Band of Brothers
The true story of the men of Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne
Title: Days of Days
Director: Richard Loncraine
June 6th, 1944
Episode number two begins with a plan on the C-47s of the Easy Company en route to the parachute zone. A few hours later, in the night and above France, the FLAK (defense against German aircraft) opened fire. Very dense in the Cotentin sector, it disrupts many hastily piloted American pilots and many parachutages are totally missed, some parachutists having arrived more than 20 km from their rally zone. The E-Company is not spared by these bad parachutages and many soldiers did not find their rallying zone. It took a few days for the survivors of these parachutages to rejoin their company.
Winters was parachuted east of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, about half an hour before the arrival of the men of the 505th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) of the 82nd Airborne Division who were to be parachuted into the area. At Sainte-Mère-Eglise there was a 88 mm FLAK battery that included more men and firepower than the German 91st Infantry Division on site. The presence of this battery was the cause of the problems encountered by the pilots of American planes to carry out the parachutages. The plane of First Lieutenant Meehan is shot down over Beuzeville-au-Plain and he is killed with all the stick of paras in this crash.
The first American soldier that Winters found after his parachute was in fact a Supply Sergeant of Company F and not Private John Hall (identified as belonging to the Able Company) as shown in Band of Brothers. The most impressive story of the various landings is undoubtedly that of Bull Randleman who is obliged to fight in duel and bayonet with a German soldier just after his parachute, which was not shown in the film.
Winters, on the other hand, walked south when he joined some of his men, including William Bill Guarnere, Donald G. Malarkey, and also two soldiers of the 82nd Airborne who had also missed their parachute.
Later in the night, Winters fell on a German patrol with caravan at the intersection of D423 and D115. It was at this point that William B. Guarnere opened fire without receiving the order, hence his nickname: “Wild Bill”. After a short but violent fight, the Americans are masters of the situation, without any wounded on their side.
Guns of the Brécourt Manor
Shortly thereafter, the soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Richard Dick Winters resumed their march and at dawn reached a farm where most of the Easy men were. The scene where Donald G. Malarkey speaks with a German prisoner from Oregon in the United States really took place.
According to the scenario of the film Band of Brothers, Lieutenant Speirs, after having proposed cigarettes to these same prisoners, slaughtered them. Malarkey would have heard the sound of a Tommy gun and that was precisely Speirs’ weapon. Dick Winters had heard that this scene had taken place in Bastogne. This incident probably occurred. But in war, prisoners are quite difficult to manage. The two possibilities are: keep them and hand them over to the military police if there is a possibility or release them.
But the scenario may have taken a little bit of adaptation to the real facts: I asked Donald Malarkey if he remembers this story and if he could touch me a few words. He replied, “I have heard of such an act, but I have not seen it with my own eyes or heard it, as shown in the Band of Brothers series. Actually spoke to a German prisoner who had worked before the war a few hundred meters from my home in Oregon.“
On the farm where Winters stopped he was ordered to attack a German battery near Manoir de Brécourt, a few kilometers west of Utah Beach. The battery consisted of 4 German 105-mm guns that opened fire on Utah Beach, where the 4th American Infantry Division disembarked and was protected by MG-42 machine guns and about fifty German soldiers who had built trench networks. With great situational intelligence and supported by Browning caliber 30 (7.62 mm) machine-guns, Winters and his men attacked and destroyed the guns one after the other and withdrew with Their side two killed, including John D. Hall, a few wounded and after killing about twenty opposing soldiers.
Winters and his men then spent the night at Culloville, 5 to 6 kilometers south of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, where Colonel Sink’s staff was also located at that time.