Belgien / Schlachtfeld
“Band of Brothers” was the famous name given to Company E, 2nd Battalion, US 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The Company fought during the Ardennes Offensive (also known as the Battle of the Bulge) in the winter of 1944 to 45. Following the attack on the village of Foy, Bastogne, on 13 January 1945, the “Band of Brothers” left their previous positions in the Fontaine woods. They headed through this area of Cobru, towards the nearby town of Noville, which they aimed to liberate from German forces.
On 14 January, Colonel Sink, (Commander of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment), informed Captain Richard Winters, (Commander of the Regiment's 2nd Battalion), that Easy Company would now move out to attack Noville via Cobru. The attack was scheduled to begin at 12:00, advancing from Recogne to Cobru.
Winters was not happy about this after the losses and wounded soldiers from the previous day’s assault on Foy. The weather had also taken a turn again, with sub-zero temperatures during the night. The soldiers still lacked warm clothing, sleeping bags and rations, and the harsh weather conditions took a toll on them and their morale.
At 12:00, Easy Company moved out towards Cobru, accompanied by others of the 2nd Battalion, US 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. On their left was the Regiment's 1st Battalion. With nearly 2km of open fields to cross and several feet of snow, Winters was concerned. Knowing it would be slow progress, they moved out in single file towards Cobru.
For the 2nd Battalion, which included Easy Company, the route they took was close to the main road. This offered natural protection with lower, sunken ground, and cover that prevented their movement from being spotted by German troops.
However, the 1st Battalion, to the left of Easy Company, were spotted by German units observing from Noville. They were being badly hit by artillery fire and taking casualties.
Easy Company was then fired at by German forces in Noville, to which Lieutenant Speirs, officer in command of E Company, setup two machine guns and returned fire.
By 15:30, the 2nd Battalion had reached cover and were protected and concealed.
Easy Company continued, crossing a small stream, before resting for the night in a local quarry. This position was referred to as Hill 470, located southwest of Noville. It offered protection for the men of Easy Company ahead of the attack on Noville, which was about 800 metres away.
That evening, Speirs held a meeting with his officers. Sergeant Lipton of E Company, 2nd Platoon, was informed that he would lead the attack the following morning with the support of Sherman tanks.