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  #51  
Old 01-28-2020, 09:41 PM
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Here's something else I couldn't understand. Why shoot off the flair gun? The dispatch officer gives them a flair gun and tells them not to lose it. Or throw it back to them in the trench afterwards. ( I think he was joking) I'm guessing so they could know the two had reached the German trench?
But why? So they would know to send out another two guys if the Germans were still there?

Wouldn't the flair gun tip off any surrounding Germans if they were worried about that? Why shoot off the flair gun at all?
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Old 01-29-2020, 12:40 AM
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Here's something else I couldn't understand. Why shoot off the flair gun? The dispatch officer gives them a flair gun and tells them not to lose it. Or throw it back to them in the trench afterwards. ( I think he was joking) I'm guessing so they could know the two had reached the German trench?
But why? So they would know to send out another two guys if the Germans were still there?

Wouldn't the flair gun tip off any surrounding Germans if they were worried about that? Why shoot off the flair gun at all?
Flare. Flare. Flare. Flare.

The point of the flare was to signal they'd got through the barbed wire and reached the former German trenches.

The point of which was to confirm that the Germans weren't there any more. Which is extremely useful and important information.
  #53  
Old 01-29-2020, 12:59 AM
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Incidentally I was also wondering whether it was possible to fire messages using artillery shells.
From Wiki I found this:
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The carrier shell is simply a hollow carrier equipped with a fuze that ejects the contents at a calculated time. They are often filled with propaganda leaflets (see external links), but can be filled with anything that meets the weight restrictions and is able to withstand the shock of firing. Famously, on Christmas Day 1899 during the siege of Ladysmith, the Boers fired into Ladysmith a carrier shell without a fuze, which contained a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message "compliments of the season". The shell is still kept in the museum at Ladysmith.
Could something like this have been used? I suppose there is a danger that it could have fallen on German territory but in this case I don't think that would have mattered so much. It was much more important to alert the British troops not to attack than to keep the message secret. If they lobbed enough "carrier shells" surely they could have gotten the message through and I would imagine it would be a lot easier to arrange than finding an airplane.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:13 AM
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The soldiers in the trenches don't have a direct line of sight to the battalion, which is several kilometres away, down a river and through some woods.
Well, maybe they could leave a message at grandma's house.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:16 AM
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I haven't (yet) seen the movie, but I don't see the problem here. As I understand it, the battalion in question is advancing on German soldiers that they believe to be retreating. However, the Germans are actually drawing the Allies into a trap. They have not actually withdrawn to the extent that the advancing battalion believes.

Now, the advancing battalion is stringing telegraph wire behind them as they advance so that they can maintain contact with units behind them. However, the Germans are still present in the ground covered, so it doesn't seem like a stretch that they would cut the wires. This would be especially important to the Germans if they believed that the wires might carry news of the trap they are about to spring. Don't the messengers encounter various German units as they journey to their destination? Seems those Germans are there to prevent messages from going through by either wire or foot.
Thanks. For someone who hasn't watched the movie, what you say makes a lot of sense, and explains to my satisfaction yet another plot point I had been wondering about.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:30 AM
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BTW, another common way of sending a message like that in WWI was by pigeon.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think carrier pigeons work like that. The pigeons can find their home over long distances, but they can't be instructed to send a message anywhere else. It's just vaguely possible that the British were breeding homing pigeons in the trenches, and if the advancing battalion took a pigeon with them, it would be able to send a message back to the trenches. But a pigeon released from the trenches wouldn't be able to fly orders to the battalion at its new position.
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:20 AM
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I haven't (yet) seen the movie, but I don't see the problem here. As I understand it, the battalion in question is advancing on German soldiers that they believe to be retreating. However, the Germans are actually drawing the Allies into a trap. They have not actually withdrawn to the extent that the advancing battalion believes.
I'm pretty sure the Allied general who issues the order to the two soldiers says something to the effect of "Before retreating the Germans cut our lines", implying this isn't some field wire across no man's land the advancing battalion laid out, but the actual field communications behind the Allied trench system. I'd have to watch again to be certain though.

