"The Germans only left one company to defend Carentan," Winters whispers as he walks with Welsh. "The rest pulled out last night." Welsh curses that he knew the enemy ceded Carentan too easily. Who is he kidding? Christina Aguilera is easy. That last joke was, in fact, easy. But bodies piled up, blood gushed, and one man's leg flying through the air...that shit's at least on the intermediate level. Winters says the enemy troops regrouped south of Carentan and may have been doubling back for the counterattack when Easy ran smack into them. As he dishes strategy, Welsh shoots affectionate glances at Winters. I think we're rapidly approaching naughty time. "They want the town back, and we're in their way," Winters concludes. "If they don't come before then, we're attacking [at] first light at 0530."
Official business complete, Welsh now regards Winters with interest. "Not much of a limp," he says, his gaze slithering down to Winters's leg. "I'll survive," Winters replies blithely. "How is it?" persists Welsh, who honestly looks like he'd suck the hurt from his shin if Winters let him. And to head off some of the hate mail, no, I'm not claming the real Welsh felt this way -- just that this actor makes it look like Welsh is really, really horny. Winters looks exasperated. "Hurts," he says, amused but also annoyed that someone's asking him to admit he has a weakness. Welsh smiles. "War is hell," he says cheerfully, disappearing toward the foxholes.
A guy named Smith snoozes in his hole. Creeping up to him, Talbert -- clad in his stolen German poncho -- taps Smith's helmet with his gun and whispers, "Come on, Smith, get up, it's your watch!" Smith slowly rouses himself, then looks up at the source of the noise and sees only a shadowy figure wearing enemy garb and holding a pistol. Smith freaks, grabs his bayonet, and pokes the man twice in the belly. Talbert screams. Liebgott, completely alive (yay!) and bent on helping the wounded, restrains Smith. "What the hell are you doing?" Liebgott yells. "That's Talbert!" Smith finally clears the fog from his brain and stares at the wounded Talbert's face, his own now awash with horror. He sputters apologies. "He looked like a Kraut!" Smith insists. A medic comes to the aid of the not-fatally-hurt Talbert.
In his hole, Blithe is rigid, unmoving, barely able to breathe because of his fear. Martin stirs when he hears a strange noise coming from one of their platoon's foxholes. Blithe goes to check it out, because he can't sleep. "Flash," a voice calls out. "Thunder," answers a startled Blithe. From the bushes emerges Deputy Dog. "Where you going, Private?" he asks. Blithe answers that he heard the ruckus and went to investigate it. The Dog coolly blocks him, saying he just came from there and it's completely under control; he then complains about the nervous privates in Easy Company. "They just don't see how simple it is," he says mechanically. "Just do what you have to do." Blithe says, "Like you did on D-Day, sir?" I'm not sure if he's referring to the capture of the gun at the German battery, or the alleged massacre of German prisoners. If it's the latter, then Blithe is a ballsier mofo than I ever thought. Deputy Dog turns around, curious. "Lieutenant, when I landed on D-Day, I found myself in a ditch all by myself," Blithe begins, choking back tears. "I fell asleep. I think it was the airsickness pills they gave us. When I woke up I didn't really try to find my unit to fight. I just kinda stayed put." Blithe actually got my heartstrings on that one, delivering the speech like a toddler tugging on mommy's skirt pleading for her to kiss it better. I can't imagine a lonelier feeling than being dropped onto Normandy amid hellish, unrelenting enemy fire, only to land and be completely alone in the war zone, no one there to rein in a wild imagination or soothe a petrified spirit. The actor looks appropriately tortured by his experience, confused as to where his courage went, and his eyes beg for Deputy Dog to explain it and make it better. Deputy Dog kneels, meets Blithe's gaze with a look of steel, and says, "You know why you hid in that ditch, Blithe?" The private tearfully whispers, "I was scared!" He looks relieved to admit it. "We're all scared," the Dog replies, evenly and with a trace of menace. "You hid in that ditch because you think there's still hope. But Blithe, the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to function the way a soldier is supposed to function -- without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends on it." I realize each man out there needed to become hardened so he kept his wits about him during the war, unlike Blithe. But Deputy Dog's view is truly that of a hollowed-out soul. I pray today's soldiers don't agree, because to abandon compassion and brush off the atrocities of war -- to eschew human emotion -- is to emulate the callous brutality of the people who bankrolled, conceived, and executed the recent terror attacks. Blithe and I both get goosebumps, because that's what happens when you're in the presence of the Dark Lord, if you've somehow avoided catching fire.
On D-Day-Plus-Seven, the men are still holed up in the outskirts of Carentan. Welsh talks to the staff sergeants, outlining the upcoming plan of attack. They're unsure of the strength of the forces opposing them here, but suspect they're weaker and probably paratroopers -- meaning no tanks or heavy artillery. Dog and Fox companies will protect Easy's left flank. Just as Welsh concludes the meeting by saying, "Let's make them holler," the sound of a fired mortar shell cuts the air. "Mortar!" someone screams as everyone dives for cover.