1st Lieutenant Norman S. Dike Jr. was a commander of Easy Company during the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium. In the series he is portrayed as a rank-climber, who was not a good commander, which resulted in several Easy Company men's deaths during their attack on Foy. He became known as "Foxhole Norman".
Lieutenant Dike was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was a graduate of Brown University and was the son of a New York State Supreme Court judge. His mother was from the famous New York "Biddle jewelry family".
- In the series, Lieutenant Dike is portrayed as being incompetent. In real life he performed many acts of heroics. For example, Dike was awarded a Bronze Star for his action at Uden, Holland, with the 101st Airborne Division between 23 and 25 September 1944, in which he “organized and led scattered groups of parachutists in the successful defense of an important road junction on the vital Eindhoven (sic)-Arnhem Supply Route against superior and repeated attacks, while completely surrounded." Dike was awarded a second Bronze Star for his action at Bastogne, in which "he personally removed from an exposed position, in full enemy view, three wounded members of his company, while under intense small arms fire" on 3 January 1945. In preparation for the 13 January 1945 attack on Foy, Belgium, E Company was attached to the 3rd Battalion, 506th PIR. Division Headquarters ordered the attack to begin at 0900 hours. During the assault, Carwood Lipton, at that time the company's first sergeant, described Dike as having "fallen apart." Clancy Lyall stated that he saw that Dike had been wounded in his right shoulder and that it was the wound, not panic, that caused Dike to stop. Dike survived the assault, and eventually returned to the rear in the company of a medic. Afterwards, he was transferred to 506th Regimental Headquarters to become an assistant operations officer. Dike then moved on to become, as a captain, an aide to General Maxwell Taylor, Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division. He later served in the Korean War.
Lt. Dike , as portrayed in Band of Brothers
In the 7th episode of Band of Brothers, 'Breaking Point', Lt. Dike was transferred from Division HQ to Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in the first week of November 1944 becoming commanding officer. During the assault on Foy, Dike had ordered a platoon to go on a flanking mission around the rear of the town. During their charge, he abandoned the mission and ordered the men to take cover with him.
Dike's sergeants informed him they were going to get killed because they were bracketed. At the same time, Captain Richard Winters, former commander of Easy Company and the Battalion's X.O., tried radioing Dike to tell him the same thing. Having no idea how to control the situation, Dike froze. "He fell apart," as Carwood Lipton at that time the company's first sergeant, later put it. Dike told First Squad to go on a flanking mission and for everyone else to provide suppressing fire, despite there being no adequate cover and they would be cut off from the company. He was relieved of command during the attack by Lt. Ronald Speirs, then moved on to become an aide to Gen. Maxwell Taylor, 101st Airborne Division.
(See here for more information on the battle)
Winters later spoke in unflattering detail about Dike in his autobiography, Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Richard Winters. Likewise, in Brothers in Battle—Best of Friends, William Guarnere and Edward "Babe" Heffron do not refer to Dike favorably. His constant, unexplained disappearances, inattention to the men under his command and his preference for remaining in a foxhole, rather than fighting, earned him the pejorative nickname of "Foxhole Norman" among the members of Easy Company.
After the war, Dike earned his law degree from Yale Law School. Dike died in Switzerland in 1989.