Airborne Division of the United States Army was formed in Toccoa, Georgia. They were trained under Capt. Sorbel.. Members of the battalion voluntered for the job for the money, thrill, honor and to be the best among the ordinary infantry men. Because the Band of Brothers was narrated from the points of view of the soldiers of Company E or the Easy Company, the story is unique for the narration was so vivid that a reader would feel that he is there fighting with the band of brothers. Because of the physical requirements during the training only few made it to their graduation day.
Here the story is significant for a soldier because the story is about the everyday life of a soldier in the boot camp and in the field—not a story about generals and admirals usually made by most movie companies. It tells a soldier that even how much he has suffered while training it doesn’t guarantee that he would survive in war. From Toccoa the company was sent to Fort Benning for their jumping course. Their earlier training at the boot camp hardened them physically that they even outlasted the physical fitness trainers at the fort.
This is the reality about soldiery. There are soldiers who are better than the trainers themselves. After only five jumps, ironically they were made as parachutists, and after nine months of training were sent to England on board a transport ship to prepare themselves for the invasion against the Third Reich of Hitler. The writer narrates the daily regimen of the company while in training in England. The narration was from the points of view from both the officers and men of the Easy Company.
Both the movie and the book depict the confusion, heroism and struggle during the time the company jumped into the countryside where they were separated from each other. Many landed on buildings, trees, farm houses, fences, carts, houses, rafters and in the middle of enemies since they jumped behind enemy lines at dawn. There was chaos all around but many maintain their composure as hardened soldiers of Easy Company. Their job was to silence the German artillery and neutralize the enemy soldiers guarding the guns. They effectively put their hard training into practice.
The highlight of the Band of Brothers is how Lt. Richard Winters achieved the mission. The book narrates: “ By this time, about 0700, E company consisted of two light machine guns, one bazooka (no ammunition), one 60 mm…. ” But with less than 100 men from the original 139 jumpers, Lt. Winters’s men were able to accomplish the mission. The mission was done without heroic deeds of a few. They fought as a team and with the right maneuvers attacked the German platoon guarding the battery emplacement. This is also about the best aspect on soldiery.
As a soldier, you have also to protect not your life but also your brothers in arms. In this kind of situation, a soldier usually has to consider that everyone in his group as his brother. Why? Because they shed blood and tears together or suffer pain together. They are blood brothers, so to speak. The book quotes one of the men: “ We fought as a team…we were like machine…We knocked it out or made it withdraw by maneuver and teamwork…We were smart…we had learned that heroics was the way to get killed without getting the job done….
” Easy Company continued to fight in Normandy until it was pulled out and deployed to Utah beach. They were about 139 when they exited from the plane’s door. And ended the battle with only 79 remaining men. In the movie, you can feel the struggle of private Albert Blithe. He has to overcome fear, as every soldier has experienced fear. Winters, on his part, has suffered anguish after he shot a German teenage soldier. The company jumped into Holland under Operation: Market Garden and fought until November 1944.
The company also heroically defended Bastogne almost to the last man. . In the movie, the German Army sent couriers to relay offer the message of the German commander of Bastogne for them to surrender or perish. Winters made a succinct reply: “Nuts. ” They held their trenches until reinforcements arrived. Then the men of Company E fought in the famous Battle of the Bulge, which marked the defeat of the German Panzer division. Winters’ men continued fighting and were the first to occupy Hitler’s mountain retreat known as the Eagle’s Nest.
From Austria the battalion was redeployed to a town near Paris and on November 30, 1945, the 101st Airborne Battalion was deactivated. What’s the significance of the story to a plain infantry man? I can say that the Band of Brothers is one of the few stories written from the testimonies of actual combatants without fanfare or garnishment for use in movies. The book tells the story of leadership amid blood, guts and tears and about overcoming fear by soldiers and officers alike. It tells the credo of an American general who says “ The more you sweat in peace and less you bleed in war. ” But many die in war.
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