INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS The 1st regiment of paratroopers
was in Alsace since December the 8th and with every passing day,
this hell was darkening more and more. COLMAR Damn fine scenery. In other circumstances
one could have appreciated the ride. Hey, Corporal, what would you think? In civilian with just a few buddies,
no rifle, no hidden Germans, that’ll be worth something, no? This would be a neat idea. Hey, Corporal, what would you think? This would be a neat idea, wouldn’t it? Corporal Henaq wasn’t the only one
starting to lose it. Considering what we’d just gone through
in the Vosges, and now here, in Alsace, we were all pretty beat up. After all these months of training, we jumped right into what was a real war. We all had been eager to go into action after all the campaigns we missed. But now, we had to accept the obvious. To see your friends shredded by mortars, limbs and flesh scattered,
bodies mutilated by bullets… lives brutally ended. When striding through French territory, we had this feeling
that most wouldn’t come back. But right this moment,
we knew it to be the truth. In the Vosges, the regiment
had already lost 40% of its manpower and the slaughter continued here. The taskforce was completed
as it went with volunteers and new recruits
from Interior French Force. For most of them,
it was their first contact with fight. Fucking hell. When is it gonna stop? These come directly from the cradle.
You need rookies to make war. On the contrary, you need wars to make rookies. The more this fucking war will last, -the younger they’ll get.
-They won’t stay young too long. The older ones wondered
how many new faces would pass
before the end of this nightmare. But most importantly,
we all wondered when our turn would come. Hi, my name is Cédric. I don’t wanna know your name. You just call me Corporal. And I’ll call you… I won’t call you. It’ll be better. So if I ever have
to pick pieces of your flesh up… I won’t have a name for them. I prefer that. Go see chief Lieutenant Morel
over there. He’ll take care of you. Come on. No need to be so harsh with them. They volunteered like we did
when we joined, François. It’s not against them. I just don’t wanna get to know them
and watch them die right then. These kids aren’t even trained. You ask your big boss
up there to watch over them. He’s not been too successful
these past few weeks. So here’s his chance to prove his worth. And while you’re at it, you can ask him
to make it a little warmer here. You would not be able to warm up
yourself with six girls from the village. Respect, chaplain, but flesh is weak. Except for our old Carlo who wouldn’t get by without us. Mind it, guys, we’ll end up
offending our man of faith. It’s all that’s happening
around here that should offend him. I couldn’t agree more. Fucking hell, we waited for that moment… finally come to fight… and free our country. But today, nothing makes sense any more. I fuck this fucking war. Is it me or are the Yankees
over there making fools of us? Damn, you’re right. Who the fuck do they think they are? -I’ll break their faces.
-Don’t be stupid, Carlo. These guys traveled
thousands of kilometers to help us, so they have all the rights in my mind. Don’t forget this thing…
For them we still represent -the army that capitulated facing Hitler.
-I piss on them, and so do all our friends
who aren’t here anymore. We surrender to no one. Do we have to get killed
to prove them something? Give it up, Carlo.
Don’t start pulling shit. We’re here to kill some krauts,
nothing more to it. Corporal, we’re short of officers. This is your home, so I’m gonna need
your experience of this country. Come with me, there’s a meeting in HQ
with the guys from the 254th US infantry. Lieutenant, what are we expecting? What kind of question is that?
Don’t expect a cake party. -We’re gonna do our job, Baillard.
-Yes, sir. Don’t get used to the warmth, guys,
this might not last. Why did the lieutenant tell Henaq
this was his home? What, he never told you? He’s from Alsace. Well, partly I believe. Never heard him talk about it. You know Henaq,
he’s never been the one to talk. I’m pretty sure I heard him
talk about it once or twice when he was training us with the 82nd. This must be weird for him
to end up here. I’d have given everything
to be in Normandy. Later I could tell my kids
that I was there to free my land. You’ll be happy enough
if you get a “later” to tell anything. This guy gives me the creeps. You make me laugh, guys, it sounds
like you still have faith in something. Personally I resigned myself to it, I’m gonna do what I was trained for
but I believe we’re just survivors. -I think Merignac got it.
-Your bullshit pisses me off. So, guys, do you have
a jump set up today? Settle down, Jenkins, no need to push it. They say only paratroopers and bird shit
fall from the sky. How long are we going to hear this? -We’re in the same team.
-Nothing too mean here, Lieutenant, we like jokes, it’s in our nature. But if you keep on turning up
to fields of operations by trucks, you might wanna think
about changing the paint on your helmet. With all due respect
for your rank, Lieutenant… -go fuck yourself.
-Calm down, Henaq. -Cover!
-Cover! Mortar! They’re over there! Fuck! Mortar! Medic! -Medic!
-Fuck! I’m gonna die! Medic! Please, don’t let me die here! Mayer! what are you doing?
Don’t stay out in the open! The kid doesn’t need you,
he needs a medic. Medic! Get away! -Is it okay?
-Do you see what I see? This guy is the craziest of us all. In the name of the father,
the son and the holy spirit, as it was in the beginning is now
and ever shall be, world without end. No more than a mortar division. A message from our German friends saying don’t bother, guys, we’re here
and we’re waiting for you. -What should we do, Lieutenant?
-Send them our answer. We’re also here and we’re gonna kick
your ass. Go fetch me Jona and Felder. Lieutenant, my men can move on
the right side. I spotted a trail coming from the road. It should lead us to
the German position by the opposite flank. Alright. Ok, there they are. A mortar… I see only one MG but I’m not sure. -Should we dash ahead?
