The Myth of Band of Brothers

The Myth of Band of Brothers

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Joined: 26 Feb 2008, 18:30

30 Sep 2009, 19:46 #1

If you found this website/msg board because you are searching for more facts and info

on Easy Company 506th PIR, post your questions and you will most-likely receive the

info you are seeking. But be aware, this site does not exist for the sole purpose of exalting

a single company, which was only 2% of the total 101st Airborne Division in WW2.

No single company was 'more important' than the others and there were 26 other Parachute

Infantry rifle companies in the 101st, just like Easy 506th.

On this site and board, none of them is treated with more importance than the others.

There will be more questions asked about the Band of Brothers company, simply because many of

you don't know anything about the other companies or who served in them. This site and board

are places where you can learn much more about 'the rest of the 101st Airborne'.

Here's what I mean, when I refer to the 'Myth' of Band of Brothers:

The Myth is, that Easy 506th became the Band of Brothers in Ambrose's book because it was:

"Better than the other 26 rifle companies in the 3 PIRs of the WW2 101st ABD"

"DID MORE" to win the war, than the other 26 companies"

"Was 'more Special' than the other 26 companies"

"Sustained more losses than any of the other 26 companies"

"Had more interesting battles, stories or personalities than any of the other 26 companies"


The truth is, that Walter 'Smokey' Gordon was a regular lunch partner with Prof. Ambrose down

in New Orleans in the 1980s, when Ambrose was thinking about writing a 101st book. Walter was

very persistent in trying to persuade people to write about HIS company, which happened to be

E/506th. I have a letter from Walter dated in 1976, in which he expressed the wish that I would

write a book about his company. He probably suggested the idea to a number of authors.

In 1976, I was already deeply involved in researching a different 101st company, so there was no

reason to change the focus of my research. I compiled more than enough stories and photos to make

a book on F/501 but could not find a publisher for a company history.

Being Stephen Ambrose would've helped.

At any rate, if Smokey Gordon had been a member of F/501 or I/502, or C/506th, THEY would have been the Band of Brothers, instead of Easy 506th-it's as
simple as that.

The policy of my website and books, is to state Easy 506's role in the degree it deserves in the total context

of WW2 101st history, no more, no less. As it currently stands, with almost zero attention being paid to any

other company of the division, bringing parity to the 26 other companies, also the HQ Companies and glider

and support units, is a major undertaking.

Nurturing the Myth of Easy Company 506's 'superiority' or 'higher importance' relative
to the other rifle companies of the 101st, will not be tolerated on this msg board. Nor will bullying of those who disagree

with this view, by Knights of the Holy Grail, be tolerated. Legitimate requests for facts and info will

receive honest answers.

There are plenty of other websites where Easy Co. 506th is the sole and primary focus.

If you don't agree with what I've posted above, you probably belong there and not here.

-Mark A. Bando, the webmaster
Last edited by TriggerMark on 05 Oct 2009, 12:06, edited 2 times in total.

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Joined: 09 May 2011, 20:54

08 Jun 2011, 08:42 #2

I think you are totally right mark!

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Joined: 19 Aug 2011, 06:50

19 Aug 2011, 06:49 #3

MB, I am not sure that a concerted effort (other than yours) has been made to actually explain why BOB is a MOVIE with poetic license while books like Currahee!! are pure truth. I have the first edition copy of that book and that is what stirred me to be a paratrooper at age 14. You talk about a real movie script prospect?? Hell, Don Burgett could have written a screenplay for Able co/506th that would blow BOB away.
The point I'd like to make is: How many of your readers actually know that Easy company was IN RESERVE within Bastogne and ABLE company was on the outer perimiter?? I'm not the historian you are but thanks for spotlighting the truth that Easy was just one company of the 101st. Not taking anything from them; not giving them anything special either. I live near N.O. and knew and spent a lot of time with Stephen Ambrose. You are a lot better at documenting facts than he was!! thanks again for all your hard work,

