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The Gang’s All Here

Wannsee villa

Conspiracy is an excellent HBO TV movie about the Wannsee Conference. It was to a villa just off the Wannsee lake on the outskirts of Berlin that on 20 January 1942 Reich Main Security Office (RHSA) supremo Reinhard Heydrich, with authority granted by Hitler via Himmler and Göring, assembled a conference of senior Nazi officials from across the panopoly of organisations that administrated the territories of the Reich. This was the meeting where the planned, mechanised and audited mass murder of the Jewish Holocaust was laid out in its entirety to those men charged with its undertaking, the full horror masked in bureaucratic mildness.

The film is, at its simplest, a room full of men talking. There is no action, no romance, no sub-plots, no special effects, no twist and no pay-off.

The ending is already known. It is a tragedy in the truest sense: the drama of horrible inevitability.

Not the inevitability of nature – that Autumn follows Summer, then leads into Winter; or that the rain shall fall down and not up. This is the inevitability of actions that men have wrought unto others; men who at one point in time did that which cannot, no matter how many days pass between then and now, be undone. The inevitability that pain lingers even if wounds heal. The inevitability of complete, irreversible death – but death on such an immense, unmentionable, inconceivable scale that it should never be so much as contemplated, let alone considered, much less carried out.

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Heydrich)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Heydrich 2) SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich
Kenneth Branagh

  • Chief of the RSHA Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia
  • Chaired the meeting
  • Joined NSDAP August 1931, and personally hired by Himmler to run SS counter intelligence unit
  • Fatally wounded in Praha by assassins in May 1942; died 4 June

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Eichmann)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Eichmann 2)
SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann
Stanley Tucci

  • Head of Referat IV B4 of the Gestapo
  • Took minutes of the meeting
  • Appointed ‘Transportation Administrator’ for the Final Solution
  • Joined NSDAP April 1932
  • Escaped to Argentina after the war where he lived under an assumed identity
  • Kidnapped by agents of the Mossad in 1960 and transported to Isrtael where he stood trial in 1961
  • Executed 31 May 1962

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Bühler)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Bühler 2)Dr Josef Bühler
Ben Daniels

  • State Secretary, General Government of Poland
  • Joined NSDAP April 1933
  • Subsequently tried in post-war Poland
  • Found guilty of war crimes and executed in Kraków, 22 August 1948

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Freisler)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Freisler 2)Dr Roland Freisler
Owen Teale

  • State Secretary, Reich Ministry of Justice
  • President of the Volksgerichtshof (People’s Court)
  • Joined NSDAP July 1925
  • Killed in air raid on Berlin, 3 February 1945

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Hofmann)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Hofmann 2)SS-Gruppenführer Otto Hofmann
Nicholas Woodeson

  • Head of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA)
  • Joined NSDAP April 1923
  • Joined SS April 1931
  • Tried for war crimes in 1948 and imprisoned for 25 years
  • Pardoned and released in 1954
  • Died 1982

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Klopfer)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Klopfer 2)SS-Oberführer Dr Gerhard Klopfer
Ian McNeice

  • Permanent Secretary, Nazi Party Chancellery
  • Joined NSDAP 1933
  • Joined SA and Gestapo 1934
  • Captured after the war and charged with war crimes, but released for lack of evidence
  • Died 1987

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Kritzinger)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Kritzinger 2)Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger
David Threlfall

  • Permanent Secretary, Reich Chancellery
  • Joined NSDAP 1938
  • Captured 1946
  • Recanted for role in Holocaust at Nuremberg Trials and released
  • Died 25 April 1947

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Lange)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Lange 2)SS-Sturmbannführer Dr Rudolf Lange
Barnaby Kay
Commander of the SiPo and the SD for the General-District Latvia

  • Deputy of the Commander of the SiPo and the SD for the Reichskommissariat Ostland

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Leibbrandt)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Leibbrandt 2)Dr Georg Leibbrandt
Ewan Stewart

  • Reichsamtleiter, Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
  • Joined NSDAP 1933
  • Arrested by Allies in 1945 and interned until his release in 1949
  • Arrested by German authorities for role in Holocaust but subsequently released without trial in 1950
  • Died 16 June 1982

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Luther)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Luther 2)Martin Luther
Kevin McNally

  • Under Secretary, Reich Foreign Ministry
  • Joined NSDAP and SA on 1 Match 1933
  • Sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp for intrigues against his superior, Ribbentrop
  • Liberated May 1945 by Soviet army but died soon after of a heart attack

