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Why wasn't the Pacific as "good" as Band of Brothers?

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by LG'96, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not a personal history of Edward Sledge, but this is his unit's, the 741st Tank Battalion, After Action Reports(regretfully not the best of quality): https://server16040.contentdm.oclc.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/p4013coll8&CISOPTR=3512&filename=3522.pdf

    and the Unit Journal for the month of June 1944 - There is a brief report of Sledge's Platoon actions on page 6 of the PDF - http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/utils/getfile/collection/p4013coll8/id/3442/filename/3452.pdf

    Edward Sledge was a platoon leader in A Company during the D-Day invasion, before being promoted to the Company Commander of D Company in August '44, then becoming the Company Commander of A Company in October, '44. He was wounded in early March '45 and returned to command A Company in early May '45. He finally left the company for an unknown destination on 26 July, 1945


    http://oldstraycat.com/wwii/road_home.htm
     
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  2. Owen

    Owen O

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    Cheers for that.
    In the last episode I noticed the tank emblems on his collars & what I thought was a 2d Armd Div badge on his shoulder.
    He was a Major by then too, assuming the production company got it right.
    Can't rewatch it to check as I dont have the discs anymore.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, he was promoted to Major before leaving the Army.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I've been looking around also and apparently he was a Citadel Graduate (military college in Charleston, SC).

    Here's an interesting Marine Corps Association article I found on Eugene Sledge:

    Explaining Eugene Sledge’s Legacy To His Grandson

    Dear Jack,

    Your grandfather’s buddies in Company K, 3d Battalion, Fifth Marines nicknamed him “Sledgehammer” when he joined the outfit in the South Pacific. The name invokes a hulking image, but in truth Eugene Sledge weighed a slender 145 pounds. He was a feisty, intense young man, anxious to prove himself as a front-line rifleman. Yet the experience seared Sledgehammer’s soul. His powerful postwar memoir would speak for all infantrymen in that global war. “With the Old Breed” is the most compelling book on war I’ve ever read. You’ll read it yourself when you come of age, but for now, here’s a portrait of your courageous, haunted, and memorable grandfather from a retired Marine historian fortunate to have been one of his friends.

    I met your grandparents, Dr. Eugene and Jeanne Sledge, in 1995 when I had the pleasure of interviewing Sledgehammer for a pair of documentaries on Peleliu and Okinawa for The History Channel. I was a novice; and even though he had already given dozens of TV interviews since the release of his book, he was graciously patient with me. We shared several things in common: the Marine Corps, bird watch­ing, and Georgia ancestors in the Civil War. He gave a riveting interview, Jack!

    The documentaries featured testimonies from such legendary leathernecks as Gen­eral Ray [Raymond G.] Davis and Lieutenant General Victor “Brute” Krulak, but Sledgehammer’s vivid, outspoken accounts stole the show. In fact, Jack, the National Museum of the Marine Corps obtained the rights to a special 5-minute video of Sledge’s 1995 commentary, which highlights the Peleliu section of the World War II Gallery.

    On Peleliu’s 55th anniversary in 1999, I accompanied your dad, Henry, on a 10-day bushwhacking exploration of that haunted battlefield. We retraced Sledgehammer’s footsteps across the airfield, slithered into untouched caves in the Umur­brogol, and discovered the Japanese bunker in the Ngesebus jungle where he came within a hair’s breath of losing his life. I remember Henry’s exultant phone call from Peleliu to Alabama, waking up his dad with news of his discovery.

    I worked closely with your grandfather in his last years, helping him complete his second book, “China Marine,” which described his homecoming and difficult transition to “normal” life. When he died in 2001, your grandmother Jeanne invited me to deliver the eulogy at his memorial service. Later that spring I helped write and produce the five-act documentary “Eu­gene Sledge: Old Breed Marine” for The History Channel’s “Unsung Heroes” series. Your unique and thoughtful grandfather influenced me powerfully.

    Private First Class Eugene Bondurant Sledge, 534559, USMCR, was 20 years old when he reported for duty in the Russell Islands on 3 June 1944. “I was young and naïve, away from home and my country for the first time,” he recalled. “The war for me, a Marine infan­­tryman, was many things—overwhelm­ing, horrifying, degrading, fascinating.”

