Das Boot (The Boat)
40,000 men served on German U boats, 30,000 never made it home. Those are terrible odds.
Someone asked me if I had seen this movie and if I would comment on the battle scenes.
I had not seen it until today. Thank you movie streaming sites. This was a great movie. The tension starts and really never lets go. Sure, there are scenes with nothing happening but, the action is always right around the corner, or in this case bulkhead(Navy speak for wall).The sub used in the movie: 220 feet long. Designed for a crew of 24, they sometimes held 48 men. Oh, and two toilets. One was usually filled with provisions.
From the first alarm, I was hooked. Even though it turned out to be a drill, we were trained to never act as if it wasn't a real situation. This crew was no different. I'm sure some will ask how I felt about German Submariners. To be sure, they were the enemy in WW II. This may sound odd but, I respect them. In a way, they are brothers. We did the same things, under pretty much the same conditions. What you see is pretty accurate. If they were lucky they may have been able to wash up in a sink. I am not familiar with the layout and I am not sure they had showers on board. Any fresh water would have been used primarily for cooking and maybe washing dishes etc. Compared to the sub I was on, built approx 20 years after the war and it was a palace. We had showers and laundry facilities. We made our own air and potable water. These guys had little to none of that. They had to surface about every 8 hours to ventilate and run the diesel engines to charge the battery. The batteries in turn powered everything. Subs are designed to do better beneath the surface. We spent a lot of time under water. Now, I never had to experience depth charges and the like. Our sub did creak though. If you knew what to look for, you could see the hull compress.
Everything you see as far the reactions of the crew felt really damn accurate. Even the part about the one sailor flipping out. It happens. All that pressure, both from the sea pressing in on the sub and from what's going on can get to a person. They vet us now. Back then it probably was not a huge concern. If you were able bodied, you served where they sent you. When that hatch closed and you dove, you knew you were at the mercy of the sea and only G-d and a very well trained crew would get you home again. They portrayed the life of a WWII submariner really well. You can't help but share their experiences and fears.
While this is not the grand daddy of all Sub movies, it is the one that most bubbleheads like me talk about and revere for it's authenticity. Of course, Hollywood does their thing, but overall, this is one of the closest movies you'll ever get. I was not a WWII sailor obviously and I never served on a Diesel Boat, let a lone a German one. This feels like the real thing to me. There is not a lot of things I can even pick apart.
Whether or not you like war movies or know anything about German subs, this movie is a must see.
U-96 as portrayed in the movie was based on a real sub. the story was turned into a book and then the movie in 1981
U-96 entered service in September 1940. In December of that same year, Friedrich Grade joined the crew as Chief Engineer. The famed U-Boat departed on 11 missions, sinking at least 28 ships and causing about 1,300 fatalities until early 1943.
I give it 5 of of 5 torpedoes for accuracy and cinematography.
As we used to say, "this is a great flick to burn"
As always, just my .02¢ worth. YMMV