Nick tells a crazy story about the ongoing battle between pigs and snakes during his time in boot camp in the swamps of Louisiana.
My grandfather loved talking about his techniques for firing his BAR in WW2. He took immense pride in devising his own style for this enormous gun, given that he was such a tiny guy, especially back in 1944. He weighed only 116 lbs. at the time, and the Browning Automatic Rifle weighed approximately 15 lbs. and he also had to lug 20 lbs. of ammunition.
In this deleted scene from the documentary, he shares his unique approach to firing just a single round from the BAR.
The National Archives are an amazing resource. Hundreds of hours of footage are available to citizens of the US on every subject imaginable. For The 95th, I spent three days sifting thru World War II combat footage of the 95th Infantry and other units that were in the Metz, France area and just over the border in Germany near Saarlautern.
For history buffs, I would definitely recommend a visit to the National Archives outside of Washington DC. You will be undoubtedly amazed.
Paul’s recollection of the details of combat he was involved with over 55 years ago is astounding. He remembers the names of everyone in his platoon, as well as when and where soldiers were killed in action.
As I write this, Paul and other 95ers are on a trip similar to the one featured in the documentary, this time honoring the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Metz, France from Nazi occupation by the 95th Infantry Division. Near the end of this clip, Paul makes a simple statement regarding “the waste and the potential of people” lost during the war that I find particularly poignant and powerful, especially when you look at all the youthful faces in the Company A photo he refers to, and know that many of those young men sacrificed their lives shortly after the photo was taken.
When my grandfather would get fired up, he would tell it exactly as he saw it.
Who am I kidding? He ALWAYS told it exactly as he saw it.
While he would have fought to the death for the country he so dearly loved, political leaders infuriated him with their rhetoric and promises. He was a hard working man with an 8th grade education from the south side of Chicago, and everything he ever had, he earned.
In this excerpt from one of The 95th DVD extras, Nick discusses the draft and the effect it had on families and the soldiers, and how he kept his mind clear from the horrors of war upon his return to the states: dancin’ and cattin’!
Nick is such a character. I love the way he tells a story, how he conveys his thoughts, the language he uses. Was always a pleasure to talk with him and he never ceased to make us laugh.
In this scene from the documentary, Nick expounds upon his love for chasing the ladies, and how, during the war, it was a necessary distraction to retain his sanity during the most horrific of circumstances.
Oh, and his wife Harriet’s delivery of a lemonade could not have been timed more perfectly during the discussion on “fraternizing”.
World War II made General George Patton a legend, but ask those on the front lines who won the war, and they will not hesitate to say “the foot soldier”. The opinions about Patton within the ranks of the 95th are varied. Some revered the man, like Steve, while others questioned his tactics and motives, as Chuck relays in his story about Patton’s nickname: “Blood and Guts”.
Part 1 of our visual tour through historic Metz, France. Many of these images are used throughout the documentary, but some did not make the final cut, so we wanted to give you a chance to see them on the website.
Shot on 35mm film and Super 8mm film. The Super 8 shots are my favorites. The camera and the film stock really created haunting images, pale blue and white hues. The snowfall is exceptionally gorgeous…
This is the official trailer.
I love the shot of my Grandpa Steve in front of a fort he assaulted over 60 years ago, turning to the camera, looking like a badass in his jean jacket and hat. He was 80 at the time and still looked like he could tear the thing down with his bare hands if he set his mind to it. I miss him.
The first piece of music is courtesy of Joseph Dittman of Blind Anabaptist Blues, an excellent and unique band out of the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.
- The 95th Trailer
- Tour of Metz: Part 1
- Scene: Patton and The Foot Soldiers
- Scene: Nick on fraternizing
- DVD Extra: Nick, “Part of life we didn’t count on…”
- DVD Extra: Steve, “You don’t get anything for nothing…”
- DVD Extra: Paul, “People did things that they wouldn’t have done with more experience…”
- DVD Extra: Archival Footage, US troops moving thru destroyed village
- Steve: How to fire a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)
- VIDEO: Pigs vs. the snakes