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Joined: 19 Aug 2011, 13:47

25 Aug 2011, 18:18 #4

Excellent point made here.
Several years ago I ran into a WWII Navy veteran outside my neighborhood grocery store who had two destroyers sunk from under him.  When I read the patch on his cap "WWII Veteran" as he walked out of the store with a cane, I turned around, stopped him, introduced myself and immediately thanked him for his service.  We then spent the next hour talking about the ship he served on, his shipmates, family, service time, anecdotes.  I was *shocked* to learn, that no one had previously asked him about his service, except for a few shipmates (who have since passed on) over drinks at the VFW.   He had tears in his eyes when he recounted action against Japanese torpedo planes in the south Pacific and the horrific losses sustained by those on board his ship especially finding the remains of his closest friend spread across the foc'sle.    He choked up when he talked about all his shipmates who died, who he remembers, at night, every night, when he goes to bed.  His wife walked over smiled at me, thanked me, grabbed my arm and said, "no one has ever come up to Bill before, this very nice of you to do so" and then they slowly walked away.   For this hero,  WWII wasn't among the hedgerows of Normandy, but in the deep, dark blue waters off some remote island where his Easy Company lies entombed on the bottom of the ocean. 
The Normandy craze didnt start with SPR or BOB.  I believe it started with Max Hastings seminal OVERLORD (1985) when he broke the glass ceiling about the performance of the Wermacht, before, during and after D-Day and the poor performance of XXX Corps (more leadership than infantrymen or tankers).  After that, a complete revision of the fighting began ... and has not stopped.  And since then, reenactors, airsofters, xBox360 video gamers, as well as the eBay 'knick-knack' collectors (who have driven the price of American uniforms and equipment through the roof) have made ridiculous comments all over the internet that the real fighting was done in Normandy by the para's or nothing really happened before DDAY.   My anger rises when I read that.  I always tell the eBay addicts (who will sell you a fake 506th helmet for $1000) they are wrong:  tell that to the Navy vet; tell that to the Merchant Mariners who took the highest casualty count of the Second World War, many on unarmed freighters, easy pickings for U-Boats; tell that to the support troops, the infantry in Italy or the 'forgotten front' of the CBI and a hundred other places Hollywood will not visit and a joystick will not travel.  
Each soldier, sailor, marine and the men and women at home, toiling in the industries, did his or her part.  The fighting, combat soldier on the edge deserves the credit and the glory, but each group constituted part of a whole, that contributed to victory over the Axis.  For every paratrooper that dropped out of the skies on the night of 6 June, there were thousands behind him who manufactured the weapons and equipment, shipped the supplies to the UK and provisioned the airborne divisions for action before the first static-line stretched taught over the dark moors outside Ste-Mere-Eglise.  Easy Company is a metaphor for everyone in my book - who took part.
Mark's point is a prologue to the historian to keep our view of the war in context and one we should all remember.  As a WWII reenactor since 1982, I am constantly reminded of this each time I attend an event and listen, over the clinking of cold beer, to tales of bravery under blank fire from "paratroopers" who've never even served in the military.
Before parting, the Navy vet told me something interesting, that mirrors a comment made by Babe Heffron from the BOB documentary:  I am no hero, but the men lying at the bottom of the ocean are.
Last edited by pthfndr on 25 Aug 2011, 18:20, edited 1 time in total.

Charles Castona
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Joined: 07 Oct 2011, 21:12

08 Oct 2011, 02:21 #5


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Joined: 26 Feb 2008, 18:30

20 May 2012, 01:57 #6

I think much of BOB's success was the perception that Ambrose was one of the more authoritative historians in the US on World War 2. Rightly or wrongly, this opened doors for him to present this work to Hollywood (i.e. Spielberg/Hanks), who had brought their talents together in"Saving Private Ryan". I am thankful that BOB's success has brought forth the sacrifices of the "Greatest Generations" to new generations of historians. It is sites like this, that will more completely flesh out their knowledge of this fateful time in our nation's history.

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Joined: 21 Jul 2008, 23:27

11 Jul 2012, 11:06 #7

The word Exclusionary has been happening since the A&E brothers (Adam and
Eve).  In this case when that is used it is correct, but many people seem
to include the actual Co E men, and they are nothing like the "fans".  .

The Winters Leadership Statue is the perfect example of the followers, not the
leaders.  I think that if Winters truly realized what was going on he
would have distanced himself from this.  The Winters Leadership Statue is
pure ego, but not because of Winters or any of the Co E men that I spoke with a
few years ago.  I didn't want to bother those men for years because of all
the fans. 

When completing the list of the 506th Prcht Inf listing for
the Regiment I wanted to get as much information as possible for mundane
information such as MOS and platoon/squad if at all possible.  I was just
completing the Roster of the 506th Prcht Inf down to the last man as of 6 June
1944 from Morning Reports and Payroll records.  I had been working on the
82nd for 3 years at that time, and decided to work on the 501st Prcht Inf 1st
and 3rd Bn as of 6 June 1944, then decided to do the 506th Prcht Inf as well.

The men themselves were just like any other men that I had spoken with for 7
years.  Please remember folks that it's the "fans" not the
men.  I mean heck, the young fella the retired Boston Pitcher who made
millions of dollars is now being looked at because the WWII game he is trying
to create is from the PEOPLE of Rhode
Island money, not his.  His company has declared
Bankruptcy for 38 Studios which not only took millions from the State but put a
large number of people out of work.

If they want to go after Mark Bando on his own site, it just shows where they
are coming from.  Some of those "fans" claim how much they look
up to those men, but in reality they only use the Co E men to see their own
name in lights.  The pitcher from Boston
is one of the biggest "fan" out there.  If you notice he did not
lose a dollar of his own money, just all of workers in the State of Rhode Island.  If
he really believed in his business he would have risked his own money. 

