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Kelly's Heroes

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Kelly's Heroes (1970)

Kelly's Heroes is a 1970 World War II action comedy directed by Brian G. Hutton (Where Eagles Dare) and stars Clint Eastwood as a recently demoted US Army officer who leads a personal mission behind enemy lines to find a hidden cache of gold bullion stolen by the German Army. The film's cast also includes Don Rickles, Telly Savalas, Harry Dean Stanton, and Donald Sutherland.

The following weapons were used in the film Kelly's Heroes:

Submachine Guns

M1A1 Thompson

Many of the soldiers in the film are armed with M1A1 Thompson submachine guns noted by their triangular "bunny ear" sight housing including Private Kelly (Clint Eastwood) and Master Sergeant "Big" Joe (Telly Savalas). These guns were specially requested by Kelly for his special squad to find the gold behind enemy lines, which is why they are not armed mainly with M1 Garand rifles like a normal squad. Throughout the film, the M1A1 Thompsons sometimes switch with older M1 Thompson submachine guns with more complex bolts and cheaper bolted peep sights on the back with no protective housings.

M1A1 Thompson - .45 ACP
Pvt. Kelly (Clint Eastwood) points his M1A1 Thompson at Col. Dankhopf (David Hurst).
Kelly with his M1A1 Thompson.
Master Sgt. "Big" Joe (Telly Savalas) with his M1A1 Thompson.
Kelly firing his M1A1 Thompson.
Big Joe with his M1A1 Thompson.
Big Joe firing his M1A1 Thompson.
Specialist Sgt. "Crapgame" (Don Rickles) with an M1A1 Thompson.
Close up of Kelly's M1A1 Thompson when he goes to face the Tiger Tank in the town square.

M1 Thompson

The older M1 Thompson submachine guns are seen in the hands of many soldiers, which had more complex bolts and cheaper style peep sights which have no protective housings like the M1A1s. They are mainly seen switching with the M1A1s throughout the film as a continuity error.

M1 Thompson with 30-round magazine - .45 ACP
Kelly firing an M1 Thompson, which switchs from an M1A1 and back throughout the scene.
Big Joe with an M1 Thompson in the town while Pvt. Babra (Gene Collins) is armed with an M1A1 Thompson.
Kelly firing an M1 Thompson.
Big Joe firing his M1 Thompson one handed.
Big Joe firing his M1 Thompson.
Big Joe firing his M1 Thompson.
Big Joe cocks the bolt on his M1 Thompson to face the Tiger Tank in the town square.


Inaccurately shown as the most prolific weapon of the German Army, the MP40 submachine gun is seen in the hands of almost all the German soldiers in the film. Noteworthy is that all of the German Soldiers armed with the MP40 submachine gun aren't wearing the MP40 magazine pouches, but the black leather tri-pouch for the Karabiner 98K.

MP40 - 9mm
A Feldgendarmerie (German MP) on guard armed with an MP40.
A German soldier firing an MP40.
A German soldier armed with an MP40 is killed by an explosion.
German soldiers firing their MP40s in all directions. Note the the Black leather tri-pouch for the Karabiner 98K on their belts, but they don't have 98K rifles.
German soldiers fire their MP40s at the two soldiers out in the mine field.
When Oddball spends his share of gold to buy the German Tiger Tank, one of Oddball's men (referred to in the credits as Turk, due to his fez) is seen riding it armed with an MP40.

Rifles & Carbines

M1 Carbine

Pvt. Fisher (Dick Balduzzi) uses an M1 Carbine which he usually keeps fitted with an M8 rifle grenade launcher fixed on the barrel as his main weapon throughout the film. Upon closer inspection, the M1 Carbine appears to be an anachronistic post-1945 variant given the bayonet lug and adjustable rear sight.

M1 Carbine, late 1945 issue with adjustable rear sight and bayonet lug - .30 Carbine. Usually referred to as the Korean War Era M1 Carbine, since it saw the most US military action in that campaign. This version is seen most often in World War II movies, despite being anachronistic for most World War II battles. (There are no wartime photographs of soldiers carrying this model M1 Carbine during World War II, however occupation troops had them.)
A soldier is seen with an M1 Carbine slung over his back.
Pvt. Fisher with his M1 Carbine rested against the rock wall.
Pvt. Fisher with his M1 Carbine.
Pvt. Fisher with his M1 Carbine. Note rifle grenade launcher.
Pvt. Fisher fires a rifle grenade from his M1 Carbine.

