aside, to Baldick] Mad as a bicycle!


Baldrick: I heard that it started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich 'cause he was hungry.


Edmund: I think you mean it started when the Archduke of Austro-Hungary got shot.


Baldrick: Nah, there was definitely an ostrich involved, sir.


Edmund: Well, possibly. But the real reason for the whole thing was that it was too much effort not to have a war.


George: By Golly, this is interesting; I always loved history...


Edmund: You see, Baldrick, in order to prevent war in Europe, two superblocs developed: us, the French and the Russians on one side, and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast opposing armies, each acting as the other's deterrent. That way there could never be a war.


Baldrick: But this is a sort of a war, isn't it, sir?


Edmund: Yes, that's right. You see, there was a tiny flaw in the plan.


George: What was that, sir?


Edmund: It was bollocks.


Baldrick: So the poor old ostrich died for nothing.
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#8 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 12:36 PM

Military incompetence caused by the hierarchy goes back a long way. So many cases during the Peninsular War, where green commanders who were sons of gentlemen were simply able to buy commissions, get put in charge of veterans who'd been fighting for years, and then kill them all in a moment as they didn't have a clue what they were doing.

Pacific is another good series, a sort of follow up to Band of Brothers.

This post has been edited by Traveller: 09 October 2018 - 12:37 PM

So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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#9 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 12:41 PM

The Prince of Orange at Waterloo a prime example.

There weren't many generals in the 1800s who really gave a shit about losses, just a victory.
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#10 User is offline   TheRetiredBridgeburner 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:02 PM

View PostMacros, on 09 October 2018 - 10:36 AM, said:

I think there has been a serious lack of TV shows that display the absolute blundering ignorance of many commanders in WW1, barring black adder obviously


And I still think that's one of the most poignant examples.

Fun fact: the last thirty seconds of Blackadder Goes Forth was one of the five texts in my A Level English Literature "war in literature" exam.

Teenage me who was manic with exam stress didn't know whether to laugh or cry, I think!

The more I think on it there isn't a lot of really good war stuff (in the vein mentioned). The only other "war" themed thing I've watched a lot of is the Sharpe series, set in the Napoleonic Wars. It's great fun but I wouldn't say it does much on the hierarchy being stupid front.

This post has been edited by TheRetiredBridgeburner: 09 October 2018 - 01:03 PM

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#11 User is offline   Alternative Goose 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:10 PM

M*A*S*H
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#12 User is offline   Cause 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:29 PM

Doesn't have to be about military incompetence. Just looking for good examples of the genre.
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#13 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 02:16 PM

Sharpe is good fun but really suffered due to budget constraints. Imagine it had been given the HBO/BBC joint venture deal that Rome got.

Thin Red Line is solid.

Tigerland is (imho) an excellent look at the training ground regimes from the 60s. Like a slightly tame full metal jacket
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#14 User is offline   TheRetiredBridgeburner 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 03:06 PM

View PostAlternative Goose, on 09 October 2018 - 01:10 PM, said:

M*A*S*H


How did I forget M*A*S*H*? Yes, watch M*A*S*H*!

Another mostly comedy which can turn the pathos on to absolutely brutal levels when it wants to.

Sharpe on an HBO budget would have been amazing! Still remains one of the only things Sean Bean got out of alive, as well!

This post has been edited by TheRetiredBridgeburner: 09 October 2018 - 03:06 PM

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#15 User is online   Briar King 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 03:30 PM

Huh Saving Private Ryan
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#16 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:02 PM

View PostMacros, on 09 October 2018 - 12:41 PM, said:

The Prince of Orange at Waterloo a prime example.


Nah, he was falsely tarnished with a lot of stuff to make the British look better. Leave off the Dutchy.



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#17 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:09 PM

Dad's Army.
She went and she left me like litter. She took all future summers with her. I lost all my money cuz I tried to bribe her. Now I can only afford an amateur sniper.
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#18 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:38 PM

The Dutchy was a fool. Wellesley was arguably one of the British empires greatest generals, he would not have ordered infantry to form line when Calvary loomed.
Which orange most certainly, and well documentedly, did. The KGL suffered serious losses as a result.

I do agree that history is written by the Victor and the Brits undoubtedly at the time, and for a considerable time after, virtually dismissed the significant contribution of the other allied troops, (indeed without their actions at qatre bras there's would have been no Waterloo). But young Billy was in a position of authority purely because of who he was and nothing to do with his ability, which was, as we were discussing, was major problem with most military branch's in most countries at the time.
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#19 User is offline   LinearPhilosopher 

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 05:04 PM

Wasn't a similar thing covered in paths of Glory?

In general though, the ones clamoring to go to war aren't the ones fighting it once we reach the gunpowder age. Say what you want about Alexander but at least he wasn't scared of being on the frontlines with his men

This post has been edited by LinearPhilosopher: 09 October 2018 - 05:07 PM

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 05:10 PM

View PostCause, on 09 October 2018 - 10:52 AM, said:


I think I will check out Generation War, which is a german made miniseries of WW2 from the german perspective.



Highly recommended
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