Sure, it's a highly-regarded prestige drama about one of the most impactful events in human history, but is Band of Brothers historically accurate? The HBO series was adapted from Stephen E. Ambrose's book of the same name, and both works attempt to show how this grand conflict affected the men who fought in it.
Decades after the series premiered, fans are still discussing its merits, from its thoughtful acting and writing, to its comparisons to other well-respected WWII dramas. Various Redditors also enjoy pointing out Band of Brothers' accuracy, as well as where the show misses the mark, and the following is a selection of their observations.
The Uniforms And Equipment Are Spot On
When a former Redditor asked how accurate HBO's Band of Brothers is, several respondents commended the accuracy of the uniforms.
From Redditor u/borge12:
The show closely follows Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. Ambrose wrote the book off of oral histories from the men of Easy company. It's definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the show.
In general, Band of Brothers did a very good job with getting the uniforms and equipment correct.
The 506th PIR would have landed in Normandy with the M42 Jumpsuit, brown Corcoran jump boots, and the M2 Helmet. For Market Garden, the 101st was re-equipped with the M43 field uniform with trousers modified to have large pockets. Replacements would be issued "double buckle boots," so it's common to see soldiers wearing a mix of jump boots and the double buckles from September 1944 to the end of the war.
Riflemen would have been equipped with the M1 Garand (this is mine restored to a 1943 time frame), cartridge belt, and possibly bandoleers that would hold 6 enblocs for the rifle.
I know that Band of Brothers gets those major details right. I would have to give the show a re-watch to give any more specifics than that.Surprising history?
It Is Possible That German POWs Were Executed
From Redditor u/Communist_Ninja
Rewatching Band of Brothers for the millionth time. There is a scene in Episode 2 ["Day of Days"] I wanted to ask some questions about... Spiers gives German prisoners cigarettes, and then you hear a machine gun fire. If he executed them, was that a common practice during World War II?
The Airbourne, possibly other units, were under orders not to take prisoners on D-Day. It made a confusing and complex logistical situation even more complicated.
If he did it, Speirs may have been following some unspoken wishes of his command. Speirs committed a similar unpleasant deed when he shot one of his SGTs who was disobeying orders in a firefight. He was held in high regard by the Army since D-Day: he was an officer with guts, and they needed that badly.
But executing prisoners was not common on the Western European front. There are stories of this happening, but those caused outrage because they were in fact out of the norm. In fact, many Germans hurried to surrender to the Americans and Brits as the war drew to an end. The Russians were out for revenge.Surprising history?
Lieutenants Could Have Little To No Combat Experience
From Redditor u/MagikHarp:
[H]ow often would there be someone like 1st Lt. Norman Dike who had little to no experience but still made it to a high ranking position who actually "fought" in combat?
From Redditor u/coinsinmyrocket:
A 1st Lt. is far from a high ranking position. Keep in mind that the rank of 1st Lt. is only the second-to-lowest rank for officers in the US Army, and is actually automatically awarded in today's army after 18 months of consecutive service.
A 1st Lt. in command of a company wasn't necessarily uncommon during WWII, especially when casualties meant officers would be rapidly promoted in order to keep units at full strength.
[Editor's Note: It should be mentioned that the show's portrayal of Dike as a cowardly soldier is open to debate. He won two medals for valor earlier in the war, and did not perish at Foy. Instead, he served throughout the war and later in Korea, and did not pass until 1989.]Surprising history?