-No, we’ll follow Morel’s orders. We wait for the Americans to open fire. Baillard, Martin, Merignac, circle round this copse
and cover to the right, 50 meters back to prevent any retreat. You’ll open fire at the American signal.
Don’t leave the position. Go! Jona, Felder, take this position
over there on your left. As soon as we open fire, throw grenades,
and you move in semi-circles. Keep moving as much as possible. -Lieutenant, the guys are in position.
-Here we go. Come on. Are you hit? Go! Grenade! Carlo! Carlo! Wake up! Carlo! Calm! Calm down! It’s me! It’s Moretti!
You’re not bleeding? It’s okay. We must go,
we don’t have time! Go, get up! Get up, fuck! Take your gun! Come on! -Come with me!
-Wait! Are you sure about that? We’ll do what we have to.
No time to think about it. Come with me! No kill! Take me prisoner. Don’t kill me. Prisoner. -Take me prisoner.
-Shut up! -Take me prisoner.
-Shut up! -I tell you to shut up!
-Don’t shoot! Please. Shut your mouth, you motherfucker! -No, don’t shoot!
-Don’t kill me. What’s your problem, Corporal?
Too sensitive? A prisoner can prove
more talkative than a cadaver… Lieutenant. We took another one! Well done, boys. Are you ok, Corporal? See you later. You were with him, don’t tell me
his reactions are normal. Will you stop fixating on that? See Moretti, see us. Fixating? He’s not the same anymore. Go on, say it! You mean to say
he’s gone crazy, cuckoo? Sorry, I won’t go down that path with you. The real madmen are
on the other side I’d have you remember. Fuck. -What’s with the corporal?
-Nothing. He’s tired like the rest of us. -It’s not just that and you know it.
-So what then? We just joined the platoon
and he doesn’t seem to like us. I know we aren’t as experienced
as you in battle but… we’re all in it for the same cause. Don’t worry, kid. -He knows that.
-You’re just wasting your time anyway. Don’t bother looking for explanations. Veterans or rookies,
just stop thinking so much. If you don’t sweat fear, it’s them
on the other that will get the creeps. That’s what you do, isn’t it?
Because I swear to God sometimes, you give me the creeps. Maybe that’s my intention. Fuck, I can’t make anything of him. -Seems like I’m looking at a machine.
-I told you, -it’s him who is right.
-What’s wrong with you? You’re all delirious. You’re the replacements
for all those who fell in The Vosges. It’s been a damn shithole there. Henaq lost two of his best friends
on the same day. And one of them agonized in his arms for over an hour, innards out. He needs some time. And you’re wondering why he’s shaken up?
Shit, what’s wrong with you? -I’m telling you, it’s not just that.
-Shut your hole for a bit! As you know, Jebsheim represents
an important spur in the German defences. It’s one of the key villages
to split the opposing front on each side
of the Colmar communal forest. It’s a key element to reconquer Strasbourg and that won’t give
any other movement choice to the enemy. Most of the American forces
are concentrated in the Ardennes, but a few divisions are still by our side. And we thank them for that. The American 254th took back
the mill near the wood. So our mission is to conquer the woods to try and establish a base camp
for the final attack on the village. Your perimeter must become impassable. You’ll have to hold your positions. And repel on one side the Germans
who defend the village, and on the other side, avoid a breakthrough from the north
from troops the enemy will surely deploy. The wood ought to be occupied
north and south by our companies. Meanwhile the American 254th will open
though the limits of the village. Except for Lieutenant Shaffer’s section
who will join with our companies and establish a reconnaissance position,
outposting northwest of the woods. We’ll also have the support
of the shock troops and legionnaires of the 3rd march
battalion of the foreign legion for the taking of the village. As you know, gentlemen, Jebsheim is as important to us as to
our enemy that will not let it go easily. We will sustain losses… but I believe in you. And I know you won’t fail your duty. -Good luck, Lieutenant.
-Likewise. From what we know, there are German
positions at the limits of the wood, mostly mortars and MGs. We’ll establish firing positions and move quickly by squads of four
to the defence positions that we’ll have to hold at any price. -And how many Germans will we be facing?
-No idea. No idea, right. -This is going to be one hell of a party.
-We’ll do our job. -And we’ll do it good.
-A party? Lieutenant, we see
that you live in a lost town like Carmel. In New York, we have
another conception of the party. New York, right. Wonderful. Henaq, regroup our company, I’ll
take care of the rest of the battalion. The regiment is to be operational
in 40 minutes. Yes, sir. Corporal, wait. We’ll have to boost our soldiers’ morale. We’ve known some difficult moments
since The Vosges. I just have the mean impression
that we’re walking into hell. You got one thing wrong, Lieutenant. We’ve been in hell for two months already. Why doesn’t everyone have coats? It’s crazy but that’s how it is.
It’s freezing, we’re soaked and we don’t even have what we need
to protect half of the regiment. Why are you complaining? It’s true, why would we complain? We’re here, so hardy boys.
We aren’t so bad. For now, Carlo. For now. But we’re going into a wood. And after that, in a village. And in this wood and this village… There are Germans. With artillery and guns. And these Germans want only one thing, to make clean holes in our carcasses. Thanks, Corporal,
I feel really reassured now. He’s just clear-headed, -I started to understand that.
-I’m not looking for your approval. What are you doing, Henaq? The moments we went through might
make you forget what we’re here for, what we trained for for months? No, I forgot nothing,
chaplain, believe me. And we’ll do what we have to
to kick krauts’ butts. -Right, guys?
