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The Battle of the Bulge Movie 1965

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A friend recommended I see the old movie, "The Battle of the Bulge" since he knows I'm into tanks and armored warfare.  Santa brought it to me for Christmas on DVD and I watched it a few days ago.

 

Wow...I wasn't expecting pure accuracy but would've thought somebody in Hollywood might've been in the Army before...I guess not.  Henry Fonda saying "over and out" for example...wtf?

 

I guess the biggest disappointment was all the American tanks representing Tigers.  Well, there are worse flicks out there.  That one was a little ridiculous.

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Posted (edited)

Well in the early 1960s 99.99995% of the actual German tanks from the battle were either scrap or museum pieces.

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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you mean like the crew surviving the whole turret being blown apart!!.

 

Its a turd of a movie. Though if you watch Fury battle of the bulge suddenly looks good

 

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Fury is an example of a film addressing all the points that get people worked up about Battle of the Bulge, be actually pretty decent for the first half of the time, and still manage to be off the mark more than BotB ... and like so often in recent years, for the cheapest essential ingredient for any good film which, however, seems to have become a scarce commodity - a good script.

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the directing is mostly the end all be all- a good director can make what theoretically looks like an ordinary script interesting, on the other hand, a great script can be ruined with bad directing. that's why most amateur films are

crap (i don't mean the few that actually make it to theatres), because no matter what the script, you're going to see directors that don't know what they're doing or don't have any resources. the director is ingredient who somehow makes it all work, whether they have accurate looking tanks or not is to still make the audience believe what they're seeing despite the handicap.

 

it's not just the script that annoyed me with fury, it was the director's decision to use some very questionable tropes, the director could have made edits to the cliched war movie last stand in the script for instance, but i couldn't stand the music,

and the choir voice singing "whaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhaahhhhhhhh" during battle scenes and things like this. scripts don't have those things in them they look like:

 

John motions to the table. Suzie looks tired, and obliges (you won't see - then a voice off camera sings "whaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhaahhhhhhhhhh")

 

It's the director and his sub directors (art directors and so on) who throw in that cheesy emotionally manipulative music.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, GT1070 said:

A friend recommended I see the old movie, "The Battle of the Bulge" since he knows I'm into tanks and armored warfare.  Santa brought it to me for Christmas on DVD and I watched it a few days ago.

 

Wow...I wasn't expecting pure accuracy but would've thought somebody in Hollywood might've been in the Army before...I guess not.  Henry Fonda saying "over and out" for example...wtf?

 

I guess the biggest disappointment was all the American tanks representing Tigers.  Well, there are worse flicks out there.  That one was a little ridiculous.

 

i'm sure when it first came out, audiences were not as cynical. the simple fact is the bar keeps getting raised as with everything- evolution is everything. that's why early films look ridiculous now, but to audiences then they were novel. as we go along, this phenomenon will just keep moving the goal posts more and more, it will take more to impress. and then as directors try and impress, they are violating the rules of natural least effort, the attempts to try and impress audiences will be easy to detect as audiences get more sophisticated, a seen it done before malaise is inevitable

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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My gripe with Fury isn't so much the tropes or the manipulative music. Sure, leaving them would have helped, but the point where the film broke (for me) was: Up to pulling back into the tree line when having the surprise encounter with the Tiger the film was reasonably accurate with respect to tactics and equipment of the time. Even worse, at this point the script simply contradicts itself:

Quote

We can't take the Tiger head-on because we will get slaughtered. That's why we were retreating into the woordline. And now we're basically just going from reverse to full forward, with no plan whatsoever but to rush the Tiger's position ... because ... well, screw logic!

 

And then they take the Tiger head-on, and get slaughtered, and finally kill it by driving in circles around it. Reason? The film's finale needs a sole, isolated tank. That can't tun away. So we're driving straight to that single most obvious point where a single mine might be buried. Because, that's how badass we are, we just don't care about inner logic, we're blazing across the land at plot speed. So, this is the central failure of the script, and we're right in the middle of the film.

 

And then they pull the most exceptional stunt (with an uncanny resemblance to Audie Murphy MoH citation). I'm somewhat okay with the Audie Murphy part. After all, something like it actually happened in WW2. Once. I'm not so okay with not giving credit to Murphy by making it a clichéd Hollywood Hero's Last Stand (not the least because someone felt that defeating 50 Germans from a burning tank while being shot in the leg, and then leading the company charge to retake lost ground wasn't enough, they somehow had to up it for the film, thereby devaluing what actually happened for no other reason as the midguided feeling that they had to compete with over the top action computer games).

