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Lt Sidney Salomon Was The Inspiration For ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Opening

Lt Sidney Salomon Was The Inspiration For ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Opening

Saving Private Ryan is one of the most emotive war films of all time due to its gritty, violent and confronting representation of World War II and what it was like to be a part of D-Day, which happened on 6th June in 1944.

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On the larger scale, the film was about the search for the sole survivor of four young brothers sent off to war. Three of them were believed to have been killed in battle and so a search was launched for the last brother so that the boys' mother could have one son returned to her safely.

The opening minutes of Saving Private Ryan shows what happened when the Allied troops stormed Omaha beach at Normandy. It was a devastating blood bath.

Tom Hanks played Captain John H. Miller of the 2nd Ranger Battalion who, in real life, was called Lieutenant Sidney Salomon.

Just before the boats land at the beach in the movie, Hanks tells his battalion that they need to move quick and clear the mortar positions. That was exactly Lt. Salomon's job, however, in reality they arrived at a different beach just around the corner to Omaha to flank the Germans.

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The Real Life Story That Inspired 'Saving Private Ryan'
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The Real Life Story That Inspired 'Saving Private Ryan'

Mr Salomon has told The Drop Zone: "The trip was tough coming in. Keep in mind, it was postponed due to rough seas. The men started getting sick. We were issued paper bags, like you get in airplanes. The men filled them up and threw them over the side. Some men started using their helmets.

"We could hear the ping of the machine gun bullets hit the side of the landing craft and mortar shells were landing near the landing craft.

"Our goal was to cross the beach, climb the cliff and neutralize the mortars and machine guns that were positioned on top of a beach that intelligence had indicated could threaten the landing at Omaha Beach in front of the town of Vierville.

Credit: US Army Archives
Credit: US Army Archives

"I had 37 men in my landing craft. After we crossed the beach and climbed the cliff I only had nine men left - nine out of the 37."

His description of the landing is near identical to the one seen in Saving Private Ryan, but when Sidney finally got to shore, he was hit by shrapnel from a mortar, which hit his back and face. Once he composed himself, he ran to the cliff face, had a medic remove the metal without penicillin or painkillers and climbed the wall of rock.

Once Sidney and his diminished group of nine scaled the cliff, they regrouped and jumped into a trench where they proceeded to knock out the mortar and machine gun dugouts that were mowing down Allied troops below.

This is just one of the many stories of bravery and gallantry that emerged on this day, 74 years ago, when troops gave their lives during World War Two.

When the Invasion of Normandy was over, roughly 120,000 Allied men were killed and 113,000 on the German side.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Topics: saving private ryan, TV and Film, Interesting, anniversary, World War Two, Community

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.