Band Of Brothers is the final volume of Stephen E. Ambrose's long opus on the history of World War Two, and how it affected every American citizen, from soldier to family to strangers. The unit that is being examined by this 10-Episode docudrama is Company E (Easy), 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which was incorporated into the 101st Airborne Division on 1 June 1944 in England and arrived in France on 6 June 1944 for the D-Day Invasion.
Episode Four, entitled "Replacements", explores Easy Company's participation in the Battle of Eindhoven, otherwise known as Operation Market Garden, while they were also getting their new replacements up to speed.
The men of Easy are on respite after the Battle of Bloody Gulch in Carentan. While everyone hangs out in an English pub, Bill Guarnere lectures the new men, "replacements", on their new comrades in Easy. Private Cobb begins to harass a replacement, Miller, about the battalion citation ribbon he wears, despite his not participating in the battle. Miller silently removes his ribbon and leaves it behind. "Bull" Randleman picks it up and quietly reminds Cobb that he didn't fight in Normandy either.
Operation Market Garden is announced to commence 17 September 1944. Easy will parachute as part of a combined English and American force into Holland to liberate the city of Eindhoven and begin the liberation of Holland itself. The belief is that the Allied forces can then cross the Rhine River and defeat Germany more quickly. While Easy prepares to fly into Holland, Captain Sobel returns, having been reassigned as the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment S-4 (Supply) Officer. He confronts Malarkey on stealing the motorcycle, which Malarkey denies. Returning to Easy with Sobel is "Popeye" Wynn.
Easy jumps into Holland and are heartily greeted by the Dutch, receiving a hero's welcome in Eindhoven. Winters and Nixon have their misgivings about the welcome, however, having expected more resistance. Amongst one crowd on the street are a small group of women who are being deliberately shamed; their hair is being harshly cut off as punishment for sexual fraternization with German soldiers during the occupation. Easy later encounters one of them as she carries her child on the road to Nuenen and the troops give her their extra food packs. Privates Webster & Van Klinken and Sergeant Hoobler, while on patrol at night, find a Dutchman hiding out in the basement of his house. His young boy comes out of hiding and Webster gives him a chocolate bar, which the boy likes.
The company approaches Nuenen and are quickly engaged by strong German forces there. The Germans are backed up by Tiger and Jagdpanzer tanks, which quickly destroy and rout Allied armored support. Several Easy members are killed, including Miller, the man Cobb had earlier ridiculed. Lieutenant "Buck" Compton is wounded and carried out by three men, including Sgt. Malarkey. Easy quickly retreats however, "Bull" Randleman is separated from them while in a ditch trying to avoid a burning tank.
"Bull" hides out in a nearby barn and is surrounded by Germans. While waiting for a proper moment to escape, he encounters a local man and his daughter in the barn. After he realizes they are not his enemies, Bull receives help from the man, who digs a large chunk of shrapnel out of his shoulder. Just as the man is bandaging the wound, a small German patrol arrives outside. After a quick inspection of the barn, one of the men who lags behind discovers Bull. Bull kills him, but isn't discovered himself and covers the body with straw.
The next morning, Easy has sent a rescue party out for Randleman. They find him being given a ride in a jeep and are very happy to see him alive.
Operation Market Garden is judged a failure, and is terminated. The 101st Airborne loses 750 men, while the British 1st Airbourne loses nearly 8,000. 101st Airborne Division is assigned to reserve status and is withdrawn from Holland on 28 November 1944 to Mourmelon-le-Grand, France for reorganization and then is placed in Corps Reserve, where they would remain until the start of the Ardennes Counter Offensive, otherwise known as the "Battle of the Bulge."