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Now, the advancing battalion is stringing telegraph wire behind them as they advance so that they can maintain contact with units behind them. However, the Germans are still present in the ground covered, so it doesn't seem like a stretch that they would cut the wires. This would be especially important to the Germans if they believed that the wires might carry news of the trap they are about to spring. Don't the messengers encounter various German units as they journey to their destination? Seems those Germans are there to prevent messages from going through by either wire or foot.
They encounter some enemy soldiers, yes. On screen we see very few. That is a standard delaying tactic to achieve a successful withdrawal by the Germans. There's not enough actual information on the military situation given in the movie to understand the overall tactical situation (nor was that required for the film they wanted to make).
  #58  
Old 01-29-2020, 05:08 AM
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Flare. Flare. Flare. Flare.

The point of the flare was to signal they'd got through the barbed wire and reached the former German trenches.
I see you don't like to talk about my flair.
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:01 AM
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I think the most likely explanation for why they sent two runners is because radios weren't in common use at that point, jeeps hadn't been invented yet, the telegram/phone wires had been cut, and in all likelihood, any air assets weren't in the chain of command of the general Colin Firth plays in the movie. So he works with what he has- runners.

The thing is that it's only a crazy adventure from the perspective of the two runners; to the General, sending runners is probably extremely commonplace. They're probably just two of any number of runners he's sent off at various times when the wires get cut by artillery, marauding Germans, etc...
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:58 AM
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I haven't seen the movie. The premise based on TV ads/coming attractions was so unbelievable that it turned me off completely.

A couple of soldiers are sent by HQ on an urgent mission to prevent a few hundred (or however many) troops from being wiped out? Really?

High Allied command had a long-established pattern of conducting and prolonging hopeless offensives in which tens of thousands of men died. They would hardly have cared about a much smaller number being sacrificed unnecessarily.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:06 AM
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I see you don't like to talk about my flair.
Flair? You want flair? Here's your flair!

Last edited by Inigo Montoya; 01-29-2020 at 10:07 AM. Reason: I burning you flair!
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:15 AM
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High Allied command had a long-established pattern of conducting and prolonging hopeless offensives in which tens of thousands of men died. They would hardly have cared about a much smaller number being sacrificed unnecessarily.
In the movie, the order didn't come from high Allied command, but from a general on the ground. Perhaps he felt that if there was a chance of saving 1,600 lives, he should risk two lives to do so? Seems believable to me.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:41 AM
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I think the most likely explanation for why they sent two runners is because […] in all likelihood, any air assets weren't in the chain of command of the general Colin Firth plays in the movie. So he works with what he has- runners.
The issue of the planes not being Firth's to command had not occurred to me, though it admittedly makes a great deal of sense.
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:07 AM
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:47 AM
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The issue of the planes not being Firth's to command had not occurred to me, though it admittedly makes a great deal of sense.
By 1917, the Royal Flying Corps had organized itself mostly along the lines of what we see today- squadrons, wings and brigades (which fulfilled the role of today's groups).

And there were basically 4 brigades for the entire Western Front at the Battle of the Somme, so it's likely they were commanded from the Army level.

Firth's general was probably a Major General commanding a division, which wouldn't have had any control over any flying assets. And the reason he would have been involved at all is probably because the two runners and the battalion that they were trying to rescue were from different brigades within the same division.

Otherwise the brigade commander (probably a Colonel) would have just communicated directly with the battalions in his command.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:40 PM
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Might there also be an issue of authentication? If the British advance were actually the sound tactical move it appeared to be, then the Germans would want to prevent it. If all it takes to stop them is getting one plane in the air above the Brits and dropping a capsule with a piece of paper in it, they just might do that. So the British officer in charge of the advancing troops has no reason to trust a letter delivered that way. But when the message is hand-delivered by a pair of fellow Brits, who speak flawless English and are fully-equipped in the British style, and who may even be known personally to some of the advancing soldiers, then the advance officer knows that the message is genuine.
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:11 PM
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This is ME expressing MYSELF.
Okay. Great. Great. That's all I ask.
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:12 PM
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... and who may even be known personally to some of the advancing soldiers, then the advance officer knows that the message is genuine.
Isn't one of the messengers picked because his brother is in the other battalion?
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:27 PM
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AFAIK no units in any army in WW1 ever flew any planes from the other side. So why would a British officer trust a message dropped from a German D.III Albatross? Or distrust one dropped from an S.E. 5?
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:55 AM
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AFAIK no units in any army in WW1 ever flew any planes from the other side. So why would a British officer trust a message dropped from a German D.III Albatross? Or distrust one dropped from an S.E. 5?
It's not outside the realm of possibility, though, is it? False flag operations—that is, ruses involving soldiers donning enemy uniforms, or making use of the enemy's captured equipment, vehicles, and communication lines—must be as old as warfare itself. Just because the Germans never in fact used a captured British plane in WWI doesn't mean the British at the time would have discounted the chance that they might try it.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:24 PM
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Ah. I haven't seen the movie in years, but isn't this pretty much the plot of Gallipoli?
Gallipoli, from Wikipedia "Frank sprints back to convey this news, but the phone lines are repaired and Colonel Robinson orders the attack to continue."

