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Saving Private Ryan - Mis-Matched Tanks
This can be seen at the end of the movie when they are making their last stand on the bridge. Supposedly 2 panzers, and 2 tiger tanks were rumbling into town. This may require some knowledge of WWII tanks, but if you look at the tiger tanks, the top of the tank looks fine, but the botton of the tank (i.e. the treads and suspension) is a Russian T-34 tank. I guess they couldn't find a working Tiger tank for the movie and had to build one from spare parts. That's pretty glaring for an otherwise good movie.
Even more glaring is the fact that the 1st SS Panzer Korps hadn't arrived yet, the 12th SS Panzer Division was NOT operating in the American sector, 503rd Heavy Tank Battalion and II SS Panzer Korps wouldn't be in Normandy until July, and the only SS unit fighting the US Paratroops was 17th SS PGD which had assault guns for armor. THERE WERE NO TIGER I TANKS IN NORMANDY at the time the U.S. forces were fighting in the movie Saving Private Ryan. The 17th SS with its SGIV ended up attacking Northeast against Caretan on June 13. It is somewhat immaterial that the Tiger tanks used in the movie weren't 'actual Tigers'.
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Rated 3.9/10 (121 ratings) Your opinion?
Special Requirements: Any version of movie
Contributed By: Anonymous on 04-03-2000 and Reviewed By: Webmaster
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ymeng2000 writes:
They did used T-34 to build Tiger I. Check out the official site: Also, the same method is used in the upcomming WWII TV series Band of Brothers, a co-production of Dream Work and HBO. (
17 of 20 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
jon2001 writes:
The fake Tigers are one of many mistakes in the film. On the date shown on Capt. Millers headstone (June 13Th.), there were no Tiger tanks fighting American units in Normandy. The only German tanks in the area were French ones captured and re-used by the Nazis.
19 of 29 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
sgtmonroe writes:
Considering there are only 6 Tigers left in the world [2 in Russia, 2 in France, 1 in the UK, and 1 in America] it was probably their only alternative. The one in the UK is now "fully operational" but was not at the time of filming. Initially there was a rumour that the only operational Tiger II "King Tiger" [in France] was going to be used but it appears the French wanted no part in assisting. I guess they could have just used an American tank with a Balkenkreuz painted on it like "Battle Of The Bulge"? In other words I consider the mock-up Tigers to be a commendable effort on the production company's part! And they are not the same one's used in the filming of "Kelly's Heroes" [filmed in Yugoslavia]. And just for the record "Saving Private Ryan" is not the only film ever to use mocked up T-34s as Tiger tanks ["Kelly's Heroes" is one along with "Night Of The Generals" and four or five more films].
10 of 12 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Matty writes:
The Germans did use captured French tanks during the Normandy campaign, the Char de Bataille B1 was the most frequent. It was a heavy tank (31 tonnes) with a 75mm gun in the hull AND a 47mm gun in the turret. However, it was very slow and unreliable... still it was better than nothing, which the Germans were usually fighting with. PS. The Konigstiger (Tiger II), didn't have a higher caliber gun than the Tiger I, it was just a longer barrel. Both were 88mm.
9 of 11 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Luminary writes:
Regarding German use of French tanks - yes, they were absolutely used. First in the Yugoslavian campaign, later in the Soviet Union, and finally, in the second Battle of France (1944). The Germans had in their posession large numbers of French tanks, still useful in territorial divisions in 1944 (where the primary opposition were partisans). I can't say that B.1s were still used, but some S.35s saw service in 1944 against Allied forces. Additionally, the French underground 'liberated' some of these tanks and used them in the battle for Paris against the occupying German forces. French tanks were used up until 1956 by the Israelis, who had up-gunned H.39s in service. The French also used S.35s and D.2s in Tunisia against the Germans in 1943. One is noted as destroying a Pz.IV (G?) by actually managing to shoot it's 47mm shell *up the barrel* of the Pz.IV, destroying it. Also, another 1940 French armored vehicle, the Panhard 178, was used well after the war and resumed production for awhile in France.
