Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War
Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (also known under the British title Brotherhood) is a 2004 epic Korean War film, directed by South Korean director Je-gyu Kang. It was a bestseller in Korea and a moderate performer overseas, becoming one of the highest-selling South Korean films of all time. In Asian cinema, this title was widely seen as South Korea's own Saving Private Ryan reflecting the pain and anguish of the Korean people, but also showcasing epic Korean War battle sequences, bringing attention to what has long been deemed "The Forgotten War" outside of the Korean Peninsula.
The story, told in retrospective from a Korean War veteran, follows the experiences of two brothers who survived World War II and the waning years of the Japanese occupation of Korea, only to be plunged into the madness and chaos of the Korean War (1950-1953). Two brothers are tricked into 'enlisting' by boarding the wrong railroad car and are not allowed to return home to take care of their family. The older brother Jin-tae Lee (Dong-gun Jang) volunteers for all of the dangerous missions he can get, committed to win the Korean equivalent of the Medal of Honor (a loophole in Korean Military rules allowed a winner of such a medal to send his siblings home). However, upon winning the Medal, the younger brother Jin-seok Lee (Bin Won) refuses to return home. Horrified at the realization that Jin-tae no longer fights to help their family, but fights because he enjoys killing, the increasingly chaotic tides of war will challenge both the relationship between the brothers and their relationship to their country.
The following weapons were used in the film Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War:
The Colt M1911A1 is the standard-issue handgun for the South Korean ROK Army officers and NCOs, mostly being the sidearm of Sergeant Huh (Kil-Kang Ahn) and briefly wielded after taking the pistol from ROK militia officers by Private Jin-seok Lee (Bin Won), Sergeant Jin-tae Lee (Dong-gun Jang) and a North Korean prisoner during the mass retreat. Like the U.S. forces in WWII, the Colt was the main sidearm of the American-supplied South Korean forces, both historically and in the film.
Nambu Type 14
A Japanese handgun of the WWII era, the Nambu Type 14 is seen in the hands of a North Korean captain who in one sequence tries to escape the South Korean forces during the October 1950 battle of Pyongyang, and then is subsequently chased down and captured by a glory-hungry Jin-tae Lee. While seemingly out-of-place at first glance among the Soviet-supplied North Koreans, the Japanese military did in fact conscript Koreans into their military during WWII before the Japanese occupation of Korea ended, and this weapon could well be a physical remnant of that period.
M3A1 Grease Gun
The M3A1 Grease Gun is infrequently seen amongst South Korean soldiers in the film, mostly because it was mainly carried by officers and NCOs, notably by Sergeant Huh (Kil-Kang Ahn) during the Battle of Pyongyang, replacing his M1 Garand from earlier in the mine planting. The main usage of the M3A1 Grease Gun is appropriate during the Korean War as it was the standard issue submachine gun after WWII where it replaced the M1928A1 Thompson and M1A1 Thompson submachine gun family, however both saw wide usage together in both the Korean War and later on in the Vietnam War.
Produced by the millions by the Soviets for their "Great Patriotic War" (the Soviet term for WWII), it is no surprise that by WWII's end they still had enough PPSh-41 submachine guns to generously equip their various client states for the opening years of the Cold War. In this film, the PPSh-41 is a common sight amongst North Korean soldiers.
The M1 Carbine is the standard-issue carbine of the ROK Army soldiers, including radio operator Yong-goo. A majority of the South Korean militias also carry M1 Carbines with 30 round magazines while arresting suspected communist sympathizers/collaborators. Like the U.S. forces in WWII, the M1 Carbine in the Korean War fulfilled the same role it played in being issued to second-line troops and those expected to see short-range combat for the American-supplied forces of South Korea. While the M1 Garand was standard issue, the M1 Carbine was generally favoured due to being lightweight and handy for South Korean soldiers, much like for the South Vietnamese later on in the Vietnam War.
The M1 Garand is the standard issue rifle of the South Korean ROK Army soldiers, including brothers Jin-tae Lee (Dong-gun Jang) and Jin-seok Lee (Bin Won). PFC Yong-man (Hyung-jin Gong), Private "Uncle" Yang and several ROK soldiers participating in the Battle of Pyongyang also use M1 Garands rifles. M1 Garands are also fitted with M1 bayonets during close quarters battle with the North Korean DPRK soldiers. South Korean militias also carry M1 Garands when arresting suspected communist sympathizers/collaborators. As was the case in WWII only five years prior, the M1 Garand remained the standard-issue rifle for the American-supplied forces of South Korea as depicted in the film until upgrading to the M16 rifle during the Vietnam War.
M1 Garand Blank Adapters
Mosin Nagant M38 Carbine
A carbine-length variant of the ubiquitous Mosin Nagant rifle, the M38 Carbine is occasionally seen in the film, primarily in the hands of the Chinese troops sent to intervene in North Korea by October 1950.
Mosin Nagant M44 Carbine
Another carbine-length variant of the long-serving Mosin Nagant rifle, the M44 Carbine makes occasional appearances in this film, primarily among the intervening Chinese troops arriving to the war in October 1950.
Mosin Nagant M91/30
The standard-issue Soviet rifle in WWII, the Mosin Nagant M91/30 "reprises" its role in this film as the standard-issue rifle amongst the Soviet-supplied North Korean troops.
