Enemy at the Gates


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dasmi
November 25, 2005, 01:15 PM
I just watched this movie last night, and wow. That was a great flick. Ed Harris was especially good. I very much enjoyed seeing Mosin-nagants in action. My 91/30 is even more attractive to me now. The only thing I didn't like, and that I don't like about most movies, is the British, "generic foreign" accent that any non-American character in movies will use.

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geekWithA.45
November 25, 2005, 01:28 PM
Read the book!

The movie was derived from maybe 10 pages from the book, which covered the overall battle in great detail.

Darth Ruger
November 25, 2005, 01:30 PM
http://notesofasniper.com/

dasmi
November 25, 2005, 01:30 PM
Oh, I didn't know there was a book. I'll order it now.
Also, anyone who has played the game Call of Duty, did you notice a striking similarity to the Russian portion of the game?

Texfire
November 25, 2005, 02:23 PM
I've read War of the Rats, excellent book. I Didn't know that Zaitsev had written his own account.

armoredman
November 25, 2005, 02:31 PM
Vassili was a dedicated communist, as well, but a pretty interesting guy!
Here he is in wartime..
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/Vasili_Zaitsev.jpg
And many years later...
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/VassiliZaitsev.jpg

Darth Ruger
November 25, 2005, 02:40 PM
I Didn't know that Zaitsev had written his own account.It was originally published in 1956, the new edition is 2003. It includes a 1941 map of Stalingrad, wartime documents and photos of him and his fellow snipers, and a short version of his experiences he put together for Russian reporters in 1942. He also tells of his growing up as a hunter in the mountains. Lots of details about his experiences fighting before he became a sniper that were left out of the movie. More info:

http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=165720

antsi
November 25, 2005, 02:48 PM
Read the book!

The movie was derived from maybe 10 pages from the book, which covered the overall battle in great detail.

An even better book about the Stalingrad battle is "Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege" by Anthony Beevor.

USSR
November 25, 2005, 02:54 PM
Please note, in the first photo (wartime) he is wearing the Order of the Red Banner and the Bravery medal. Second photo, the Hero of the Soviet Union Gold Star medal (Solid Gold).

Don

entropy
November 25, 2005, 10:41 PM
Indeed, he was awarded the first one before the Battle of Stalingrad was over. The reason for the accents is most of the actors were British. (Bob Hoskins, Rachel Weisz, Joseph Feinnes (Well, he's Welsh actually) and Jude Law.) Only Ed Harris was American, and had an American accent, not a German one in the movie. I still want the Left-handed PU on the cover of the DVD. ;)

jefnvk
November 25, 2005, 11:02 PM
Also, anyone who has played the game Call of Duty, did you notice a striking similarity to the Russian portion of the game?

After watching many movies and playing many games, I have come to the conclusion that most game maps are built on movie scenes.

Stauble
November 25, 2005, 11:08 PM
After watching many movies and playing many games, I have come to the conclusion that most game maps are built on movie scenes.

if any of you have played medal of honor allied assault, you will notice that that the D-day invasion is almost exacly the same as Saving Private Ryan

MechAg94
November 26, 2005, 02:44 AM
I liked the movie, but I was put off by the apparent very short ranges at which most of the action took place. I can understand though since Hollywood thinks you have to be a sniper to shoot accurately at over 10 yards.

MatthewVanitas
November 26, 2005, 02:50 AM
Though this is horrbly gun-geeky, the main thing that struck me from that film was the futility of firing the PPSh-41 at aircraft.

Admittedly, even modern Field Manuals explain how to (attempt to) engage Close Air aircraft with the M16. Thankfully, this has not been an issue in my lifetime. But really now, 7.62x25mm from one individual vs. aircraft?

But still a good film. I do reccommend that you check out the Finnish film "The Winter War", if you are into the whole Russo-military scene. I do understand that the DVD sold in the U.S. is missing about half of the material, but I still greatly enjoyed the film.

