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Old December 7, 2012, 02:04 PM   #1
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I have been watching (again) the old TV series "Combat" with Vic Morrow, filmed in the 60s.
The weapons carried by the squad are M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, BAR, Thompson, and knives or bayonets. It is entertaining and the action is basically realistic.
However, when struck by any of those weapons, most of the German soldiers die instantly with no other movement.
No big deal, just something that is not 100% accurate. Perhaps none of the directors had ever been in a firefight...
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Old December 7, 2012, 02:15 PM   #2
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I suspect the Television Code of the time prohibited realistic portrayals of someone being shot.
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Old December 7, 2012, 02:24 PM   #3
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While it doesn't happen every time, according to combat vets I have spoken with, sometimes people do just drop, without any further actions. It does happen.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old December 7, 2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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Classic series, "Rat Patrol" was a good one as well.
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Old December 7, 2012, 03:17 PM   #5
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"12 O'Clock High" is another classic. All three show during the middle of the night locally.
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Old December 7, 2012, 03:40 PM   #6
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It's a time less than 60 minutes for the show, can't be waiting 20 minutes for every bad guy to quit wiggling before going to a commercial.

There's plenty of problems with these shows. Take 12 O'clock High for example, how many times can the commanding officer of the 918th Bomb Group be behind enemy lines doing espionage and secret missions yet still keep his command. One show they had a gaggle of local reporters w/cameras snapping pictures in the operations rooms full of maps and documents....yup, plenty of unrealistic things in those shows.

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Old December 7, 2012, 03:49 PM   #7
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I remember when I was four or five watching reruns of Combat during the afternoons. That was 1968-69. I vividly remember one of the squad opening up with an M1. It was the first time I was impressed by semi-auto, high powered rifle fire. Of course all the plethora of WW2 TV shows and movies back then, had well acquainted me with machine gun fire. Still I remember thinking that that was fast shooting, with a semi-auto and a powerful cartridge like the .30-06. The M1 rifle was truly marvelous and innovative for its time.
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Old December 7, 2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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... most of the German soldiers die instantly with no other movement.
That's 1960s cowboy film etiquette. Sometimes when you shoot an attacking indian, his horse drops too. Also, in the 19th century nearly all gunshot wounds were to the mid torso within easy reach of the hand, in which case death followed after a few words of dialogue. Recurring characters typically are shot near the shoulder.
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Old December 7, 2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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Personally, I don't think the M1 was so innovative so much as it was simple and worked well, something that could not be said for most of the other semi-automatic rifles of the period. The M14 was easily just as good as any other 7.62 NATIO rifle during its day.

The TV series "Combat" had fifteen different directors over the course of its run. Most were of about the right age to have served in WWII and some did. One was a B24 bomber pilot, one a US Marine, one was a decorated cavalry officer and one other served in the army. One at least served in the navy just after the war. Two were foreign born but did not serve in any service.

You are correct, Don H, that the standards of the day did not allow gory scenes and it was television anyway. That also applied to The Longest Day, a very accurate movie about D-Day, June 6, 1944. That movie has the distinction of being one of the few movies that included as actors individuals who took part in the actual events that were reproduced in the movie. Saving Private Ryan more than made up for the lack of gore but some aspects of the movie were a little odd. However, the closing scene at the military cemetary in France (I assume) is like nothing in any other movie, though I have no idea whether or not it was true.

Another highly accurate movie was Tora Tora Tora, based on the book "At Dawn We Slept." Not a lot of small arms employed but the famous incident of the black cook manning a machine gun was there. Supposedly he had never fired a machine gun before. He was decorated but didn't make it through the war.

One very curious war movie was "The Battle of Midway (1942)," which was being produced as the battle was taking place. In fact, John Ford was actually on Midway Island during the battle.

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Old December 7, 2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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Another show in the same era was 'The Gallant Men'.

IMhO a good show but 'Combat' was the gold standard of the day.
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Old December 7, 2012, 06:01 PM   #11
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I have found both Combat and Rat Patrol full episodes on you tube
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Old December 7, 2012, 06:10 PM   #12
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That's 1960s cowboy film etiquette.
IIRC, Shane got it in the guts .....
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