Band of Brothers
The true story of the men of Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne
Director: David Nutter
Operation Market Garden
This episode features Operation Market Garden (proposed by British General Bernard Montgomery) and part of the liberation of Holland. This operation began in September 1944 and required the presence of many more airborne divisions than during Operation Overlord.
Before being parachuted, E-Company soldiers accidentally encountered the first Easy Company unit commander, Herb Sobel, still a captain, who checked deliveries at their base.
The Easy is once again parachuted but this time it is composed of new recruits, “greens” charged to replace the losses that had undergone the E-Company in Normandy. Unlike Normandy parachutes on D-Day, the Allied airmen did not meet in Holland the German FLAK which remained as a rule silent. The men of the Easy spend the night between Son and Eindhoven in the town of Bokt before entering Eindhoven. At the entrance to the latter, two German guns of 88 mm open fire on companies F, H and I. The company F riposte and destroyed the two German guns with grenade launchers and mortars of 60 mm.
The film shows the Easy men inside Eindhoven during the celebrated celebration in honor of the Allied soldiers as well as the women mowed by the Dutch for having more friendly relations with the Germans. These events deeply shocked the American troops, some had already seen this kind of behavior in France.
A few days later elements of the Easy Company and Company F were sent to the town of Nuenen to locate the German resistance north-east outside Eindhoven. They are embarked on British tanks Cromwell. The Allies encountered German Panzers and shortly after had to retreat. The Germans took over the city and Denver “Bull” Randleman of the Easy Company finds himself isolated in a barn in the city, then in the hands of enemy forces. A German soldier came to search this barn, discovers the American paratrooper and a fight of bayonets engages between the two men. “Bull” Randleman wins his duel. Fortunately for him, the Germans outside hear nothing and “Bull” escapes from the city the next day. It is recovered by American troops then in recognition.
The British General Staff, which had under its command the Easy during Operation Market Garden, withdrew from the front the company – which served as a classical infantry company – in October 1944.
The Regiment of the Easy, the 506th of the 101st Airborne American division, lost 180 soldiers during the Operation Market Garden and had 560 wounded. The 101st Airborne division in its totality lost 750 soldiers and had 21,000 wounded in Arnhem. The British 1st Airborne Division accused the loss of nearly 8,000 soldiers. Market Garden’s strategic plan was a failure and did not allow the war to end at Christmas as Montgomery had foreseen.