Larf? – I nearly cried

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by No.9, Feb 18, 2007.

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  1. The other night they showed ‘Red Ball Express’. No great shakes, one of the low budget US post-war b/w’s – in this case 1952. However, because of that it does have a lot of genuine war-time footage spliced in. :thumright:

    I accept the plot is going to be ‘woolly’, gung-ho, tearjerker etc, but one scene is priceless. The convoy is held-up because the area is mined – “heavily mined” according to the MPs by the enormous crater in the road . There's all the gee shucks etc, and the reminder that the war depends on them, and hero Jeff Chandler proclaiming they can clear a path with machinegun fire to detonate the mines, when, one good ‘ole boy jumps in a truck and drives on through – 50-60 men looking on. He skirts around the crater, ends up 90 degrees left (so the camera can get a good shot), stops, and shouts back ”OK you heroes, this way to the front”. Then, he jumps out the cab??? :shock: Why, because he has to set-off a mine and get blown to bits otherwise there’s no hero pathos. :skull:

    OK, so there’s the pathos, but next is the real killer. All those 50-60 men who stood in awe of proceeding into the minefield, now go rushing into it to see if there’s anything left of him? :rofl:

    Have you got a war film scene that stretches logic too far?

  2. IIRC:
    The Japenesse Wurzburg radar in the middle of the Berma Jungle in "Objective Burma"... :winkrazz:
  3. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    No 9

    I have not seen that film but would like to know if the cast were white (obviously Jeff C was) because the Red Ball Exprerss used mainly black drivers.

    Quote from a wikipedia type entry

    "They also principally used blacks because they were not used in the combat at all."

    One of the major features of the Red Ball Express was this was the first occasion that blacks had been given a major role to play in the war effort. The White yanks did not want them in combat as they did not want a ready trained black army back in the good ole USofA after the war.

    Therefore much has been made by the black americans about the RBE, and quite rightly too.

    It would be interesting to see how the film portrayed the drivers.
  4. The black/white relationship is an essential part of the film Auld-Yin, the driver I mentioned is played by a black actor and the cast includes the 25 year old Sidney Poitier.

    Also there’s the yet-to-be-famous Hugh O’Brien, aka ‘Wyatt Earp’ (complete with Buntline Special) in the fifties ‘hardcore’ TV western series (1955-1961, 226 Episodes). I digress…… :silent:

  5. "Buffalo" Soldiers saw combat in Italy , and fought well, exceptionally well in some situations. The battle of Sommocolonia, in which Lt. John Fox
    was killed is one example

    Fox requested "Expend all on me" to buy time for his troops to effect a tactical withdrawl and re-org. He died , was awarded the Bronze Star at the time, as seems to have been common in WW2. This was upgraded in the 80's to the DSC and finally upgraded by Clinton to the CMOH , which he should have had in the first place.

    Vernon J. Baker's award is another one where you're left thinking - "How the hell did he not get the Medal?

    It seems there were a good few post war upgrades of medals after segregation of troops was rescinded.

    I think Black US Soldiers finally served as infantry in the ETO during the Ardennes campaign?
  6. I believe some 900k black Americans served in WWII, but none were assigned combat roles till the government changed policy in 1944. The 92nd Div. was the only formation of this size (@15’000) assigned a combat role which was in Italy with the first ‘black’ regiment entering combat in August ’44. Majority of enlisted men were from the ‘deep south’, hence by default typically poorly educated cotton-pickers – i.e. illiterate. Junior officers were educated and usually had attended military college, some before the war – senior officers were almost exclusively white. Gen. Clark, US V Army, had some 16 nationalities to orchestrate.

    Daniel Gibran headed a study group commissioned by the US to look into why, of the 294 WWII winners of the MoH, none were black. Based on their evaluation of 10 men, in 1997 Clinton’s admin issued 7.

  7. Yes he does tend to play a black chap,rather typecast I think.

    The Great Escape, the real Stalag Luft III was a long way away from Switzerland!
  8. Not going on the length of his weapon are you? :mrgreen: