While watching Band of Brothers, in the second episode, after the paratroopers drop in the night prior to D-Day, Winters and Hall run into each other in the field in the dark and walk out together. They run into a German air flak gun squad and stop moving. Winters says to wait for them to reload before they continue moving. When the Germans stopped to reload, THEN the pair moved into the darkness.

I have no military or law enforcement training so perhaps my logic is wrong but my question is why would you wait for them to reload before continuing on in the dark? My logic is if they are firing, it would be loud and hopefully they won't hear me when I'm walking by. Also, they would probably be looking skyward to shoot planes and not look for soldiers who survived the jump on the ground.

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    I don't think this is on topic. Just because there isn't a military tactics site unfortunately doesn't make it on topic here. Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 23:46
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    I think that if the wording was slightly different, this would have been on-topic. We have a lot of questions asking for a reason behind someone taking a certain (important) action, and this is no different, except for the disclaimer of the OP. It might not even be about a military tactic but just some smart thinking on Winters' part. VTLO.
    – Joachim
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 7:35
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    @Joachim, thanks for the tip. I've re-worded my question.
    – Classified
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 8:19

1 Answer 1


Due to the clarification of the scene (and finally finding the relevant scene to look at), this answer has been edited:

  • Winters says to wait for them to reload before they continue moving.
  • When the Germans stopped to reload,
  • THEN the pair moved into the darkness.

The Flakvierling 38 has four autocannons with 20 round magazines each. Useful rate of fire is around 800 rounds per minute. The crew is 8.

While they're firing, some of the crew could provide security for the rest of the crew.

When they are reloading they all get busy as each gun has to have its magazine replaced separately.

Therefore when they are reloading they are very busy. They need to get shooting again right away.

Winters and companion can mask their movement through this period of heightened enemy activity, as the Flakvierling crew will be making a lot of noise themselves.

To help visualize, here are two videos of re-enactors firing and reloading a singular Flak 38 - add another 3 barrels with magazines and you have a busy unit - see how everyone is involved:

(I linked these as most real footage I've seen doesn't show reloading clearly)

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    Thanks for your answer. I've upvoted your answer. What you said makes sense. However, the movie showed them moving when the Germans were reloading so I'm not sure what point the director was making or why militarily real soldiers would do that instead of what you said.
    – Classified
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 8:22
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    Ah i see you edited your question recently. Does make it clearer the timing of them moving is at odds. I only found an approximate version of the scene to watch (for some reason the reload dialogue is cut out) for that and agree with you. Although, as you say, my answer makes sense, it does not reflect the scene in question. If its not a problem I could delete my answer as it is less relevant now.. Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 8:29
  • No need to delete your answer. I think it's still relevant because the scene/movie seems different than what someone should do in real life. If I or someone else found themselves in a real life combat situation like this and thought "I saw this on BoB so I'll just move when they reload", we'll get killed. If they read your comment, they might say "hey, I read something from some smart guy to wait and time how long it actually takes to reload before moving"
    – Classified
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 16:42
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    Could it be that firing the gun makes the environment light up so much that movement in the vicinity is picked up a lot easier?
    – Joachim
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 15:21
  • "THEN the pair moved into the darkness" kinda gives it away, so yes absolutely. Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 1:14

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