The Washington Post reported this week that a cache of materials about the war in Afghanistan revealed that the U.S. mission there was failing spectacularly, leading to increasing service member and contractor deaths — not to mention tens of thousands of civilian casualties over the past two decades.
The internal documents obtained by the Washington Post have increased scrutiny of one of the most solemn ways the war is felt — the body count. Over 2,300 U.S. troops have died during the course of the war, along with 1,145 NATO and coalition troops. Presently, there are about 13,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Those tolls are likely exceeded, however, by that of the U.S. contractors who quietly performed some of the war's most dangerous functions — and whose deaths the Pentagon has never felt obligated to report to Americans.
Creating a realistic battle scene — whether it's from World War II or the Napoleonic Wars — demands technical know-how and precise attention to detail.
Paul Biddiss, the military technical adviser on the upcoming World War I movie 1917, taught the actors everything they needed to know, from proper foot care to how to hold a weapon, "which allows the actor to concentrate on his primary task. Acting!" Biddis told Insider.
Biddiss has worked on projects from a variety of time periods — "large Napoleonic battles through to World War I, World War II, right up to modern-day battles with Special Forces," Biddiss said.
Read on to learn about how Biddiss prepared 1917 performers for the gruesome, grueling warfare of World War I.