They depended on each other. The world depended on them. "Band of Brothers" follows the elite Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division from basic training through the end of WWII.
Band of Brothers is an awe inspiring and visually stunning tribute to 101st Airborne Division, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Easy Company. But for their sacrifices, we would not share the freedoms we so cherish and covet today! Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg deserve all of the awards and accolades they received for bringing this epic to HBO and now this incredible DVD box set!
Part 1 - Currahee - Currahee is a wonderful beginning to this unprecedented HBO mini-series. Currahee poignantly highlights the training that was necessary for the newly designed Airborne Infantry. While some may think that Captain Sobel was a complete idiot - in all truth, his combat skills were obviously lacking - as a trainer, he put Easy Company in a very good position as a well trained unit.
Part 2 - Day of Days - D-Day has arrived and Easy Company makes the jump that they've been preparing two years for. As history unfolds, the German flak causes nearly every plane to miss their designated drop zone. First Lieutenant Winters finds he's in Normandy, separate from his weapon and his company. He finally arrives at the assembly area and is given the mission of taking out a German artillery position. Day of Days is an excellent episode that doesn't miss out on First Lieutenant Winters depth of emotions as he loses his first soldier in combat.
Part 3 - Carentan - Easy Company is ordered in to take the French village of Carentan. While encountering only minor resistance, they take light casualties. After successfully taking the town, they're ordered to move on to the next objective. En route, they encounter the German force sent to retake Carentan. They stalemate for the evening, expecting to launch a full assault in the morning. The Germans have other plans though and counter attack in the morning with a combined force of mechanized infantry and armor. Fortunately for Easy Company, they are finally rescued by the 2nd Armored Division. Shortly after this action they are lucky enough to get some R&R back in England. The show ends with orders back to the front and a very poignant final scene to yet another wonderful episode.
Part 4 - Replacements - Replacements jumps forward to September, with Easy Company on R&R in England. They're called into Operation Market Garden. Easy Company is given the mission to take Eindhoven, Holland. They were told they would be running into light resistance. Operation Market Garden turns into a huge failure and the Allied Forces are turned back with heavy casualties. Sergeant "Bull" Randleman is unfortunate enough to get stuck behind enemy lines. "Replacements" is another excellent episode.
Part 5 - Crossroads - Crossroads is one of the best shows of the whole mini-series. Captain Winters, due to the costs of war, garners advancement from Easy Company Commander to Battalion Executive Officer. The episode is shown through the eyes of Captain Winters as he is preparing a report on the actions of October 5th when he led his company in the attack of a German SS position. The more telling part is later in the episode when he receives R&R in Paris and the horrors of war catch up to him.
Part 6 - Bastogne - To quote Captain Winters, "we're paratroopers; we're supposed to be surrounded." Bastogne tells the tale, from Easy Companies' point of view, of the 101st Airborne Infantry being surrounded by German forces and holding the line during the Battle of the Bulge. This is also the combat action where the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne replied to the request for surrender by the German commanders with the famous line "nuts."
Part 7 - The Breaking Point - It's January 1945 and Easy Company is on the verge of attacking the Germans in Foy, Belgium. Due to heavy resistance, Easy Company endures nearly a month of being barraged by German artillery on the front line. This episode is very telling as to how demoralizing the artillery could be.
Part 8 - The Last Patrol - Easy Company is on the front line in the Alsacian town of Haguenau. They now have a feeling that the war is coming to a close, as they are just across the river from Germany. The brigade commander orders a patrol across the border to secure German prisoners. This episode again brings to the forefront the emotions of the soldiers as they again are counted on to accomplish their mission!
Part 9 - Why We Fight - This episode is clearly the most poignant of the series as Easy Company finds and liberates a concentration camp. Although there had been rumors of these concentration camps, no one could truly comprehend what they were about until they were faced with them! This episode alone should have garnered several awards.
Part 10 - Points - Easy Company takes Eagles Nest, Hitler's mountaintop fortress. The company settles in as an occupation force, yet expecting to be redeployed to the Japanese war front. A very emotional covering of what happened to several of the units members after the war. Overall, this episode is a fantastic conclusion to "Band of Brothers."
At the end of it all, one of the last stories from Dick Winters was what touched me the most. His Grandson asks him, "Grandpa, was you a hero in the war?" Winters replies, "No, but I served in a company of heroes."
I, for one, always took my freedom for granted. I never thought about all the wars that were waged in the name of America, in the name of our freedom. After watching this, I have thought to myself many times over how lucky I am to be able to enjoy the freedom that came at the price of so many brave soldiers lives.