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10 Things Hollywood Gets Wrong in War Movies (According to Veterans)

Hollywood has been accused time and again of romanticizing war and combat.

Moreover, the actual real-world veterans have gone so far as to say that almost everything shown in the movies is not how it happens in reality. Let’s bust some myths.

The Military is made up of mostly Average Joes

We hate to be the one to break it to you folks. But being in the military does not suddenly give Veterans superpowers.

Their training does not make them lean mean fighting machines that can breeze through scores of drug dealers and clean the streets of their home towns. That is a very wrong notion.

More than 90 percent of the military is made up of Average Joes. These ‘Regulars’ are in charge of driving trucks, water filtration units, logistics, filing and documentation, and the likes.

Unless you find a drug lord who is scared of the power of documentation, we don’t think the myth of the “Badass Military Man” holds water.

Calling an Artillery or Air Strike that’s too close

It has been so many times in the movies. The protagonist will call an airstrike or a mortar strike on enemy installations even when he him-self is like 30-40 meters away from the area.

Let this be known –a mortar strike itself has a blast radius that extends way beyond the distance of 30-40 meters. Air Strikes and Artillery Strikes have blast radii that are even larger.

Moreover, these strikes have been known to be wildly inaccurate at times. Being the protagonist in a movie might give you fictional immunity to death and injury but if you pulled that stunt in the real world, your limbs will be flying in different directions.

Modern combat tends to happen at longer distances for the same reason. We are not living in the age of Swords and Shields ladies and gentlemen.

Snipers do not push the barrel out of the Window

Snipers are employed by the military personnel for long-range tactics.

They camp in a deserted part of the area where they camouflage themselves, blending them into the surrounding. Then they either wait for the enemy to make a wrong move or use their vantage point to take down scores of enemies preemptively.

The one golden rule of sniping is to NEVER, EVER give out your position unless you want to be a sitting duck. If you stick your gun’s barrel out of the window, you are pretty much done for.

Enemies are not demons

This is something the military-themed movies have been accused of doing for a long time.

In any movie that showcases war one side will always be the band of good guys. The other side will be completely evil.

The real world does not work that way. In the actual world, enemies are the heroes of their sides. Like the military is fighting for what they think is right, the enemy is also trying to protect its ideas and notions, fighting for the right thing.

And coming to barbaric acts, it is not the enemy that could be accused of savagery. Both sides commit war crimes, the difference is the ‘good guys’’ deeds go unnoticed.

Fire Arms are way too silent

Firearms are very loud in combat. A single gunshot, if it happens near the ear of an individual, is enough to shut down the eardrums permanently.

In fact, it is used as a method of torture by many enemy forces.

Gun Shot noises are extremely deafening. They are so loud that right during and after a firefight, you will have temporary deafness and will have trouble speaking and understanding.

The painfully loud noises mean that you cannot talk to each other much during a firefight. Well, guess what the movies have shown us until now?

The Middle East is not just sand and desert storms

The Middle East is not just sand and sand storms. There are indeed paved roads, forests, water, and bustling urban areas in the Middle East.

Hollywood has done a very bad job of portraying the Middle East. The region is not a hot pile of sand. It can also get very cold at times. We are talking about areas like Kuwait and Iraq here.

Not everything is Cover

Oh boy we cannot stress it enough. Soldiers in movies just jump behind anything they find and treat it as cover that can stop 50 Cal bullets!!

That sounds stupidly absurd.

The very point of using high caliber bullets is for the enemy soldiers to get killed even with a cover.

Bullets have enough force to rip through concrete and steel. The movies show our heroes jump behind couches, dumpsters, vehicles, and wooden doors, thinking that is enough to save their skin. It’s not. It is so freaking not.

Infinite Ammo is a myth

In literally every war movie dating from the World War Two movies to the War movies set in the Middle East, we seldom come across a very common problem faced by soldiers in an actual war – running out of ammo.

We do not know if it is the sheer willpower or the stupidity of the writers that keep churning out ammo from the good guy’s barrels.

In a battle, the standard-issue ammunition for a US Veteran in 7 Magazines.

The US Armed Forces generally use MK16 Mod 0, the M4 Carbines, and M16A2 Assault Rifles in battle.

And they are issued 210 bullets. If they intend to carry anything more than that, they have to have a bandoleer or extra space in their backpack.

Hero Culture does not exist

Many times in a military or war movie, there will be a hot mouthed chap who will never follow the rules and always be the lone wolf.

He will speak out against superior officers and try to go against his orders.

He will never be a team player and somehow, magically, he will be the one who is right, ALWAYS!!

Well, that is not how actual military forces work. When orders are given, you cannot protest so informally. Even formal protests are frowned upon without proper reason.

You cannot ask a superior officer to reconsider his choices because you have a ‘gut feeling’. Most of the time, soldiers just shut the hell up and follow the instructions they are given.

And one more thing – Lone Wolves are the first people to get killed in a fire-fight in enemy territory.

Dog Fights and Missile Strikes

This had to be mentioned. Nearly any aerial dogfight we see in the movies is extremely inaccurate.

The way the aircraft move and the way the pilots handle the plane is not how it looks like in the movies. Evasive man-oeuvres are pretty complex and cannot actually be shown in full length in a minute-long scene.

The way anti-missile flares are used also makes it look like they work a hundred percent of the time.

Well, news flash – anti-missile flares work only about half the time. The aircraft relies on its Wing-man to spot IR Guided and Radar guided missiles via the smoke trail.

And if a missile misses its target, then it is as good as done for. The probability of it curving its trajectory and hitting the target aircraft again is almost zero.

Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

You do not wanna know. I could be a psychopath.

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