    He was born in Mobile, Alabama on 4 November 1923, the second son of Dr. Edward Simmons Sledge and Mary Frank Sturdivant Sledge. He grew up in a close-knit, physically active family. Yet Eugene was a frail child. An early case of rheumatic fever induced a heart murmur and sometimes confined him to a wheelchair. Overcoming these limitations was his first achievement in life.

    His father taught him self-discipline, field craft, and marksmanship. His mother encouraged him to maintain a journal of his many field trips. He loved to take off on nature hikes with his spaniel “Deacon.”

    A tradition of military service ran in the Sledge family. Eugene’s great-grand­father was a Confederate field surgeon in the Army of Tennessee. His father—your great-grandfather—served with the Alabama National Guard in 1916 during the U.S. mounted expedition against the Mexi­can raider Pancho Villa. His brother graduated from The Citadel and became an Army lieutenant. Eugene, however, favored the Marine Corps, especially after reading John W. Thomason’s riveting account of World War I leathernecks in “Fix Bayonets.”

    Eugene was an 18-year-old student at Marion Military Institute when the Japa­nese attacked Pearl Harbor. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve a year later against his parents’ wishes, but he agreed to postpone active duty to commence an accelerated college degree and commissioning program at Georgia Tech. He dutifully studied engineering the first semester, but grew restless when newspapers reported epic Marine amphibious battles at Bougainville and Tarawa in late 1943. So keen was his desire to prove himself in combat that he abruptly quit the officer candidate program and shipped out for Marine boot camp at San Diego.

    Jack, it was a measure of your grandfather’s strength of character as a young man that he voluntarily joined the Ma­rines, then volunteered again to serve in the infantry. He deliberately chose the most hazardous duty of the Pacific War—sustained close combat against Imperial Japa­nese Army soldiers.

    Private First Class Sledge joined the ranks of the First Marine Division (nick­named “The Old Breed”) on Pavuvu. In 1942, the division had spearheaded the first American offensive against the Japa­nese at Guadalcanal. The following year, The Old Breed Marines served as Army General Douglas MacArthur’s amphibious shock troops by launching a surprise landing on Cape Gloucester. The salty Old Breed veterans on Pavuvu shared their invaluable knowledge of fighting the Japa­nese with Sledge and the other green replacements. Two hard-learned rules provided the keys to survival: fight as a team and “kill or be killed.”

    These combat axioms would abide, but the nature of amphibious warfare in the Pacific was already changing. No longer would the First Marine Division conduct surprise landings on large, thick­­­ly jungled islands against an enemy who could retreat or be evacuated to fight again. At Peleliu and Okinawa—small­­er islands that were much closer to Japan—The Old Breed would encount­er heavily armed, thoroughly fortified Japanese forces defending the high ground to their deaths in a new doctrine of attrition warfare. It was your grandfather’s fate to experience the full horrors of both these slaughter pens.

    Captain Andrew A. (“Ack-Ack”) Hal­dane of Metheun, Massachusetts, welcomed young Sledgehammer to “King” Company and assigned him as an assistant gunner in the company’s mortar platoon. Here Sledge met his gunner and future foxhole-buddy, Merriell (“Snafu”) Shelton, a Cape Gloucester veteran from rural Louisiana.

    Some mortars are huge, Jack, but the foot-mobile Marine rifle companies of WW II relied on the small M2 60 mm mor­tar, often described as “the company commander’s personal artillery.” There were two 60 mm mortars in K/3/5. Each could lob a 3-pound high-explosive shell about 2,000 yards. In the close-quarters fighting to come at Peleliu and Okinawa, Sledge and Shelton would deliver explosive rounds as close as 25 yards beyond the company’s front line. This required intense concentration to avoid accidently dropping a “short” round within one’s own ranks. No matter how tired, scared, or sick your grandfather was, he never fired a short round, never caused friendly casualties. “We were always proud of that,” he said.

