506th infantry regiment

Lieutenant Colonel Ronald C. Speirs (20 April 1920 – 11 April 2007) was a United States Army officer who served in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. He was initially assigned as a platoon leader in either Charlie or Baker Company of the 1st Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Speirs was reassigned to Dog Company of the 2nd Battalion prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, before his unit was absorbed into Easy Company, of which he was given command during the assault on Foy after the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. Speirs also served in Korea, where he commanded a rifle company, and later became the American governor for Spandau Prison in Berlin. He reached the rank of captain while serving in the European Theater during World War II and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

  • Me a year ago: Shit how do I tell these two characters apart
  • Me a year ago: Shit I don't know this characters actual name how do I find posts about them
  • Me a year ago: Wait that guy died I thought it was that other guy? turns out I had them confused the whole time oops
  • Me a year ago: Jesus how many characters even are there?
  • Me now: Technician Fourth Grade Eugene Gilbert Roe, Sr. (October 17, 1922 - December 30, 1998) was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II....

Walter Gordon, Floyd Talbert, John Eubanks, unknown, Francis Mellet of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division. D-Day

4

Scouts from 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment providing as the opposition force during their battalion’s air assault recently. 

(U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

Unbroken and 10 More Great Movies About World War II

Based on the best-selling non-fiction book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand, Angelina Jolie’s acclaimed film “Unbroken” joins a long tradition of cinema’s interest in the intricate details of World War II.

Unlike many of the other films, however, “Unbroken" narrows its focus on the impact that one individual, USA Olympian and athlete Louis Zamperini, had on the hearts and minds of hundreds of other people in and around the war. For that reason, the film stands as an interesting look at one of the world’s most fascinating events and individuals.

With Unbroken available on Digital HD now, and arriving on Blu-ray, and DVD on March 24, we’ve put together a list of 10 moregreat movies about World War II that you need to check out.

Keep reading

15 Things We Love About ‘Band of Brothers’

(HBO)

This September, Band of Brothers will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Can it really be 15 years since Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks breathed new life into the TV landscape with their $125 million 10-episode WWII dramatic miniseries? Using historian Stephen E. Ambrose’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name as source material, Spielberg and Hanks assembled an unparalleled creative team (consisting of talented young actors and a sterling behind-the-scenes crew) to bring their vision to the small screen. Their subject? The heroes of “Easy” Company, part of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, who landed at Normandy and fought their way in less than a year to Hitler’s Berchtesgaden home in the Alps.

Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember the men and women who’ve died serving our country. Through its understated but eloquent celebration of the men of Easy Company, Band of Brothers pays particular homage to the ordinary citizens who, in all our wars, have been called upon to give extraordinary service to their country.

With that in mind as HBO Signature airs a complete marathon of the miniseries starting at 10 a.m. ET today, we look back at 15 things we love about Band of Brothers.

1. It’s still ranked as the No. 1 TV show on IMDB

That’s a pretty impressive feat for a miniseries that is about to turn 15 years old. What better evidence that Band of Brothers remains relevant and compelling a decade and a half after its debut? To be included on the IMDB Top Rated TV Shows list, a miniseries must have received ratings from at least 5,000 users. To give you an idea of the competition, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Wire are currently in the #3, #4, and #5 spots on the list.

2. Everyone is in Band of Brothers… literally, everyone

No, we’re not exaggerating. While only Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Donnie Wahlberg, Scott Grimes (ER) and a few others appear in all 10 episodes, the men of Easy Company are comprised of some remarkably familiar faces including Kirk Acevedo, Eion Bailey, Michael Cudlitz, Jimmy Fallon (!), Colin Hanks, Neal McDonough, David Schwimmer, and Matthew Settle. Oh, but that’s just the Americans. The alert viewer can easily pick out such notable British actors as Jamie Bamber, Michael Fassbender, Dexter Fletcher, Stephen Graham, Tom Hardy, James McAvoy and Simon Pegg. All appeared in Band of Brothers before their “big breaks” elsewhere.

3. Interviews with the real men of 101st Airborne Division bookend almost each episode

While there are 500 speaking roles in Band of Brothers, perhaps the most powerful words are spoken by members of Easy Company themselves who appear at strategic intervals to recount their memories of the war. To maintain suspense about the fates of key members of the 101st, the creative team wisely waits to identify the speakers until the end of the 10th episode. However, the big reveal is hardly a surprise because the actors bear such an uncanny resemblance to their real-life counterparts that they essentially embody their roles.