M1 Garand

Despite the fact that the M1 Garand rifle was the most commonly employed weapon in the U.S. Army during WWII, the rifle is seldom seen and is never used or fired in the film. Many are seen slung on the backs of extras as they march past Kelly in his jeep when he talks with Big Joe. It is seen in the hands of Pvt. Babra (Gene Collins) at the beginning of the film. Captured Garands were occasionally used by the Wehrmacht with the re-designation SlGew 251(a) ("Self-Loading Rifle 251 (American)").

M1 Garand - .30-06
A GERMAN soldier is seen with an M1 Garand slung over his back, which means he either captured it from a dead G.I. or they didn't have enough German rifles for the scene, which is more likely.
Two M1 Garand rifles are seen on the jeep when Big Joe is looking over the weapons supply.
Pvt. Babra (Gene Collins) is seen on the far right cradling the M1 Garand.
Many M1 Garand rifles are seen slung on the backs of extras as they march Big Joe.

Mosin Nagant M91/30 Sniper

Pvt. Gutkowski (Richard Davalos), the squad sniper, is armed with a Mosin Nagant M91/30 sniper rifle outfitted with a 3.5PU scope. It would be far more accurate if he had been using a M1903A4 Springfield sniper rifle. The movie was filmed in Yugoslavia which had a surplus of older Soviet weapons which included the Mosin Nagant. There's a remote possibility though that Gutkowski captured the rifle from a German sniper, who originally captured the rifle from a Red Army sniper on the Eastern Front. According to Capt. Clifford Shore, the author of With British Snipers to the Reich, many German snipers were using captured Soviet-made Mosin-Nagant sniper rifles alongside the Mauser Kar98k sniper rifle in Western Europe during the later years of World War II. However there are many reasons why American command would frown upon 'scrounging' for such a weapon (lack of ammo in that caliber would be one reason) and also the American Army in Southern France was very well supplied, and except for grabbing a foreign weapon in the heat of battle, U.S. Forces would not be allowed to scrounge foreign weapons except perhaps as souvenirs.

Mosin Nagant M91/30 sniper - 7.62x54mm R
Due to the lack of proper bayonet lug, Gutkowski ties his M7 bayonet to the end of his Mosin Nagant M91/30 sniper rifle.
Gutkowski in the bell tower with his Mosin Nagant sniper rifle.
Gutkowski with his Mosin Nagant at the ready.
The reticle of the Mosin Nagant is not the actual reticle normally seen on a 3.5PU scope but something made up.
Gutkowski takes aim with his Mosin Nagant rifle.
Another shot of Gutkowski firing his Mosin Nagant.
Gutkowski firing the Mosin Nagant.

Karabiner 98k

The Karabiner 98k was the standard rifle of the German army during WWII but like many old WWII movies, the MP40 is shown as the main weapon of the Germans (see also Where Eagles Dare), which was the exact opposite in real life. In this film, the Kar98k is actually seldom seen. In real life, the MP40 was issued the same way the Thompson M1A1 was issued in the American Army. Submachine guns were for NCOs, Officers, members of crew served weapons, or specified members of special units like Airborne troops. Every enlisted man was not issued a submachine gun. Of course, towards the end of the war, the Wehrmacht issued anything they had left in inventory to every able bodied soldier.

Karabiner 98k - 7.92x57mm
A German soldier with a Karabiner 98k slung over his back - 7.92x57mm
Germans unload off a personnel truck, some of which are armed with Karabiner 98k rifles - 7.92x57mm

Lee-Enfield No.4

In one scene, a U.S. soldier can be briefly seen in the background with a Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle slung over his shoulder - which is odd to see because the Lee-Enfield No.4 rifle was the standard-issue rifle of the British Army and British Commonwealth forces serving in Western Europe during World War II. There were literally hundreds of Yugoslavian 'extras' as American soldiers and this anachronistic rifle was more than likely handed out as 'filler' for the many M1 Garand or the Springfield 1903 rifles. It is just unfortunate for the filmmakers that the one bit of footage clearly showing the British rifle is seen in the film.

Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I - .303 British
A U.S. soldier with a Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle slung over his back is seen briefly when Kelly and Big Joe are talking.

