What makes them the best? We said so, maggot!
We’re going to give you a second chance, so pay attention. Want to know how grenade launchers work? Why World War I German helmets had that spike on the top? How the tank got its name? Then fall in and pay attention while retired Marine Sergeant drill instructor, Vietnam veteran and actor R. Lee Ermey (Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket) answers your civilian questions in the hit television series MAIL CALL.
Whether you’ve never missed a minute or were absent without leave THE HISTORY CHANNEL presents the seven best episodes of MAIL CALL’s first season in one attitude-packed collection. Enlisting a platoon of military experts R. Lee explodes your non-com notions of military technology over the entire history of the armed forces. So shape up or ship out soldier! THE HISTORY CHANNEL is bringing the military experience to your living room.
Produced by Digital Ranch for The History Channel
Part 1: Grenade Launchers to Jet Packs
Episode #1: Grenade Launchers; Shrapnel; D-Day Paratrooper Gear; Jet Packs
In this episode, we learn how grenade launchers work, how a .30 caliber machine gun compares to a .50 caliber, watch Ermey behind the wheel of a Flyer 21-part dune buggy and part heavily-armed Jeep. We also discover the origin of the word shrapnel, what gear was unique to D-Day paratroopers, and if the military ever used jetpacks.
Part 2: Bazookas to the 21 Gun Salute
Episode #9: Anti-Tank Rocket; Bazooka; HQ Tour; Tactical Operations Center; Downed Pilots
R. Lee Ermey heads to the range with the Marines to demonstrate the bazooka’s replacement–an AT-4 shoulder-mounted anti-tank rocket–and finds out how the bazooka got its name. After a tongue-in-cheek tour of Mail Call Headquarters, we learn how commanders stay in touch with the battlefield at a Tactical Operations Center, a mobile command post for the computer age. We meet Air Force Pararescuemen, who rescue downed pilots behind enemy lines, and discover the origin of a 21-gun salute.
Part 3: Grenades to Tunnel Rats
Episode #11: Grenades; Dog Tags; Dinner in a Pouch
R. Lee Ermey applies his gruff sense of humor and answers viewers’ mail about what the armed forces were, and really are, like! In this episode Ermey learns how a grenade works; what purpose dog tags fulfill; he explains LAPES aircraft drop and what our GIs eat in the field today (MRE, Meals Ready-to-Eat).
Part 4: Cannoneers to Clearing Minefields
Episode #4: Civil War Cannoneers; Night Vision; Clearing a Minefield
R. Lee Ermey answers viewer’s questions about Civil Wars cannons. He also discusses new night-vision technology, and explains how the military clears minefields along with a few other questions about first aid kits and the Kukri knife.
Part 5: Body Armor to WWI Pilots
Episode #3: Flak Vest; Medieval Crossbow; WWI Pilots
R. Lee Ermey answers questions about body armor, accuracy of a medieval crossbow, and how World War I pilots shot through their propellers in this episode.
Part 6: Knights’ Armor to Land Mines
Episode #2: Knight’s Armor; WWI Backpack; Landmine
R. Lee Ermey answers questions about the armor that the knights of old wore, how landmines work, and what was in the World War 1 American soldier’s backpack.
Part 7: Coast Guard Ships to WWII V-Mail
Episode #13: Newest Coast Guard Ship; Carrier Battle Group; Tanks; Sherman Tank; XM-29 Rifle
Go aboard the Coast Guard’s Motor Lifeboat; find out how many ships are in a carrier battle group; why the Sherman tank was a deathtrap and how WWII V-mail kept letters flowing from the front to home.