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Near the end of The Monuments Men, Garfield and Clermont get lost driving in the countryside and stop when they see a horse.

Garfield...

sees a soldier in the brush who doesn't shoot Garfield but signals to him about something and Garfield calmly tries to warn Clermont to get back to the truck. As Clermont realizes what's happening, he runs back to the truck as Garfield is driving to him and it seems like everyone opens fire on the truck and Clermont is hit and later dies.

My question is who was doing the shooting. The scene made it seem like everyone who was hiding came out to shoot the truck. However, the soldier in the brush appears to be American due to what he did above. Was this friendly fire or was this the enemy shooting our protagonists and a plot point to tug at our hearts?

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    My presumption was that they inadvertently stumbled upon German and American soldiers facing each other across the field. The American's are aware of the German's so try to warn Garfield. Its not clear whether the German's were aware of the American troops.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Mar 27 at 17:56
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    I could convert this to an answer, but this was only my impression when viewing the same scene quite a few months ago, so if someone with more information steps forward feel free to answer.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Mar 27 at 19:38
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    I think its possible the Germans are only aware of Garfield and co, as the truck seems to draw all their fire. You don't see the hidden troops firing back until the truck is out of the way and Clermont is already shot. Also, though hard to see, a German in the bushes has his rifle pointed at Clermont. Commented Mar 27 at 21:04

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at roughly 2:09 - you hear the first gunshot, you also see the muzzleflash from that first shot.

Clermont is running from that side, which is the German side that the hidden US soldiers pointed to. So, he gets shot in the back as he is running away from them.

First shot and muzzle flash:

https://youtu.be/Jp_18ABBLfY?si=__XdC2YX-M6uwXis&t=129

  • note at this point the truck has done a u-turn, so although from this frame it looks like it was fired from the US side, the shot is from the German side.

My question is who was doing the shooting.

Both sides, but the film implicitly shows a shot from the German side first, that hits Clermont in the back.

The scene made it seem like everyone who was hiding came out to shoot the truck.

The truck was just caught in the crossfire. You got an object moving between two sides shooting at eachother, it is going to get hit whether one side wants to or not.

However, the soldier in the brush appears to be American due to what he did in the spoiler window above.

The soldier is an American, he is dressed as an American. *

Was this friendly fire or was this the enemy shooting our protagonists and a plot point to tug at our hearts?

yes, the enemy shooting our protagonists and plot point to tug at our hearts - also because i think there was not a direct real life person for Clermont as there was for most of the main characters.

Sequence:

enter image description here

In the enlarged area you can see a hidden German with his rifle pointed straight at Clermont.

Garfield has to u-turn the truck to reach Clermont. This makes the right side face the Germans.

Clermont is looking to his left as the truck comes for him.

and is shot in the back as he climbs aboard.

Right side of truck is shown being shot at from the German side.

US troops are shown approaching from the rear/ opposite side of truck.

(* - as this was shot in the UK, I think there was a story where the troops were British extras and one or two were veterans, who offered on the spot advice on how the scene might play out, rather than what was scripted. One of those subsequently became a movie military advisor)

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