-You betcha, Corporal, we’ll make them run so fast, even the fucking squirrels
will believe it was a magic trick. That’s all I ask. For you to keep the faith. Hey. You asked me what am I doing, but you and your god,
what would you have me do? I’m trying to understand
what fate the almighty has for us. The bible talks of blood and death. But to be frank, what’s happening here
isn’t what I was expecting. Believe it or not, sometimes,
I’m as lost as you. You know what I was talking about. Well no. I don’t know. Or maybe yes. You’d like for me to appear faultless
in front of the boys? For me to be a model,
by behaving like a fearless hero, who would guide everyone,
keeping them safe and sound? But here’s the thing, I’m just a simple corporal. And it’s not for me to guide them.
Most importantly, I’m nothing of a hero. I just tried not to get killed. And there’s a lot of things I saw
or did I’m not really proud of. Real heroes are the ones left behind, who are now in the ground. Fleurot and Phillibert, they were heroes. They died there. So… -don’t ask the impossible.
-I know they were your friends and I’m sure
they’re resting in peace now. But there’s something else I’m sure of. If it was one of them,
standing in front of me, in your stead, they’d say the same thing about you. Later during the day of January the 25th, we had gone past the Jebsheim mill and had gone deep into
the woods to establish positions. We knew that German elements could still
be active everywhere outside the village. So we were on our guard. Even with the alternating
icy rain and painful snow beginning to penetrate our flesh. Shit, the guys are talking fire.
What do we do? We have a scouting mission
and we’ll do just that, keep on digging. Do what you have to do
to finish your holes before dark. And expect a night in hell. We can’t take that away from you,
no one beats you at keeping our hearts up. You’re calling that
keeping our hearts up? He’s saying that for now, they are getting
their asses kicked, and we’re next. Damn bloody scouting mission! Henaq, forward movement!
Baillard, cover shot! Moretti, Merignac, come with me! Get it together, you’re gonna get killed. Corporal, fire! Halt to fire! Yeah! You bunch of bastards!
We kicked your asses! I’m getting them a cigar! Don’t cheer too much, Carlo. That was only the first obstacle
and certainly not the worst. Maybe okay, but we did kick their asses. So what… In the name of the father,
the son, the holy spirit, as it was in the beginning. Corporal, he’s dead. Henaq, what’s gotten into you? You see it as I do, he’s dead. No more danger. Moretti, how are you doing? I’m not quite sure. -But don’t worry for me, chaplain.
-On the contrary, I’m here to calm down your fears. I’m just… tired. Let me make things clear. I was not expecting a pleasant moment. But all the training in the world… could not have prepared us for this. To lose friends… every day. Thinking that the next one… could be me. Us. Or us. I feel I am not myself anymore. -My hands are shivering.
-That’s only human. We spend our lives preparing for death… but when it hits in such a manner,
it’s not easy to accept it. Don’t be afraid of your fears, they will help you. And you’re not alone in this hardship. I hope you’re right. And that from up above, he glances on us. Thank you, chaplain. I’ll do what must be done. I was trained for that purpose. It will be fine, courage. You’re doing it wrong. At that pace your hole will be dug out
when the war will already be finished. This is shit,
I’m gonna leave this hole as it is. Stop your bullshit. This hole is all that counts
right now for you. It’s your personal bunker, your life line, -so don’t neglect it.
-It’s just a fucking hole! It’s your fucking hole, and it’s going to be your only friend
against the cold and the enemy’s mortars. So don’t screw with it. A true virgin in his girl’s muff. Why do you get all worked up on it?
Keep it cool, especially if it’s your first hole. A true poet. You gotta go slow, in this cold,
it’s hard as stone under there. So you want to shove in
smoothly to heat all that. And then, it’ll open, just for you. A nice little hole all warm,
just for your own little self. You’ll be able to do what you want,
and she’ll ask for more. Alright, screw off, I’ll manage. -Henaq.
-Lieutenant? I’m going to have to join
the second platoon. They’re lacking NCOs there. We’ll support the American 254th. We’re launching a frontal attack
on the first houses of the village. Must I remind you, Lieutenant, that -besides you we don’t have any either.
-Why do you think I’m telling you? Lieutenant, with all due respect,
don’t count on me this time. It’s not a favor, it’s an order.
I don’t believe you have a choice. This position is essential
to avoid any movement of German troops. This isn’t going to be a tea party here and the men need a good leader
to hold in these conditions. From what I saw in the Vosges,
they always had one, who knew how to keep them together
through the difficulties. And I’m not talking about me,
I’m talking about you. For many I didn’t have
what it took to keep them alive. When men like Philibert and Fleurot
kick the bucket, that’s not what I call
being a good leader. These men were under my direct command, so if someone should be held responsible,
it would be me and nobody else. We’re at war and unfortunately,
people die every day, so don’t act so tragically to my face. Today, we have a goal,
and we’ll attain it, you, same as me, being fully aware
that lives will be sacrificed. You forget that I’m a simple corporal. I’m not interested in ranks
but in your abilities. If you hadn’t screwed around
with the officers at the Anglades camp, you’d be sergeant.
Do what you have to do. Guys, we keep the position.
We’ll do what we have to. How does he do that? Seems like nothing can touch him. -As if he was home.
-What are you talking about? -How is it going, guys?