There was continuous difficulty maintaining the telephone lines and courier services along the western front, but yes, '1917' is one giant plot hole.

The Gallipoli film example, where the phone lines were just fortuitously down as a plot device, is a-historical, but isn't central to the idea of the film. It adds tension, but it's contrary to fact because the soldiers would not have been withdrawn with better information. British soldiers were dying in larger numbers down the coast by attacking entrenched positions: then and later soldiers were dying on the western front by attacking entrenched positions.

In '1817' the loss of communications isn't just a plot device to add tension: it is the plot. In that respect, this is the 'U-571' of WWI films.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:36 PM
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Ah. I haven't seen the movie in years, but isn't this pretty much the plot of Gallipoli?
Gallipoli, from Wikipedia "Frank sprints back to convey this news, but the phone lines are repaired and Colonel Robinson orders the attack to continue."

There was continuous difficulty maintaining the telephone lines and courier services along the western front, but yes, '1917' is one giant plot hole.

The Gallipoli film example, where the phone lines were just fortuitously down as a plot device, is a-historical, but isn't central to the idea of the film. It adds tension, but it's contrary to fact because the soldiers would not have been withdrawn with better information. British soldiers were dying in larger numbers down the coast by attacking entrenched positions: then and later soldiers were dying on the western front by attacking entrenched positions.

In '1817' the loss of communications isn't just a plot device to add tension: it is the plot. In that respect, this is the 'U-571' of WWI films.
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:40 PM
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And would the forward officers even necessarily recognize the different models of airplane? It might just as well be "one of them new-fangled contraptions".
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:27 PM
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Gedankenexperiment: Imagine if you will that you have only been flying for a few hours. Total. So few that in any other profession it is your first week of your apprenticeship. Flying on the deck in a barely glorified box kite is incredibly dangerous by itself, and now everybody, including your guys, is shooting at you. Does this really seem like the walk in the park many of you are calling a plot hole?
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:30 PM
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And would the forward officers even necessarily recognize the different models of airplane? It might just as well be "one of them new-fangled contraptions".
The big bullseye or cross is kind of a giveaway. This hole was plugged in post #35. The orders had to be delivered verbally in front of witnesses so the CO didn’t just ignore them.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:52 PM
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Gedankenexperiment: Imagine if you will that you have only been flying for a few hours. Total. So few that in any other profession it is your first week of your apprenticeship. Flying on the deck in a barely glorified box kite is incredibly dangerous by itself, and now everybody, including your guys, is shooting at you. Does this really seem like the walk in the park many of you are calling a plot hole?
No, it certainly wasn't easy being a WWI pilot, but I'm not clear on how that addresses this issue with the plot.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:26 PM
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It wasn't a plot hole to not do an air drop. Delivery by runner was not quite as crazy suicidal while being the conventional method the Melchetts in the rear were accustomed to. And far more reliable.
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:43 PM
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Sending runners to deliver orders is not so strange.
(although both the main army body and the forward battalion would move heaven and earth to restore that broken cable!)

Placing the scenario in WW1 trench warfare, and having a mere 1600 men advance several km into enemy territory in one move, without support, is ludicrous.
An advance of several km would be the action of a whole army, not one battalion.

And even if it did happen, then sending a mere 2 men to deliver the massage would be downright criminal.

So yes. A movie based on a rather preposterous premise. It's sheer nonsense. But it is entertaining, well-filmed nonsense, so that's fine.
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:43 PM
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In '1817' the loss of communications isn't just a plot device to add tension: it is the plot. In that respect, this is the 'U-571' of WWI films.
Nah, if 1917 were really the U-571 of WWI films, all the British characters would have been inexplicably replaced with American ones.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:47 AM
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And the Brits by Poles.