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Meyer)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Meyer 2)Dr Alfred Meyer
Brian Pettifer

  • Gauleiter, State Secretary and Deputy Reich Minister, Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
  • Joined NSDAP 1928
  • Committed suicide, 11 April 1945

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Müller)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Müller 2)SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller
Brendan Coyle

  • Chief of Amt IV (Gestapo)
  • Recruited to SD by Heydrich in 1933
  • Joined SS 1934
  • Joined NSDAP 1939
  • Last seen in the Führerbunker 1 May 1945

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Neumann)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Neumann 2)Erich Neumann
Jonathan Coy

  • State Secretary, Office of the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan
  • Joined NSDAP May 1933
  • Joined SS 1934
  • Interned after the wear but released in 1948 due to ill health
  • Thought to have died either in 1948 or 1951

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Schöngarth)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Schöngarth 2)SS-Oberführer Dr Karl Eberhard Schöngarth
Pete Sullivan

  • Commander of the SiPo and the SD in the General Government
  • Joined (then left) NSDAP in 1922
  • Rejoined NSDAP 1933
  • Joined SS 1 March 1933
  • Captured by Allied forces after the war and tried for murdering a PoW by a military court
  • Found guilty and executed 15 May 1946

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Stuckart)

The Gang's All Here #004: Conspiracy (Stuckart 2)Dr Wilhelm Stuckart

Colin Firth

  • State Secretary, Reich Interior Ministry
  • Joined NSDAP December 1922 and remained a member until its banning the following November
  • Rejoined NSDAP (by proxy) in 1930
  • Joined SA 1932
  • Joined SS December 1933 on Himmler’s recommendation
  • Co-drafted 1935’s Nuremberg Laws on racial purity
  • Served as Interior Minister in Dönitz’s brief post-Hitler ‘Flensburg Government’ of May 1945
  • Arrested and prosecuted for role in racial laws and genocide at ‘Ministries Trial’
  • Sentenced to time served and released in April 1949
  • Died 15 November 1953
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Bravo Two Zero patrol before departure in January 1991, on tailgate of Chinook helicopter.

The actual Bravo Two Zero patrol pose for a team snap on the tailgate of a Chinook helicopter before their departure in January 1991.

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Andy)
‘Andy McNab’ (Sean Bean)

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Baz)
‘Baz’ AKA Bob Consiglio (Ian Curtis)

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Chris)
‘Chris Ryan’ (Kevin Collins)

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Dinger)
‘Dinger’ AKA Ian Pring (Steve Nicolson)

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Mark)
‘Mark’ AKA ‘Kiwi Mike Coburn’ (Richard Graham)

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Ray)
‘Ray’ AKA Vince Phillips (Jamie Bartlett)

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Stan)
‘Stan’ AKA Mal MacGown (Robert Hobbs)

The Gang’s All Here #003: Bravo Two Zero (Tony)
‘Tony’ AKA Steve ‘Legs’ Lane (Rick Warden)

So, let’s meet the celebrated/infamous/notorious (delete as necessary) 1991 Gulf War SAS patrol Bravo Two Zero… Above we have a bunch of screengrabs taken from the 1999 TV mini-series Bravo Two Zero (written by Troy Kennedy-Martin and directed by Tom Clegg) of the 1993 book Bravo Two Zero by ‘Andy McNab’.

Now, there are some confusing things to consider. ‘McNab’ wrote the first book about the B20 mission, and he used pseudonyms for those of his comrades-in-arms who survived. He used the real names of those who died. One of those who survived, ‘Chris Ryan’, subsequently wrote his own escape of the mission and of his escape in the 1995 book The One That Got Away which in turn was turned into a 1996 television film The One That Got Away (written and directed by Paul Greengrass), and used some but not all of the same names. His version of events differs considerably from ‘McNab’s.

The ‘McNab’ and ‘Ryan’ books, and in particular the characterisation of on of those who perished, Vince Phillips, pissed off at least two of the remaining three survivors, and one of them, ‘Mike Coburn’ (previously called ‘Kiwi Mark’) wrote his own account in the 1998 book Soldier Five.

Of course, this not being a straight-forward story, there was a long and convoluted legal battle over the publication of the book – let’s just say that the MoD was not keen. Eventually, after a protracted court case the book came out in 2004.