-Can’t you tell? It’s paradise. No news from Lieutenant Shaffer
and his little scouting unit and no sign of enemy movement for now. But if Baillard continues with his teeth
chattering the krauts will be all over. Fuck, I’ve never been so cold in my life. Mark my word, with all due respect,
chaplain, I swear to God, if we get out of this shit storm alive,
I’ll retire on an island where I can wear shorts
all year long. Believe me, considering your looks,
you’d better stay dressed. If only we had some good coffee
or warm food… No fire, guys, those are the orders. We’ve had the first supplies
but everything is frozen. Don’t expect anything tonight. Wonderful. -Can I ask you a question?
-Go on. We’re a bit edgy here. The lieutenant is with the other platoon. and right here, if it starts to smell bad,
we only have Henaq. -Where are you going with this?
-Don’t play with us, and don’t tell me it’s because of
the Vosges. There’s something else. Something’s not right with him anymore. He’s tired, like the rest of us. But it’ll be alright,
no worries about him. -He knows what he has to do.
-Yeah. You might not say the same thing
if you saw his look to the German soldier. I saw it -and Carlo saw it too.
-Would you stop with this? Everything will be fine tonight. God watches over us. I hope he hears you… and that he won’t mix up
the uniforms from up there. Go ahead, chaplain… you’ve got something to say. So go on, spit it out. Why be so cynical, François? There was a time
when you would call me by my name, sometimes even by my first name. The boys wonder about you. And seeing your behavior… I’ve got trouble reassuring them and convincing them that
what happened in the Vosges changed you. So that’s how it is. I’m becoming the number one
preoccupation of this regiment. Of course not. But you’ve been reacting in a strange way
for a while. You’re not the same. What’s all that bullshit? Of course I’m not the same. Same thing for all of us, no? Even you, you’re not the same. If you think you’ve stayed the same
while we walk with death everyday… you’re hiding from reality. Concentrating on what we are inside… what really is the essence of our soul… might save you in the time we’re facing. Save your words. If you feel like preaching,
go visit the other holes. I’m pretty sure you’ll find an audience. Damn it, what do you want me to say? That I’ve trouble dealing
with my friends’ death? That I’m scared shitless for myself
and the boys sacrificing their life? Is that what you want? Would it help you?
Then yes, I’m scared. I’m really scared. Happy? Despite our training,
I’ve never been so scared. But let me tell you something,
everyone is scared. And the one who pretends otherwise
is lying. Or dead. And if something haunts me
since we arrived in Alsace, that’s my business and no one else’s. And I’m asking you to leave it alone. I don’t make miracles. I do my best to try and manage all this. And maybe I don’t succeed. Stay cover! Everyone, stay in your holes!
Nobody goes out! Fuck! -Moretti, weren’t you taught to obey?
-My arm! -You’ll be alright.
-My arm! -Find… find my arm.
-Yes… I’ll go. Find it! -Find my arm.
-Don’t look. -I want my arm.
-It’s not true, it will never stop. -Give me my arm.
-Calm down. Calm down, it’s coming. Here. We need to bring him back
to the infirmary behind! Find me a jeep! -It’s my arm.
-Here it is. -My arm…
-It’ll be alright. It’ll be alright. Everything is going to be alright,
stay calm, your arm is here. -I’m cold.
-It’s alright. It’s my arm, guys. I got it. I got it… my arm. It’s alright. -I got my arm.
-It’s alright. It’ll be fine. Come on. -What are their wounds?
-Head wound for this one, the other is badly hurt
to the abdomen and left leg. Nurse! Sit down. -We have to operate now. Prep him.
-Yes, doctor. Morphine and you can mark him. Come over here. Nurse? -He doesn’t have much chance.
-What are the crosses on their foreheads? We’re overrun.
We have to deal with the priorities. We have to mark
those who won’t make it. I know it’s inhuman
but what else can we do? Don’t apologize, you do what you have to. Lieutenant? Blanchard, is it serious? It will be fine, I’m gonna pull through. Be brave. Medic! We’ll take care of you, it’ll be fine. We’ll take care of you, I can’t stay,
there is a lot of you. Please… just one minute. It’s my birthday today. I’m 20. I know I won’t have any more birthdays. Just one more minute. -Doc, a cigarette?
-No, thanks. How are you doing here? We’ve been completely overrun
for the last two hours. The wounded are piling up
and we’re already full inside. Here, we’re saving one soldier out of ten, I don’t know if that makes me
a good doctor anymore. You’re doing your best
but it’s war, doc, it’s war. And you, Lieutenant,
what is the situation? We supported the American infantry and tried to advance
in the village’s first houses. The opposing force is too strong
for now and we’ve had a lot of losses. But I’m not giving you any news here,
the state of your unit speaks for itself. The Germans will surely try
to retake the positions in the wood. The boys there will be on the first line. Marie? You alright? What’s going on? There’s movement. I can’t see anything. Nothing on this side. There’s something. I saw something. What the fuck is this? Snow! This, this must be the password. Sorry, guys, I’ve no fucking clue
what the rest of it is. Jenkins, American scouting 254th. -Would it work?
-Fucking Americans. What the fuck are you doing here?
We could’ve shot you. Yeah. We’re holding
our scouting position to the north but Lieutenant Shaffer needs
a liaison with your unit. We’ll have to warn you
if there’s an incursion on our flank. Yeah, this seems right. -What about your radio?
-Out of service. Damn hardware. Do you have an EE8? I’ve got
some pretty little cables for you. Do you think Jenkins brought
part of his section with him? -Fuck!
-Cover! Cover! Cover, shit! Take his leg! they’re at ten. -Baillard, Carlo, you target them?