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you're absolutely correct. i don't mention the tactics or the interaction with tigers for our audience here- it goes without saying for this bunch. for a general audience which mostly will not really appreciate these points i just mean that overall i thought fury sucked, but as the art form itself was too weird.

 

even the opening scene looked weird to me and did not belong in this film, it looked like it should have been used in a wolverine comic book or something

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if other members here don't recall what i'm talking about, family guy did a good critique of this type of film technique towards the end of the clip when hans dies and the choice voice comes on

 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Ssnake said:

My gripe with Fury isn't so much the tropes or the manipulative music. Sure, leaving them would have helped, but the point where the film broke (for me) was: Up to pulling back into the tree line when having the surprise encounter with the Tiger the film was reasonably accurate with respect to tactics and equipment of the time. Even worse, at this point the script simply contradicts itself:

 

And then they take the Tiger head-on, and get slaughtered, and finally kill it by driving in circles around it. Reason? The film's finale needs a sole, isolated tank. That can't tun away. So we're driving straight to that single most obvious point where a single mine might be buried. Because, that's how badass we are, we just don't care about inner logic, we're blazing across the land at plot speed. So, this is the central failure of the script, and we're right in the middle of the film.

 

And then they pull the most exceptional stunt (with an uncanny resemblance to Audie Murphy MoH citation). I'm somewhat okay with the Audie Murphy part. After all, something like it actually happened in WW2. Once. I'm not so okay with not giving credit to Murphy by making it a clichéd Hollywood Hero's Last Stand (not the least because someone felt that defeating 50 Germans from a burning tank while being shot in the leg, and then leading the company charge to retake lost ground wasn't enough, they somehow had to up it for the film, thereby devaluing what actually happened for no other reason as the midguided feeling that they had to compete with over the top action computer games).

 

A friend of mine relayed to me that he knew someone involved with choreographing the fight sequences, particularly the much maligned Tiger-Sherman duel scene. Apparently when the script was picked up a much more dynamic and realistic sequence was planned for the climax, however Tiger 131 had been loaned to the film crew on the understanding that nothing too taxing was demanded from the tank (basically accelerating and reversing little more than 100m in virtually a straight line), thus that scene had to be re-choreographed with those constraints in mind.

Edited by Agiel

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Well, even if I buy that at face value (with the implied message that any other choreography was possible) ... in that case the preceding scene makes no sense. I'm not just mad about the WoT level tactical stupidity, it's just as much about internal logic and consistency of the script. You can't tell me that you're doing X because of Y, and a minute later when Y hasn't changed, present me "doing X" as your plan, and then another minute later the originally predicted (terrible) outcome happens, to everybody's apparent surprise.

Or ... well, you can, but don't expect me to cheer you on. ;)

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The thing is that M4's with 76mm M1 gun, at that distance, would simply pierce Tigers frontal armor without a problem. That was my biggest issue with "Fury". ;)

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Well apparently a log can stop an 88mm penetrating a sherman in the side so I wouldn't worry about it. I thought the tanks in Fury though were the 75mm, I don't remember one having a muzzle brake.

 

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6 hours ago, Damian90 said:

The thing is that M4's with 76mm M1 gun, at that distance, would simply pierce Tigers frontal armor without a problem. That was my biggest issue with "Fury". ;)

 

In fairness, in Kelly's Heroes (which is a much better film) in spite of it being stated that the Sherman had the 76mm gun it was unable to take on the Tiger Is in a fair fight, so Fury has some company with that discrepancy.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Damian90 said:

The thing is that M4's with 76mm M1 gun, at that distance, would simply pierce Tigers frontal armor without a problem. That was my biggest issue with "Fury". ;)

 

 

that's like saying if i could just get past the palace guard, i can get close enough to hit the king with a pie in the face. in practice, this isn't what would tend to happen even if it were possible, usually the sherman tanks were getting picked off before getting close enough to do that.

 

i think it would be bad for the picture to actually depict a rare instance of a sherman doing that, movies already have the problem of being predictable in that you know the protagonists will manage to come out on top- even in the last stand battles, there will be at least one or two who make it in order to show the audience that the good guys will never truly be beaten.

 

so if you actually took some statistical anomaly and showed a general audience a sherman piercing a tiger frontally, you'll probably:

 

1) convey to a general audience the impression that this happened more regularly than not (especially since a general audience probably doesn't know the difference)

2) annoy the grognards and tank geeks who don't want to see that in a movie

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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Posted (edited)
On 1/1/2018 at 9:04 PM, Gibsonm said:

Well in the early 1960s all the actual German tanks from the battle were either scrap or museum pieces.

 

Panzer IV, StuG III and others were used at that time by the Syrian army, taking battle positions on the heavily-fortified western slope of the Golan heights.

They probably were too busy for film-making, as they were tasked with guarding the heavy equipment involved in the Arab water diversion effort, as well as targeting Israeli villages, farmers and fishermen from time to time.

 

Some of these vehicles are still present in their 1967 positions:

 

 

BTW 1: the German and the Syrian armies are the only ones who have used all 3 of the German-made Panzer IV, Soviet-made T-34 and US-made Sherman.

 

BTW 2: the heavy equipment used in the Arab effort to dry out the Sea of Galilee was contributed by a wealthy construction contractor named Mohammed bin Laden. Osama was his son. 

Edited by Iarmor

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I know a couple got to the middle east, so I'll edit the post.

 

How many Tiger Is, Tiger IIs, Panthers, .... ?

 

One beat up Panzer IV doesn't give you Kampfgruppe Peiper. :)

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11 hours ago, DarkAngel said:

Well apparently a log can stop an 88mm penetrating a sherman in the side so I wouldn't worry about it. I thought the tanks in Fury though were the 75mm, I don't remember one having a muzzle brake.

 

Some had 76mm M1 gun, like the M4A2(76)W that played the "Fury". ;)

 

5 hours ago, Agiel said:

 

In fairness, in Kelly's Heroes (which is a much better film) in spite of it being stated that the Sherman had the 76mm gun it was unable to take on the Tiger Is in a fair fight, so Fury has some company with that discrepancy.

 

In reality even a standard M62 APCBC or M72 APC rounds fired from 76mm M1 gun, could with ease pierce front hull armor of the Tiger at most combat ranges. It's a myth that Tiger was so well armored, in fact it was not, and Tigers really did not created such huge problems for allies. It was the Panther that was a problem.

 

1 hour ago, Captain_Colossus said:

 

 

that's like saying if i could just get past the palace guard, i can get close enough to hit the king with a pie in the face. in practice, this isn't what would tend to happen even if it were possible, usually the sherman tanks were getting picked off before getting close enough to do that.

 

i think it would be bad for the picture to actually depict a rare instance of a sherman doing that, movies already have the problem of being predictable in that you know the protagonists will manage to come out on top- even in the last stand battles, there will be at least one or two who make it in order to show the audience that the good guys will never truly be beaten.

 

so if you actually took some statistical anomaly and showed a general audience a sherman piercing a tiger frontally, you'll probably:

 

1) convey to a general audience the impression that this happened more regularly than not (especially since a general audience probably doesn't know the difference)

2) annoy the grognards and tank geeks who don't want to see that in a movie

 

As I said, in reality a 76mm M1 gun had no problem piercing Tiger frontal armor at combat ranges.

 

Also interesting note here, US troops in Western Europe encountered only... 2 Tiger tanks in total. More Tigers were encountered by British Army but then again, M4's were perfectly capable to defeat Tigers, even with 75mm M3 gun, side shots could defeat it's armor.

 

Nick Moran have a great lecture about this.

 

 

The real problem was the Panther, because of it's sloped frontal armor, and also greater numbers than a Tiger 1 or Tiger 2.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Damian90 said:

Some had 76mm M1 gun, like the M4A2(76)W that played the "Fury". ;)

 

 

In reality even a standard M62 APCBC or M72 APC rounds fired from 76mm M1 gun, could with ease pierce front hull armor of the Tiger at most combat ranges. It's a myth that Tiger was so well armored, in fact it was not, and Tigers really did not created such huge problems for allies. It was the Panther that was a problem.

 

 

As I said, in reality a 76mm M1 gun had no problem piercing Tiger frontal armor at combat ranges.

 

Also interesting note here, US troops in Western Europe encountered only... 2 Tiger tanks in total. More Tigers were encountered by British Army but then again, M4's were perfectly capable to defeat Tigers, even with 75mm M3 gun, side shots could defeat it's armor.

 

Nick Moran have a great lecture about this.

 

 

The real problem was the Panther, because of it's sloped frontal armor, and also greater numbers than a Tiger 1 or Tiger 2.

 

what in the world. having no trouble piercing a tiger frontally at combat ranges is difficult to swallow- because again, that's not what tended to happen.

 

under test conditions you can set it up so that you achieve that outcome under 'combat ranges', without a tiger and accompanying td guns and panzergrenadiers shooting back.

 

however, in reality, shermans didn't tend to cut to 'combat ranges' before getting picked off. now it's true that shermans didn't always meet tigers, and many times what were mistaken for tigers were likely something else to green or nervous troops, but that doesn't prove the notion that shermans regularly knocked out tigers in 'combat ranges' frontally, and disproves me that this tended not to happen.

 

even if i accept your claim that only two tigers were ever met by american troops (which i know is NOT true), then that makes your case even poorer. see, at least one of those two times that it happened was not between a sherman and a tiger but a tiger and a pershing late in the war. so that leaves you with one tiger, and that tiger muat have been knocked out by a sherman frontally, and that would necessarily be the only one that ever happened to- that's the only choice left your argument leaves you with

 

 

 

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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12 minutes ago, Captain_Colossus said:

 

what in the world. having no trouble piercing a tiger frontally at combat ranges is difficult to swallow- because again, that's not what tended to happen.

 

under test conditions you can set it up so that you achieve that outcome under 'combat ranges', without a tiger and accompanying td guns and panzergrenadiers shooting back.

 

however, in reality, shermans didn't tend to cut to 'combat ranges' before getting picked off. now it's true that shermans didn't always meet tigers, and many times what were mistaken for tigers were likely something else to green or nervous troops, but that doesn't prove the notion that shermans regularly knocked out tigers in 'combat ranges' frontally, and disproves me that this tended not to happen.

 

even if i accept your claim that only two tigers were ever met by american troops (which i know is NOT true), then that makes your case even poorer. see, at least one of those two times that it happened was not between a sherman and a tiger but a tiger and a pershing late in the war. so that leaves you with one tiger, and that tiger muat have been knocked out by a sherman frontally, and that would necessarily be the only one that ever happened to- that's the only choice left your argument leaves you with

 

 

 

 

I think you confuse here some things.

 

The 75mm M3 gun armed M4's had problems with Tiger's frontal armor, however 76mm M1 gun armed M4's had no problems with piercing Tiger's frontal armor at combat ranges.

 

For example M62 APC round could penetrate 93mm at 500m and 88mm at 1000m, M79 AP could pierce 109mm at 500m and 92mm at 1000m, and M93 APCR 157mm at 500m and 127mm at 1000m.

 

And yes it is a fact, in north western europe, US Army had encounters with only 3x (yeah it was 3 not 2, my mistake) PzKpfw. VI Ausf.H1/Ausf.E Tiger I heavy tanks, no more were ever meet. US Army actually met much more Panthers and King Tigers.

 

Now in case of Panther and King Tiger, due to frontal armor slope and thickness, even 76mm M1 gun firing APCR M92 round, could not pierce it.

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Posted (edited)

again, you're confusing what i'm saying-

 

i'm not saying the 76 mm gun can't penetrate a tiger say under 500 meters. i'm saying that in practice, the shermans didn't tend to maneuver in close enough frontally for that to happen, as if it were a simple matter of closing the distance for that to happen. and it wasn't. in addition to the tiger which could lay fire more accurately at longer ranges, particularly with the advantage of being on the defense waiting for shermans to enter into its range, usually there were going to be other units deployed off axis defending the tigers's flanks- tank destroyers and towed guns, panzer troops with anti tank weapons, and so on- again which is why the odds don't stack up like they you seem to be closing the gaps here. again, it's not that they were incapable of doing it, because it's not impossible for the 76mm gun to penetrate, but the odds weren't going to get close enough to do that anyway. it's simply not the way it happened.

 

i'm still going to to believe however the three tiger i tanks is likely a lowball because the accounts are often too unclear- like i said, there were many times americans didn't know what they were facing, for example, that hidden fire from the bocage was not known, it could be a towed anti tank gun, could be a panzer iv, could be a tiger, american crews might tend to misreport it so there was no way of knowing- in other words, your three tanks cannot be proved, because no precise number can be proved.

 

but let's take your number of three times, then by implication, american troops just happened to meet three tiger tanks and apparently knocked out all three frontally, because they had no problem doing it according to your estimates.

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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13 hours ago, DarkAngel said:

Well apparently a log can stop an 88mm penetrating a sherman in the side so I wouldn't worry about it. I thought the tanks in Fury though were the 75mm, I don't remember one having a muzzle brake.

