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Historical Inaccuracies

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The Band of Brothers TV series was a resounding success, but it contains several inaccuracies.

Factual Errors:Edit

  • In the series Liebgott states himself as being Jewish. In real life this was a misconception that many of his fellow soldiers had as well because of his name and appearance but he was actually Roman Catholic.
  • In the series lieutenant Dike is portrayed as being an incompetent coward. However in real life he performed many acts of heroics. For example, Dike was awarded a Bronze Star for his action at Uden, Holland, with the 101st Airborne Division between 23 and 25 September 1944, in which he “organized and led scattered groups of parachutists in the successful defense of an important road junction on the vital Einhoven (sic)-Arnhem Supply Route against superior and repeated attacks, while completely surrounded. Dike was awarded a second Bronze Star for his action at Bastogne, in which "he personally removed from an exposed position, in full enemy view, three wounded members of his company, while under intense small arms fire" on 3 January 1945.In preparation for the 13 January 1945 attack on Foy, Belgium, E Company was attached to the 3rd Battalion, 506th PIR. Division Headquarters ordered the attack to begin at 0900 hours. During the assault, Carwood Lipton, at that time the company's first sergeant, described Dike as having "fallen apart." Clancy Lyall stated that he saw that Dike had been wounded in his right shoulder and that it was the wound, not panic, that caused Dike to stop. Dike survived the assault, and eventually returned to the rear in the company of a medic. Afterwards, he was transferred to 506th Regimental Headquarters to become an assistant operations officer. Dike then moved on to become, as a captain, an aide to General Maxwell Taylor, Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division. He later served in the Korean war.
  • In the episode the last patrol private Cobb verbally assaults sergeant Martin. In real life he physically assaulted lieutenant Foley after getting drunk which led to his court-martial, however he wasn't discharged until the end of the war. They also portray Cobb as being abrasive and bitter but in private Webster's memoirs he was described as being friendly. They also do him an injustice by never stating that he had fought campaigns in Africa with the 1st armored division three years before joining easy company or that on his return from Africa his submarine was struck and sunk by a torpedo.
  • The end of episode three states that Albert Blithe never recovered from the wounds he received in Normandy, and that he died in 1948. Fellow Easy Company Currahee veterans interviewed while writing the mini-series Band of Brothers had thought that Blithe did not recover from his wounds, which they mistakenly recalled as a neck wound (in actuality he was shot in the right shoulder), and had died in Philadelphia in 1948. Albert Blithe remained on active duty, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in combat, served in the Korean War and achieved the rank of Master Sergeant, married with two children. He died in December 1967 of complications of surgery for a perforated ulcer after attending a memorial ceremony in Bastogne and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
  • Corporal Donald B. Hoobleris shown to retrieve a Luger from a dead German officer and accidentally shoots himself with it when he places it in hi pocket. In reality, he never retireved an actual Luger but rather a much more common variant. He also set the gun off from catching his leg on barbed wire, not accidentally setting it off when he put it in his pocket.
  • Easy Company is said to have been returned to England later than D+25 (1 July), but at the end of the episode, this is said to have happened on June 29. The last date is correct, since Albert Blithe got hit on D+25 (in the series), but got his Purple Heart (earned by being shot while investigating a farmhouse on D+25) on June 25.


  • According to Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich, Richard Winters was promoted to Major before David Webster returned to Easy Company from the hospital after getting injured in Holland. However, in "The Last Patrol", Winters was still Captain until he received his promotion at the end of the episode.


  • At the beginning of the ninth episode, "Why We Fight", the date says April 11, 1945 as the episode opens with the paratroopers overlooking German civilians cleaning up their streets. At the end of the episode, the show returns to this scene, at which point Captain Nixon tells the others that Hitler had killed himself. However Hitler did not kill himself until April 30, 1945.


  • At the end of the final episode, "Points," it is stated that Technician Fifth Class Joseph Liebgott became a San Francisco taxi driver after the war, but most accounts, including that of his son, state that Joseph Liebgott in fact became a barber after returning home from the war.


  • The series states that Easy Company was the first unit into Berchtesgaden and the Eagle's Nest, capturing the town and surrounding area without incident. Historians usually identify the first Allied troops to arrive as the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division who secured Berchtesgaden and the Berghof, followed four days later by the French 2nd Armored Division who secured the Eagle's Nest, then 1st Battalion of the 506th, led by Company "C." This, however, may be incorrect. The 2nd Battalion of the 506th came into Berchtesgaden by a different route and lost men in a skirmish with the crews of two German 88 mm guns. Controversy has come up in recent years as to precisely which unit captured Berchtesgaden, but in the book Beyond Band of Brothers, Major Dick Winters states "Major General John W. 'Iron Mike' O'Daniel's 3rd Infantry Division certainly seized neighboring Salzburg without opposition and may have had their lead elements enter Berchtesgaden before we (2nd Battalion, 506 PIR) arrived in force, but let the facts speak for themselves. If the 3rd Division was first into Berchtesgaden, where did they go? Berchtesgaden is a relatively small community. When I walked into the Berchtesgaden Hof with Lieutenant Welsh, neither of us saw anyone except the hotel staff. Goering's officers' club and wine cellar certainly would have drawn the attention of a Frenchman from LeClerc's 2nd Armored Division or a rifleman from the 3rd Division. I find it inconceivable to imagine that if the 3rd Division were there first, they left those beautiful Mercedes staff cars untouched for our men."


  • In the final episode, "Points", Major Winters accepts the surrender of a German Colonel, who offers him an ornate Luger pistol. In the scene, Winters tells him to keep his sidearm, but in the Bonus Features DVD, the real Winters recalls the incident and shows the pistol (a Walther PP) he accepted. In Ambrose's book of the same title, he describes how when Winters examined the firearm, he found it had never been fired, and he hasn't fired it since. He shows this firearm in the HBO documentary We Stand Alone Together. Also in book Beyond Band of Brothers : The war memoirs of Major Dick Winters written by Cole. C. Kingseed with Major Dick Winters it is said that the pistol was accepted but the rank of the German soldier was a Major not Colonel.


  • In the third episode "Carentan" at the counter-attack, we can clearly see a Jagdpanther with the counter-attacking German forces, however the only Jagdpanthers in the area were in the German 654th Heavy Antitank Battalion and only saw combat in the late Battle of Normandy against British units.

SourcesEdit

http://base-on-true-story.blogspot.com/2008/01/band-of-brothers-historical.html

http://www.101airborneww2.com/index.html

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