    You’ve no doubt learned that all Ma­rines are riflemen. Burdened with carrying the mortar’s components and ammo, Sledge’s crew carried the lighter M1 carbine, instead of the standard M1 Garand rifle. Your grandfather was picky about his weapons, however, and he soon exchanged his unreliable carbine for a rifle. Later he favored the firepower of a .45-caliber Thompson submachine gun. Through­out the war, he also carried the same .45-caliber Colt automatic pistol worn by his father in the 1916 Mexican campaign. On his cartridge belt he wore a Ka-Bar fighting knife, with its 7-inch Bowie blade.

    Your grandfather embarked for Pele­liu while the troops were still buzzing about their commanding general’s prediction about the coming battle. “This will be rough but fast,” said Major Gen­eral Wil­liam Rupertus. “We’ll be through in three days, maybe two.” Jack, he was right about the “rough” part but wrong about the duration. The battle lasted near­ly three months. After five weeks the First Marine Division had suffered 6,500 casualties and lost its combat effectiveness. The rem­nants yielded the battle to the 81st Army Division and returned to Pavuvu.

    The Marines had launched the invasion well, executing a difficult amphib­ious landing across a coral reef under heavy fire. But the battle devolved into costly frontal assaults in the western highlands, an ungodly jumble of coral cliffs, canyons, and crags the natives called the Umurbrogol. The Marines called it “Bloody Nose Ridge.” In this extreme terrain the Japanese had prepared hundreds of mutually supporting caves. The Marines had never fought such a disciplined enemy, nor assailed such inhospitable ground.

    Peleliu provided your grandfather’s introduction to combat. Assigned to the second wave of the D-day assault, he experienced the near-crippling fears common to any man crossing a line of departure under fire for the first time. “I prayed that I would do my duty, survive, and not wet my pants,” he admitted. He landed on Orange Beach Two amid great confusion. He saw his first dead bodies, fired his first rounds in anger, smoked his first cigarette. Crossing the exposed airstrip under direct artillery and machine-gun fire was his most frightful experience of the battle. “I could see the bluish-white Jap tracers snapping by me just like the railings on a porch,” he said.

    It took your grandfather time to kill dis­passionately, to accept the combat axiom “Kill or be killed.” Snafu Shelton saw him hedge his first shots and yelled, “What’re you waiting for? Shoot ’em!” His epiphany came during the battle for Ngesebus when a squad of Japanese sol­diers dashed out of a concrete bunker at close range. He shot a man squarely in the chest, saw that he had killed him, swallowed hard, and then took aim on the next onrushing soldier. Kill or be killed.

    Sledge had always kept a journal of his experiences, but command policy forbade diaries lest they fall into Japa­nese hands. He avoided that rule by writ­ing cryptic notes in the pages of his New Testament. These he would resurrect in the future to excoriate his nightmares and provide the core of his celebrated memoir. In this way he painstakingly chronicled Peleliu’s skull-cracking heat, the stench of decomposing bodies and human waste, and the ungodly grunts and screams of desperate hand-to-hand fighting each night. Two-thirds of his fellow Marines in Company K were killed or wounded on Peleliu, including the esteemed Captain Haldane, killed by a Japanese sniper. To your grandfather, Hal­dane’s loss was “the worst grief I endured in the entire war.”

    Four months later the rebuilt First Marine Division embarked aboard amphibious ships for Okinawa with the mission of seizing the island as the advanced staging base for the ultimate invasion of Japan. The 1945 campaign for Okinawa was the biggest air, land, and sea battle of the war. Here, the First Ma­rine Division landed on April Fools’ Day as part of the U.S. Tenth Army. A veteran Japanese field army, reinforced by additional heavy artillery units, defended the island.

    The night before the landing, your grand­father’s lieutenant told the platoon to expect 85 percent casualties in the ship-to-shore assault. He was blessedly wrong. The Japanese applied the same defense-in-depth tactics of Peleliu by holing up in their traverse ridges around the ancient Shuri castle and ceding the landing to the Americans.

    Instead of huddling inside his amphibian tractor against heavy fire, Sledgehammer and his crew sat topside, singing “Little Brown Jug” at the top of their lungs. Once ashore he even had time to admire the countryside. “Pine trees grew everywhere,” the wayfaring naturalist reported. “I’d forgotten what a delicious odor the needles gave off.” Soon the Tenth Army called for the Marines to reinforce Army units attack­ing the Japanese main line of resistance. Sledge shortly began to experience artillery barrages twice as terrifying as Peleliu.

