E Company, 506th Infantry Regiment (United States)

E Company, 506th Infantry Regiment was a company of the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, U.S. 101st Airborne Division during World War II on the frontlines in the European Theater. It was immortalized in the Stephen Ambrose book Band of Brothers, which was made into a successful mini-series on HBO/BBC. Genesis Publications is currently developing a limited edition photography book with the Men of Easy Company foundation, it will include many unpublished photographs and never seen documents.

History

The 506th PIR was an experimental Airborne Regiment created in 1942 at Camp Toccoa Georgia. Easy Company missions were to be dropped from a C-47 Transport Airplane over various hostile territories. The units would parachute from the aircraft, and regroup once they had landed. The purpose of an experimental parachute regiment was to gain tactical advantage over the enemy; also as a fast access to wherever the unit needed to be mobilized.

The training for Easy Company was not an easy task. Besides attending the standard Airborne school, the unit had to perform battle drills and excruciating amounts of physical training. One of the more famous exercises performed physical training was the running of Currahee. Currahee was a large, steep hill, up which the men of Easy Company had to run on a regular basis.

Also as part of their physical training, the members of Easy Company performed formation runs. Formation runs are formed into three-four column running groups. The purpose of this training was to first push the soldiers to their limits, and also to teach them how to work together as a team.

Missions/Operations

Operation Overlord (D-Day)

Operation Overlord is the most known Allied Forces invasion during World War Two. The mission of Easy Company was to be deployed from an airbase located in England, and be dropped over the area of Normandy, France. From there, their mission was to destroy German positions so that the Allied beach-front invasion could take place with a limited amount of Allied casualties. The troops were dropped into France at the early hours of the morning on June 6th, 1944. This was to keep the deployment unnoticed to the Germans, and to keep the airplanes safe from anti-aircraft fire. Their mission was to spearhead the invasion of the beaches of Normandy.

Arnhem, Holland

Easy Company was assigned to support the British forces in Arnhem, by defending the roads so that the British armoured Divisions could successfully move into Arnhem and force a crossing over the major Rhine Bridge in that city. The battle of the British forces to keep control of the Arnhem occurred during September 1944.The story of the ill-fated Market Garden operation is told in the book and movie A Bridge Too Far. The battle ended with the surrender of British troops to the German Army. The immediate cause of the British defeat was the presence of powerful SS Armoured units in the immediate vicinity of Arnhem, however the underlying cause was the flawed assumption upon which Market Garden was based. The valour of the British and Polish paratroopers in holding on as long as they did was remarkable but ultimately the plan was flawed. As described in A Bridge Too Far, the plan of capturing a single road and bridges and then shuttling armoured units along it from Belgium to the Rhine was impossible to achieve. The logistical and tactical problems of attacking Arnhem from Nijmegen with armoured forces were actually a pre-war Dutch Staff College major assessment task. The one solution that students would be guaranteed to fail if they proposed it, was the plan Montgomery chose to use. The Dutch understood all too well that many stretches of the main road were (and are) causeways across marshes and a well sited mine or anti-tank gun could clog the road for hours. Later, the Canadian Army regained control over the city.

Ardennes Forest and Bastogne, Belgium

During the months of December 1944 to January 1945, Easy Company and the rest of the 101st Airborne Division fought in Belgium in a battle known as the Battle of the Bulge. The 101st was in France in December when the Germans launched their offensive in the Ardennes. They were met head on by retreating battle-shocked men into and through Belgium. They were told to hold the vital cross-roads at Bastogne and were soon encircled by the Germans. The soldiers had to make do without winter clothing and with limited rations and ammunition. Easy Company fought for many months in the cold weather, constantly coming under German artillery fire. The Allied Forces successfully turned the offensive around, and from this mission, Easy Company and the rest of the 506th PIR moved into Germany. To this day no person in the 101st has ever said that they needed to be "rescued" (as General Patton said when he rolled into Bastogne with his tanks).

Occupation duties

Towards the end of the war, Easy Company was assigned to the occupation duty in Germany, specifically to Berchtesgaden, which was home to Adolf Hitler’s famous Eagle’s Nest. Following Berchtesgaden, Easy Company moved in to Austria for occupational duties. The company mostly attended to various patrols, awaited for the end of the war.

Easy Company and the rest of the 506th PIR, was disbanded in November 1945, and was reactivated in 1954, as a training unit.

Members

Higher Authorities

Commanding Officers

In order of Commanding Easy.

Other Officers

Members

In order of ranking, if ranking the same, alphabetical using last name.

See also

External links

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