Monday, May 30, 2011
In the Spirit of Remembrance
Not only is Operation Market-Garden one of most dramatic, and thus film-worthy, operations of the war, but the movie itself is amazing as well. It was directed by Richard Attenborough (who also directed Ghandi, as you may recall), and has an incredible cast: Dirk Bogarde, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Edward Fox, Elliot Gould, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Hardy Krüger, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O'Neal, Wolfgang Preiss, Robert Redford, Maximillian Schell, and Liv Ullmann (there's even a bit-part for John Ratzenberger, aka Cliff Claven of Cheers fame).
There aren't a lot of films, apart from The Longest Day,* where one can see so many big names gathered in one place. No matter how many times I've seen it, I never get tired of this film.
*The Longest Day, like A Bridge Too Far, was also based on a book by Cornelius Ryan. It too had a spectacular cast, including Eddie Albert, Paul Anka, Bourvil, Richard Burton, Red Buttons, Sean Connery (again!), Fabian, Henry Fonda, Curt Jürgens, Peter Lawford, Roddy McDowall, Robert Mitchum, Wolfgang Preiss (again!), Robert Ryan, George Segal, Rod Steiger, Robert Wagner, and John Wayne.
Two Up, One Back
"The dominant (though not the only) tactical formation for the infantry in both attack and defense remained 'two up, one back.' This was a product of the triangular organization that the infantry used from platoon to division level. Triangular units had three main 'maneuver' elements (weapons units did not count as 'maneuver' elements). Rifle platoons had three squads; rifle companies three rifle platoons; battalions, three rifle companies; and so forth. This encouraged commanders to place two of their maneuver units forward while keeping back the third so that it could relieve or reinforce a frontline unit."
--John Sayen, U.S. Army Infantry Divisions 1944-45 (28)