The Easy Co fans are just that, looking for "Easy Fame".  The
real Paratroopers like Co E and the other Company's just wanted to get on with
their lives.  A lot of people made a lot of money off of their backs (Hollywood) yet these men
really just wanted their story out there just like the men before and
Major Winters own book Beyond Band of Brothers has the name
of Julius A. Houck on page 88 stating that he died due to a chest wound at
Brecourt Manor.  Keep in mind it is only
a few of the “fans” cause the trouble for everyone else.  If you look you will see that those folks
call up Widows and or other relatives saying people like Mark Bando are disrespecting
Easy Company.  You notice they don’t call
the veterans themselves with that line of crap. 
The “fans” now that they have to use the relatives because the troopers
themselves know that Bando isn’t the problem, the “fans” are.
BN Siddall

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 08:55

11 Jul 2012, 18:13 #8

Let me state that I don't disagree with Mark's "Myths".  I've never looked at Easy Company this way. 
While some folks out there may think E Co was all of these, those who understand, appreciate and have taken the time to learn the history from the Men themselves, and others works (George K, Mark B, ect) and historical records, know that indeed, these are myths.  Not to say they didn't have larger than life personalities, fight to the best of their ability and then some, suffer tough losses, and engage in heroism and sacrifice that most of us could never even imagine.  They did, and yes, so did others.
Brian - your preocupation and ax-gring with "Fans" is lumping alot of good,
well-intentioned people into this group, and I have to wholeheartedly
with you.  Perhaps zealots might be a better word?  I can
think of a
few "Fans" who have most of the 506th info you're looking
for.  I can think
of a few "Fans" on this Forum who have served their
country with great courage
and sacrifice, who themselves will admit, that
they too, are "Fans."  The
difference is - they do not for second
believe in the "myths" that MB states
I'm not sure what "Easy Fame" you're speaking about?  Who's seeking this?  Or is it your own case of sour grapes???  You've lost me on this. 
I've been blessed to have closer than close relationships with numerous 2/506th E Co. Vets and their families.  Believe it or not - they've enjoyed the fame that's come with the book and miniseries.  They didn't ask for it - but it's taken them places, provided them with opportunities and experiences they never could have imagined.  I say good for them. 
My favorite Regiment? Company?  It's always been Baker Company 401st GIR.   Certain people have always assumed otherwise, because in most cases, when we're lobbing stones and insults at each other, we don't take the time to truly understand the other person or issue.  I myself have been guilty of that.
Are you a "Fan" of anything?
RW Riley
Last edited by currahee506 on 07 Dec 2012, 18:14, edited 2 times in total.
The point I was trying to make is that you have to be prepared to give to the people you lead. You must give in every way. You must give of your time, and you must be consistent in your treatment of them. You must never take from people you lead. Later, at Brécourt Manor, Compton did a fantastic job leading his men.


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Joined: 31 Dec 2012, 02:47

31 Dec 2012, 02:47 #9

I'm a 24 year old Polish media student currently residing in London. When I was much younger and still attended schools in Poland I have never been inspired to reach beyond what teachers have told us regarding the history of our nation and of the WWII. There were always dry textbook phrases that in no way a young person could relate to and understand the sacrifice and bravery of the people who fought for our freedom. I have no problem with admitting I have been quite ignorant when I was younger! When later in life I got interested with film, war movies and ones that touch on the subject in one way or another became one of my favourite and most re-watched of all - Full Metal Jacket, Jarhead, Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Platoon, Inglourious Basterds, Apocalypse Now, The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas etc. But it took me to watch Band of Brothers to make me feel like I need to know more, I need to see and understand more about what happened and who we owe our gratitude to. That I need to ask questions and seek the answers. And of course not trust the televised version of war. So in a way I can say that my interest in WWII history indeed began to flourish thanks to the series but it didn't end on just the adoration for 506th and I believe (or rather hope) that a lot of young people feel the same. Even today on my rare day off I decided to visit Imperial War Museum to gain more perspective on those years in history. I kind of feel like owe those guys that! I have also just ordered a copy of Avenging Eagles and cannot wait to read it! 

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Joined: 29 Jan 2013, 15:26

05 Feb 2013, 16:08 #10

As Maxwell Taylor stated in the booklet, 101st Airborne Division from the series of G.I. Stories of the Ground, Air, and Services Forces in the European Theater of Operations,

"The success of the 101st Airborne Division is not the success of a few outstanding units or leaders. The toll of battle has changed the roster too often to suggest that any particular combination is necessary. Success has been won by the anonymous thousands of officers and men who passed through the division since D-Day in Normandy, all imbued with a common spirit of resolution and zest for battle."

Excerpt taken from online: ... index.html

We were all brothers ...
Phil Russell