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Small But Poignant Details Fans Noticed In 'Band Of Brothers'

Updated July 12, 2021 9.3k votes 2.6k voters 324.6k views9 items

List RulesVote up the 'Band of Brothers' series details you never realized before.

Though it first aired in 2001, HBO's Band of Brothers remains an extremely popular series, with fans across the internet attesting to multiple rewatches throughout the years. Intimately familiar with the World War II drama, these fans enjoy sharing various details they've picked up from their latest binge sessions. 

Check out these Band of Brothers details that Redditors have shared over the years, and vote up the ones that strike you as the most significant.

  • Photo: HBO

    Winters Keeps A Compass On Him

    Redditor u/Cookie4634 asked:

    What did winters use in Episode 2 as a compass with the map and how does it work?

    Redditor u/timehathnomatter answered:

    Pretty sure it's a compass. I'm sure I remember in the book he had a compass sewn into the lining of his trousers. It was tiny. In addition he had a map I think sewn into his fatigues somewhere - there's a decent documentary on YouTube with Winters where he explains the stuff in his home office, and he mentions the map in there.

    Memory is patchy, but yeah, pretty sure it's just a compass.

    Redditor u/Restless_native answered:

    Allied servicemen often [or] typically had a button on their uniform which contained a small compass hidden under a screw cap; that’s what he was using. Once you triangulate your position from visible landmarks you can use your hidden compass to help you evade the tens of thousands of heavily armed [Germans] who’re looking for you!

    Both my grandfathers (1 RAF & 1 Black Watch) told me about their respective “escape & evasion” kits, and button compasses were a main component, along with maps printed on silk which were hidden in paperwork or wallets, etc. Hope that’s what you were meaning

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  • Photo: HBO

    'Why We Fight' Intertwines The Personal Narrative With The Grander Story Of WWII

    From Redditor u/Rosenwinkel92:

    So I re-watch Band of Brothers every couple of years, and each time I pick up on different things. This time around I was struck by just how much is going on in Episode 9, "Why We Fight." I've always thought it was the best episode in a series that doesn't really have any bad parts, but it's impressive to me how it blends the personal struggles and doubts of some of the soldiers (especially Captain Nixon, the main focus of the episode) with Easy Company's journey into Germany and their discovery of the concentration camp at Landsberg. Nixon, and many of the other men, express their frustration with the war, being stuck in it, and openly question why it's being fought in the first place, with Webster's outburst at the retreating German soldiers probably the most explicit.

    Conversely, throughout the episode we see scenes of German soldiers and civilians responding to the American soldiers with indignation, arrogance, and maybe even spite. Winters' remark about the retreating Germans "still marching with pride" sticks out, as does the baker's angry tirade at his store being cleaned out (at least until Webster shuts him up), but most impactful I think is the scene where Nixon breaks into an upscale house in search of a specific kind of whisky. He's confronted by the house's mistress after he breaks the portrait of a German officer (presumably her husband), who glares at him smugly without a word, as if to say, "How dare you break into my house, young man, and destroy the photograph of my beloved husband? Have you no respect? Have you no shame?" Nixon leaves, unable to maintain eye contact with the woman.

    This, of course, all changes when Easy Company discovers the concentration camp. And for many of the men, suddenly the question of "Why are we here?" doesn't seem all that hard to answer anymore. The penultimate scene shows Nixon (no longer giving a damn what kind of whisky he drinks) entering the camp and observing the local German citizens, who have been ordered by marshal law to clear away the [cadavers], forcing them to confront the evil done by their government. Here, none of the Germans are able to keep Nixon's gaze, and he finally comes to the proud woman from before who also averts her eyes from him in shame.

    Why did so many soldiers of Easy Company give the last full measure of devotion as they fought their way across Europe? To defeat evil, that's why. To me, that's I think what this episode is trying to say. That it was worth it; that they were there to defeat what Churchill called "a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalog of human crime."

    On a final side note: it's interesting to me that this episode is one that doesn't feature narration. I think it's a good choice, but I've gotta do some more thinking on it until I fully figure out why.

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  • Photo: HBO

    Webster Loses His Bond With The Other Soldiers

    Redditor u/freezyblanco asked,

    Martin is asked to assemble his squad for the river assault. Why does he go out of his way to pick Webster for the mission, while giving him the stink eye? Where does the ill will stem from? And why do the others snicker, "Webster... tries to get out of everything," after the briefing? I understand he missed Bastogne and as such he "got out" of that, but he doesn't protest being selected for the mission. Mind you, the snickering occurs before he goes up to Cpt. Winters and tries to get out of the mission by commenting on the fact that they have a translator already.

    Redditor u/onenight1234 answered,

    Mind you, the snickering occurs before he goes up to Cpt. Winters and tries to get out of the mission by commenting on the fact that they have a translator already

    He wasn't trying to get out of the mission, he was trying to get Liebgott out. It was showcasing what bastogne did to the guys, where they kind of "lost" the bond with Webster. The comment Liebgott initially says about him wanting to get out of everything, it wasn't true. They just didn't view him as one of them anymore even though he fought through D-Day and Market Garden etc. It was hammering home Bastogne was THAT bad.

    Redditor u/noodle_salad 9 answered,

    Martin is annoyed with Webster because it was Webster's meddling that got Martin pulled into the patrol. The initial plan was for Malarkey to lead the patrol, until Webster got Jones to talk to Speirs and Winters about Malarkey deserving a break. They agreed to give Malarkey a break, but since they still needed an experienced leader, Martin was pulled in.

    Also, Webster doesn't try to get out of the patrol when he talks to Winters. When Webster says, "There are two translators when only one is needed," it is left unspoken that he's advocating for Liebgott to be reprieved, not for himself.

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  • Photo: HBO

    Winters Obeys The Chain Of Command, Until He Can Bend It A Little

    From Redditor u/omega4444:

    Just finished watching Band of Brothers and I know hindsight is 20/20 but still can't get over the following:

    • ​Col Sink. should have reprimanded Captain Sobel's direct CO for failing to relieve Sobel of command of Easy Company during their training phase. While Sobel proved to be an able instructor (if somewhat of a martinet), he was incapable of grasping simple military tasks (e.g., reading a map) or inspiring confidence in the troops in his abilities. A good military commander does not have to be popular with the troops but he must be respected. Sobel accomplished neither of these tenets with his troops. The fact that it took the actions of non-coms to result in Sobel's reassignment is inexcusable. Sobel's CO should have know that Sobel was unfit for command if a readiness report was thoroughly conducted.
    • The non-coms should have gone directly to Sobel's direct CO with their complaints, not to Col. Sink. Doing so meant the non-coms skipped at least one level of command.
    • Lt. Winters chose to keep quiet about Sobel's mistreatment of the men and martinet behavior. As a reward for his obedience and adherence to the chain of command, Winters was promoted over the course of the war. It was only later as a Captain when Winters deliberately challenged his CO (Col. Sink) by lying to Sink about sending his troops on a second raid into enemy territory to grab prisoners (he told his troops to stand down). A younger Lt. Winters would have followed orders to the letter, even if it meant the deaths of his troops.

    Regarding the last point about Winters, as much as I would have liked him to speak up about Sobel's mistreatment of the troops, I understand why Winters chose to keep quiet. Obedience to the chain of command is everything in the US Armed Forces (especially during wartime). There was no "ethics hotline" for Winters to contact as a whistleblower. You did as you were told (right or wrong) or you would be charged for insubordination.

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