4. Each episode has a different protagonist within Easy Company

How do you tell a story that encompasses the experience of an entire Company? Miraculously, Spielberg and Hanks pulled it off by using seven different Easy Company men to serve as point-of-view characters for different stages of Easy Company’s trek through Europe. Damien Lewis’s Dick Winters (who works himself up to Major) is at the center of only three of the episodes, though he is a unifying presence in all 10. The other episodes are anchored by soldiers (and a medic) of all different ranks, giving the audience a feel for the collective experiences of the unit and keeping the series fresh.    

5. “Currahee!”

The premiere episode of Band of Brothers arguably provides the greatest military training montage of all time, stretched over 90 minutes. David Schwimmer embraces the role of Captain Sobel, the maniacally demanding commander who appears to enjoy torturing the men of Easy Company (especially Dick Winters). The scenes of their multiple three-mile runs to the top of Currahee Mountain are among the most memorable in the series. Viewers fully appreciate why “Currahee!” later becomes a rallying cry for the unit. Ironically, it is thanks in large part to Sobel’s brutality that the men of Easy Company bond as a unit and are thoroughly prepared for the hardships of the battlefield.

(HBO/Getty Images)

6. The friendship between Dick Winters and Lewis Nixon

We really would like to think Damien Lewis and Ron Livingston hang out to this day, but we haven’t seen the paparazzi photos to prove it. As Dick Winters and Lewis Nixon, the two actors form a bond so believable you have to think they’ve been through real basic training together, not the Hollywood version. Our favorite moment is when a bullet ricochets off Nixon’s helmet as a horrified Winters looks on. The shock and relief in both men’s faces says it all.

7. D-Day (Brécourt Manor Assault)

While Spielberg showed us one version of the D-Day invasion in Saving Private Ryan, audiences were able to glimpse quite another in Band of Brothers. The men of Easy Company were paratroopers who leaped into the fiery skies over Normandy the night before the invasion. While the recreation of the harrowing parachute jump was incredible, the centerpiece of the second episode is the re-enactment of Easy Company’s attack of a fixed position held by a large force of Germans at Brécourt Manor. Dick Winters devised and led the assault so effectively that the tactics he employed are still taught at West Point. He also won himself the Silver Star.

8. How it deals with PTSD

Of course, we now know it as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but during World War II, the disorder, if diagnosed, was called “shell shock” and considered shameful. While a number of soldiers obviously suffer from some form of PTSD throughout the series, two examples stand out. One involves Private Albert Blithe (Marc Warren), who becomes increasingly disoriented after the jump at Normandy and finally suffers hysterical blindness during battle. He begins to function again only after Dick Winters is kind to him. McDonough’s Buck Compton, though, is the character who best displays the gradual onset of PTSD over many battles and humanizes the syndrome. The scene in which Buck finally reaches his breaking point (in the episode aptly titled, “The Breaking Point”) after witnessing the dismemberment of his two closest friends, is easily one of the most disturbing of the series.

9. Bastogne

Perhaps the most harrowing sequences in Band of Brothers take place in the forests of Bastogne in Belgium, the focal point of the Battle of the Bulge. The two episodes devoted to this struggle in the freezing, deadly woods not only show the careless brutality of actual combat, but also the agony associated with waiting for the enemy to strike. Inside their foxholes under the towering trees, the men have intervals when they reflect and bond, until the trees start exploding above them and fire rains down. This signature battle, during which Easy Company holds the line against German onslaughts at tremendous cost, is a turning point for the paratroopers — as well as the series. After Bastogne, they are certain only of each other.

(HBO)

10. The Blue Headscarf

Due to its focus around Easy Company, Band of Brothers does not feature many women or children. That makes the appearance of Nurse Renee (Lucie Jeanne) all the more striking. Medic Eugene Roe (portrayed masterfully by Shane Taylor) encounters her at a make-shift clinic in a Belgium church near Bastogne. The two bond by recounting mutual experiences, share a chocolate bar, and form a real connection. She seems untouchable — a beacon of light in the darkness — until the clinic is bombed. A stunned Eugene finds her blue headscarf among the rubble that had been the aid station. He absorbs the fact that no one is safe and continues to deal with a wounded soldier — which is what she would have expected.

