The Pacific (2010)
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Although it is possible that a few actors who had small non-reoccurring roles in the "Band of Brothers" series will make an appearance in "The Pacific", it is highly unlikely. This is mostly due to the fact that it is totally different true account of Marines experiences in WWII and that reusing certain actors may take away from the credibility of the series. Producers do not want any confusion to take place, and this is entirely possible if the viewer recognizes a face and assumes he is the same character from "Band of Brothers".
Freddie Joe Farnsworth, a stuntman who who had two minor roles in the third and sixth episodes of "Band of Brothers" will appear in "The Pacific." Edit
In war the first source of valuable loot comes from dead comrades, and secondly from dead civilians. Valuable objects such as wristwatches are usually of use to the enemy, therefore they should be taken. Obviously gold was a strategic resource during the war. Civilians in combat areas often carry their total wealth in banknotes, and again it was better for this to be recovered from the dead and used. Thefts by everyone from everyone is common in war zones, and especially from vehicles, even tanks, as they carry all sorts of interesting things.
It was a common grisly practice of American marines fighting in the Pacific, and there is documentation that it happened (see below). The obvious reason would be for the gold's value & the potential money to be gained from trading it during or after the war, however, there may be a symbolic or thematic meaning in it too, the concept of collecting a trophy from those you've conquered. A similar scene takes place in the movie The Thin Red Line (1998) which is about the Army mop-up actions some months later after the initial Marine invasion of Guadalcanal in August 1942.
There is some documentation that it took place. Robert Leckie writes in his book, Helmet for my Pillow, that there was one Marine who did go around taking the gold teeth out of dead Japanese soldiers' mouths. He kept them in a bag around his neck. He never really explains why the man did it, but as stated above, it would have been worth a lot of money. Many of the Marines fighting in the Pacific wanted "trophies" and yes, gold teeth were just another trophy.
(In the book, he refers to another Marine doing this, but not Snafu. Several smaller characters were amalgamated into Snafu for the purposes of the series.)
However, Marine practices such as this were in response to initial Marine encounters with Japanese atrocities committed against captured Marines. Marines were often tortured, mutilated, and dismembered by Japanese soldiers upon capture, and some strung up alive for bayonet practice. As a result, Marines showed no mercy as none was shown to them. Edit
The pistol is a Nambu Type 14, a common one carried by Japanese officers. (It's German counterpart in Europe was the Luger P08. Both pistols were highly prized by American soldiers, the Luger more so. GI's like Leckie would often trade them for anything, including favors, which is why Leckie gives the 14 he had to Dr Grant; Grant allowed Leckie to return to his unit before his recovery was done.
In Leckie's memoir "Helmet for My Pillow" the pistol was not in the chest he found on Gloucester. Another Marine had a run-in with an officer and stole the trophy sidearm back from the officer, giving it to Leckie right before he left Pavuvu so he wouldn't be caught with it. Leckie did point it at the orderly to scare him after he was ordered to strip and hand in his razor blades and belt, but when the doctor expressed an interest in the handgun however, Leckie explained to him that it wasn't his to sell. Edit
Yes. The primary sources for the screenplay were Robert Leckie's book Helmet for my Pillow (1954) and Eugene Sledge's book With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa (1981). They were re-released to coincide with the release of the miniseries in Spring 2010 & are still available.
For John Basilone's story, the book Red Blood, Black Sand by Chuck Tatum was used. Tatum was at the Battle of Iwo Jima that claimed the life of Basilone in 1945 and had been friends with Basilone since boot camp.
RV Burgin's book Islands of the Damned (2010), is based on his experiences on Okinawa, Pavuvu and Pelilieu. It is currently available as well, and the author is portrayed later in the series by Martin McCann. Edit
In 1937 the US armed forces adopted the 8-shot semi-automatic M1 Garand rifle as their standard weapon. However distribution was slow and by the time the US entered the war in December 1941 most US forces were still using the 5-shot bolt-action Springfield rifle which had been in use since 1903, including the Marines at Guadacanal. The Army reinforcements which arrived in Guadacanal were equipped with the M1 and afterwards the Marines swapped their Springfields for them. However production of new Springfields continued until February 1944 and some units such as the military police continued using them until the very end of the war. Edit