-Yes, Corporal! Shoot without stopping! Hold positions at all cost! These sons of bitches must
have moved with a mortar section. Did you think they’d welcome us
with open arms? Damn it. Stay in your holes! Nobody out of their holes! I said not to move! Shit, we’re running out of ammo. -Don’t screw with me, now isn’t the time!
-I wish I was, Carlo, but the other crates
are in Marcand’s hole. God damn it. Marcand, you need to bring us
some ammo, we’re out here. -Jenkins, cover me!
-What are you doing? Carlo, I’m coming with the ammunition! What the hell is he doing? Go on, load up
and send these bastards to hell! No! Fuck! Medic! Fuck! Medic! If only we had a medic. Medic! Medic! No! Fuck! We need to put him in the hole. Come on! Retreat! -It will be fine, don’t worry!
-I don’t want to die. -Calm down.
-It’ll be fine, don’t worry. I don’t think the almighty decided
to call you back to him today. -Okay?
-You’re not dying. It’s too soon. Wait, I’ll help you,
you won’t be able to do it. Wait, I’ll do it. It’s going to hurt,
I need to tighten it up. I need to go now. No way am I letting you leave like this. This wasn’t a suggestion, I’ve got orders. I need to meet back with
Lieutenant Shaffer. My leg will be fine. If I don’t have a choice,
one of us is going with you. It’s safer. And then we can link our two units. -Martin?
-I knew it would be for me. Let’s go now then. We need
to rejoin our position before nightfall. Come on. -Take care of yourself, Martin.
-Don’t worry, I have no intention of giving up. None of us intends to. We trust you, see you later. I had enough mates killed,
so don’t do anything stupid. Yeah. Nothing stupid. Easy to say. Did you see what Henaq did today? I saw it. What about it? Every one of you… you all have combat experience. If a guy like him breaks… Marcand… He’s dead. And Caron’s almost dead. It could have been me. How long have we left before dying? Don’t think about it. Don’t ever think about it. It’s hard not to think about it. I volunteered to join this unit. I wanted to participate in all this. But I… Well, I didn’t know. None of us knew… before ending up in this shit. None of us. They’re gonna come back. Again and again. And I’ll be killed. I know it. But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. The only thing I want… is for it to end quickly. So? The 9th and 10th continue to push with the American 254th. But opposition was stronger
than anticipated… and Jebsheim is still German. We’re with the 9th. -So what are we doing here?
-Orders from the lieutenant-colonel. Our squad holds the positions in the wood to avoid any ins and outs
on the village western perimeter. -What about Lieutenant Morel?
-It just came up. He’s leading part of the 9th now,
on the direct front. Wonderful. So we’re now without officers
and without a medic. And if this position is crucial for us,
it must be as crucial for the Germans. So we can only wait
to be hammered until no one’s left. We’re not without officers. You are promoted to Chief warrant
supported by Morel’s request. And a squad with a corporal-medic
is joining us tomorrow. I don’t want this command. -Not here.
-I don’t get it. What’s the matter with you
since we arrived in Alsace? You’re back home and you should be the most motivated of us
to kick those sons of bitches’ asses. Things aren’t always as we would like. And believe me, I’d rather fight
on any other front than this one. Go keep the guys posted. This is going to be a long night. I won’t hold all night. I’m too cold. You will. God accompanies you in this ordeal. God won’t be the only one. I’ll stay too. Those bastards won’t get us. Not this time. What was that? Who fired? That was me, Humbert. I got one, he ran past me. I got him. I shot that son of a bitch! Oh, shit. I got him, this bastard
never had a chance. It’s Perotti that you shot. No, that’s bullshit. -It was a kraut.
-How many times will we have to say it? Don’t leave your holes at night!
This is what happens for fuck’s sake. This is what happens. It’s alright. It’s gonna be alright. It’s gonna be alright. -How’s the leg?
-It’ll be alright. You couldn’t resist, could you? you always have to put on a show. Bastard, you’ll bury us all. Right, you really think I’ll waste my time
digging a hole for your pretty carcass? You can dream. You’d be the first to weep on my grave. Fucking frozen water. Damn country. Yeah. Thanks for coming to help us
free this country. I’ve been led to understand this was
a just cause, so you can’t argue with it. Cold coffee? I know it must be awful
but that’s all I have to offer. Yeah, it’s disgusting, but thanks anyway. We know what you did in The Vosges
with our boys from the 3rd division. You’ve got some. Fuck, Lieutenant,
looks like my gun is jammed. Not jammed, frozen. Everything is frozen in this fucking hell. I swear, Lieutenant, I pray every day to leave this place
and go back home in Arizona. Ok guys, not that I’m bored,
but I gotta rejoin my section. Thanks for bringing us
this fool back in one piece, we won’t be able to get rid of him. Take care. Guys, it’s me, Martin, 1st RCP. What are you doing back here? German section. Impossible. We didn’t leave
the objective out of our sight. Not east, they’re coming
from the other side, north-west, I don’t know where they come from. What are we doing, lieutenant? We hide! We stay hidden. Martin, it’s time to warm our boy scouts. This smells real bad. Keep your cool. Lieutenant, they’re coming right at us. Do not engage. The crank is frozen, it’s stuck. Hurry up and unstuck it. German section
coming from the north-west, approaching our direction. I repeat, German section. Ask him to confirm. Martin, I need confirmation,
repeat your message. Martin, confirmation. You’re making a mistake.