11. The legend of Ronald C. Speirs

One of the true gems of the series is Matthew Settle’s complex performance as Ronald C. Speirs, a skilled Captain who understands that, for an officer, it is better to be feared than be loved. Settle expertly conveys the dual nature of Speirs. He is both the man who is believed to have killed a group of German POWs after offering them a smoke and the man who turns out to be the savior of Easy Company when their craven commander is paralyzed by his fear of battle. It’s a gripping performance, which makes you wonder: why isn’t Matthew Settle a bigger star?

12. The 9th episode, “Why We Fight”  

For eight episodes, the men of Easy Company fight the Germans simply because they are the enemy. In this episode, they come to a much deeper understanding of why defeating Hitler is the right thing to do. When they finally enter Germany, they occupy a town called Landsberg where they stumble upon a concentration camp. The sequence that has them liberating starving prisoners while forcing Germans from the neighboring town to witness the horror is remarkably effective.

13. The occupation of Berchtesgaden

The men of Easy Company cap off their long journey by occupying Hitler’s famed holiday home, Berchtesgaden, better known as the Eagle’s Nest. In an incredible, eerie sequence, the men marvel at the castle-like interiors with stolen treasures from all of Europe on display. The surreal fortress is guarded by a dead Nazi officer who obviously committed suicide. Winters and Nixon smoke outside on the balcony, drink Hitler’s alcohol, uncover remarkable souvenirs (including Hitler’s photo albums), and admire the views of the Alps. It’s fitting that it is at this moment that they receive the news of the German army’s complete surrender.

14. “We salute the rank, not the man.”

Maybe the most satisfying line in the entire series. After working his way up to the rank of Major, Dick Winters encounters Schwimmer’s Captain Herbert Sobel, the man who tormented him and the men of Easy Company and even attempted to court-martial him. Now that he is out-ranked, Sobel averts his eyes to avoid Winters, but Winters can’t let him get away with it. It’s a glorious moment of comeuppance when Winters forces Sobel to acknowledge him.

15. The ending baseball sequence

What better way to end the chronicles of Easy Company than with the survivors indulging in America’s favorite pastime? In this tasteful slow motion sequence, Damien Lewis’s Dick Winters narrates the fate of each featured member of this extraordinary unit. While Buck Compton went on to become the prosecutor who convicted Sirhan Sirhan, others found success in ordinary endeavors: they became construction workers, postmen, a cab driver, writers, and even handy men. It’s true when Winters says, “how we lived our lives after the war was as varied as each man.”

2

The American Paratrooper Who Served in the Red Army During World War II.

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Joseph R. Beyrle enlisted in the US Army and volunteered for the elite paratrooper service.  After completing paratrooper training and training as a demonlitions expert, he was assigned to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles) with the rank of sergeant. Little did he know where the winds of destiny would blow him. 

His first two missions were secret clandestine operations in which he covertly parachuted into German occupied France wearing bandoliers filled with gold, which he delivered to the French Resistance. On June 6th, 1944 Beyrle participated in the legendary D-Day drop during the Normandy Invasions. When his plane came under heavy fire he was forced to jump early and only 120 meters above the ground. Despite being separated from his unit, Sgt. Beyrle continued his mission, performing acts of sabotage behind enemy lines which resulted in the destruction of two bridges and a power station.  Unfortunatley a few days later he was captured by the Germans when he accidentally stumbled upon a German machine gun nest.  For the next 7 months he was held as a prisoner of war, where he became notorious as an escape artist, making several attempts, two of which were seccessful.  After each attempt, the Germans tortured, starved, and beat him, then transfered him to a different camp.  During his time in German captivity he was shuffled between seven different camps.  After his 7th escape attempt, which was successful except that he accidentally boarded a train for Berlin, the Germans sent him to a camp deep within Poland, with the idea that it’s distance from the Western Front would discourage him from further escape attempts.  Promptly after arriving at the camp in January of 1945, he successfully escaped and made his way to Soviet lines.

After his escape, he came upon the 1st Battalian of the 1st Tank Guards, where he met the famous lady tank commander Captain Aleksandra Samusenko, introducing her with the greeting, “Americansky tovarishch” (American comrade), while handing over a pack of Lucky Strikes. 

Wanting to get back into the war, Bayrle convinced Samusenko to allow him to join the Battalion. Samusenko agreed, and he was appointed a tank machine gunner.  For the next month he would serve with the Red Army, even taking part in the liberation of the POW camp from which he had escaped.  In February of 1945, he was seriously wounded after an attack by a Stuka dive bomber, and was evacuated to a Soviet hospital. During his recuperation, he met none other than the Soviet supreme military commander, Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov. 