    Jack, the concentration of Japanese heavy artillery fire severely traumatized him. So did the presence of so many native Okinawans. At Peleliu the Japa­nese forcibly evacuated the natives before the U.S. landing, but at Okinawa, the natives were caught in deadly crossfires at every turn. More than one-third of the population died. Sledge saw evidence of this slaughter every day, and it pierced his heart. He also grieved at the death or maiming of more and more Company K buddies as the campaign bogged down in the rain and mud. The Tenth Army advanced an average of 133 yards a day. Three thousand human beings on all sides died each day. More than 26,000 American troops lost their sanity from “combat neurosis.”

    Your grandfather came close to succumb­ing to the same demons. You can discern this yourself when you read chapter 12 (“Of Mud and Maggots”) about the bloody impasse at Half Moon Hill. “Every crater was half full of water, and many of them held a Marine corpse,” he wrote. “The bodies lay pathetically just as they had been killed, half submerged in muck and water, rusting weapons still in hand.”

    At the height of your grandfather’s misery came a letter from home with news that “Deacon, my beloved spaniel, had been hit by an automobile, had dragged himself home and had died in my father’s arms.” Sledge was inconsolable. “There, with the sound of heavy firing up ahead … big tears rolled down my cheeks because Deacon was dead.”

    When the battle for Okinawa ended, Sledge took stock of the remnants of his outfit. Of the 235 Company K Ma­rines who landed with your grandfather on D-day at Peleliu, less than 24 remained on their feet after Okinawa. Many of these had been shot and later returned to duty. Only Sledge and perhaps 10 other Company K Ma­rines survived the combined four months of com­bat without a wound. Yet, as Sledge warned, “None came out unscathed.”

    Jack, your grandfather returned from the war with an almost unbearable burden of grief and anger. It took him years to find his place in the postwar society. His father, who had treated combat neurosis casualties from World War I, advised his son to take joy in good friends, music, and literature, develop a career involving outdoor work, and find a good woman.

    Eugene met Jeanne Arceneaux at the wedding of a mutual friend and sparks flew. They were married in 1952 and raised two sons, your Uncle John and your dad. With Jeanne’s encouragement, Eugene earned a doctorate in biology. He became a professor at the University of Montevallo in central Alabama, a secluded place with red-brick streets, towering oak trees, and Civil War-era buildings. He and Jeanne bought a house on two wooded acres and named it “Stillwood.”

    Yet his post-combat nightmares would not go away. Sometimes an external event provoked memories of the terrible artil­lery barrages. Once during the 1960s, Sledge heard loud artillery explosions from the nearby TV room as his young sons—your dad and uncle—watched the ABC series “Combat.” The boys, alarmed by a strange noise, discovered their distressed father pounding his head against the wall.

    Your grandfather found that the best way to exorcise the memories that haunted him was to describe each scene. Your dad recalls seeing him late at night, sitting by the fire, writing furiously on a yellow legal pad. Over the years these memoirs accumulated to nearly a thousand hand-written pages. Jeanne became intrigued by the graphic story and began typing each page. “I was typing as fast as my fingers could fly, because I wanted to see how this particular epi­sode turned out,” she said. “And both boys were reading over my shoulder, saying, ‘Type faster, Mom, faster!’ ”

    She told Eugene his story was extra­ordinary and deserved to be published. What began as exercise in self-therapy had grown into a full-length memoir of combat in the Pacific. In 1981, when your grandfather was in his mid-50s, Presidio Press published “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa.” It appeared 36 years after his last battle at Kunishi Ridge, Okinawa.

    Jack, the book provided an unblinking account of life and death in the front lines, written with a survivor’s compassion for his lost and maimed companions and with a scientist’s attention to detail and authen­ticity. It was immediately acclaimed as a battle classic.

    Your grandfather received hundreds of personal letters from infantry veterans of all services that simply said, “Thanks for telling my story.” He received letters from children and grandchildren of infantry veterans, saying, “I never knew why my Dad or Grandpa could not speak of their experiences in combat—now I know why.”

