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“Band of Brothers” vs. History: Did Ron Speirs actually shoot German prisoners and one of his own soldiers?

We examine the facts and the rumors.

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Ronald Speirs stands out as one of the most interesting soldiers covered in the book Band of Brothers and its popular 2001 HBO miniseries adaptation.

However, a relatively minor point in the miniseries has created some controversy around Ronald Speirs’ historical legacy, particularly with regard to two alleged incidents.  The relevant portion of dialogue in the show was a scene in which some soldiers are discussing rumors they have heard about Speirs.

Muck:  Real smart.  You know, you’re taking your life in your own hands.  Ain’t that right?
Malarkey:  I told you. I didn’t actually see it.
Penkala: “What, Speirs shooting the prisoners, or the sergeant in his own platoon?”

Thus we are left with two allegations to examine.

  1. That Speirs shot German prisoners.
  2. That Speirs shot an American soldier.

Continue to the next page to see what we actually know about Speirs’ record.

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