Meanwhile, in 2000 former SAS reservist-turned-explorer Michael Asher roamed around Iraq searching for evidence of what happened during the B20 mission, having been commissioned to make a television programme for the Channel 4 documentary strand To The Ends Of The Earth. In 2002 the programme was completed and broadcast, under the name The Real Bravo Two Zero, accompanied by a book, also called The Real Bravo Two Zero.

Seriously – are you following this?

Anyway, when I get the chance I’ll do the same for the adaptation of the Ryan book for comparison’s sake.

Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen please, we are about to do a job in, uh, Italy, and I would like to introduce you all to each other.

First, Bill Bailey, he’ll be my number two. Now, you all know Bill, he’s just done three years in Parkhurst, he’s as honest as the day is long and you can trust him.

Second, the getaway – this’ll be done in three Mini Coopers, and they will be driven by Chris, Tony…

…and Dominic. Alright alright alright alright! These chinless wonders’ll get you out of Turin faster than anything on four wheels – remember that.

When we get to the Alps we will transfer to a coach. The coach will be driven by William here. Better known as Big William, for very obvious reasons.

Now, we come to the Professor here. The Professor is in charge of all matters relating to the Turin computer, so I don’t want anyone putting him down because he’s a man of reading. I know that he’s got some, uh, very funny habits, but make him feel at home. He’s very important to the operation.

Finally, and very quickly, I would like to introduce you to all the lads who are going to do the job with me: Arthur…

…Frank…

…Rozzer…

…Coco…

…Yellow…

…Camp Freddie you all know.

Roger…

…Dave…

…and Lorna will be in reserve with three fast cars in case anything goes wrong, right?

Now, it’s a very difficult job, and the only way to get through it is if we all work together as a team, and that means you do everything I say.

Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) introduces the team in The Italian Job.

Bill Bailey :: George Innes
Chris :: Barry Cox
Tony :: Roger Essome
Dominic :: David Salamone
Big William :: Harry Baird
Professor Simon Peach :: Benny Hill
Arthur :: Michael Standing
Frank :: John Forgeham
Rozzer :: Derek Ware
Coco :: Stanley Caine
Yellow :: Robert Powell
Camp Freddie :: Tony Beckley
Roger :: Frank Jarvis
Dave :: ???
Lorna :: Margaret Blye

Can anyone identify who plays ‘Dave’? He’s not listed in the credits so far as I can see…

I’ve been meaning to kick this off for ages…

You know how you watch a film where there’s a gang – of crooks, of soldiers, of whatever – and there’s just too many of them to keep track of before they start getting bumped off, and before you know it, you’re like, ‘Which one was Wierzbowski?’

Well, with that in mind, I present to you The Gang’s All Here – handy picture guides to your favourite screen groups, gangs, clans and bands, starting with the Euro-trash terrorists from John McTiernan’s Die Hard!

Here we have Hans Gruber’s guys laid out in order of impending doom, left-to-right and top-to-bottom…

That’s…

  1. Tony – Karl’s brother, takes a header down the stairs from the 32nd floor courtesy of John McClane
  2. Heinrich – Detonators guy, shot behind Marco when they come into the Nakatomi boardroom on the 34rd floor looking for McClane
  3. Marco – Shot through table by McClane in the boardroom shortly after Heinrich, then dumped out the window onto Al’s squad car
  4. James – Missile loader, blown up by McClane’s C4 office chair bomb thrown down the elevator shaft whilst looking for more rockets to fire at the LAPD
  5. Alexander – Missile aimer, blown up by McClane at the same time as James
  6. Fritz – Fabio lookalike shot whilst coming out of elevator with Karl and Franco to rescue Hans
  7. Franco – Shot in legs then falls head-first through shattered glass partition
  8. Uli – Shot by McClane leaving roof
  9. Theo – Techie dude taken out (alive) by Argyle in the parking garage
  10. Kristoff – In charge of drilling at the vault, knocked out by McClane
  11. Eddie – Fake security guard planted on reception desk, shot with McClane’s last bullet in faceoff with Gruber
  12. Hans Gruber – Leader of the gang, dropped out of window after being shot by McClane
  13. Karl – Gruber’s right-hand man, brother of Tony, he was beaten, strung up on chains and left for dead by McClane as he made his way down from the roof – but in fact he survived until the end, when he appeared out of nowhere and tried to finish off McClane, only to be stopped in his tracks by Officer Al Powell

DEAD / UNKNOWN / SURVIVED