You’re chief warrant. This is your responsibility, to you
and to every man in this battalion. Don’t piss me off, chaplain, pray for the salvation of our souls
if you enjoy it, but don’t piss me off. You must stay here, with your men. And leaving in such a small number
is foolish. If indeed a German section
has entered the wood? Warrant, responsibility,
this is all bullshit. Not 24 hours ago,
I was simply a Corporal. I talked to Merignac, he’ll lead the guys and hold this position
like I could have done myself. He’s got the guts for it. In about two hours, the squad
with the corporal-medic will arrive. And if you wanna speak more
of responsibilities as a leader, Martin is also part of the men
under the command I inherited. And he’s somewhere in this wood,
with Shaffer and his boys. I’m not giving up one of my men, nor in this fucking forest nor anywhere. So we’re going to get him, whether you
or command like it or not. Because in this regiment,
we fight for each other. I keep that in my mind
and I’ll never forget it. We don’t leave anyone behind. In that case I’m coming with you. I pray it’s not the case,
but if their souls leave this Earth, Martin and the Americans might have
more need of me than the four of you. Don’t fool yourself, chaplain,
with all this blood on our hands, our souls have been lost
for a long while now. Corporal. Hold this position… at any cost. Make sure the men stay in their holes, and inform Captain Morel… we went out to get Martin. We’ll bypass the forest by the west
to avoid any bad contact. And we’ll join their position. You can trust me. You know who I am, don’t you? But you know what I show is just an armor, that I’d rather die
than leave one of the guys behind. I know that. Henaq. That’s the right choice. Nobody behind us. Find Martin. Henaq! I understand you. I know what you’ve been through. I saw like the others
that you weren’t the same lately. I had bad days
when I got into this bloody mess. So I know. But you do what’s necessary. We all will. Find Martin. Jona, it’s not time to give up. I’m cold. Fuck. That’s what they say in movies
when they’re dying. They say a lot of crap in movies. In -20 degrees, you may be concerned if you get hot.
Don’t worry. Lieutenant, what do we do now? We repelled their first attack
but if others come, we won’t be up to it. He is right, Lieutenant.
We were just supposed to check positions. And we don’t have the radio anymore
in case of troop’s actions. Look at you, no way for us
to move anyone. Your guys from 1st RCP were alerted. It’s all a question of time before
they send us a section on our position. We must stay here. -May the blessings of God be with us.
-We’ll get there. You mustn’t stay here, I’ll curl up
inside a hole and I’ll wait. Don’t discuss my orders. We stay here and await 1st RCP. We must get near the railways
which go along the wood north west. We could have a bad encounter. We break up
and we’ll meet again on the other side. Mayer, stay with me. Don’t move, bastards! Gun him down! Gun him down! Warrant officer! Henaq! -Explain to me!
-I missed him. You missed him or maybe you didn’t want
to kill him, warrant officer? -What do you mean?
-You tell us. You used to be a better sniper. No worries, guys, I got this bastard! Hurry up! On your knees. -Close your eyes.
-What are you doing? What do you think?
We’re gonna bump this bastard off. You’re talking about a human life, he must
be caught as a prisoner, not assassinated. Not your responsibility anymore, Mayer. Remember? The free will. Each of us makes his own decision. I’ll take the risk
to be judged on my acts. What’s going on in there? How could
this war make you change that much? François, you can’t let him do it, we’re talking about a crime. -François!
-I’ll do it. Rodolph. Rodolph. I’m worried he might have
an internal haemorrhage, he’s bleeding a lot. Come on, hang on. Look at me.
You take my hand and you press. You press hard! It’s gonna be okay. I told you, you should have moved.
He had to be put at the back. -I would have coped.
-Shut up, Jona. Fuck, you’re an American! Apparently you’re all tough fellows
so you’ll be fine. He’s right, you’re tough, it’s only a scratch,
it’s gonna screw you up. Hold on, stay with us. What I wanted, it was not that fucking snow. -What I wanted to see was Paris.
-I’ll take you to see Paris. When this is over,
I’ll take you, I promise. Hell, why is it bleeding that much? We’ll see the Eiffel Tower,
the Moulin Rouge, everything. And after, you, you’ll show me
around America. The 82nd guys, the ones who trained us, told us so much about it. -The Grand… the Grand Canyon.
-Yes, tell me. My father couldn’t stop
telling me about it when I was a child. Every new year, he told me
he would take me. Fot the kid I was at that time,
it didn’t mean very much. And then, one day… we went on a long car ride. I fell asleep… And when I woke up… we were there. It’s gonna be alright. Don’t worry. And when you’re in front of it,
there is nothing to compare with. It’s just… just wonderful. Don’t worry, it’s gonna be alright. Fuck, I can’t stop it. It’s gonna be alright. I can’t. Don’t worry. -Jenkins.
-Don’t worry, it’s gonna be alright. I can’t. It’s gonna be alright. Don’t worry. Jenkins. It’s over. Jesus. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe this guy is French! He is wearing a German uniform,
bloody hell. He’s wearing a German uniform,
he fired on our soldiers. and he’ll keep doing it for sure. Take off your uniform,
put my coat on instead. Stop it, François. -What are you doing?