Machine Guns

Wz. 28 Browning

The Wz. 28 Browning takes the place of the American Browning Automatic Rifle for the film with noticeable differences such as a larger wooden forend, different style bipod, cooling barrel fins, a pistol grip, and a dust cover: about half of these features are because the wz.28 is a clone of the Colt Monitor rather than the BAR, while the rest were added to the gun by the Polish army for it to meet their military requirements. It is most notably seen in the hands of Pvt. Petuko (Perry Lopez), Pvt. Mitchell (Fred Pearlman) and Pvt. Grace (Michael Clark).

Wz. 28 Browning - 7.92x57mm Mauser
Private Mitchell (Fred Pearlman) and Corporal Job (Tom Troupe) with an Polish wz.28 light machine gun.
Mitchell readies the wz.28.
Mitchell cocks the charging handle on the wz.28 while playing dead as the German infantry approaches.
Pvt. Petuko (Perry Lopez) fires his wz.28 Gangsta style.
Petuko readies his wz.28 for the assault on the town.
Petuko fires his wz.28. Note the dust cover lever and the rear sight. Notice also how the pistol grip appears to have been removed here, judging by the way Petuko's right hand is positioned.
Petuko reloads his wz.28. Notice again the removed pistol grip.

Browning M2 Aircraft

The aircraft version of the Browning M2 is seen mounted on top of the Sherman tanks under the command of Sgt. Oddball (Donald Sutherland), noted by their perforated barrel shrouds. During the assault on the town, Pvt. Kelly (Clint Eastwood) mans the M2 mounted on Oddball's tank and fires it at a Tiger Tank before the Sherman destroys it with a shot to the weak rear end. The guns appear to be fitted with a muzzle blank adapter which dimensions are clearly smaller than a .50 caliber to allow enough pressure to cycle the gun, though the blanks being fired are indeed .50 BMG blanks.

Browning M2 Aircraft, Flexible - .50 BMG
A Browning M2 Aircraft Gun is seen mounted on Oddball's Sherman tank while they discuss crossing the downed bridge.
The Browning M2 Aircraft Gun on Oddball's tank. Note that it has no belt box, instead just having a loose belt in the holder.
Pvt. Kelly mans the Browning M2 Aircraft Gun when they assault the town.
Kelly racks the bolt handle on the Browning M2 Aircraft Gun.
Kelly firing the Browning M2 Aircraft Gun at a Tiger Tank.
Another shot of Kelly firing the Browning M2 Aircraft Gun.

Browning M1919A4

The Browning M1919A4 machine gun is seen as one of the weapons carried by Kelly's squad and when their vehicles are destroyed by friendly plane fire, SSgt. Crapgame (Don Rickles) is ordered by MSgt. Big Joe to lug the .30 cal around, which he hates and throughout the film he tries to pawn the gun off on others to carry. Like the M3, the 1919 guns in the film are fitted with muzzle blank adapters, more notable on the .30 cals because the muzzles would normally recoil on the real gun but the adapters clearly block them from sight.

Browning M1919A4 - .30-06
A Browning M1919A4 is seen mounted on on Kelly's jeep.
A pintle-mounted M1919A4 is fired from one of Oddball's Shermans.
A tank operator firing a pintle-mounted Browning M1919A4.
Moriarty (Gavin MacLeod) firing the Browning M1919A4 machine gun.
Crapgame tries to pawn the .30 caliber off on Jonesy (Dee Pollock).
Crapgame tries to pawn the .30 caliber on Kelly.
Crapgame firing the M1919A4.
Crapgame firing the .30 caliber in the town.
Crapgame firing the .30 caliber.
Crapgame firing the .30 caliber.

Browning M2HB

Browning M2HB .50 caliber machine guns are seen mounted on U.S. Tanks and personnel trucks throughout the film.

Browning M2HB - .50 BMG
A Browning M2HB mounted on a U.S. Tank.
A Browning M2HB mounted on a personnel truck.
A Browning M2HB mounted on a U.S. Tank.


The MG42 machine gun is seen mounted on personnel trucks and pintle mounted on the Tiger Tanks throughout the film.

MG42 with sling and bipod collapsed - 7.92mm Mauser
A German soldier is seen cleaning an MG42 in the background. British actor John G. Heller in the center.
A German soldier mans an MG42 mounted on a personnel truck.
A German soldier works the charging handle on the MG42.
The German soldier is killed while manning the MG42.
A German soldier readies an MG42 in the town.
A German soldier fires an MG42 in the town. Note the optional central position of the bipod to allow for a greater arc of fire.
A German tank operator manning a pintle mounted MG42 keeps it fixed on Kelly, Big Joe, and Oddball as they approach the Tiger Tank. Note that during WWII German tanks were fitted with MG34 machine guns with armored barrel shrouds in their hull and coaxial mounts, since such a mounting would prevent the MG42's barrel from being changed.


