Richard Winters

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Richard D. "Dick" Winters at the Toccoa Training Camp in Georgia (1942)

Richard D. "Dick" Winters (born January 21, 1918 in Lancaster , Pennsylvania , † January 2, 2011 in Campbelltown , Lebanon County , Pennsylvania) was a major in the US Army . During the Second World War he commanded a. a. the Easy Company, 2nd Battalion , 506th US Parachute Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division . In the series Band of Brothers , which was the Easy Companyportrayed during World War II, he was portrayed by Damian Lewis .



Winters was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1941 he graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a bachelor's degree in economics .

Second World War

Winters joined the US Army in 1941 and, after completing basic training, was selected for the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning , Georgia . During this time he met Lewis Nixon , with whom he would later serve in the 506th US Paratrooper Regiment. After the officer training he served as platoon leader of a platoon of the E- Company (Easy Company), with which he took part in the paratrooper training at Camp Toccoa . During this training, Winters was appointed deputy company commander under Captain Herbert Sobel and promoted to first lieutenant .

After the transfer of the 101st US Airborne Division to Great Britain , a dispute arose between company commander Sobel and some non-commissioned officers of the company, which Winters later called " mutiny " . The non-commissioned officers refused to be relocated with Sobel and tried to achieve this by asking for their transfer to other regiments, which resulted in Sobel being transferred from regimental commander Colonel Robert F. Sink by First shortly before the invasion of Normandy Lieutenant Thomas Meehan III. was replaced. On June 6, 1944, at around 1:15 a.m., the C-47 , with which Meehan and the staff of the Easy Company flew, was shot down by German flak fire . None of the inmates survived. Hence Winters took command of the Easy Company and held it until the end of the invasion. After the invasion, he was made Deputy Commander (XO) of the battalion.

During Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands in September 1944, Winters served as deputy commander of the 2nd Battalion, US 506th Paratrooper Regiment. Although this position usually required the rank of major, Winters, already promoted to captain, took on this task. During this operation, Winters carried out a successful attack against 200 German soldiers with 20 soldiers from the Easy Company .

On December 16, 1944, the Wehrmacht launched the Ardennes offensive in Belgium . After the 101st Airborne Division had advanced to Bastogne by December 18 , the 2nd Battalion under Winters held the front line near the small town of Foy during the German offensive . The division and parts of the 10th US Armored Division held the line against various German divisions for almost a week until parts of the 3rd US Army under General George S. Patton broke through and surrounded the German forces in Bastogne. After the Battle of the Bulge, Winters was promoted to major.

After the war

Dick Winters in 2004

After the war, Winters worked briefly for his friend Lewis Nixon in his family business before he was called up again during the Korean War to train infantrymen and US Army rangers .

After that second tenure with the US Army, Winters sold pet food products to farmers in Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Ethel, bought a small farm and had two children. After retiring in Hershey , Pennsylvania, Winters was made up of Stephen Ambrose's 1992 book Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest, and the miniseries Band of Brothers derived from it 2001 to the model soldier of the greatest generation .

Winters was also the basis of the book Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, The Man Who Led the Band of Brothers by Larry Alexander , published in 2005 . He wrote his own memoir, Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters , with retired military historian Colonel Cole C. Kingseed and published it in 2006.

Richard D. "Dick" Winters died on January 2nd, 2011 at the age of 92 and was buried in private on January 8th. In the last years of his life he suffered from Parkinson's disease .

Awards and honors

Winters was awarded the Medal of Honor , the highest military honor, for leading an attack on June 6, 1944 (the so-called Brécourt Manor Assault ) on a battery of German 105 mm guns aimed at the Allied landing zone of Utah Beach recommended by the US Army. Instead, however, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross , the second highest award. This attack is still taught today at military academies as a classic example of small unit combat tactics. After the miniseries Band of Brothers ran on television, a petition was drawn up to award Winters the Medal of Honor retrospectively.

Furthermore, his awards include the Bronze Star with Oak Leaves , the Purple Heart , the World War II Victory Medal , the American Defense Service Medal , the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal , the Army of Occupation Medal , the National Defense Service Medal , a Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaves, the orange collar of the Dutch Army , the Four Freedoms Award and the medal from the city of Eindhoven .

The uniform that Winters wore captain's rank during the Normandy landings is now on display in the Dead Man's Corner Museum.

US-DSC-RIBBON.png Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze star with oak leaves
Purple heart ribbon.svg Purple heart
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
American Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
US Army and US Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaves

Individual evidence

  1. Dick Winters, who inspired 'Band of Brothers,' remembered as an American hero at pennlive (accessed July 10, 2013)
  2. War legend Richard "Dick" Winters dies at the age of 92 at the online press portal (accessed on July 10, 2013)
  3. James Dietz: Silencing the Guns. Valor Studios, accessed December 28, 2014 .
  4. ^ Brécourt Manor. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on February 18, 2015 ; accessed on December 28, 2014 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ Peter van der Linden: Brécourt Manor. Retrieved December 28, 2014 .
  6. ^ Matt Boardman: Major Richard D. Winters (ret.). Retrieved December 28, 2014 .
  7. page of the petition (accessed on July 10, 2013)


  • Stephen Ambrose: Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest , Simon & Schuster , 1992. ISBN 0-7434-6411-7
  • Larry Alexander: Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, The Man Who Led the Band of Brothers , NAL Hardcover, 2005, ISBN 0-451-21510-9
  • Stephen Ambrose: D-Day, June 6, 1944, The Battle For The Normandy Beaches , Simon & Schuster, 1994. ISBN 0-7434-4974-6
  • Dick Winters, Cole C. Kingseed: Beyond Band of Brothers: The war memoirs of Major Dick Winters , Berkley Hardcover, 2006. ISBN 0-425-20813-3

Web links

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