    Distinguished historians and authors like John Keegan, Rob Cowley, and Pu­lit­zer Prize winner Studs Terkel praised the book. Paul Fussell, a veteran infan­try officer and subsequent National Book Award-winning author, described Sledge’s book as “superb, honest, heart-rending and brutal.” Television report­ers and documentary producers, including some from Japan, flocked to his door.
    You’ll find, Jack, that “With the Old Breed” is almost as difficult for readers to absorb as it was for your grandfather to write. It is a disturbing and haunting memoir, an indelible accounting of the costs of war as borne by the infantry. In its pages he achieved the difficult task of writing a book that at its heart is both pro-Marine Corps and undeniably anti-war. The book has long been featured on the Commandant’s approved Marine Corps professional reading list, and it remains in print three decades after its first release.

    Your grandfather taught biology and ornithology to thousands of students at the University of Montevallo for nearly 30 years. In retirement, he continued his long nature walks with his dogs and shared the peace and comfort of Stillwood with Jeanne. He died of cancer in March 2001, just nine days before their 49th anniversary. He was 77.

    The Corps took every measure to honor its outspoken former rifleman. Marines in dress blues from the Inspec­tor-Instructor staff, Bessemer, Alabama, stood watch over his flag-draped coffin during the visitation and memorial service in Montevallo. Other Marines from the I-I staff in Mobile provided pallbearers and a firing detail for his burial. First Sergeant Michael W. Redmyer pre­sented the folded colors to Jeanne Sledge and read her a personal note from General James L. Jones, USMC, the Comman­dant of the Marine Corps.

    He was a good man, Jack, and a good friend. He would have been mighty proud of you. His book will remain a heartfelt tribute to the sacrifices of The Old Breed Marines long after the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa recede from public memory.

    Thanks for listening, Mister Jack. Rest in peace, Sledgehammer.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Joseph H. Alexander

    Editor’s note: We hope you enjoy this refreshing and different approach to telling a Marine story—Joseph Alexander “Jack” Sledge is the namesake of the author, Col Joe Alexander. Well-known to most Marines, Col Alexander is a noted Marine historian, author and Vietnam War veteran, who served the Corps on active duty for 28 years, and continues to serve today. He is the author of numerous articles and five books, including the award-winning “Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa,” currently on the Marine Corps professional reading list.

    His latest book, co-written with the late Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, USMC (Ret), is “Through the Wheat: The U.S. Marines in World War I.” He has helped produce 25 military documentaries for cable television and continues his efforts as historian for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. His books, and Eugene Sledge’s book “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa,” are available at MCA bookstores or online at www.mca-marines.org.
     
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  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Today's date, 19 February1945, GySgt John Basilone KIA Iwo Jima.:
     
  6. LG'96

    LG'96 New Member

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    To be honest, i feel like the Pacific War was a preview to Korea and Vietnam
     
  7. Owen

    Owen O

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    Finally starting reading the Ambrose book of the series.
    Good enough 'idiot's guide' for me to outline the Pacific War .
    Just got to the battle of Midway bit.

    Mate from ww2talk popped in today for a cuppa tea.
    Lent be 5 books.

    Helmet for My Pillow - Robert Leckie.
    With the Old Breed - Eugene Sledge
    First Offensive The Marine Campaign for Guadacanal - Henry I Shaw Jnr
    To The Far Side of Hell , Peleliu 1944 - Derrick Wright
    Okinawa - Bens M Frank.

    Think when I've finished all those I ought to know a bit more than I did about the Pacific War.
     
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Read Sledge's next it's really good.

    After you've finished these see if you can find "Neptune's Inferno", it gives the Navy's side of Guadalcanal.
     
  9. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    I am just about to start on Leckie's book.
     
  10. LG'96

    LG'96 New Member

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    The Marching and Coconbut scene really put it into perspective. They should have put in Sgt Thinface remarks on coconuts. Didn't sgt thinface also write a book?
     
  11. PvtJohnTowle_MoH

    PvtJohnTowle_MoH Member

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    There were episodes in "The Pacific" that were a waste of time , paricularly the romance with greek girl with Sledge.