 

I believe Pitts was the only one with a brake.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Captain_Colossus said:

again, you're confusing what i'm saying-

 

i'm not saying the 76 mm gun can't penetrate a tiger say under 500 meters. i'm saying that in practice, the shermans didn't tend to maneuver in close enough frontally for that to happen, as if it were a simple matter of closing the distance for that to happen. and it wasn't. in addition to the tiger which could lay fire more accurately at longer ranges, particularly with the advantage of being on the defense waiting for shermans to enter into its range, usually there were going to be other units deployed off axis defending the tigers's flanks- tank destroyers and towed guns, panzer troops with anti tank weapons, and so on- again which is why the odds don't stack up like they you seem to be closing the gaps here. again, it's not that they were incapable of doing it, because it's not impossible for the 76mm gun to penetrate, but the odds weren't going to get close enough to do that anyway. it's simply not the way it happened.

 

i'm still going to to believe however the three tiger i tanks is likely a lowball because the accounts are often too unclear- like i said, there were many times americans didn't know what they were facing, for example, that hidden fire from the bocage was not known, it could be a towed anti tank gun, could be a panzer iv, could be a tiger, american crews might tend to misreport it so there was no way of knowing- in other words, your three tanks cannot be proved, because no precise number can be proved.

 

but let's take your number of three times, then by implication, american troops just happened to meet three tiger tanks and apparently knocked out all three frontally, because they had no problem doing it according to your estimates.

 

I would be carefull with claiming that Tiger could lay fire more accurately, especially considering that in general, WWII german tanks crews had rather poor situational awareness, and visibility from the inside was also quiet poor compared to, for example M4 or M26, due to how many periscopes were avaiable for crews, including gunner.

 

Also in general Allied tanks had superiority in manouverability.

 

As for Tigers, this is not accounts of soldiers fighting there, but based on assesment of the battlefields.

 

And of course I do not imply all these 3 Tigers were taken out from the front, I only say, in the context of the "Fury" that the Tiger there, would be shot dead by 2 76mm M1 gun armed M4's, at this specific tactical situation and range.

 

8 minutes ago, mpow66m said:

I believe Pitts was the only one with a brake.

 

76mm M1 gun had several subvariants, with and without muzzle breaks, also in ETO not all guns had muzzle breaks installed.

 

In "Fury" there are actually 3x 76mm armed M4's, there is M4A3(76)W, there is M4A2(76)W that plays M4A3(76)W "Fury" and there is M4A1(76)W.

 

Also in ETO, some crews rearmed their M4A3E2(75)W from 75mm M3 gun to 76mm M1 gun, thus creating a subvariant designated as M4A3E2(76)W.

Edited by Damian90

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Damian90 said:

 

I would be carefull with claiming that Tiger could lay fire more accurately, especially considering that in general, WWII german tanks crews had rather poor situational awareness, and visibility from the inside was also quiet poor compared to, for example M4 or M26, due to how many periscopes were avaiable for crews, including gunner.

 

 

 

 

german optics were considered very good, so when it came time for shootin', i bet on on the germans with other factors:

 

as the war in europe turns defensively for the germans, the germans get combat bonuses in terrain which tended to favor defenders. german crews laying in wait with distances to approach routes already indexed could get off shots before the western allies could spot and/or return fire as accurately, situational awareness goes more to the germans because for ww2 armor, moving tanks don't see as well as stationary tanks, which have the advantage with careful planning of predicting where enemies are going to be showing up- in contrast to allied tanks which have a difficult time pinpointing locations in built up terrain .

 

moreover, tiger crews tended to be hand picked from the most experienced crews, even better than the panthers, which were technically regarded as better tanks than tigers all around. tiger tanks were more expensive to manufacture than panther tanks, and tended to be made of more consistent higher quality steel when the german steel industry had difficulty keeping up late in the war. the germans put more investment into them.

 

one of the worst opponents tank crews on all sides could face which tend not get the same kind of press as tiger tanks were the towed anti-tank guns. these were the most difficult opponents that tank crews might face under select conditions, they were virtually invisible with good concealment and good defensive terrain, they were difficult to range and suppress because gun optics weren't calibrated for them. and if deployed working with tanks, the tankes and the tank guns could deliver a shellacking on advancing without them knowing whether to scratch their watches or wind their butts, such a combination like that really was difficult to overcome in bocage hedrows or rocky italian hills

 

so with these in mind, that's why i'm saying that even though technically it's true that the 76mm gunned sherman can techincally penetrate tiger frontally at 500 yards, in practice, it wasn't likely to happen- too many factors going against poor sherman crews.

 

when you read allied warplanners and propaganda seemingly oblivious to reality arguing against a need for a better thank than the sherman, you see what they were selling their crews on: "your tank can penetrate the tiger at 500 yards, you got them licked" - on paper, yes...

 

in reality, even third tier german tanks such as the panzer iv were the equivalent of the sherman and was still a deadly opponent, let alone panther or tiger

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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