On D-Day, Dick Winters took off with 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and prepared to parachute into German-held north France. Ground troops landing on Utah beach were relying on Easy Company to secure one of the causeways that were vital if the troops were to get off the beaches and reach the solid ground of Normandy. The plane carrying many of the commanding officers was shot down, leaving Dick Winters suddenly in command of his company. But during the drop he, and many of his men, had been separated from his equipment and was unarmed except for a trench knife.
In this remarkable World War 2 memoir, Dick Winters tells the tales left untold by Stephen Ambrose in his 1992 epic Band of Brothers. Starting with an account of the gruelling training designed to make the 506th the most elite unit in the US Army, Beyond Band of Brothers is fascinating account of one man's experience of commanding Easy Company from D-Day, to the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany. Dick Winters gives real insight into leadership under the most difficult conditions - every man in the company had been injured by the time they reached Germany - and tells the real story of the Allies' final defeat of Hitler, from the point of view of someone who was really there.
In his well-intentioned but impersonal memoirs, Winters tells the tales left untold by Stephen Ambrose, whose Band of Brothers was the inspiration for the HBO miniseries, but Winters's memoir is disappointingly sparse on details unrelated to troop position. It is in the battles and tactical maneuvers of Easy Company that Winters is most at home: on D-Day, when Easy Company's commanding officer is killed, Winters takes charge minutes after landing deep in German territory and leads an assault against a German battery. He carefully explicates the reasoning behind his strategy, leading the reader along as the Company attacks German machine gun and mortar outposts. The narrative is laced with Winters's soldierly exaltations of pride in his comrades' bravery: "My God, it's beautiful when you think of a guy who was so dedicated to his company that he apologizes for getting hit." Although the intrepidness of the group induces more than a tinge of pride, the memoir is devoid of powerful reflections. In the last, sluggish chapters, Winters devotes an excessive amount of time to letters he has received and to expositions on leadership. Winters is too humble for a genre that requires a little bit of conceit.