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How "Band of Brothers" came to be

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by ww2thebigone, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. ww2thebigone

    ww2thebigone Member

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    In 1992, Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was known to few outside its members immediate families. But historian Stephen Ambrose discovered them and wrote the book, "Band of Brothers," on which the HBO series was based. In 1992, I got to interview Ambrose and some of Easy Company at a reception introducing the book. It was memorable for me and, I hope, will be interesting to you.

    http://ww2thebigone.com/2016/03/21/band-of-brothers/
     
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  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks.

    The series was a great undertaking and to me the premier movie/series from the US ETO perspective.
     
  3. ww2thebigone

    ww2thebigone Member

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    I couldn't agree more. The series was true to the book, and the book was true to the men.
     
  4. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    First, writing a book is hard...very hard. There is always room for criticism. Easy like many units in combat performed heroically. No more and no less. There are some inaccuracies in my own book discovered after the fact. Records aren't always that helpful. What amazes me is how accurate memories actually are.

    The book did not portray Sobel well. That is pretty much proven. Was he a good leader? Probably not for combat. Was he as jerky as the show indicated... no. It was common for soldiers to hate officers.

    The interaction in the series about the medic and nurse was a complete made up story. The reason was that Easy didn't do all that much at Bastogne compared to other rifle companies. The enemy repeated hit the same areas hard and that was where Easy wasn't.

    Market Garden/Ophuesden was or the 101st the hardest fighting of the war, especially the latter. Easy didn't do much there either and what they did do is run by much too fast. The toll on the soldiers wasn't really shown.

    Albert Blythe did not die of wounds and served in Vietnam.

    In reality Easy saw maybe the least or the least amount of contact with the enemy per rifle companies in the 101st Airborne based on casualties. Casualties are a direct correlation with enemy contact.

    Foy was taken....back and forth for days. The hardest fighting for Foy was to the east of the village actually.

    Dike was not a coward. He actually was quite heroic and didn't advance because he was shot. If he was as bad as portrayed at Foy, he would have likely been shot by his own men or ignored.

    The scene at Carantan where the series takes a swipe at surrounding units implying that Easy was more heroic was not necessary. Likely the other units had either more pressure or a better vantage point.

    Easy was selected because Ambrose had connections with one of the men. The story could have been about any other rifle company.

    The series is good at making the ETO come alive. Ambrose makes combat real. The biggest negative was the public got the idea that the war was one by Easy or that they were the best in Europe. The series actually caused some emotional pain to other soldiers and with soldiers the series was a love/hate thing. Today, ask most enthusiasts which regiment actually captured Carentan, the would say Easy, which would be not correct. The 506 put pressure on Carentan but not the most.

    I am glad these guys got their due. Wish more soldiers could get the same.

    Here is a map of Ophuesden showing the Crossroads in perspective to the greater battle. To explain, Easy was on the north of the perimeter. Other elements of the 506 were holding the line on the west where they took over from the British. The 506 was hit hard and relieved by the 327/401. As the 506 was being pushed back, the 327 3rd BN (401 1st BN) set up behind them and the 506 moved back through them. The enemy did penetrated the 401 with a company which was destroyed/captured subsequently. The 101 including the 327 didn't have enough manpower to cover the entire line and the Germans broke through one of the gaps. Being somewhat more heavily armed than the paratroopers, the 327 was a logical choice for the west perimeter going against armor. Colonel Bud Harper of the 327 was known for digging in and not relenting. Paratroopers had different roles than glidermen. Sorry I can't just post the pick. The link is my own and clean.

    https://www.facebook.com/109600119062869/photos/a.1086677284688476.1073741892.109600119062869/1086677448021793/?type=3&theater
     
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  5. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    When I began doing research on my brother who served in the 67th Armored Regiment, some 20 years ago, many of the men were still alive that served in A Company. The one thing that was so overwhelming was the genuine camaraderie they still had after all those years. So many couldn't do enough to help- one even traveled from Miami (I live in Washington state) to spend a few days talking about what he and my brother went through.

    It would be wonderful if every front line unit could have the same reconition as Easy Company of the 101st, but there were so many that it would be impossible. By portraying one as well as "Band of Brothers" was, it can serve as an indication of what the others must have endured.

    Thanks for the added insight IIhawk. Like in your book, you take the time to explain some of the negative images portrayed.
     
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    He could have just made up the facts if he didn't have a connection or plagiarized other authors work, as he often did. Once he lied he had no credibility with me.

    Fortunately the actions of the Band of Brothers can be verified from other sources.
     
  7. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    Unfortunately several of his portrayals are very damaging and not correct, at least entirely. In my book, not saying I did it right, I decided to name soldier who shot the POW at Carentan. I also explain the reasoning. In re to Capt Evans being shot by one of his own, I didn't name the shooter (and he was killed by artillery right after the shot and never will) and I leave it open to discussion about the cause of his wounds (as I really couldn't find the medical report). About the co-authors extreme dislike of Evan's, I did try to explain things and what influenced that opinion.

    That said, it is very hard to to write about war. About plagiarism, it is documented. However, if it weren't for his popularity it wouldn't be so discussed.
     

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