Wz. 35 Vis

One interesting consequence of filming in Yugoslavia was the usage of eastern European weapons in the place of American ones. The production used the Polish Vis wz. 35 pistols (also referred to widely and incorrectly as the "Radom") as a substitute for the similar looking US M1911A1 handgun (which would be standard issue to American forces). American Soldiers such as Pvt. Kelly (Clint Eastwood), Platoon Sgt. Bellamy (Len Lesser) and General Colt (Carroll O'Connor) carry the Wz. 35 Viss as their sidearms.

Wz. 35 Vis - 9x19mm
A Vis wz. 35 (used as a substitute for the M1911A1) is seen in the holster of Kelly (Clint Eastwood). Note the flared out magazine well and the fact that the bottom of the handgun is much wider than an M1911A1 variant.
Platoon Sgt. Bellamy (Len Lesser) with his Vis wz. 35 (instead of an M1911A1) drawn.
General Colt (Carroll O'Connor) wields the pistol.

Luger P08

Oddball (Donald Sutherland) keeps a Luger P08 pistol as his sidearm of choice, which somehow seems to fit his quirky character. Instead of keeping it in a Luger holster, he keeps it in the poorly fit U.S. M1911 holster.

Luger P08 - 9x19mm
Oddball draws and chambers his Luger P08 in the town.
Oddball turns the Luger sideways in his .45 holster when preparing to face the Tiger Tank so he can draw it quickly if needed.

Walther P38

The German lieutenant (John G. Heller) commanding the outpost near the minefield is armed with what appears to be a holstered Walther P38.

Walther P38 pistol World War II date of production
The lieutenant answers a phone call.
The lieutenant with his binoculars at the minefield.

Unknown pistol

The German tank commander (Karl-Otto Alberty) is seen with a pistol in his right front pocket connected to a lanyard. It is never shown in detail.

The commander stepping down from his tank. The lanyard is in black color and barely visible around his neck connecting to the pistol in his front pocket.


F1 Hand Grenade

What appear to be Mk 2 Hand Grenades are carried by all the members of Kelly's squad, notably MSgt. Big Joe. Upon closer inspection, these appear to be French F1 hand grenades.

F1 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade with Mle1935 fuse.
Mk 2 Hand Grenade.
Big Joe prepares what is supposed to be an American Mk 2 grenade, however a French F1 was used instead.
Big Joe places a French F1 Grenade (standing in for a Mk 2 grenade) for later use in the town.
Big Joe lets Babra pull the pin on his Mk 2 grenade (in reality a French F1).

M8 Rifle Grenade Launcher

Pvt. Fisher uses an M8 Rifle Grenade Launcher attached to his M1 Carbine when the platoon attack the German HQ.

M8 rifle grenade launcher, used on M1 Carbine - 22mm

2 cm Flakvierling 38

Four barreled AA/AT (anti-aircraft/anti-tank) 2 cm Flakvierling 38s are seen used by the Germans when Oddball and his tanks assault the train station and they are all destroyed before they inflict any damage on the tanks.

2 cm Flakvierling 38 - 20x138mm B
Germans fire a 2 cm Flakvierling 38 at Oddball's tanks.
A 2 cm Flakvierling 38 is destroyed by one of Oddball's tanks.
Germans man another 2 cm Flakvierling 38. Note the weapon does not have any ammunition loaded. The weapon would have had four magazines, with 20 shots each, inserted into each of the four guns in plain view.

Tiger Tanks

In most Hollywood films depicting the Second World War, anachronistic American tanks such as the M47 or M48 Patton (Battle of the Bulge, Patton) were often used as substitutes for the German Tiger and Panther tanks. Kelly's Heroes was the rare Hollywood film to have been able to depict reasonably accurate World War II German armor (prior to 1998's Saving Private Ryan). The Tigers seen in the film were mockups constructed from the chassis of Russian T-34s and were originally used for the 1969 film The Battle of Neretva.

The German Tiger I is seen. These were mockups constructed from the chassis of Russian T-34's and were originally used for the 1969 film The Battle of Neretva.
Kelly, Oddball and Big Joe confront the Tiger very much in the style of one of Clint's spaghetti westerns.

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