Let's just say that Enigma was a group effort.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:45 AM
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I don't know why U-571 get such an unjust IMO heap of scorn. It never said it was THE story of capturing an Enigma machine. It's just a war movie. I mean, if you're going to fault accuracy, let's hear your posts about The Battle of the Bulge. It actually pretended to be accurate. Or The Great Escape. Or Imitation Game. Or Enigma.

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Old 01-31-2020, 09:37 AM
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For me, the gaping hole in 1917 was the timeline.

It's all supposed to play like one unbroken shot, which means it has to transpire in real time -- one minute in the movie's reality equals one minute in the viewer's reality. Yet the action starts well before dusk and wraps up shortly after dawn. It's April, so that's probably 14 hours of "movie reality time" elapsing in less than two hours of viewer reality.

Part of this gap can be explained by ...

SPOILER:
... the surviving corporal being knocked unconscious at one point, after it's already dark. But he'd have to be unconscious for 12 hours, and it's still dark when he wakes up.

So while I enjoyed the movie, the weirdness of time somehow flowing much faster than reality would dictate -- in a movie shot to be a hyper-realistic single shot -- bothered me.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:48 AM
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Let me rephrase... To disrupt the wire signal communications of the Allied command the Germans had to cut the Allied wire. Which is behind the Allied line. Defended by Allied soldiers, from which the Germans are moving away.
Artillery will easily cut telephone wire, especially newly laid wire that's just sitting on top of the ground and not even buried. Shelling to cut off communications (and otherwise disrupt rear areas) was really common in general, and would be a deliberate part of trying to set an ambush. For the pedantic, it's 'cut' in the sense of 'cut off contact', not in the sense of 'cut with a blade'.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:54 AM
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Placing the scenario in WW1 trench warfare, and having a mere 1600 men advance several km into enemy territory in one move, without support, is ludicrous.
An advance of several km would be the action of a whole army, not one battalion.
Yeah, until fairly late in 1918, the results of a HUGE offensive like Arras, Cambrai or the 3rd Battle of Ypres/Passchendaele was an advance of five miles or less. It's unlikely that a single battalion would be attacking on its own, unsupported.

I haven't seen the movie, but the only possible situation I can see is if maybe the h-hour for a large attack was changed, but the other battalion didn't get the message and was set to attack earlier, before the artillery barrage or something like that.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:57 AM
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So while I enjoyed the movie, the weirdness of time somehow flowing much faster than reality would dictate -- in a movie shot to be a hyper-realistic single shot -- bothered me.
I thought of that also while watching it but came to the conclusion that the unbroken shot was more of an artistic storytelling choice made by the director rather than a literal unfolding of events. At the end of the movie Sam Mendes thanks his grandfather for providing "all the stories" and I take the movie as a visual interpretation of various stories verbally told to him by his grandfather. Embellishments, distorted memories, confused facts and all.
As a storyteller might string together a series of events that happened over a course of days with "and then this happened, and then this happened, and then we went over here, etc." in a long run-on story that takes an hour or so the literal time it took to tell the story doesn't match the literal time the events actually took.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:57 AM
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For me, the gaping hole in 1917 was the timeline.

It's all supposed to play like one unbroken shot, which means it has to transpire in real time -- one minute in the movie's reality equals one minute in the viewer's reality.
Says who? It sounds like this is a rule that you invented for the film in advance of seeing it; it's not the film's fault if it didn't cleave to your preconceived notion of how the timeline was to be structured.

I saw the film without having read anything about it in advance, and as such I wasn't bothered by the timeline. The lack of cuts became apparent to me after watching the first ten minutes or so, but I didn't leap to the conclusion that there were never going to be any cuts in the film. When I observed that they finally did make a time cut, I didn't interpret it as a cinematographic error.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:02 PM
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Says who? It sounds like this is a rule that you invented for the film in advance of seeing it; it's not the film's fault if it didn't cleave to your preconceived notion of how the timeline was to be structured.

