It’s not exactly like Hollywood, but close. The battle was more intense than the mini-series.
Today we we were taken on a path that followed EZ Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne.
You may recognize them as 1st Lieutenant Dick Winters and team from ‘Band of Brothers’.
As we have seen all week, visiting these sites brings a much more clear understanding of the events that occurred.
The 506th EZ Company was a volunteer parachute regiment that knew their job would be to drop ‘behind enemy lines’. You learn to jump out of a plane - and you learn to fight behind enemy lines. EZ? Not really. But they still volunteered and trained for over 1 year for this event.
The dark early AM drops didn’t go exactly as planned. Cloud cover, enemy flack and pilot decisions to fly above or below the clouds all caused issues for dropping on targets. The at time 1st Lieutenant Dick Winters was 5 miles off course. The following diagram shows you the circle target areas, and the dots show you actual drop locations. Scattered. All behind enemy lines.
We visited the infamous Brecourt Manor. The adjacent farm field is where the dismantling of 4 enemy gun positions were eliminated. In real life this was over a 3 hour battle. Although the 506th lost a few men, it was a key victory that eliminated significant shelling in the key town of St. Marie-du-Mont.
Here’s the movie clip: https://youtu.be/FPEtwUJbUNQ
This photo is in the field and hedgerow where the event occurred, with arrows pointing to the gun placements.
(Red arrows indicate gun placements).
(Map showing the 4 gun positions).
There is a terrific adjacent roadside memorial for the 506th. When Major Dick Winters was notified of the memorial, he had one requirement. Make the memorial for all who were involved. This memorial should go to the whole ‘band of brothers’.
As a result, the memorial is a sculpture of a generic American soldier, not Dick Winters sculpture, with all the involved divisions and regiments engraved above. Very unselfish by Major Winters.
Dick Winters was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism as a Lieutenant on DDAY at Brecourt Manor.
EZ Company was successful in many key battles on DDAY, and following WWII events.
We remember and congratulate all the heroes. Thank you Major Dick Winters, and EZ Company.
Tribute to Major Dick Winters. https://youtu.be/9sgJC_vQAL4
(Brecourt Manor, a farm owned and operated by the same family for over 250 years. Notice the holes on the right of the photo, this is where then SGT. Malarkey fired mortar rounds over the German Positions into stables.)