Another Band of Brothers Question

In the episode “Why we fight” the Easy Company are in going to their next town and the pass by two men with helmets shooting three captured Germans. Who were the Helmet Men?

They looked like French uniforms to me.

And while we’re on the subject of prisoners getting shot in Band of Brothers.

Did Lt.Spears really shoot those German prisoners? I mean…Malarky saw him, with machine gun, go to the prisoners and offer them cigarettes, then he heard lots of firing right behind him, though I think at the time he had walked too far to see for sure if they had died.

Lt.Spears in the series says something to the effect of “If I don’t deny it, they men respect and fear me.” He kind of denies it, but again not entirely…I mean,it’s pretty clear he never really did shoot a drunken member of his platoon, but if he didn’t shoot the prisoners, why did Malarky hear gunshots from his direction?

Here’s the wiki on Ronald Speirs.

It seems to give more credence to Speirs shooting one of his sergeants.

They were French troops.

I also had the impression that they weren’t regular French soldiers. I think they were wearing armbands of some kind - maybe military police or intelligence.

From this page:

French troops killed Germans? That must have been the 1st time that happened.

Well, in fairness, they were unarmed, captured Germans.

This is one thing that has bugged me for a while. In that scene (which was great by the way) the following dialogue takes place.

My question: Who the hell is Tertius? I tried to google him, but all I could find was about the apostle (and the muscle.) Neither were involved in Carthaginian slaughter, I think…

Tertius is a stand-in name for “generic Roman legion officer”. He meant that officers have been doing the same thing as long as there’ve been army officers.

Speirs himself never confirmed nor denied that incident; IIRC his step-son kinda-sorta thought something like that might have happened, but greatly exaggerated… and then Speirs did nothing to prevent the exaggeration.

David Webster’s book Parachute Infantry has a lot of stuff ommitted from the miniseries. In fact, the miniseries Webster is an utter fiction without any resemblance into the real Webster. The miniseries authors re-wrote him to get whatever scene they wanted. Most irritating thing about the whole BoB miniseries.

He was actually a far more insightful guy than he comes across in the miniseries. Reading his book, you realize that he’d never have been the schmuck standing up shouting at the defeated Germans as they pass by. And that he’d never have volunteered to go on the Last Patrol. Which, in fact, he didn’t.

Ah, that makes sense. Thank you!

They were Russian soldiers. The helmets were typical Russian. After the attempted German invasion of Russia the atrocities they committed against Russian civilians, the Russian troops showed no mercy to any captured Germans.

What would Russians be doing in Normandy? :confused: I’ve heard of the Germans sending Russian “volunteers” to man the Atlantic Wall, but I didn’t know they were ever given free leave to roam the countryside and kill Germans once the Western Allies had landed.

I’ve seen photos of Free French troops landing in Normandy. They were wearing British “Tommy” uniforms, but with the crested French helmets.

I haven’t seen BoB in a while, so I don’t recall exactly how the execution squad was dressed.

Let us not be naive. War is cold and brutal. Death is ordinary and banal.

I remember meeting an American soldier from WWII in Mexico City. Maybe because we were Kiwis, maybe because of the time and place. He was a tanker commander and described coming across GIs crucified on barbed wire as he moved forward. From that day his crew not longer bothered to take prisoners.

Completely understand able.

They were French troops.

The scene takes place in germany, not Normandy. And they’re French soldiers.

Probably rather in Provence, during operation Dragoon. There was only one French bataillon engaged in Normandy.