I saw the film without having read anything about it in advance, and as such I wasn't bothered by the timeline. The lack of cuts became apparent to me after watching the first ten minutes or so, but I didn't leap to the conclusion that there were never going to be any cuts in the film. When I observed that they finally did make a time cut, I didn't interpret it as a cinematographic error.
It has nothing to do with my preconceived notion and everything to do with how the film plays out. It feels like real time. We're right there with the two corporals as they talk to the general, move through the trench, go over the top and make their way through no-man's land, and since there are no cuts it feels like it's happening in real time. It's exhilarating. It was only toward the end when I started to wonder, wait, how is it light already? It only got dark a half hour ago.

I also kind of rolled my eyes at the contrivance of ...

SPOILER:
... the surviving corporal nearly drowning in the river before it just happens to deposit him at the exact location where the brigade he needs to reach is mustering in advance of the attack.

Neither of things came close to ruining the movie for me. I understand that making a watchable movie for mass audiences requires some directorial license. (For one thing, no one would watch it if were actually long enough to recreate the mission in real time.) But it's so hyper-real feeling these discrepancies really stand out, at least to me.
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Old 01-31-2020, 01:26 PM
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As for U-571, I like to think of that as having been inspired by Gallery's capture of U-505, supposedly the last time a USN captain gave the, "Away all boarders," command . His intent was to capture an Enigma, but I think he just wanted to say it.

(Not giving in to my U-505 anecdote.)
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Old 01-31-2020, 01:43 PM
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It has nothing to do with my preconceived notion and everything to do with how the film plays out. It feels like real time. We're right there with the two corporals as they talk to the general, move through the trench, go over the top and make their way through no-man's land, and since there are no cuts it feels like it's happening in real time. It's exhilarating. It was only toward the end when I started to wonder, wait, how is it light already? It only got dark a half hour ago.
Well, that's basically how it felt to the soldier; it was dark and now it's light out.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:31 PM
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It wasn't a plot hole to not do an air drop. Delivery by runner was not quite as crazy suicidal while being the conventional method the Melchetts in the rear were accustomed to. And far more reliable.
Right. and 1917 is getting good reviews too. People (who weren't there 100 years ago) are saying that it is a good depiction of what it might have felt like, and the invented plot doesn't do any more damage than the mountains in Salzberg did to The Sound of Music or the date errors do to Sherlock Holmes. The film is not a documentary, and 1917 is far enough in the past that they can get away with it.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:09 PM
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The one plot hole that took me out of this otherwise fine movie was the damn waterfall!
Where in northern France is a waterfall preceded by class three rapids? Only in the fevered mind of the screenplay writer. Corporal Schofield jumped into a raging river to escape a German shooting worse than a stormtrooper. A lazy plot device.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Anne Elk View Post
The one plot hole that took me out of this otherwise fine movie was the damn waterfall!
Where in northern France is a waterfall preceded by class three rapids? Only in the fevered mind of the screenplay writer. Corporal Schofield jumped into a raging river to escape a German shooting worse than a stormtrooper. A lazy plot device.
It’s the same raging river canyon as the Illinois one in The Fugitive.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 01-31-2020 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 02-01-2020, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
Artillery will easily cut telephone wire, especially newly laid wire that's just sitting on top of the ground and not even buried. Shelling to cut off communications (and otherwise disrupt rear areas) was really common in general, and would be a deliberate part of trying to set an ambush. For the pedantic, it's 'cut' in the sense of 'cut off contact', not in the sense of 'cut with a blade'.
Retreating tactically, as the Germans were, is risky and could result in major losses or a route. Shelling always invites retaliation and increased surveillance. Being shelled during a retreat would be especially dangerous. So no I don't buy that at all.

Besides it would be very difficult to target communications specifically, at least without excellent intelligence on the enemy. Of course they could disrupt communications with some random artillery hits and that damage would be easy to repair.
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Old 02-01-2020, 07:42 AM
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Besides would anyone believe the German suddenly decided to leave their trench system and go home? The two soldiers themselves make the point in conversation. The situation is clear to everyone, the Germans are shortening their line, the Allies find out too late about this plan and would be trying to press for an advantage. There is no trap involved.

I also have trouble picturing a battalion commander ignoring divisional orders, although in that case he could always claim the orders arrived too late.
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Old 02-01-2020, 08:03 AM
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I enjoyed every second of this movie. I don't think I've ever had an experience like that in the cinema before because it grips you from the start and never relents. And it was stunningly beautiful at times.