    If you want to know the real ins and outs, read the books "Helmet for my Pillow" by Robert Leckie
    and "With the Old Breed" by E.B Sledge, not the Hollywood interpretation.
     
  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The Greek girl in the series was with Leckie, not Sledge. I don't think the Australia episode was a waste of time, while it may have taken some license with some personal encounters/romances, it was very good at depicting the general experience of the Marines and their interaction with the local populace. This was a very important part of the early war Marines personal wartime experiences (both those that spent time in Australia and New Zealand) and was mentioned in most of thier personal memoirs.
     
  13. PvtJohnTowle_MoH

    PvtJohnTowle_MoH Member

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  14. PvtJohnTowle_MoH

    PvtJohnTowle_MoH Member

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    I am sure it's in their memoirs but from an enterntainment value it wasn't necessary. I am sure there could have been more battles depicted that would have had more historical and enterntainment significance. I am sure the soldiers in BoB (which is what this topic is about comparing both) had also romances in Britain and France with young women and wrote about them but they were deliberately left out. There were not whole episodes devoted to romance. This is what destroyed the movie "Pearl Harbour" and has been the subject of ridicule since.

     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  16. PvtJohnTowle_MoH

    PvtJohnTowle_MoH Member

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    OK that's great to know
     
  17. F8F

    F8F New Member

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    [First post!]

    I loved both BoB and TP, and have watched them both several times, and think that both are amazing pieces of work.

    I think that many people like BoB more than TP because, yes, as some people have commented, it's more "movie-like". The First Marine Division was one of the relatively elite units of the US WW2 ground forces, and never suffered any complete humiliations like Kasserine Pass or the Rapido River. But no unit in the WW2 US military (save perhaps the crew of the CV6 USS Enterprise) can measure up to E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne for glory and success.

    The "Band of Brothers" suffered adversity (especially at Bastogne), but generally overcame and won their battles, again and again. Because, as the miniseries suggests, of the harshness of their bootcamp training and of Winter's quality of leadership, Easy Company were extreme outliers for competence and success. So, BoB had a tenor of inexorable progress towards success and victory, like in an unusually realistic Schwartzenegger or Stalone movie.

    Meanwhile, Sledge and Leckie were just normal grunts - articulate and literarily minded grunts, but otherwise just normal guys, in a relatively normal war situations. A high percentage of their comrades got wounded and killed, and they were in battles with high American casualty counts. Basilone was a genuine hero who did some extraordinary feats, and I think that's perhaps why he was weaved into the TP plot.

    Both shows featured heroic, noble, hypercompentent commanding officers. Dick Winters died at age 92, after guiding a successful corporation into the twentieth century. Ack Ack Haldane died at age 27, his brains splattered all over a rock in the Peleliu hills. The first of those is a noticeably more feel-good ending than the second.

    One more factor - probably not most people who frequent these boards, but I think that most other modern Westerners tend to think of Nazis as more clear bad-guy villains than the Imperial Japanese. The Nazi death camps are more well known than the Rape of Nanking and similar Japanese atrocities. The atomic bombs wiping out two Japanese cities is better known as tragic collateral damage than the firebombing of Dresden or the massacres attending postwar ethnic cleansing of Germans out of Eastern Europe. In line with that, as someone else pointed out, watching Easy Company liberating a death camp and touring through a pacified Germany was more emotionally cathartic and meaningful (and "movie like") than watching the Marines get told, Welp, war's over, hope you enjoyed your Okinawa, go pack your things, and don't forget to pick up some PTSD from the bucket by the door as you go.
     
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  18. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Nice first post!
     
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  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Welcome to our happy home F8F.

    A few counterpoints to your opening post.

    Thankfully few units suffered "complete humiliations" like Kasserine Pass or Rapido River. However, I do believe that there were several units in the US military that can measure up to Easy Company for Glory and success - The difference is that Stephen Ambrose was not their "publicist." and so there stories go relatively unnoticed.