 When Bayrle arrived at the US Embassy in Moscow, he learned that he was officially listed as dead, and that his family back home in Muskegon, Michigan had celebrated his funeral.  As it turns out, when he was captured during the Normandy Invasion, his uniforn and dogtags were taken and used by a German infiltration unit.  The German soldier wearing the uniform was unexpectidly killed in September, the corpse being recovered by the Allies and mistakenly identifed as Bayrle’s and buried in France.  Bayrle returned home in April of 1945, married in 1946 (coincidentally in the same church that held his funeral) and lived a happy life raising three children. In 1994 during the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, he was awarded with medals by both US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin at the White House. He was also personally awarded a specially made presentation AK-47 dedicated to him by Mikhail Kalashnikov.  Joseph “Jumpin’ Joe” Beyrle passed away in 2004 while visiting the paratrooper training grounds in Toccoa, Georgia. He was buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

“Sgt James Elbert "Jake” “McNasty” McNiece (May 24, 1919 – January 21, 2013) was a @USArmy paratrooper in World War II. He was the leader of the Filthy Thirteen, an elite demolition unit whose exploits inspired the novel and movie ‘The Dirty Dozen’. McNiece enlisted for military service on September 1, 1942. He was assigned to the demolition saboteur section of what was then the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. This section would become the Filthy Thirteen, with McNiece as its sergeant and leader. His demolitions experience with the fire department before the war made him the section sergeant, but his mission focus kept him in that rank in spite of his deliberate disobedience and disrespect during training. His first sergeant and company commanders knew he was the man the regiment could count on during combat. His escapades are document in both his words in The Filthy Thirteen, Fighting With the Filthy Thirteen, and War Paint; The Filthy Thirteen Jump Into Normandy.

McNiece went on to make a total of four wartime combat jumps, the first as part of the Invasion of Normandy in 1944. In the same year he jumped as part of Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, which was featured in the book and subsequent film, ‘A Bridge Too Far’, and at the Siege of Bastogne, part of the larger Battle of the Bulge. During Holland he was promoted to demolition platoon sergeant. After Holland he volunteered for pathfinder training anticipating sitting out the rest of the war training in England but his pathfinder stick was called upon to jump into Bastogne to guide in the resupply drops. His last jump was in 1945, near Prüm in Germany. In recognition of his natural leadership abilities, he ended the war as the acting first Sgt for Hq Co, 506th Parachute Infantry Regt. He was discharged from the military in Feb 1946.” Wiki

Richard D. Winters (January 21st, 1918 - January 2nd, 2011) was a United States Officer in the Army and a decorated war veteran. He commanded E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, during World War 2. He was a very handsome man during his young days and it defiantly added to his amazing personality and courage if you have ever seen the movie Band Of Brothers. He helped many others during the 2nd World War and was an amazing soldier. There is no denying. He was a hottie back in th late 30’s and 40’s.

The Filthy Thirteen were a sub-unit within the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, better known as the “Screaming Eagles” who descended on Hitler’s Fortress Europe with the 82nd Airborne during the wee-hours of D-Day for some early-morning foreplay. … Their specialty was blowing the shit out of bridges and whatever else they figured could go “boom” if they strapped it to enough TNT, which caused a nightmare for the Germans as they tried in vain to fend off the Allied invasion. … Their fearless leader Jake McNiece was part Native-American, and his fellow Filthies chose to honor this by going into battle sporting mohawks like Travis Bickle, and freaking war-paint. … At the age of 23, [McNiece] delivered this nugget of advice from the enlisting officer:

“You may just be 23. I don’t know, but your face and your head looks like it’s been used as practice for hand grenade tossing and wore out three bodies already.”

If that’s not some movie shit, we don’t know what is. Wait, yes we do, this quote from fellow Filthy Thirteener Robert Cone regarding the D-Day mission:

“We landed near a hedgerow, from which the Germans were firing at us, and the guy I was with was killed. I got hit in the right shoulder, which broke my arm all the way down into the forearm. The bullet was lodged in there for a year. I was able to get away, though, but could not hold my rifle.”

The 94 Most Badass Soldiers Who Ever Lived

Utilizing a pair of binoculars, Staff Sgt. Eric J. Blaszkowski, a fire support specialist with Easy Company, 2nd Battlion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), scans the surrounding area, looking for potential enemy movement, during a mission in the District of Saberi, Afghanistan, on August 21. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jusitn A. Moeller, 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)