-I can’t do this. Of course you can, take off your coat
and put mine on instead. You left nearly three years ago. I buried our sister by myself. You didn’t get any news from me for
two years and so many things have changed. And you think that it can be
as simple as swapping coats? I don’t deserve yours. I left to stand up for our country. And you know that pretty well. I abandoned neither you nor Julie
if that’s what you mean. You didn’t follow me. Remember? You and your great pacifist values. You were right. You were right about many things. But I can’t go back in time. Nobody can. There’s no use reminding me who I was, you know nothing about the person
standing in front of you. I did things I had no idea I could do
in that uniform, things that make me sick. All the guys enlisted by force loath it. You have no idea
what it is like to hate yourself. To pray every day for a bullet
to put an end to that -because you can’t do it yourself.
-Stop it! I found you and this is over, you
don’t have to wear that uniform anymore. -Stop it.
-I can’t stop! And you, you can’t change things,
not this time! You must accept reality as I suffer it. All that is a nonsense
and it will stop only when I die. Look. Look at your soldier’s eyes. You can see hatred.
And I understand them. -God won’t give up on us.
-Don’t get involved, Mayer! He brought you together. The world is going to change. -We will get out this nightmare.
-What are you talking about? Here, thre’s no hope, no nightmare,
wake up, this is this fucking real world. Look at me, look around you! Look at my uniform, this is all nonsense! It doesn’t mean anything anymore. So, what do you want me to hope for?
We’re all already dead anyway. I know you. I know what you’re made of. You can’t have changed so much that… -you’d turn your back on your country.
-You know nothing. I’m not talking about ideology,
I love my country. I’m just like you, exactly like them. You’re not like us. We fight for freedom,
you condemn it instead. You don’t understand anything! I wish I had the choice
but it wasn’t the case. Many times, I wanted to die. I saw myself as a traitor, a coward. I tried to desert when they sent us
to fight in Normandy. I begged them to send me to the Russian
front instead, not to face my compatriots. But today, I’m like you,
whether you like it or not. When you fight, you fight
for more than one thing. The mate. The brother in arms who counts on you,
the one who becomes your second family. Yes, I wear the shameful uniform, but my brothers wear the same one. And I can’t turn my back on them
even if you’re the one asking me. All bullshit! You’re French but you’re wearing a German
uniform and you shoot on Allied forces! I’ve had enough! And you, warrant officer… You should have told us about it. You should have told us about it,
fucking shit! Warrant officer,
I think we are at an impasse. We’re not gonna let him go
so he can shoot us. He might be your brother,
but for us, he’s just an enemy. Let him go? I found him
and you actually think I’ll let him go? And that I’ll fear for his life
asking myself if I might shoot him? Is that it? François. You’re my brother, my blood… but I can’t blame them
for thinking that way. I don’t wanna shoot anymore, but I can’t wipe the past off. I’ll have to cope with it
for the little time I have left. François, there is only one option. Prisoner of war. And we give him up to the authorities. During the progression that was leading us
to the checked position of the American lieutenant and Martin
in the north of the wood, nobody said a word. We were like ghosts meandering without soul, following a guy
I didn’t understand anymore. Since the beginning of the campaigns, Henaq, even if he had no intention to be,
had been a perfect combat chief. But at that specific moment,
something had changed him and he shouldn’t have been
on the front line anymore. He had lost his best friends
in The Vosges. And now, he was finding
a fading shadow of his brother in the reflection
of an enemy we all hated. Hey, Carlo! Why didn’t we cross the wood? We could have followed the phone cables. You idiot. If we could follow them, we wouldn’t be wondering
if we’re in the right direction. Crossing the wood the five of us… would have been suicide. We’re gonna cross paths with them
going on the north west wood border. No doubt about it. Carlo, lower it! Carlo! It’s an order. Shit. -Brother, are you okay?
-Yes. Try to put yourself in his shoes,
it’s his brother, cool down. It’ll help the blood circulating,
it’s gonna be okay. -It hurts like hell.
-If you hurt, you’re alive. Your unit? It’s only two of us
for the reconnaissance. The rest withdrew on the wood verge
after what we suffered. How many men are we talking about there? I don’t know. We’re a small battalion made of Wehrmacht and veterans,
about thirty men. But at the rear there are Austrian
mountain infantrymen assault soldiers. Martin, there is movement.
Perhaps guys from your regiment? I think it’s the reconnaissance section. Yeah! Here are the guys
from my regiment. It’s the cavalry, man. Usually, when someone mentions
the cavalry, -they talk about us, Americans.
-Yeah, well, it’s my turn. Now try to keep your foot dry. Don’t cry too early, it looks like
a dirty trick. There’s a German with them. What? Carlo, take aim so they understand
he’s a prisoner. No, wait, he’s a prisoner,
they captured a prisoner. Carlo! From far or near you’re just as ugly! Martin, bastard. He made it. Under cover! -Baillard, are you okay?
-I’m okay. I got knocked out but I’m fine. Fuck. Lieutenant, they’re at 2 o’clock! Bunch of bastards, they started this war
but we are going to finish it! They won’t get me. I’m not gonna die here. Jona, no! Motherfucker! Where are you going, you bastard? Down! No, you have the wrong enemy! Shit. Go, get up! Oh, fuck. Don’t move. Baillard, Melbarte, are you okay? We’re alright. We retreat! We retreat! -What did your buddies say?
-I don’t know. -Spit it out!
-Maybe a backward move command. Listen to me, I’m not gonna make you
think in a way or another. But from now on, you’ll consider him
as a prisoner. And you’ll act as a soldier not as a thug. Make sure that you understand,
and it’s the same for all of you. It’s an order! And you’d better conform to it! Understand? Rest in peace, my friend. You’ll be better off up above. It’ll be warm. You bastard, you’re immortal. Happy to know you’re still alive. -Fucking hell, they got you.