    BoB's tenor of inexorable progress towards success and victory comes for it's plotline. BoB follows the progress of one and only one company from it's training until the end of the war. OTOH, TP tells the story of the Marine Corps in the Pacific War. As such, TP cannot "focus" one one particular unit, to it's detriment, and must rely on several units to tell the story, thus diluting the overall plot, and forcing the viewer to keep track of an ever expanding cast of characters. As it was, BoB truncated Easy Company history by combining the actions of various soldiers into a select few main characters.


    When you get right down to it, near about all US soldiers, even Easy Company, were just "normal guys." For instance, Dick Winters was just a "normal guy" before the war, as he was not career military, nor had he received an military training prior to joining up. As to a "high percentage" of their comrades getting wounded or killed, Easy Company suffered something like 150% casualties between D-Day and the end of the war, but then again, they were an "assault" company and had their fair share of tough tasks to undertake.

    Basilone is one of the Marine "Greats", and not to include him would likely be an unforgivable sin to some. However, I am divided as to his inclusion in the series. He does have quite a "story" to tell, probably worth a movie in it's own right. However, I feel that it detracts from the overall plot and pace of TP - Yet another "main" character to keep track of, and one that has a tenuous link to the other "main" characters. I see the inclusion of Basilone in TP akin to "shoehorning", yet another unrelated "story" into TP.


    I must say that you have a somewhat different definition of "featured" than mine. Winters was in all 10 episodes of BoB, whereas Haldane was in only 3 of TP. As such, I cannot agree that Haldane was "featured" in the TP, anymore than Sobel was "featured" in the BoB. Nothing against Haldane, he was a fine officer, but he was still "background" in TP. For instance, Haldane is nowhere to be seen in Episodes 1, 2, and 4, even though he fought on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester. I much would have liked to have seen his inclusion in those episodes so as to get his "back story" and a better understanding of his character. Haldane's demise is much like that of BoB company commanders Thomas Meehan or "Moose" Heyliger - good competent officers that you really did not get to "know" before they were gone.


    To be fair, the "Nasty Nutzies" have been the quintessential "bad guys" throughout the latter half of the 20th Century films...I mean who has not seen Indiana Jones I or III. The Imperial Japanese Army "would" probably hold the same title, except the Japanese have now been our friends for sometime, and portraying them in such a way would be very politically incorrect. As such, the Nazis maintain sole claim to said title.

    Regretfully on this point you are quite wrong.

    Just as Easy Company partook in an "emotionally cathartic and meaningful (and "movie like") ending in Austria. So too, did Sledge spend time in Peiping/Beijing, China, however, this "emotionally cathartic and meaningful (and "movie like") ending is left out of TP, instead we are treated to your "Welp, war's over, hope you enjoyed your Okinawa, go pack your things, and don't forget to pick up some PTSD from the bucket by the door as you go." ending.

    Likewise, as the veterans of the BoB attest to, the "emotionally cathartic and meaningful (and "movie like") ending is not all it's cracked up to be and some did suffer from PTSD after the war.
     
    F8F likes this.
  20. dude_really

    dude_really Doesn't Play Well With Others

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    (not reading all the comments before; so just a generic comment:)

    I think the difference in appreciation of the (often biased and ill educated) public is based on their expectation:

    US fighting Germans (with all mechanisation, smartness, evil ideology, flying aces) is akin to hunting big game (tigers, lions, sharks) while US fighting Japs (hidden in jungles, caves, diseases, filth, kamikazes (no more chivalry in skies) ) is more akin to exterminating rats and cockroaches. It has to be done, and we are grateful they did it, but it has no merit *.

    Even smarter dialogues, or a tighter US marines group akin to BoB would NOT have changed the difference in appreciation.


    (PS and it shows in above comments from some Brits and their ww2talk.co.uk site; they have NO CLUE and NO INTEREST in Peliliu fights...at-all! And honestly; I find that stomach turning to read, especially if it is a british veteran who says so...as if it is a bitter political statement (in return for the bashing on their hero Montgomery, and the overwhelming Hollywood attention to US -adjusted- stories of ww2) ) .


    * as a side test: does this apply to the military itself too? Can someone verify if a similar heroic action of a US soldier in West Europe has gained him more or higher medals than one in the pacific area ?
     

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