“The Dawns Here Are Quiet”

I finished watching the Russian film The Dawns Here Are Quiet last night. It is offered as a four-part series on Amazon Prime Video. It is a remake of the Soviet era film from 1972 which was an Academy Award nominee. It is based upon the book of the same name by Boris Vasilyev.

The setting of the film is an anti-aircraft battery set behind the lines in Russian Karelia during WWII aka the Great Patriotic War. The unit is commanded by Sergeant Fedot Vaskov who was wounded during the Winter War. His original platoon of men is replaced due to fights caused by drinking and womanizing. Vaskov asks for “teetotalers” who aren’t going to womanize. Neither he nor the women in the village are very happy with the replacements. That is because Vaskov gets two squads of women soldiers.

IMDB has this synopsis of the film.

Russia, May 1942. Well behind friendly lines a veteran sergeant commands a small outpost, consisting of two anti-aircraft guns. His men are a rowdy, undisciplined bunch and after one incident too many they are taken off his hands. To his surprise, the replacements are women. Soon after, the Germans send a team of crack saboteurs into the area to blow up a vital railway link. The only thing standing between them and completing their mission is the sergeant and his small inexperienced team.

The bulk of the film deals with how Vaskov and five selected women soldiers track and combat the Germans. Each of the women has her own backstory as shown with flashbacks. These range from being exiled to Siberia to being widowed by the war. The flashbacks, rather than being a distraction, just add to the whole story.

In addition to being available on Prime Video, I did find all four parts of the film on YouTube. Here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

The film is in Russian with English subtitles. I usually pass on such movies. This time I’m glad I didn’t.

Breaker Morant Trio Get Service Medals

One of my favorite movies from the 1980s was Breaker Morant starring Edward Woodward as Lt. Harry “Breaker” Morant. The movie, set during the Boer War in South Africa, is told from an Australian perspective. Morant and his fellow Bushveldt Carbineers were engaged in brutal unconventional battle with the Boers where the niceties of civilized combat were discarded. Morant and fellow lieutenants Peter Handcock and George Witton were accused of war crimes for the shooting of Boer prisoners in reprisal for the killing of their commander Capt. Percy Hunt.

Morant, Handcock, and Witton were eventually arrested and tried for the murders of the Boer prisoners. Morant and Handcock were sentenced to death and executive while Witton was given life imprisonment. There is the famous scene in the movie in which Morant is asked under what rule he shot the prisoners.

The execution of Morant and Handcock was considered an injustice in Australia by many. This was to lead the Australian government to demand that no Australians be court-martialed by the British military during WW1.

On November 8th, it was announced that Morant, Handcock, and Witton would be posthumously awarded the service medals to which they were entitled. It only came 120 years after the fact and was due in large part to the efforts of retired military attorney James Unkles.

I am pleased to announce on behalf of the descendants of Morant, Handcock and Witton, medallic recognition that they rendered loyal and exemplary service to the Colonial Contingents during the Boer War.

Australian and British authorities no longer issue medals for service in the Boer War – however replica medals can be sourced for descendants once details of service are confirmed.

There is no legal impediment to such medals being issued to the descendants of these men.

A presentation was made to Brian Turley as a descendant of Lt. Witton. It recognized his service with the 4th Victorian Imperial Bushmen. Presentations will be made to descendants of Morant and Handcock at a later date.

To read more about the case, see this issue of Reconnaisance: The Newsletter of the Military History Society of NSW. It starts on page 7.


On this day 36 years ago, the very first PG-13 movie was released. It was Red Dawn.

I still remember hearing from a friend that he was told the premise was all wrong. The Red Army and the Cubans would have flown into Atlanta on Boeing 747s with Delta markings. The guy who told him this was a survivalist gun store owner who thought they’d make good headway until they hit the mountains of North Georgia and Western NC where, in his mind, there were a ton of survivalists. It still makes a good story.

I Wouldn’t Be Bragging About This

I got an email a day or so ago from the people that run Guns & Ammo magazine and their website. They seem to be thrilled that their website gets a cameo in the movie Terminator Genisys.

At about the 0:25 mark, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator says he read about a weapon at gunsandammo.com.

While he was governor of California, Mr. Schwarzenegger signed the unworkable micro-stamping bill into law as well as supported other gun control. Even Guns & Ammo themselves back in 2012 called Arnold one of Hollywood’s surprising anti-gun celebrities.

It is like the people at G&A have no memory about Schwarzenegger’s positions or even what they themselves said about him.

I don’t know if Elmer Keith or Jeff Cooper are rolling in their graves but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.

The German – A Short Film

The Complementary Spouse’s uncle sent me this yesterday. Given that the Oscars are tonight, I thought the timing was appropriate.

It is a short film featuring aerial combat between an RAF Spitfire and a German ME-109 during WWII. What makes this film so unique is the surprise ending. That and the attention to detail including the Webley revolver and the SMLE rifles.

The short film is approximately 10 minutes long. If you want to know more about the movie and how it was made go here.

The German from Nick Ryan on Vimeo.

Who Is John Galt?

Myths about this movie.

To help dispel some common myths floating around about the new Atlas Shrugged movie:

* It will not star Angelina Jole. She was in serious discussions at one point a few years ago, but those plans fell through. Nor will it star Brad Pitt, who was also rumored to be interested. The movie stars Taylor Schilling (as Dagny Taggart) and Grant Bowler (as Hank Rearden).
* It will be neither a feature film nor a mini-series. There was some talk of a mini-series many years ago, but none of the networks signed on for it. The current production is instead a trilogy, corresponding to the three parts of the Atlas Shrugged novel. And it will be released in movie theaters, rather than direct to television.
* The budget is not $5 million. That figure has been cited widely, especially by those disparaging the movie. The final production budget is closer to $10 million, and the full budget is likely to be $25 million by the time the movie is released.
* Vadim Perelman is not the director. He was involved in plans for the movie a few years ago, but they didn’t pan out. The director is Paul Johansson.
* “Hollywood” won’t have a chance to ruin it. Many people have complained that Hollywood will inevitably water down Ayn Rand’s themes, but actually there were no major studios involved. The first part of the trilogy was financed out of John Aglialoro’s pocket. The pre-production, shooting, and post processes were not supervised by a studio representative the same way other movies are.

We’ll continue adding (and correcting) myths on this page as we come across them. If you spot any other myths that need to be dispelled, feel free to mention them in the comments below.