-Yeah. Lieutenant. It looks like you were in trouble. I was hoping there would be more of you. We didn’t really understand the message.
The communication stopped. Command got it wrong. The section which
attacked us arrived from the north-west. When we wanted to inform you
they were already on us. And this prisoner? Can you explain? A lovely family story. Warrant officer, what do we do?
Shall we join the rest of the company? We must evacuate now. The part of the company left behind
holds the wood’s strategic point. But there is this unsecured point
to the northwest. We’re not here by chance. If the Germans take back
some positions in the woods, the whole mission
to take Jebsheim could fail. We’re gonna do it. Lieutenant? I could not have said better. Jona Felder
and the others can’t be dead for nothing. We’ll hold this position. It’s an honor to fight by your side. Thank you Lieutenant, same for us.
We know we owe you a lot. Hurry up. Gently. Hot lemonade, it’s all about dosing. If there is enough lemon
it tastes like piss. And if you put too much in it,
it makes holes in the stomach. Here it is. It’s ready. Taste it. You were right, it does taste like piss. -On top of it, it’s cold.
-You should blame the logistics for that. Sorry I can’t perform miracles
with lighters. Are you kidding? It’s not bad at all. Hell, it makes me sick. He’s getting confession, this bastard! He doesn’t deserve Henaq as a brother. I don’t understand a thing of his stories. Okay, he’s his brother, but for me,
he’s a fucking kraut. Maybe he’s the one who shot me
in the leg or who killed Felder. So if it were me, I’d shoot him
in his head and bye everybody. I heard of it, but I thought that all the unlisted
were more or less Germans. I don’t know your history very well. I understand your point of view, but not his that much. Most importantly,
I understand your men’s reaction. I understand it too. I put myself in their shoes. I would have reacted like them. Or you. But I know my brother. He never wanted this war. And definitely not like this. Apart from some generals and politicians
I believe nobody wanted it. But we have to put an end to it,
we have to give meaning to it. Yeah. To give meaning to it. We had spent many days already
in this wood suffering from the cold.
Hunger was hitting us all. But I remember that morning, I didn’t care about my frozen limbs. And I think it was the same
for my companions. The sounds of combat in the village
were more present and more intense. Which made us think
our troops were doing a main assault to finally take Jebsheim back. But we also knew what it meant for us. Enemy sections would try
once more to break through our position to help their comrades out. I wish things had turned out differently. I’m not a bad person. Why do you say that? You’re my brother. I know you’re a good person. And I’ll face anybody
who thinks the opposite. Even those
wearing the same uniform as mine. Lieutenant, the noise we hear comes
from light weapons, no artillery sounds. -What do you reckon?
-Just like you, warrant. The first defences burst and our soldiers
are now fighting in the village. The Germans have no possibility
to escape. They’re trapped. It wasn’t in vain. We did our job. And we’ll keep doing it. Till the end. We’re gonna make it. Martin, don’t move. It’s gonna be alright. It’s gonna be alright. Wait. We’re gonna make it. Lieutenant, there’s too many of them! Choose your targets!
One bullet, one dead! Fuck! We’re gonna die! Fuck, what are you doing? Martin, Marcand, Perotti,
Fleurot, Phillibert, Caron, they mustn’t be dead for nothing, ok?
None of them must be dead for nothing! None of them. Go! They’re gonna try to bypass us! We’re surrounded! Lieutenant! They’re gonna try to bypass us. Don’t let them surround us!
Each hole takes care of a flank. Shit, there’s nobody for the left flank! I’ll go! You alright? You’re good! Are you okay? You’re fine. Come on! Fuck! Son, they won’t take this position! No, my warrant, they won’t.
We’ll keep it! We did it. We made it. You did a pretty good job, son. Melbarte? -Are you okay, François?
-Yes, I’m fine. You saved lives today. I’m proud of you. You… You’ll tell them? Promise me. I promise. But I don’t need to. You’ll be there. You’re fine. -You just need to hold on some more.
-No, I don’t think I can. I found you.
We have plenty to do together. I found you, little brother.
We have plenty to do together. I’ll try. I’ll try. Rodolph. I found you.
We have plenty to do together. We have plenty to do together. We have plenty to do together. That day, a part of Henaq’s soul
left with his brother’s. And even if he joined the other allies
walking towards Colmar…. he was never the same again. I like the idea that defending our
positions in this wood was decisive in Jebsheim’s liberation. It occurred only a few days later, after fights of such violence, that this episode was referred to
as the “Alsatian Stalingrad”. Our American brothers in arms
and our regiment had paid a heavy price for the three
months spent in the Vosges and Alsace. Survivors from this war would keep
till the end of their days the stigmas of what no one should endure. And I’ve prayed each day of my life it would never happen again. During all the fighting we went through, soldiers’ flesh was shredded. But something is even more difficult: for those who survived,
their soul was crushed. The first regiment of French paratroopers
sacrificed 60% of its men during the Alsatian campaign. During the only battle in Jebsheim, which will remain the symbol
of the Franco-American friendship, the 1st RCP counted 300 casualties, and at least as many on the American side. An estimated 130,000 French people
from Alsace-Lorraine were forced to enlist in the German army. They were called the “Malgré-nous”. Even if the majority
were sent to the Eastern front, some of them had to fight
on their own land. For a homeland they had not chosen, for ideals that weren’t theirs and against their own motherland. It wasn’t until 2010
that the majority of them stopped being officially
considered as traitors and became victims of the Nazi war crime.