The problem with Saving Pvt Ryan is that is is basically a
fraudulent portrayal of the Omaha Beach landings. Every single detail may, for all I know, be authentic for the group portrayed, which I assume was Goranson’s Company C, 2nd Rangers. But that company, with one notable exception, experienced the worst that Omaha Beach
dealt to the assault troops during the hours 0630-0800. Thus you get an extremely biased view of the typical experience of those landing at Omaha. For example, the entire 5th Ranger Battalion (Col Schneider) (6 companies) landed at 0740 with a cost of only 4 wounded. It all depended on where your landing craft touched down (or allowed it to touch down – Col Schneider was supposed to land right where Hanks was , Dog Green, but had the sense to order the craft eastward), and Capt Hanks landed
at the very worst spot on the entire 4 mile long landing area. And troops walked up the slopes, they didn’t crawl up, inch by inch, etc. Nor where they under murderous fire ascending the slopes – very few casualties were taken during those actions. Total casualty rate for the first 14,000 or so troops that landed in the first assault waves (0630-0800)was not much over 10%, far different from what you see portrayed in Ryan. If you want to learn the history of Omaha Beach read the US Army after action reports or go the US Army Historical site. Don’t bother with this movie or Ambrose’s nonsensical book or The Longest Day. They are for made for entertainment purposes and only mention the disasters,etc. Beside, Ambose has been known as a plagiarist and creater of non-existent eyewitnesses.( It’s worth noting that he was hired by Spielberg to “authenticate” the scenes. He’s a very poor historian and not very knowledgeable about WWII. I found tons of errors in his books about D Day and Citizen Soldiers).
Anyone who sees Pvt Ryan comes away with zero knowledge of Operation Neptune at Omaha Beach. After the beach scenes,the rest of the story can be summed up in a single phrase : “Call the 101st on the radio, and tell them to pull Ryan from the line.” That’s all that the Army would have had to do to save Ryan.
Sending a squad thru enemy lines to search a 100 square mile area for a guy named Ryan, while fighting is occurring every 100 yards is about the most preposterous idea for a story I ever heard of. But then, that’s Spielberg. Anything to get the customer excited. No matter how realistic the scenes may be (I wonder about why those Rangers are moving against a prepared position all bunched together – they would never have done that ) the total picture provided the viewer is totally unrealistic. One comes away from the movies knowing practically zilch about Omaha Beach. That’s a damn shame. It was an interesting story, although nowhere near as gory as Spielberg’s fantasy portrait, as is obvious from the casualties taken (approximately 2000 for the 24 hours of D Day by Forces “O” and “B” (60,000 troops)).