Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division one of the hardest fighting, most legendary, and most highly decorated Army units of the Second World War came into being on 1 July 1942.
Initially it was made up of 132 enlisted men and eight officers, all volunteers. It had three platoons and a headquaters section. Each platoon was subdivided into three 12 man rifle squads and a six man mortar squad. Enlisted men were equipped with the M1 Garand, NCOs carried the M1A1 Thompson and officers the M1 Carbine. Each squad also carried a M1919A4 .30 Caliber submachine gun and the mortar teams were each equipped with the 60 mm Mortar M2.
After two years of training the the company was parachuted behind enemy lines on D-Day. They fought with uncommon courage on some of the bloodiest battlegrounds of Europe, suffering over 150 percent casualties and were finally disbanded in the summer of 1945, only a few weeks after the defeat of Germany. They also had the distinction of capturing Aldershorst (Eagle’s Nest), Hitler’s mountaintop retreat above Berchtesgaden.
Their story has been recently been retold in Band of Brothers a ten week mini-series shown on HBO and the BBC. This was based on a book by the historian and biographer Stephen E. Ambrose - Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.