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Band of Brothers : episode 8
The story of the men from the 506 PIR, 101st Airborne, Easy Company

 


N°1 - N°2 - N°3 - N°4 - N°5 - N°6 - N°7 - Episode 8 - N°9 - N°10

 

Episode : 08/10

Title : The Patrol

Director : Tony To

 
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David Webster

This episode is seen through the eyes of David Kenyon Webster. He has been injured in Holland and the episode 8 begins by showing his difficulties met when returning to the Easy Company. David seems to be despised by his peers.

I have asked Donald Malarkey why had he been on the sidelines with his friends, as shown in this episode. que nous avons supporté, puis il rejoint la E-Company avant que nous arrivions dans la ville d'Haguenau." He said: "David Webster had not trained with us during the whole basic training at Toccoa, we did not really know each other and our relationship had not hardened before or during the war. On D-Day, he has been parachuted with soldiers of the Easy HQ, which he belonged to. Wounded in Holland, he did not take part in the terrible battle of the Bulge, he didn't know the cold, hunger, pain we had supported, then he joined E-Company before we arrived in the town of Haguenau".

Many historical members of the 506 PIR were dead or wounded, the war was getting longer, and new arrivals, the "replacement", were considered as unconscious "greens". Webster was considered by some of the remaining soldiers of the Easy as a replacement. These replacements were often ignored by other soldiers. In addition, Don told me that "David did not speak other than Harvard, the school he left before joining Camp Toccoa, and finally we thought he was like a character from another world".

"David Webster wrote after the war, remembering a trip to the back of a truck with his comrades: "It was good to be back with faithful friends I had known. I had confidence in them. Listening to the discussions in the truck, I felt warm and relaxed on the inside, like a lost child who was returned in a welcoming home filled with love after being lost in a dark black forest". He would be very disappointed with the behavior of some classmates. But his formidable state of mind helped him not to pay attention to these provocations, based on a war ground. He understood the pain of these men, being in the frontline longer than him.

The patrol

The Easy Company enters the Alsatian town of Haguenau, north of Strasbourg near the German border. The Easy receives the order to send a patrol across the river through the city in order to capture enemies and make them talk. Lieutenant Jones, just arrived from West Point (he graduated and became an officer on June 6, 1944, D-Day), volunteered to lead this mission. Richard Dick Winters, knowing that Jones had no combat experience, did not leave him command the patrol. However, he allowed him to participate as an observer. The leader of this patrol was John Martin.

At the end of this patrol, and after a short battle between the Americans and the Germans, members of the Easy left alone on the shore an injured German soldier, wounded by a grenade thrown by Eugene Jackson. He was screaming, torn by pain, avoiding the Americans to sleep. David Webster then think to cross the river, joining the other side and to use his knife to kill the wounded German but he did do it for two reasons: there was at that time a barrage of mortars on the eastern side of the shore and it was possible that the Germans had used one of their men to make the Americans approach in order to shoot them at the right time. The Americans decided to throw grenades to kill the German soldier dying. The soldier Cobb launched one close enough to kill him.

Although successful, the mission kills another paratrooper, Pvt Eugene E. Jackson (ASN : 13011296). He threw a grenade into a house occupied by some Germans but it did not explode. As he entered the home the grenade exploded.

In response to this loss, Richard Dick Winters decided to ignore the orders of Colonel Sink which were to send a second patrol of the same type the following night. He wrote a false report in which he writes that the second patrol failed to capture any Germans. Sink, misled by the report devised by Winters, abandonned the idea of creating additional patrols of the same type.

The second patrol, which was launched 25 hours after the first one had been planned by Colonel Sink. It was expected that it should normally take place at an other location than the first patrol in order to avoid enemy ambush. Richard Winters, while refusing to send a second patrol in Haguenau, certainly saved the lives of several American soldiers.

 
 
 
 
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