I would assume that they may have tried more than one method of sending the message but why would they tell the runners that? They make them believe they are the only hope and so the audience believe it too because the only perspective shown is the perspective of the runners.
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:44 PM
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Having just seen, and thoroughly enjoyed it, with the preceding discussion in mind, I don't think that the premise is a plot hole.

The Devons have advanced, as they were ordered to do, against a seemingly panicked and retreating enemy. They've created a temporary trench line to consolidate and are intending to attack the Germans who, unsaid but implied, have also paused and bashed out a comparable quick and temporary halt line. That over-riding order to keep the Germans destabilised and moving was what General Colin Firth had to countermand. His pushy and ambitious careerist colonels got to high rank because, unlike the lower ranked officers we see, they know when to listen to the ever-shifting flow of instructions, and when to Act and apologise afterwards, having done the Right Thing.

In this context, the way their lines of communication were severed, and the need for messengers to hand-deliver explicit orders that reverse the over-riding instructions is entirely plausible, and largely explained through specific things said in the script. A plane dropping messages, or artillery shells firing messages close enough but not at a poorly located force are not going to do it, and the colonel could choose to deny they were ever received in time, or at all.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne Elk View Post
The one plot hole that took me out of this otherwise fine movie was the damn waterfall!
Where in northern France is a waterfall preceded by class three rapids? Only in the fevered mind of the screenplay writer. Corporal Schofield jumped into a raging river to escape a German shooting worse than a stormtrooper. A lazy plot device.
yes that was dumb to me too. They did not need to add the waterfall. Maybe it was a tribute to Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid? (no waterfall but they did jump into the river)
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
I have seen the movie, and as I recall it the number was 1600 men. ....
The real plot holes would be that the British High command would give a rats ass about 1600 men or even 16000 men.


Douglas Haig kept sending in waves of men "over the top' to gain a couple of years. His nickname was "Butcher Haig" for the two million British casualties the happened under his disastrous command.

Mind you I still want to watch the film.
  #99  
Old 02-01-2020, 02:54 PM
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Where and when was the British High Command shown in the film? The order came from the general played by Colin Firth.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:59 PM
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Again, I haven't seen this film yet, but was there an artillery barrage by any chance? In WWI, artillery was routinely used to cut both telegraph lines and barbed wire.
Right, besides possibly just some German forces remaining the contested area. Wire got cut all the time. There's nothing remotely far fetched about an advance unit losing wire contact with forces to the rear.

As to aerial message dropping that was possible and was done. However also as other posts pointed out there were various reasons it might not be. One was organizational, not necessarily the raw attitude 'planes are new, I want nothing to do with them' or 'planes are more valuable than men', but just the way things were organized arguably partly reflecting one or both ideas. Even in WWII formations as small as battalions or even parent regiment of this forward battalion would not usually directly interface with air units. That was usually done at higher levels like division, corps or army. The US Marine Corps in late WWII and then more celebrated in the Korean War was unusual up to mid 20th century that a unit as small as a battalion might have attached air controllers. Also in the drive across France after the breakout from the Normandy beachhead in 1944 there was innovative US and British cooperation between relatively small ground units and air support. But it was notable because still pretty unusual. You wouldn't naturally assume a regimental command post missing one of its battalions to have n air service unit on 'speed dial' in WWII, let alone WWI. Artillery units more closely interfaced with air units at a lower level, or even had their own spotter planes in some cases, in the WW's.

Also as was suggested for the general situation (I haven't see the movie either) the exact location of the isolated forward unit might not be known clearly enough to give airmen easy instructions to find it. And air and ground units were notoriously bad at identifying one another in both WW's. This was easier in later phases of WWII where the Allies had almost total air supremacy, but on the Western Front in 1917 an airplane could easily be hostile and risky for a ground force to deliberately attract it. And how about if the airmen dropped the message on a German unit they saw but didn't correctly identify?

Speaking of possible real events related to this plot synopsis, the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in France in 1917 was one, though on a much bigger scale and not a tactical trap, but rather just to hold the Western Front with fewer men, a strategic withdrawal. Another somewhat related real episode was the US 77th Division's 'Lost Battalion' in the Meuse Argonne offensive in September-October 1918. That was a phase when the front was becoming more fluid than in 1917 but anyway a group of US companies (from several different battalions actually) advanced into ground the Germans had mainly abandoned but then became trapped there.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-01-2020 at 03:03 PM.
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