6 of 7 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
j2_krazy writes:
even spielberg said i thought know one would notice that it is a slip up
4 of 5 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
666Irish writes:
Contrary to popular belief, the Tigers in Saving Private Ryan were a) Not the ones used in Kelly's Heroes (they were purpose built for the film, 2 runners, and 2 static mockups), and b) not just a T34/85 Chassis with modern running gear and a Tiger Body slapped on top. What is under that skin is a COMPLETE T34/85, turret, and all (look closely, you'll notice that the turret is too far forward). The upper tiger hull is mostly plywood, with a plaster "Zimmeritt" coating over top. The one used in the 'sticky bomb' scene is owned by a friend of mine, and I have been all over that thing inside and out. It is used in WWII re-enacting on the East coast of the U.S. by the 9th SS re-enacting unit. You can find video of it on YouTube. Another point, the 'machine gun' fire from the tank is most certainly added in post production with CGI, since the MG sticking out of the hull is a piece of pipe held in place with bungee cords.
2 of 3 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Sarah writes:
I don't really think many people would notice that, it doesn't really ruin the movie or anything, and i don't think all those, if any, of those tanks were from the real WWII, they just had to make them as best they could, but you do have a good eye!
4 of 8 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Toe Toye writes:
The slip up is correct there were no Tigers facing the US army at that stage of the battle. PS To Ryan, you are incorrect. The Germans did use French equipment and the SS did as well. Here are some samples and they have not been photoshopped nor are they training vehicles. and here is my favorite, a captured French tank used by the Germans in the battle of Normandy which is now in US hands.
0 of 0 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
mdbigdee writes:
The Germans even used many captured World War One French Renault FT-17 tanks.They used about 100 for airfield defense and about 650 for patrolling occupied countries.The Wehrmacht used a handful in fighting around Paris in 1944.
0 of 0 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
stuntdog writes:
Just to get you up to date, the "Tiger" was a T34 chassis with modern day working parts driven by Gary Powell (he drove the tank in Goldeneye) for no other reason other than to advance his ego and credit list. The men who built the tank were more than capable of driving it. Film restrictions applied - politics.
1 of 3 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Tony Gies writes:
My guess is that the date was inaccurate on purpose (they made it 13 because 13 is often considered an unlucky number).
4 of 10 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Smart Guy writes:
According to the official war diary, the 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte" had in fact 12 Tiger I's which accounted for one third of the Tiger force in the Normandy area at the time of the invasion! Also, the Panzer Lehr Division made famous by tank ace Michael Wittman who defened the Villers-Bocage had 6 Tigers (only 4 operational) in the Normandy area at the time of the attack.
7 of 17 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
ryan writes:
I was not aware that the Germans at any time during the war used French tanks. Any French tanks that would have still been around at the time would have been at least four years old, some even older due to the fact that production of all French fighting equipment would have ended when the germans took over the country. Any French tanks would have been so outdated by that time that they would have been almost useless in combat. There was in fact a panzer division in Normandy, one which Hitler had transfered by rail to Pas de Cali when the invasion of Normandy began because he believed that the real invasion was yet to come and Normandy was an attempt to draw the Germans from their other defenses. The Tiger was in fact in service, the Tiger 1 fighting in Africa under Rommel, but "The Tiger II was developed as a replacement for the Tiger I heavy tank. It used a larger, more-powerful 8.8cm gun. Sloped armor was also integrated into the design. Numerous examples were encountered by the Allies in Normandy."( So what if they were not real tanks..they it was a really great movie anyways, and no one really notices those small mistakes anyways.
6 of 15 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Park cop writes:
They used the same tanks as in the movie Kelly's Heroes. they had too there aren't that many operational tiger tanks around anymore. The only onr that I can think of is in England in the Royal Museam.
5 of 15 found this helpful. Did you? Yes

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