The Story of Carlson’s Makin Island Raiders, Gung Ho! tells the story of a raid on Japanese-held Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands chain on August 17-18, 1942, by two companies of Marines from the 2nd Raider Battalion, an outfit nicknamed “Carlson’s Raiders” after its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Evans Carlson. Two submarines ferried the Raiders to Makin on a hit-and-run operation meant to destroy installations, seize prisoners for interrogation, and divert attention from recent Marine landings on Guadalcanal. The Raiders rowed ashore in rubber boats, killed most of the garrison in fierce fighting, then withdrew to the two waiting subs.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN begins with the battle for Omaha Beach. To achieve his horrific recreation of the events there on June 6, 1944, director Steven Spielberg spent $12 million and used 1,500 extras, including 20-plus actual amputees portraying men whose limbs are blown off. The result, critic Roger Ebert said upon the film’s release in 1998, was “as graphic as any war footage I have ever seen.” The Omaha Beach sequence also compellingly illustrates combat as a savage form of negotiation