-MV (who has fired a genuine PPSh-41, and was sorely tempted, but left in in Iraq, where it presumably well-serves a certain Iraqi National Guard unit)

Cosmoline
November 26, 2005, 02:54 AM
A lot of the sniping on the Eastern front from the Winter War on was conducted at an array of ranges including very short range. Simo Hayha used a subgun for a lot of his work. The Eastern style sniper used in Finland and the USSR was quite different from the modern US style sniper who's deployed as a kind of tactical weapon. Eastern style snipers would just set out and hunt the enemy, killing as many of as high a rank as possible while going from position to position. I don't recall too many stories of their snipers taking weeks to get into the perfect position to kill a single key political leader or general, then slowly exiting. THis is one reason their confirmed kills are so much higher than anything a US sniper has ever racked up. They just kill, kill, kill all day every day. And they had a huge impact on the battlefield.

Another thing that surprises me is how tiny these guys were. Hayha was a little guy, and from the photo it looks like Vassili was dwarfed by his 91/30.

MechAg94
November 26, 2005, 03:18 AM
The accounts I saw on the History Channel indicated that duel between him and the German sniper happened at a respectable range. In the movie, they should have just used pistols. I wasn't expecting some 1000 yard sniper duel in the woods, but a hundred yards wouldn't be too much to ask for would it? :)

From what I have seen of US snipers in Vietnam, they weren't too picky about who they shot either.

Darth Ruger
November 26, 2005, 04:06 AM
In his book, Zaitsev describes making several shots at 600 yards.


Simo Hayha used a subgun for a lot of his work.Vassili also did a lot of fighting with a subgun and grenades, quite a bit of it in fact. Another detail left out of the movie.


Another thing that surprises me is how tiny these guys were... it looks like Vassili was dwarfed by his 91/30.He was. He was a little guy. But one of his buddies was even shorter than him. :D (But that person was not included in the fictional versions.) It must have made things difficult with their hand-to-hand training.

When they arrived at Stalingrad, they spent the first three days training for street combat, learning grenades, hand-to-hand combat, etc, before they actually went into the city. They didn't just jump off the train when they got there and run right into the battle with no weapons. On their first day of combat, Vassili's first act was to take out some machine gun nests with hand grenades. And rather than stay behind to shoot any soldiers that retreated, their Lieutenant led the charge against the Germans.

DMK
November 26, 2005, 04:35 AM
Admittedly, even modern Field Manuals explain how to (attempt to) engage Close Air aircraft with the M16. Thankfully, this has not been an issue in my lifetime. But really now, 7.62x25mm from one individual vs. aircraft?It's a moral and fighting spirit thing. Armies have been doing it for almost a century (ever see anti-aircraft sights on a bolt action Arisaka?). It's better to teach the troops to fire their guns at an enemy attacked by aircraft and armor than to tell them "you don't have a hope of doing damage with your puny weapon so just hide."

ctdonath
November 26, 2005, 01:14 PM
Elsewhere on THR... (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=165720&goto=newpost)

The story as told by the man himself is quite different than that found in other books and the movie starring Jude Law. According to Zaitsev's own account, things like hokey love affairs, the constant slaughtering of Russian soldiers by their own NCO's and officers, and the role played by Nikita Krushev never happened. Lyudmila, the female sniper who was shot in the head by the German sniper in the movie, didn't even meet Zaitsev until the whole thing was over. Danilov, the political officer, wasn't killed by the German sniper, but only wounded, and it wasn't intentional on his part as portrayed in the movie. Kulikov, the sniper who, in the movie, met Zaitsev during the battle and was soon shot in the head by the German sniper as he jumped across a building, was actually an old friend of Zaitsev's who fought with him much earlier before he became a sniper, and he wasn't shot by the German sniper at all. In fact, it was Kulikov who helped Zaitsev locate the German sniper and take him out, quite the opposite of how the story was portrayed in the fictional versions. Zaitsev's medal was presented to him by the chairman of the central executive committee of the USSR Mikhail Ivanovich, not Nikita Kruschev. Zaitsev gave the names and ranks/positions of every NCO, officer, or State official that he met or even knew about, and he never mentioned Nikita Kruschev once in the entire book. The editor also contends that David Robbins plagiarized certain parts of the 1971 edition of Zaitsev's autobiograpy for his book War of the Rats. Some evidence of this is presented at the end of the book.

Cosmoline
November 26, 2005, 01:23 PM
It's never been a secret that the film was highly fictionalized, so I'm not sure why that gets people worked up. OTOH I don't trust ANYTHING coming out of the heart of Stalin's empire. So claims that all the Soviets fought willingly and nobody was used as fodder don't really fly too well. As a hero of the Soviet Union, Zaitsev had a vested interest in removing any negative aspects ot the account. So while I know that the love affair was fictional, I also take his reports re. the willingness of the average Red Army Man to fight with a grain of salt.

