Dick Winters at Brecourt Manor
* print colors may vary from monitor colors
Print Size: 22.5" X 32"
all prints are sold unframed
Silencing the Guns
by James Dietz
Print #2 in our series depicting the "Band of Brothers"

June 6, 1944, Normandy, France… Amidst the roar of D-Day, the “Band of Brothers” paratroopers of Easy Company, 506th P.I.R., 101st Airborne Division, capture the first of four German cannons within the hedgerows of Brécourt Manor. Led by Lt. Dick Winters, the 12 men of Easy Company, with a handful of reinforcements, would rout the German gun crews and 50 enemy paratroopers. For his actions, Lt. Winters would be recommended for the Medal of Honor.

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1,000 limited edition prints, each hand autographed by Band of Brothers veterans Buck Compton, "Wild Bill" Guarnere, Don Malarkey, and Easy Company’s wartime company commander Dick Winters!

25 canvas giclees exist signed by the artist. A Signer Proof edition of 100 prints exist for print signers.
An Artist Proof edition of 100 prints bearing only the artist's signature, and a Pulblisher Proof edition of 250 prints bearing only the artist's signature, were available via the artist and his publisher but are sold out.

In the mid-morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, the deafening sounds of gunfire resounded across the French hills, along the Channel coast and against low-hanging clouds. Amidst the fields of the French farm, Brécourt Manor, a particular cacophony erupted as a German battery of four 105mm cannons shook the soil. Five miles distant, on Utah Beach, the Brécourt battery’s steel rained upon American soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division as they disembarked from their landing craft. Within minutes of that first salvo, an ad hoc squad of paratroopers from Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th P.I.R., 101st Airborne, departed the French village of Le Grand-Chemin with a mission to silence those guns.

With each shot, the Brécourt cannons belied their locations. Three of the guns had been dug into the field’s hedgerows, facing northeast toward the beaches. A fourth gun lay to the west and aimed westward to guard the battery’s flank. A manmade ditch connected each position. In addition to the gun crews, 50 elite German paratroopers from the 6th Parachute Regiment defended the field’s expanse. Against this opposition, Easy Company’s ranking officer, 1st Lt. Richard Winters, led 12 paratroopers. Normally 120 men strong, Easy Company had been scattered about Normandy that morning during the 1:30 a.m. paradrop.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., Winters deployed his men for a “double envelopment” assault on the westernmost cannon. On cue, Lt. Buck Compton, Platoon Sgt. Bill Guarnere, and Pvt. Don Malarkey attacked from the gun’s front-right. Winters, Cpl. Joe Toye, Cpl. Robert Wynn, and Pvt. Gerald Lorraine, a jeep driver from battalion HQ, simultaneously attacked the first gun from its front-left. While the assault teams created a pincer, the .30-caliber machine gun crews of Pvts. John Plesha, Walter Hendrix, Cleveland Petty, and Joe Liebgott kept the Germans pinned down with fire from head-on. From the cannon’s left flank, Platoon Sgt. Carwood Lipton and Sgt. Mike Ranney provided covering fire; Lipton even climbed a tree for a better field of view. Years later, Lipton remembered the attack’s result: “…the Germans apparently felt that they were being hit by a large force. Those defending the first gun broke and withdrew in disorganization to a far tree line and that gun was in our hands.”

Having sacked the first cannon, Winters “reorganized the team.” James Dietz’s painting Silencing the Guns signifies this moment. While Winters confers with Guarnere, troopers Malarkey, Compton, Wynn, and Toye deploy to deliver suppressing fire to keep the Germans on their heels. Figures representing Lipton and Ranney emerge from a background hedgerow to rejoin their comrades. Soon, Guarnere will lead a charge to capture the second gun.

By the engagement’s end, Easy Company, with a few reinforcements, had captured and destroyed three of the Brécourt cannons. Five Dog Company troopers, led by Lt. Ronald Spiers, arrived after the third gun had been taken; they then captured and destroyed the fourth gun. For valor displayed at Brécourt, the 506th P.I.R. decorated the battle’s participants. Compton, Guarnere, Lorraine, and Toye received the Silver Star. Hendrix, Liebgott, Lipton, Malarkey, Petty, Plesha, Ranney, and Wynn received the Bronze Star. Colonel Robert Sink, the commander of the 506th P.I.R., nominated Winters for the Medal of Honor. However, according to the late Stephen Ambrose, the author of Band of Brothers, “. . . because Maj. Gen. Maxwell Taylor, commander of the 101st Airborne Division had placed an arbitrary limit of one MOH for the division in Normandy, and because Lt. Col. Robert Cole was the man picked to receive the award, Winters was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross…”

During the days following the D-Day invasion, in a grassy field in Normandy, General Omar Bradley personally awarded Winters the Distinguished Service Cross, the military’s 2nd highest award, in recognition of Winters’ actions and leadership in the silencing of the guns at Brécourt Manor.

Silencing the Guns is an ultra-realistic painting and fine art print. In 2004, James Dietz, the artist, traveled to the Brecourt Manor farm in Normandy, France, to study the battlefield. His resulting artwork captures the hedgerow's cool, dark shade, set against the warm, summer sun that rose on the morning of D-Day, 60 years ago.

Set amongst a juxtaposition of light and shadow, Dietz painted the paratroopers of Easy Company as they would actually looked, with their faces blackened as camouflage. Dietz based the paratroopers' likenesses on vintage photos, showing the men as they really looked in 1944.

Completing Dietz's research, the staff of Valor Studios/Ghost Wings gathered historical details from the last living veterans who had fought as members of Easy Company at Brecourt. Lt. Col. (ret.) Buck Compton, Sgt (ret.) Bill Guarnere, Sgt. (ret.) Don Malarkey, and Maj (ret.) Dick Winters each contributed their personal memories of the mission to silence the guns. Major (ret.) Dick Winters, in particular, critiqued each of the painting's concept sketches ensuring Silencing the Guns' ultra-realism and historical faithfulness.

Jim Dietz has gained international recognition in aviation, military and automotive art circles for his unique approach to these genres. "The people, settings and costumes are what make early 20th Century history exciting and romantic to me." It is this feeling that makes Jim Dietz and his artwork so different from his contemporaries. Rather than simply illustrate hardware, Jim prefers to portray human involvement, to show in his paintings the interaction between man and machine-after all, he says, "it is the people who make machines great-by design, by operation and by dedication."

A native of San Francisco, Jim graduated from Art Center College of Design in 1969 and began a successful illustration career in Los Angeles. The subject matter varied from automobiles to action scenes to romantic book covers. A steady flow of work from New York clients enabled Jim and his wife to move to Seattle in 1978, where he began to fulfill his dream of specializing in historical aviation, automotive and military art. His clients have included Boeing, Bell Helicopter, Federal Express, Allison, Cessna, Flying Tigers, the Indianapolis 500, BMW, the National Guard and many U.S. Army organizations and associations.

Jim lives in Seattle with his wife, Patti, son, lan and his Australian Shepherd, Tazzy, who is seen often in Jim's paintings. His studio resembles a World War I aviator's bar, filled with flying and automotive memorabilia, wooden props and model airplanes.

Artist Jim Dietz with "Silencing The Guns" signer Major Richard Winters.