The sniper rifle used in the church bell tower is a Russian made Mosin Nagant 91/30 with a 3.5X power side mounted telescope, which is correct for the rifle and time period. However, the rifle fires Russian ammunition, in a caliber unique to the Russian military, which would not have been available to U.S. soldiers in WWII. The 91/30 sniper rifles were however imported in great quantity after World War II by many U.S. importers, and would have been readily available to serve as props in movie making.
New England Firearms and Remington Arms, both U.S. companies, fulfilled U.S. contracts to produce approximately 2.8 Million 91/30 rifles after WWI. Both Remington and Winchester produced ammunition for these rifles. While it is highly unlikely that a U.S. soldier would use a 91/30, it was possible. However, no U.S. company made any PU scopes. The acquisition of some of these rifles was possible by U.S. troops in the ETO at the time.
Following the retreat from the barn / death of the German Colonel, while the men are resting alongside the convoy, Stuart Margolin's jeep is followed by a Willys M-38 Jeep which wasn't produced until 1950.
At 30:37 while Kelly is talking Crapgame into his gold heist scheme, a jet aircraft can be heard flying low overhead. Since the only operational jets late in the war were German ME262s, it is unlikely that one would be flying low, miles behind enemy lines.
Oddball mentions that his tanks are equipped with the 'regular 76mm' gun.
Most Sherman tanks in September 1944 would be fitted with the standard 75mm gun, and the 76mm was still relatively new. They likely would not be referred to as 'standard'. Additionally, the Shermans in the film look more like the 75mm Shermans than the US 76mm variants. (Although this was due to the fact that the M4A3E4 Shermans used in the film were 75mm versions converted to 76mm post-war).
when Kelly is interrogating the German Colonel at the beginning of the movie, he gets a bottle of brandy from Little Joe, it is square with a short neck. He walks around the Jeep and places the bottle down on a table and it has become round with a longer neck.
When Kelly, Big Joe, Oddball, and the German Tank Commander enter through the blown up bank door, the other soldiers pour in from adjoining rooms. The front door was supposedly the only entrance into the bank and one of the reasons for enlisting the help of the German Tank Commander.
Early in the film, Kelly is sitting by the side of the road in a jeep telling Big Joe of his plans to get the gold. In the background, a column of German POWs files past. The camera switches to a reverse angle and instead of German POWs in the background we now see a band of refugees.
When Kelly pulls back the canvas to reveal the boxes of gold in the bank, a large shard of glass lands on top of one of the boxes. A moment later he lifts the box up in order to drop it, but the shard is gone.
When Kelly is exiting his jeep to go visit Mulligan he brings along a bottle of whiskey. Later when he goes to visit Crapgame he is given a bottle of whiskey and is seen taking it with him after he leaves. This indicates the Mulligan scene was originally supposed to be placed after the Crapgame scene but was switched for some reason.
When the soldiers are leaving the mine field, one is carrying a .30 Cal machine gun on his shoulder. The end of the barrel is smooth and has a very small hole, indicating it is a Blank Firing Adaptor, used to fire blank rounds. A minute later, Don Rickles exits the mine field, also carrying a .30 Cal. The barrel bushing in this case has a much larger hole and a vertical slot used for disassembling the weapon. This would be the correct bushing for firing live ammo.
The 50cal MG on the half-track changes throughout the film. It's shown at some points to have a perforated barrel jacket (like on an M1919A4 30Cal), and then at other times seen to have a normal barrel
When Kelly first drives his jeep into the compound to meet Crapgame, the camera is pointing to the back of the jeep as it enters. At that point the machine gun mounted at the back is pointed roughly 45 degrees up. In the next shot, the camera is pointing at the front of the jeep and the machine gun is only pointing maybe 20 degrees up.
There were 3 Tiger tanks in the town. Oddball shot the first one in the square, and the 2nd one in an alley. The 3rd one is shown driving out of the square and as it passes the 1st tank explodes. Later, Oddball buys the remaining operational Tiger and drives away. When Kelly and the squad are leaving the bank with the gold, they pass the 1st tank which is now undamaged with several French townspeople on it celebrating.
Early in the film, Kelly is sitting by the side of the road in a jeep telling Big Joe of his plans to get the gold. In the background, a column of German POWs files past. The camera switches to a reverse angle and instead of German POWs in the background we now see a band of refugees - but who is the guy at the back of Kelly's Jeep wearing a striped button down and tee shirt?
The gold bars in the film appear to be standard gold bullion, each weighing approximately 27.28 pounds. At the 1944 price of $34 per ounce, 14000 gold bars would have a value of over $207 million, not the estimated $16 million in the film.
When the Tiger is shooting up the city at the end there is a clear gap in time between the sound of the cannon and the actual explosion. At that distance of next to nothing it would have been almost simultaneous.
The truck being used to carry the gold could not have possibly carried all the gold. When you take out Odd Ball's and the German's share of the gold: 1/14 of the total = 14,000 bars / 14 = 1000 bars each. That leaves 12,000 bars. With the standard weight of gold bars being ~25 pounds each that would mean there is ~300,000 pounds of gold, or ~150 tons. That is a lot more than the truck they were loading the gold onto could carry. That amount of gold would require nearly four modern tractor trailers to carry.
