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"German MG position in Saving Private Ryan?" Topic

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897 hits since 11 Oct 2021
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Comments or corrections?

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 10:21 a.m. PST

I've been searching google for images, but coming up blank. Does anyone have an idea what the MG position in the countryside looked like? This is the one where Doc is killed, and the squad encounters "Steamboat Willie".
I want to do a scenario based on it with One Hour Skirmish Wargames.

stecal Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 10:53 a.m. PST

this one?


Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 10:58 a.m. PST

Try searching with "Saving Private Ryan radar site"

There is a vidya game thingy that shows a good table layout
YouTube link

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 11:15 a.m. PST

Stecal, that might be it, thanks.

TheNorthernFront11 Oct 2021 11:34 a.m. PST

I wouldn't imagine there is a standard "look" for a German MG nest? If it's in the countryside then just use items like fallen trees and dirt to make something that looks appropriate.

Heedless Horseman11 Oct 2021 8:33 p.m. PST

That has raised a random thought. Sandbags were Hessian… so 'normal' sandbag colour. But were they EVER dyed… green for instance? Curious?

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2021 1:19 a.m. PST

I remember coming across green plastic sandbags but that was in the 1980s.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2021 7:04 a.m. PST

I think pretty much every German WWII picture I have seen with sandbags looked like they were "normal" sandbag colour

UshCha12 Oct 2021 9:37 a.m. PST

In accounts the Germans are often in position and camouflaged, sandbags on the outside would not be ideal. Plus by the end of the war overhead cover was important, not good for Hollywood but probably more realistic. The link below would do as an open position. Also machine guns try to fire at an angle across the front not straight ahead as in some poorly written sets of rules or Hollywood. They hit more folk that way and help interlock the fire positions.


Also it may be the photographer getting the poses. The MG42 had periscope sights so the gunner could be below the barrel of the gun to shoot. Few photos of this but hey the gunner wants his face in the picture. The strange box at the back of the tripod holds the sights.

Thresher0112 Oct 2021 2:15 p.m. PST

Yea, as UshCha mentions, the Germans took great pains to camouflage their defensive positions, so they couldn't be seen, even 25 feet – 25 yds. away, let alone at normal attack distances.

I don't remember that shot in the movie, but do recall we never got to see the defensive position while the firing was going on, just the sound of the MG firing, and images of the Americans advancing.

I always thought the frontal attack in the open, during daylight, without even smoke being fired excuse was just really lame in the movie. Anyone with ANY sense WOULD try to flank the position, unless in a Sherman tank.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Oct 2021 4:03 p.m. PST

Despite loving the movie, I did have to question that scene. Eight men making a frontal assault over open ground against two MG 42s and all the Germans managed to do was kill the medic? :)

Oddball12 Oct 2021 7:33 p.m. PST

My take on the scene where Capt. Miller leads the squad on the MG-42 position is the scene is wonderful at showing that although Capt. Miller is a great combat leader, he sometimes makes a bad call.

That bad call gets one of his men killed, the most "innocent" and he knows he caused it. Great scene to show Capt. Miller's humanity and his fallibility.

NickNorthStar13 Oct 2021 2:17 p.m. PST

There's quite a dark message related to this scene in the movie. The squad wants to kill Steamboat Willie, and only Upham's protests save him.

Then later on, SW is seen killing Tom Hanks. Is Spielberg's message 'kill em all'?

Oddball18 Oct 2021 6:41 a.m. PST

Could be along the lines of what Capt. Miller said about young French girl early in the movie.

"We're not here to do the decent thing".

They should have shot SW, but after the loss of their medic, knowing it was his bad call that caused it, Capt. Miller is looking for some way to save part of his humanity.

Letting SW live was his attempt, that later cost him his life.

Gen. T Sherman said "War is hell. You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2021 12:46 p.m. PST

Oh how many bad calls are there in the whole film (even if it is probably the best war film ever made, for at least 24 minutes at the start)?

The bridge. Was it vital to hold for a US advance, or was it more important to blow it and stop a couple of Tigers and a few SS (who had no business being that far west anyway)? The end result was a daft compromise and they fail to blow the bridge anyway, just as overwhelming US armour arrives.

The mission is insane, with no explanation as to how 8 men (led by a Captain and even including a non com medic) in a jeep can get through German lines and wander through to the US airborne held areas (not remotely near Omaha, but many miles North West).

Try listening to Ted Danson's strategic criticism of Monty. He is so amazing knowledgeable, that he should never have been dropped behind enemy lines, but has everything in the wrong order.

The attack on the MG nest was crazy and could have sacrificed the whole mission, but I do think that was suggested by the rest of the squad. Tom Hanks as Miller is getting a bit shaky after all, by now.

Trivia. The Germans surrendering on Omaha who are shot out of hand. What are they saying? "We are Czech, not German" in Czech. The reviewers thought that Upham shooting SW was more important than SW shooting Miller, as that turned him into a killer at last. If only he had done that in the knife fight scene.

It's a great film. Only BoBs beats it. Pacific was OK and great in parts. "Letters from Iwo J" is still my favourite and far better than "Flags of" for me.

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