Two of my favorite historical figures were in the 101st Airborne. One is Ronald Speirs. On one attack, his commanding officer was drunk and more or less demanding a suicide mission. Speirs started to argue, the officer took out his rifle, Speirs put a bullet in his head and took command.
At Bastogne, a similar thing happened. Major Winters sent a man named Dikes to take a nearby town, but Dikes forgot his instructions, froze up and got a lot of his men killed. Speirs went in and took command. At one point, Easy Company was in the town, but they had to communicate with I Company. Across the town. So Speirs stand up, runs straight through the Germans in the town square and vaults a wall to tell I Company what to do. Germans are so shocked they can’t fire. But then—get this—Speirs runs back. Still doesn’t get shot. He later went on to work a lot with Black ops and I think ran a prison in Russia for a while.
My other favorite is Richard Winters. Winters was Easy Company’s only real lasting leader. He had to take over during D-Day when they lost their other officers, and he was known for two main things. Almost always making good decisions on the battlefield, and always being a damn good leader off it. He didn’t swear like the others, was deliberate in everything he did, and was just… a calming constant throughout the war. Winters didn’t like Speirs much because he thought Speirs was too brutal.
Funny how two of my favorite historical figures were in the same place at the same time and didn’t even like one another.