With the Pentagon busily purging every last vestige of manhood from military ranks, and the US military reeling under a string of recent humiliations, many men long to see what America's defenders once looked like.
And, as these features aim to highlight positive portrayals of masculinity, against the negative stereotypes proffered by both the Male Feminists and the Game/PUA poseurs haunting the Manosophere, this week we are going to recommend one of the most popular WW2 dramas in television history, Combat!.
Combat! aired on ABC from 1962-1967, near the end of television's Golden Age. It was an hour-long program following the exploits of a rifle squad in K Company, from the Normandy Invasion to the German surrender. The story followed Platoon Sergeant 'Chip' Saunders and his friend and Commander Lieutenant Gil Hanley as they battled to complete their missions against often challenging odds.
Saunders' and Hanley's characters were remarkable in that they were clearly typical American men whose leadership abilities, heroism. and highest qualities were brought out of them by the emergencies of the war. We will focus on Saunders in particular, because he was featured in most episodes. We're not given much of his background, other than he came from some industrial city in Ohio, and had brothers serving in other theaters. His outstanding quality is leadership.
This is important to emphasize, because contemporary Manospherians present us with a caricature of The Manly Alpha Leader. Saunders is a stark contrast to the image they portray. A genuine leader of men is one whom other men are willing to follow and whom they respect. Men do not follow leaders into battle based on the leaders' ability to seduce women. They follow men whom they respect because of the leaders' ideals and actions.
As we saw in the recent controversy over the marriage video, most Gamers are taking the feminist position that male sacrifice is unnecessary and that women should be the ones defending society. Part of leadership, though, involves responsibility. Saunders and Hanley are both men who take responsibility seriously; and understand that a worthwhile achievement involves personal sacrifice. This is a recurring theme in most Combat! episodes. Saunders often has to make men out of boys by teaching them the value of responsibility and sacrifice.
This is because, contrary again to Game doctrine, men---as defenders and protectors of a culture---function best as a team. The objective, which in this case was winning a war and defending freedom, is never lost sight of by Saunders. In one episode, Saunders has four raw recruits in his squad. One cocky recruit who goes his own way, nearly compromises the mission and gets killed by the Germans. After recovering the mission, Saunders sees the other recruits gathered around the body and orders them to resume the patrol. They look at him dumbfounded, and Saunders says: "What do you want me to do, preach a sermon? He didn't follow orders, now he's dead. That's all the sermon that needs to be said."
What both Gamers and Male Feminists fail to realize is that personal responsibility and self-sacrifice to a goal higher than oneself is inseparable from Masculinity. One of the Game gurus, who styles himself God's Voice, argues that male reproductive capacity is the highest form of manhood. This, of course, is no different than the Feminist position that men are only valuable as sperm donors. When men internalize such nonsense, we end up with soldiers breaking out in tears in front of foreign armies. Contrast that type of manliness with Sgt. Saunders who, when his patrol was captured, immediately went to work organizing an escape.
Gamers, likewise, preach a debased form of individualism where the ostensible goal of becoming a Manly Alpha Leader is to be envied and praised by other men. That view obviously defeats the entire purpose of leadership which is to set standards for other men to rise up to.
Combat!, in spite of its appearance during television's waning years, is well-produced and well-scripted and has a high degree of historical accuracy driving it. ABC brought in advisors from the US Army and Veterans of Foreign Wars on its production. The Germans speak German, there are no anachronisms either in props, dialogues, or attitudes. K Company was a fairly accurate depiction of Army life on the Western Front in Europe. A number of episodes were directed by Hollywood veterans as well. There are numerous battle scenes---much better performed, actually, than modern Hollywood depictions.
In spite of Combat!'s popularity, growing Left-wing media antagonism towards the military in the Vietnam Era brought about the show's cancellation in 1967. It quickly became something of a cult classic and still has a small, but loyal following.
Most Combat! episodes are available on Youtube and other public-domain sites and a DVD set of all five seasons is also available. A highly recommended series for those wanting to get a good picture of our cultural heritage.