Collars and collar patches of Waffen SS Panzer troops officer's uniforms were piped with silver braid as is correctly shown for two of the Germans. The sergeant commanding the tank at the end however is incorrectly shown as having white piping. Only German Army Panzer troops ever had full piping for all ranks and this was normally rose pink (the arm-of-service colour for the panzer-troops). It could also be gold (armoured cavalry) or black/white stripes (panzer pioneers), but never white. And only collar patches were piped after 1943 (officially). Some Waffen-SS panzer troops wore pink piped collar patches late in the war to be closer to the army style, but SS panzer uniforms never had the full pink piping of the early war army ones.
When General Colt asks his aide for the aerial photographs, his aide is wearing three stars on his lapel insignia. Since General Colt is a Major General his aide should be wearing lapels with two stars on each insignia.
All Allied aircraft were painted with distinctive black & white stripes on the belly and wings, as from D-Day (6 June 1944) onward. This is so ground forces and eventually Allied anti-aircraft batteries could distinguish between Allied and German aircraft. Basically anything without the stripes was attacked heavily. The supposed USAAC aircraft that attack Kelly's force have no invasion stripes.
The movie features German Tiger tanks that each carry a hull machine gun which is revealed to be the MG 42. In reality though, the majority of German Tanks during the war used the older MG 34 due to it's more effective barrel change system. In the older 34 system the barrel was replaced by disconnecting the rear part of the weapon and pulling the barrel straight out towards the shooter. In the newer 42 system the system was more complex and the barrel was removed through the right side of the weapon which made it more difficult to operate in the closed confinement of a tank which had limited space on the right side.
When the SS tank commander replies to his superior, he addresses him as "Sturmbahnfuhrer" which is the equivalent of a Major, however the actual rank that is worn is that of a Hauptsturmfuhrer, which is a Captain.
When the German column approaches the ambush at the mine field, the convoy commander is riding in the front seat of the command car. German officers always rode in the back seat of their vehicles, and the front seat was only used by the lowest ranking officer if the car was full.
When Kelly approaches Crapgame about the gold and talks about
letting Crapgame in on the "Action" you can see a wood crate marked M26A2
lying upside down behind his left shoulder right next to the Dewars White
Label Scotch. The M26A2 is a fragmentation grenade that was developed for
the Korean War and did not enter service until 1952. It differed from the
previous Mk 2 fragmentation grenade as it was smooth and did not have the
grooves in the cast iron and was nicknamed the "lemon grade.
The sniper rifle used by Pvt Gutowski in the bell tower is a Moisin Nagant 91/30, with the correct PU scope. During several scenes, the view is featured through the scope, showing a graduated full crosshair reticle. PU scopes actually featured a heavy, three-post reticle.
The American General Colt (Carroll O'Connor) shows a photograph of his "opposite number" in the German Army: General Bogel, commander of the "Second German Armoured Division".
In reality that 2nd Panzer Division was commanded by "Generalleutnant"(Lieutenant General) Heinrich Freiherr Von Lüttwitz during the time line of the movie.
The manpack radio used by Cowboy in the tower is a BC-1000, which is an FM (frequency modulated) set. Down at the tank Kelly uses a BC-611, which is an AM (amplitude modulated) set. The two types operate with completely different modes and frequencies and could not talk to each other. Comms at the bridge scene were accurate, employing the two BC-1000 manpacks.
Assuming they *could* fit all that gold onto one truck, they wouldn't have made it far, especially in that particular truck. Patrolling Allied aircraft (mistaking them for Germans) would've spotted and attacked them by nightfall.
During the final battle scene where a German tank fires a round at Crapgame, Cowboy and Pvt. Willard, the round knocks debris from an archway as they flee from the tank. Crapgame is knocked unconscious to the ground. The very next scene shows Cowboy and Willard stopping, then turning around to retrieve Crapgame. Pvt. Willard momentarily backs up against what is supposed to be a brick and mortar wall and the wall ripples, obviously constructed of fabric with material painted over it.
125 boxes of gold times $8,400 for each box equals $1,050,000 (2014 money - $13,897,916.67), which is not the $10,500,000 mentioned in the film by Fisher who is verifying Crapgame's calculations. This would give each of them a share worth $87,500 (2014 money - $1,158,159.72) each, not $875,000 as calculated by Fisher.
When the German Colonel is killed by machine gun fire from the Tiger tank, the flame from the machine gun is clearly pointed to the left (of the screen) as opposed to the target's (the Colonel) actual position which is at the right of the screen.
After the gold is found in one of the cases in the bank, the men start moving the rest of the boxes but in doing so, toss them around and handle them as if they were light in weight. Filled with gold, they would not have been able to handle them the way the did.
When Kelly and the guys ambush the German patrol after leaving the minefield, A grenade is thrown into a group of enemy soldiers firing from across the road. We then see the grenade land, and finally detonate. The problem is that when the grenade explodes, we see the plume of smoke and debris, but we also see that the "can" is dislodged from the ground and visible. When the pyrotechnical experts set a charge for a movie set, it is loaded into a metal or thick cardboard canister and buried just below the surface, and the location carefully marked for the benefit of the actors safety. This separates the explosive compounds from ground moisture and errant spark or flame from filming any action scenes. In this case, the detonation of the charge lifted the can partially out of the ground and into camera range.