A South Korean soldier riding on an American tank in this film is seen with an M1903A4 Springfield sniper rifle, but without a scope.
M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rifle is the standard-issue squad automatic weapon of the ROK Army, notably carried by Private Tae-soo during the mine planting scene. The BAR in film is appropriately firing at the slow controlled automatic fire. At the ending of the revenge montage on the retreating North Koreans for killing and booby trapping South Korean civilians, Sergeant Jin-tae Lee (Dong-gun Jang) takes Tae-soo's BAR after his M1 Garand runs out of ammo to finish off DPNK survivors from the prisoner line up, where it appears to be he is firing it on the fast automatic mode. Like the U.S. forces during WWII, the BAR served as the infantry light machine gun to the American-supplied South Koreans.
Browning M1919A6 machine guns are used by South Korean troops as belt-fed light machine guns in this film, taking a page from their American military suppliers.
On the Allied side, the Browning M2 heavy barrel machine guns are most commonly seen mounted on US Army Sherman tanks.
The rusted remnants of a Browning AN/M2 heavy machine gun are excavated by archeologists and South Korean soldiers at a battle site in 2003.
The standard-issue Soviet light machine gun from WWII and widely issued to Soviet client states in the early years of the Cold War, the Soviet DP-28 makes an appearance in the hands of many North Korean soldiers in this film. These differ from the more common DPM by the lack of a pistol grip, a differently shaped stock, and a bipod that mounts below, not above, the heat jacket of the barrel.
Fake Soviet KPV Heavy Machine Gun
A mockup of an anti-aircraft gun, that resembles a cross between the 14.5mm KPV heavy machine gun and the 12.7mm NSV heavy machine gun is made from a disguised Browning M2HB. M2 machine guns are commonly used to impersonate foreign heavy machine guns like in Rambo III and The Beast of War.
A Soviet-updated version of the venerable water-cooled Maxim heavy machine gun, the Maxim M1910/30 machine gun makes an appearance amidst North Korean forces in this film in its "Sokolov" wheeled mounting. Historically, this machine gun was widely used by Russian/Soviet forces in World Wars One and Two, and also used by their client states in the opening years of the Cold War.
Type 67 Stick Grenade
The Chinese Type 67 stick grenade is used by various North Korean soldiers in the course of the film. It is also commandeered by various South Korean soldiers against their former owners as well.
Mk 2 Hand Grenade
The standard-issue WWII hand grenade used by US forces and their allies in the Cold War, the Mk 2 hand grenade is frequently seen used by Jin-tae Lee and other South Korean soldiers in the film.
M20B1 "Super Bazooka"
The M20B1 "Super Bazooka" rocket launcher is used in this film, seen most prominently during the Pyongyang battle sequence.
M20 Recoilless Rifle
The M20 Recoilless Rifle is seen in the film, but is never fired onscreen.
The M101 Howitzer is seen in the film during scenes depicting them providing artillery fire support.
An American WWII-issue flamethrower, the M2 Flamethrower appears in the film. It is most prominently seen during a sequence in which the brothers' unit clears abandoned communist positions and use the flamethrower to flush out potential enemy hiding spots.
Normally IMFDB does not list vehicles unless they are associated with being gun platforms, either as field modifications or from the factory. So in the case of most films, civilian cars and trucks are not eligible for listing, but many military vehicles are.
BA-64 Armored Car
The BA-64 Armored Car was a Soviet-made vehicle used during WW2, and used by North Korean forces in the film. Its main armament was a 7.62mm DT machine gun with 1260 rounds, mounted inside the top turret.
The F4U Corsair is a turboprop plane commonly seen deployed for close air support in the film, most commonly seen using their 20mm cannons to strafe North Korean lines and entrenched soldiers. A critically-damaged F4U also makes its own "Kamikaze" run at a North Korean gun emplacement in the climactic battle. The World War II Vintage aircraft were used by the US Navy in support of ground operations in Korea until the North Koreans started using the MiG-15 Jet fighters. This effectively ended the F4U Corsair's involvement in the conflict as the US Armed forces switched to their own designs of Jet aircraft.
An American GMC truck can be seen in the film.
An American M38 Jeep, first used in the Korean War.
M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo Tank
A post-WWII version of the M4 Sherman tank with a much more squared turret. The main gun of the version used in the Korean War is the elongated 76mm variant rather than the shorter 75mm guns of WW2.
M8 Greyhound Armored Car
Constantly seen backing up the Sherman tanks during armored attacks.
Dummy stunt rifles
Since there are so much hand-to-hand combats in the film, the filmmakers made lightweight dummy Garands and Mosin Nagant Carbines out of wood and metal parts. In close-up their fake natures are obvious (the fact that the actors swing them around like they weigh nothing is also a clue). The Russian Carbines are odd looking and looks like a hybrid M91/30 and an M38/44 Carbine.
In one scene, Jin-tae Lee (Dong-gun Jang) gives his dejected brother Jin-seok Lee (Bin Won) a Hershey's chocolate bar to cheer him up after their first mission together. However, the candy bar in the scene is the "King-sized version" that Hershey introduced in 1980, nearly thirty years after the Korean War. The anachronistic 'nutritional content listings' on the back of the bar (introduced in the 1990s to combat overconsumption of junk food) are also visible, as is the bar code (which would require the invention of bar code readers, along with their associated "precursor" technologies such as microchips, scanners, and the necessary software programming, to be useful).