10 Common Things You Get Wrong About War (Thanks To Hollywood)

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We may have been fighting each other since the dawn of time, though the average person still has little idea of what war is really like. Our mental image of what happens on the battlefield is heavily influenced by pop culture, particularly the movies. Unfortunately, the people making those movies have usually never been around a real fight, either, and are mostly just making things up as they go.

While we agree that fiction requires some suspension of disbelief to be enjoyable, that’s applicable to genres like science fiction and horror. Misrepresenting serious subjects like war on the big screen comes with its fair share of drawbacks. Most of us grow up with a glorified idea of what war is really like, as movie writers are busy writing about dual wielding guns rather than the stench of poop in the aftermath of a typical battle.

10 Showing Off Your Dog Tag Isn’t Cool

Dog tags have always been a popular part of casual fashion. They admittedly look quite cool, which is probably because of being associated with the military. Because of Hollywood, a lot of us assume that wearing dog tags as necklaces is something people in the forces do all the time. As any veteran would tell you, though, showing off your dog tag isn’t considered to be sound etiquette within the military.

While it’s true that you’ve to wear your tags at all times for identification while on duty, most soldiers keep them tucked inside. Off duty, keeping your dog tag visible in civilian clothes is not in good taste, even – and especially – if you’re topless, unlike what the movies tell us.[1]

9 ‘Military Grade’ Is An Advertising Gimmick

From knives to antivirus software to alarm systems, companies across the board brand their products as ‘military grade’, usually to signify higher quality and price. If we were to ask you what that exactly means, chances are most of us won’t be able to tell. We have this idea of things made by the military to be of higher in quality than consumer-grade products.

As it happens, military-grade quality actually doesn’t exist, and is yet another one of countless gimmicks advertising agencies use to justify exorbitantly higher prices. While it may be true that civilians don’t yet have access to a lot of military tech, it’s because it’s classified for security reasons and not because they’re somehow making better things in there.[2]

8 Almost No One Uses Automatic Fire

As we’ve mentioned before, movies exaggerate the effects of various weapons to make them look more impressive on screen. Take grenades as an example; invisible shrapnel paralyzing someone’s lower legs isn’t as impressive as a house blowing up with six people flying in the air. Apart from giving us a faulty idea of what a battle is really like, it also affects decision-making during real-time disaster situations.

One particularly glaring difference between real and fictional wars is ‘automatic fire’ in assault rifles. While military rifles do have a setting to turn the automatic, continuous burst mode on, almost no one uses it in real battles. Apart from bullets costing a lot of money to buy – a fact we’d come to in a bit – the distances in a real battle are simply too great for automatic fire to be any efficient. That’s not to say that automatic fire isn’t used in real wars, though those guns are usually heavier and mounted on a bipod or tripod.[3]

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