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Hell Is for Heroes
Hell Is for Heroes is a 1962 World War II film directed by Don Siegel and stars Steve McQueen as Pvt. John Reese, a disillusioned U.S. soldier (Reese a former master sergeant, demoted to private after a court martial) who joins a rifle squad as a replacement. The cast included James Coburn, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker and Bob Newhart in his feature film debut. Hell Is for Heroes was co-written by Robert Pirosh, who served in in World War II as an infantryman with the 320th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division and saw combat in the Alsace-Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. Following the war, Pirosh would also write the 1949 war film Battleground, for which he received the Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay and subsequently created the WWII television series Combat!. The movie was filmed in the summer of 1961 around Redding, California. It was a very hot summer so many of the scenes were filmed at night; for the comfort of the crew and cast. Though a troubled production with a miniscule budget (McQueen allegedly hated working on the movie and butted heads with director Don Siegel repeatedly) the movie has gone on to become something of a cult classic. It is consistently rated among the better World War II movies to come out of Hollywood.
The following weapons were used in the film Hell Is for Heroes:
M3 "Grease Gun"
Pvt. John Reese (Steve McQueen) uses the M3 "Grease Gun" throughout the film. He tapes three of his magazines together "jungle style" for faster reloading. Interestingly, Reese only has M1 Garand ammunition pouches, and not any box magazine pouches, as there was no pouch made for the M3 magazine and M3 magazines did not fit in a Thompson magazine pouch.
Note: As is common in firing blank ammunition, many weapons used in the film experienced malfunctions. The M3 submachine gun Steve McQueen uses in the film appears to have to be cleared constantly of jams by the actor, notably in the final battle.
The MP40 is used by German troops.
The M1 Garand by various characters including Pvt. Corby (Bobby Darin), T/Sgt. Pike (Fess Parker), Sgt. Larkin (Harry Guardino), Homer Janeczek (Nick Adams) and Pvt. Driscoll (Bob Newhart).
The M1 Carbine is seen carried by the mortar crews. The M1 carbines are fitted with the anachronistic bayonet lug.
Browning Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rifle is seen in the hands of both Cpl. Henshaw (James Coburn) and Pvt. Kolinski (Mike Kellin) throughout the film.
The Karabiner 98k is used by opposing German forces. After killing a charging German, Reese picks up the dead soldier's Karabiner 98k rifle and disables it by removing the bolt.
ZB 53 / Vz.37
The ZB-53 / Vz.37 is seen during the final assault. This is actually stock footage of German soldiers using the machine gun.
A broken MG42 is seen on the ground early in the movie. The MG misses the rear stock and has it's bolt removed and barrel hatch open.
The Browning M1919A4 is seen being carried by a soldier in the beginning of the movie, and later on during the final attack.
The M2 Mortar is used by the U.S. troops in the film.
The M1 Flamethrower is used notably by Cpl. Henshaw (James Coburn) and Pvt. Corby (Bobby Darin).
The M2 Flamethrower is used by two soldiers in the final assault
Mk 2 hand grenade
Mk 2 hand grenades are used by Reese and various soldiers.
Reese also is seen with a satchel charge during the final assault.