Band of Brothers: Episode 5, Chpts 9-10

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HBO Synopsis: Crossroads

Winters (Damian Lewis) leads a risky mission on a Dutch dike, resulting in a resounding victory, for which he is promoted to Battalion Executive Officer. Dissatisfied with his new, largely administrative job, Winters is concerned about the leadership of the three companies he now commands. After a weekend pass to Paris, news arrives of a massive Axis effort in the Ardennes Forest, threatening to break the Allied lines. Easy Co. races in to hold the line, ill-equipped for the bitterly cold weather and the entrenched battle ahead.

I think I need to preface this with the fact that this episode, is one of my favorite (the first of three). There is a lot going on, but it’s amazing. We see Winters really prove himself, yet again, as an outstanding leader and officer. We see Easy Co. fight to gain a good commander after Winters leaves for battalion. We see the company team up with the Brits in a rescue mission. And we watch the men settle into a reprieve from battle, only to be sent back out days before Christmas.

Now I could talk forever about this, so I think I am just going to point out the aspects in the book that made an impression. Also, I think you guys are getting bored by my historical ramblings so I am trying to reign it in.

First, the conflict the men in Easy were involved in showed just how much of an elite team they were. A platoon of 35 men were able to route two German companies – about 300 men – while incurring one KIA and 22 wounded, and inflicting 50 KIAs, 11 POWs, and about 100 wounded onto German forces. If nothing, those numbers show how skilled these guys were at their jobs and at working together, as well as the strong leadership of their officers and NCOs. (pg. 152)

Another point that I latched onto was the mention of African-American soldiers. The first so far in the book and another aspect of WWII history that I think there needs to be a movie on (a real one, not another “Red Tails,” which was so disappointing). They are mentioned with the role of the Transportation Corps, who were able to execute the largest movement of troops and material in the history of war (as of 1992 when this was published). That’s ridiculously impressive. (pg. 174)

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