Darth Ruger
November 26, 2005, 01:49 PM
It's never been a secret that the film was highly fictionalized, so I'm not sure why that gets people worked up.
It's not about getting worked up about it, it's just a matter of pointing out that many people don't realize just how fictionalized it is.

Those are my words someone quoted from another thread. Yes, I saw the movie, several times. It was well made, but fictional. Are you saying a fictionalized movie is a more reliable source of information than Zaitsev's own words?

After Zaitsev was wounded, he was recovering from his temporary blindness in Moscow, and he was then sent to a meeting where he was to describe his experiences to high-ranking officers (he received his "Hero of the Soviet Union" medal shortly after that). In his own words...

"And soon enough, I found myself in the General Staff's office. There I met for the first time with renowned snipers Vladimir Pchelintsev, Lyudmila Pavlyuchinko, and Grigory Gorelick."

Cosmoline
November 26, 2005, 01:57 PM
I'm not saying the film is a historical source of information. But most of the complaints I've heard about it have been rooted in soviet era denials that any Red Army Men were sent to the field poorly equipped or forced to fight. I respect Zaitsev's account, but I take it with a big grain of salt. This is an empire built on lies we're talking about, not some bastion of free expression. Sadly Zaitsev died before the Soviet empire collapsed. If like Hayha he'd lived beyond the cold war we could have gotten a more detailed and agitprop-free account of the battle from him. But all through his life the man had handlers and his words were subjected to layers of censorship. So by all means read his account, but always remember where it's coming from.

Darth Ruger
November 26, 2005, 02:14 PM
I see your point, and I agree with you about that. I'm not trying to say his account is the gospel truth. I was just pointing out how much of Robbins' book and the movie was changed to make a good story out of it. The political overtones probably are the result of much censorship. His book and the movie are probably the two opposite extremes regarding Communism, with the truth being somewhere in the middle. But the details of his personal life and his fighting experiences are what interest me, and the movie greatly distorts them. The politics don't really interest me that much. My point is to read his book if you want something closer to the truth regarding his combat/sniping experiences.

antsi
November 26, 2005, 03:09 PM
.....the constant slaughtering of Russian soldiers by their own NCO's and officers.....

His book and the movie are probably the two opposite extremes regarding Communism, with the truth being somewhere in the middle. .

Zaitzev himself may not have experienced the NKVD "backstop" troops gunning down Russians who retreated, but it certainly did happen. Stalin's infamous order #221, "Not a Step Backward" specified criminal penalties for the families of any soldier who was captured - some members of Stalin's own family were imprisoned for this "crime." Many soldiers were shot or sent to punishment battalions to carry out suicidal missions as punishment for fighting their way out of encirclements. The Red Army horrors depicted in the movie were not exaggerated. This is not a "truth is somewhere in the middle" issue. Under Stalin's leadership, Soviet authorities committed brutal atrocities against Red Army conscripts on a regular basis.

Again, if you want to see credible history on this era from a serious researcher, read Anthony Beevor's book about Stalingrad.

Also, Kruschev was the chief political officer for the Stalingrad Front. He may not have done the things portrayed in the movie, but he was certainly there.

Beetle Bailey
November 26, 2005, 04:30 PM
Again, if you want to see credible history on this era from a serious researcher, read Anthony Beevor's book about Stalingrad.


I'll second that. It's a very readable book that made me glad I wasn't there :uhoh: .

But enough about reality! That movie was pretty exciting, with some very tense scenes. What was your favorite part? Mine is near the beginning, when Danilov first meets Zaitsev. "Wait 'til there's an explosion. . . :uhoh: :D "

Darth Ruger
November 27, 2005, 03:01 AM
Stalin's infamous order #221...The text of Stalin's order is included in the book, although it's shown as order #227. I don't know which is correct.


Also, Kruschev was the chief political officer for the Stalingrad Front. He may not have done the things portrayed in the movie, but he was certainly there.I didn't say he wasn't there, I said Zaitsev never mentioned him in his book. Like I said, I was just pointing out the discrepancies between it and the movie.

And my favorite scene that gave me a good laugh was when he met Kruschev and one of the reporters said "He used to shoot wolves, now he shoots fascists." :D

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