Battle of the Bulge

Trivia: Robert Shaw's character is based on Kampfgruppe Jochim Peiper of 1st SS Leibstandart Adolph Hitler, Panzer Division. Peiper was a ruthless but extremely effective officer who had learnt his trade in death on the Russian front. Peiper survived the battle and the war and although he was initially sentenced to death for his part in the Malmedy massacre his sentence was commuted. He was killed in France in 1976 when his house was firebombed in a revenge attack.

Trivia: The American uniform-disguised German troop is inspired by the actual operation "Greif" led by Otto Skorzeny. It did however not happen as in the movie; they where not dropped in parachutes but used captured jeeps. Only very few came through and even fewer had any success. Skorzeny had very little time for preparations, The shortage of men with language skills at the desired level was severe and he considered aborting the operation because several conditions of the plan had not been met. Rumours about the target of the task force were encouraged, one being that their target was Eisenhower's HQ in Paris.

Airborne60

Trivia: In the film, the German commander, played by Robert Shaw, is ecstatic about using the new Tiger tanks in the attack. However, Jochen Peiper, the real commander Shaw is based on, did not want to use Tigers as they were too slow and used up huge amounts of fuel. Peiper preferred to use Panthers and MK IV tanks, but was pressured to use the Tigers for political, propaganda and morale purposes.

Scott215

Trivia: The real Battle of the Bulge lasted from December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945. The movie makes it seem like it lasted a few days, hence the disclaimer at the end of the film.

Scott215

Trivia: The tank models used by the German commanders at their headquarters look just like the actual King Tiger and Sherman tanks used by both sides during the late part of the war, whereas the tanks used in the film look nowhere near like actual German and American tanks used during the battle.

Scott215

Trivia: The "Malmedy Massacre" actually occurred in the small hamlet of Baugnez at the crossroads where highway N62 leads to Malmedy and is 4 kilometers southeast of Malmedy proper. The massacre is called the "Malmedy Massacre" because Malmedy was the closest large village in the area and on a major road.

Scott215

Trivia: The final scene of the movie is supposed to represent the escape of the remnants of Kampfgruppe Peiper, who did indeed abandon their vehicles and snuck out of the area under cover of snow and night. Unlike the movie, they did not walk back to Germany in broad daylight.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: Near the beginning, Lt. Col. Daniel Kiley is in a scout plane and flies over Col. Martin Hessler, who is in a German staff car below. Kiley tells the pilot to "rev the engine" just above the car to entice Hessler to look up at them, so he can get a good photograph of his face. The plan works, and the ground level movie camera shows Hessler looking up. When the "photo from the air" is later developed, it shows Hessler looking up from the ground level camera's perspective, eyes focused about 30 degrees behind the airplane and giving a profile of Hessler.

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Col. Martin Hessler: Germans are still the best toy makers in the World.

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Question: What is the English translation of the panzer song when Hessler meets his commanders?

Answer: I believe that in the film, the men are repeatedly singing only the first verse. However, I have found the complete translation of all five verses and posted it here: "The Panzer Song (Panzerlied) " 1: Whether in storm or in snow /Whether the sun smiles on us/ The day blazing hot /Or the night ice cold/ Our faces are dusty/ But our spirits are cheerful /Yes, our spirits are cheerful/ Our tank roars Into the windstorm. 2: With thundering engines /As fast as lightning/ We engage the enemy/ Safe in our tanks/ Far ahead of our comrades /In battle we stand alone/ Yes, stand alone Into enemy territory. 3: If an enemy tank /Appears in our sight /We ram throttles full/ And close with the foe! /We give our lives freely /For the army of our realm/ Yes, the army of our realm/ To die for Germany Is our highest honour. 4: With barriers and tanks/ Our opponent tries to stop us /We laugh at his efforts/ And travel around them/And when the guns threatingly/ Hide in the yellow sand/ Yes, in the yellow sand/ We search for paths /No-one else has found. 5: And if some day /Faithless luck abandons us /And we can't return home/ The deadly bullet strikes/ And fate calls us /Yes, fate calls us /Then our tank is An honourable grave. Source: http://defence.pk/threads/german-ww2-and-pre-ww2-march-songs.146130.

Michael Albert

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