U-571 is a 2000 WWII military thriller starring Matthew McConaughey as Andrew Tyler, a US Navy lieutenant who finds himself unexpectedly commanding a stolen German U-Boat while on a secret mission to capture one of the 4-reel Enigma encoding machines used by the Kriegsmarine. Directed by Jonathan Mostow and co-written by David Ayer, the film encountered controversy for its dramatic license regarding the actual events surrounding the capture of the machine. The cast included Harvey Keitel, David Keith, Bill Paxton and Jon Bon Jovi.
The film is based loosely on the capture of the Type IXB U-Boat U-110 by the crew of the British B-Class destroyer HMS Bulldog on the 9th of May 1941 (Operation Primrose), along with its intact Enigma machine and accompanying Kurzsignale codebook. The real U-571, on the other hand, was a Type VIIC U-Boat sunk off the coast of Ireland in January 1944 by depth charges dropped from a Short Sunderland flying boat of the Royal Australian Air Force.
The following weapons were used in the film U-571:
The M1911A1 is the standard issue sidearm of the US sailors in the film and it's seen predominantly in the hands or holsters of Lieutenant Andrew Tyler (Matthew McConaughey) and Chief Petty Officer Henry Klough (Harvey Keitel). Kapitänleutnant Gunther Wassner (Thomas Kretschmann) also gets his hands on a M1911A1 onboard the U-571. Seaman Anthony Mazzola (Erik Palladino) also handles a M1911A1 during the scuffle with him and Wassner.
World War II issued Colt M1911A1 Pistol - .45 ACP
Lieutenant Tyler with his freshly-reloaded M1911A1 onboard the U-571
. He appears to be holding it using the Weaver grip, roughly fifteen years before it was developed. Strangely, his 1911A1 has an apparent spring guide, that can be seen during the reloading.
Lieutenant Tyler leads the way in the assault of U-571
Chief Petty Officer Henry Klough (Harvey Keitel
) with his holstered 1911A1 contemplates the next move along with Lieutenant Tyler and Lieutenant Hersh (Jake Weber
Wassner tucks Seaman "Tank"'s (Dave Power
) M1911A1 into his pants.
Klough with his M1911A1 in its holster.
Thompson M1928A1 (Modified)
The Thompson M1928A1 is used by several of the sailors when commandeering the U-571. Interestingly, the Thompsons featured in the film have the buttstocks removed, and have chopped folding stocks taken from M1A1 Carbine Paratrooper installed. Though this is historically 'possible' there is no evidence of this being done during WWII. This would make sense as the full stock of the Thompson wouldn't be practical for combat in the confined space of a U-Boat
Thompson M1928A1 Modified - .45 ACP
The men ready their Thompsons before their assault.
The sailors lock 'n' load.
Charles "Tank" Clemens (Dave Power
) fires his Thompson at the Germans on deck. Note the unique muzzle flash produced by the gun's compensator.
Lieutenant Emmet (Jon Bon Jovi
) fires his Thompson at some Germans, while Lieutenant Tyler fires his M1911A1.
Chief Petty Officer Klough enters a room with his Thompson in hand during the assault on U-571. Note how the folding stock makes it easier for Klough to wield it in such tight spaces.
Seaman Anthony Mazzola (Erik Palladino
) holds his Thompson during the assault on the U-Boat.
Lieutenant Tyler holds his Thompson onboard the U-571
During the raid on U-571, a sailor is briefly seen wielding an M1A1 Thompson modified with a folding stock and a compensator. It is identifiable by its side mounted bolt.
M1A1 Thompson with 30-round magazine - .45 ACP
A sailor wielding his Tommy gun climbs on the U-571. Looking closely, you can see the charging handle on the side.
Major Coonan (David Keith) carries the Reising M55 as his chief firearm as they board the U-571.
Reising M55 (folding stock variant), fitted with 20 round magazine - .45 ACP
Major Coonan briefs the sailors before the mission.
"And no one shoots till I shoot first."
Major Coonan holds his Reising on Kapitänleutnant Wassner dueing the assault on the U-571
Kapitänleutnant Gunther Wassner (Thomas Kretschmann) uses a Walther P38 as his sidearm in the film. When the US sailors try to take control of the U-Boat, Wassner is seen firing his sidearm at the Yankees. A couple of other German crewmen also use the Walther P38 inside the U-571.
WWII dated Walther P38 with black grips - 9x19mm
Wassner fires his P38. The image is a bit blurry and dark due to the scene in the film, but it's there.
A German crewman's P38 lying on the floor.
A German sailor fires his P38 at Lieutenant Tyler.
A German sailor exchanges fire with Lieutenant Tyler, barely missing him.
Most of the German crew of the U-571 are seen armed with MP40 sub-machine guns. They are most notably seen when they attempt to repel the US invaders.
A German sailor opens fire on the Americans, but is quickly taken down by Major Coonan.
A German sailor with an MP40 next to him.
A German sailor with an MP40 is taken out by the US sailors.
An MG34 is mounted on the German U-571. A German sailor briefly uses it in the beginning of the film.
MG34 with front and rear sights folded down - 7.92x57mm Mauser
A German sailor prepares to execute American survivors with the MG34. This is something of a reversal of reality: the reason U-110
was captured was that Royal Navy ships opened fire on her crew who were attempting to surrender, thinking that they were trying to man the U-Boat's deck gun. In the confusion, the crew did not think to go back below and destroy sensitive materials as they would have done otherwise. Note how the rounds in his hand are obvious crimp-nosed blanks.
The U-571 and the American S-33 has some heavy weapons that are included on this page just for the sake of completion.
C35 88 / 45 Schiffskanone
Seaman Rabbit (Will Estes) and Radioman Wentz (Jack Noseworthy) fire the main 88mm / 45 calibre deck gun on the U-571.
2 cm Flak 38
Seaman Rabbit is also seen manning the 2 cm Flak 38 twice on the U-571, located on the aft of the U-Boat.
2 cm Flak 38 in single mounting - 20x138mm B
An Oerlikon 20mm Cannon is seen mounted on the American S-33, captained by Lieutenant Commander Mike Dahlgren (Bill Paxton).
Used by the German destroyer in an effort to sink the captured U-571.