Band of Brothers shows the Brecourt Manor assault happening in 10 minutes. Obviously this is due to time constraints. In reality though apparently the fight lasted for 6 hours. Overall the whole thing sounds insane. It's bullshit that Winters never got the Medal of Honor for it. 23 Americans attacking a fortified position of around 60 Germans dug in with machine guns, yet only taking 6 causalities.
How did the Germans lose with those odds from a defensive position? This was Easy Company's first combat experience and they were matched against Fallschrimjagers who I assume were battle hardened. The Americans only lost 6 men... unbelievable.
>you'll never get away with warcrimes like Ronald Spiers due to paper work getting lost
Was surprised to see that a guy like that ended up getting cheated on by his wife while was he was overseas.
You think after the first shot rang out the multiple MG42 gunners would have slaughtered easy company. The problem with being dug in those trenches like that is gave the attack an easy way of assaulting once they got inside. Still the Germans fucked up bad to only cause 6 American causalities on a green unit.
Some of the German units on the western front in 1944 were pretty hardcore. Battle of Monte Cassino, Hurtgen Forest, the hedgerows of Normandy. They put up a good fight considering the lack of supplies and no air superiority. Of course some units were conscripted slavs who were fighting at gunpoint, but the Brecourt manor unit were crack Fallschrimjagers.
Lee Harvey Oswald, largely considered a social fuck up even before he popped Kennedy died at 24. By then he had been in the marines, lived in Russia, had various jobs, and was married with two kids.
Two things, as described partly in the Band of Brothers book,
A lot of armchair historians make the americans out to be really tough and great soldiers. They weren't really above average, nobody really was. Every army had good regiments and bad regiments. But the 101st Airborne paratroopers and E-company in particular were really, really good. They were better than your average american soldier. It's likely that any other american squad would have taken much higher casualties.
Second, the Germans were facing the wrong way.
Third, the americans just got lucky. In the band of brothers book, some of the soldiers that participated in this particular assault even says so. I forgot the names of the individuals, but one guy climbs up a tree exposing himself to clear visibility yet somehow doesn't get shot down (he also says he only did this because this was his first battle and he was an idiot at the time). Another has a grenade land right next to him, falls to the ground and is, as if by a miracle, not hurt. So the casualties SHOULD have been higher, but they just weren't..
Also, Fallschirmjäger weren't all-that-jazz in 1944. Most of them were just young replacements. There are other battles where the Americans go up against seasoned germans where the don't fare so well at all.
But at that time Easy Company was green. Aside from whatever shootout individuals got when they first landed into France, this was their first battle. I think luck and surprise had to be the x factor. I just can't figure out how long the battle actually lasted, and range it took place. Considering they were assaulting a dug in trench I assume it was relatively close quarters. This would have corners, dug outs and allow both sides, especially the Germans to ambush with grenades or mg killzones. Despite this the Americans only have 6 causalities which is amazingly low. The fortified weapons might have been facing toward the beach and not Easy company, but it wouldn't be difficult to re position a mg42, especially if the fight lasted for hours. One source says 6 hours which would mean a lot of suppressing fire. I doubt the 23 Americans expected what they were getting into so I wonder what the ammo situation was like. Either way it all favored the defender, yet they were only able to inflict 6 causalities and half of those were from grenades, again speaking toward the close proximity which would have made the assault much riskier. Really lucky.
Yes, luck was a big factor. Probably that and surprise. There's a few other odd battles E-company was in tho, like that one where Winters rushes up a hill and finds 500 SS members on the other side. He opens up and all SS members just run.
I wouldn't credit the German wehrmacht with to much in this stage of the war either. A lot of time they just fucking drop the ball completly.