Author: George Wilson
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: 2010-11-10
"If you survive your first day, I'll promote you." So promised George Wilson's World War II commanding officer in the hedgerows of Normandy -- and it was to be a promise dramatically fulfilled. From July, 1944, to the closing days of the war, from the first penetration of the Siegfried Line to the Nazis' last desperate charge in the Battle of the Bulge, Wilson fought in the thickest of the action, helping take the small towns of northern France and Belgium building by building. Of all the men and officers who started out in Company F of the 4th Infantry Division with him, Wilson was the only one who finished. In the end, he felt not like a conqueror or a victor, but an exhausted survivor, left with nothing but his life -- and his emotions. If You Survive One of the great first-person accounts of the making of a combat veteran, in the last, most violent months of World War II. From the Paperback edition.
Author: Jon T. Hoffman
Publisher: Department of the Army
Release Date: 2010-01-15
The U.S. Army has a long record of fielding innovations that not only have enhanced its effectiveness on the battlefield but also sometimes had an impact far beyond warfare. General Editor Jon T. Hoffman has brought together eleven authors who cover the gamut from the invention of the M1 Garand rifle between the world wars through the development of the National Training Center in the 1980s. While many books lay out theories about the process of innovation or detail the history of a large-scale modernization, the collection of fourteen essays in A History of Innovation: U.S. Army Adaptation in War and Peace fills a different niche in the literature. This work is neither a historical account of how the Army has adapted over time nor a theoretical look at models that purport to show how innovation is best achieved. Instead, it captures a representative slice of stories of soldiers and Army civilians who have demonstrated repeatedly that determination and a good idea often carry the day in peace and war. Despite the perception of bureaucratic inertia, the institution's long history of benefiting from the inventiveness of its people indicates that it is an incubator of innovation after all.
Author: Alex Kershaw
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2012-11-01
From the invasion of Italy to the gates of Dachau, no World War II infantry unit in Europe saw more action or endured worse than the one commanded by Felix Sparks. A maverick officer – and the only man to survive his company’s wartime odyssey from bitter beginning to victorious end – Sparks’s remarkable true story is told here for the very first time.
Author: Thomas H. Taylor
Publisher: Presidio Press
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
paratrooper Joseph Beyrle did not strive to be a part of history, but history kept visiting him. He was the first American paratrooper to land in Normandy and the only soldier to fight for both the United States and the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. Twice before the invasion he parachuted into Normandy, bearing gold for the French resistance. D-Day resulted in his capture, when he was mistaken for a German line-crosser-a soldier who had, in fact, died in the attempt. Eventually Joe was held under guard at the American embassy in Moscow, suspected of being a Nazi assassin. His fingerprints saved him, confirming that he'd been wounded five times and that he bore a safe-conduct pass written by Marshal Zhukov after the Wehrmacht had wrested Joe, at gunpoint, from execution by the Gestapo. In the ruins of Warsaw, his life was saved again-this time by Polish nuns. Behind Hitler's Lines is told, in part, in Joe's own words-a voice that will be among the last and best we hear firsthand from World War II.
Five days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. Suddenly a German Messerschmitt fighter pulled up on the bomber's tail - the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day - the American - 2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown and the German - 2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler. A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz's harrowing missions and gives a dramatic account of the moment when they would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as 'top secret'. It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would seek out one another and reunite.
Author: Michael Bilder
Release Date: 2008-11-17
A brutally honest depiction of day-to-day combat in World War II . . . A rarely frank account of the U.S. infantry experience in northern Europe, A Foot Soldier for Patton takes the reader from the beaches of Normandy through the giddy drive across France, to the brutal battles on the Westwall, in the Ardennes, and finally to the conquest of Germany itself. Patton’s army is best known for dashing armored attacks, its commander combining the firepower of tanks with their historic lineage as cavalry. But when the Germans stood firm the greatest fighting was done by Patton’s long undersung infantry—the foot sloggers who were called upon to reduce enemy strong points, and who took the brunt of German counterattacks. Michael Bilder, a member of the 5th Infantry (“Red Diamond” division), played a unique role in the Third Army’s onslaught. A rifleman foremost, he was also a German-speaker, called upon for interrogations and special duties. Also a combat lifeguard, he played a key role in successive river crossings. An astute observer, he relates dozens of fascinating insights into the campaign, from dealing with German snipers to intoxicated Frenchwomen, as well as relaying the often morbid humor of combat. Laughter, for example, erupts among Bilder’s unit when a hated Graves Registration officer, known for robbing the pockets of the dead, gets his hand blown off by a German booby trap. When the 5th Infantry comes up against the fortress of Metz, the battle is detailed in all its horror, as is the sudden drive into the flank of the Bulge, where the Americans face their first winter battle against enemy veterans of Russia. Incidents common to the ordinary GI, but which seldom see the light of day in histories, are routinely related in this book, enriching the reader’s sense of the true reality of World War II combat.
Author: Stephen Harding
Publisher: Hachette UK
Release Date: 2013-05-07
May 1945. Hitler is dead, and the Third Reich little more than smoking rubble. No GI wants to be the last man killed in action against the Nazis. But for cigar-chewing, rough-talking, hard-drinking, hard-charging Captain Jack Lee and his men, there is one more mission: rescue fourteen prominent French prisoners held in an SS-guarded castle high in the Austrian Alps. It’s a dangerous mission, but Lee has help from a decorated German Wehrmacht officer and his men, who voluntarily join the fight. Based on personal memoirs, author interviews, and official American, German, and French histories, The Last Battle is the nearly unbelievable story of the most improbable battle of World War II—a tale of unlikely allies, bravery, cowardice, and desperate combat between implacable enemies.
From the beaches of Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge to the border of Czechoslovakia, an American infantryman recounts his journey through the expiring Third Reich, offering an insightful and detailed account of his experiences under fire. Reissue.
Author: Peter R. Mansoor
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2014-05-14
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
An on-the-ground commander describes his brigade's first year in Iraq after the U.S. forces seized Baghdad in the spring of 2003, and explains what went right and wrong as the U.S. military confronted an insurgency, in a firsthand analysis of success and failure in Iraq.
The true story of R.V. Burgin, the real-life World War II Marine Corps hero featured in HBO®'s The Pacific. “Read his story and marvel at the man...and those like him.”—Tom Hanks When R.V. Burgin joined the U.S. Marines on November 13th, 1942, he never imagined what was waiting for him and his fellow riflemen in the Pacific Islands during World War II. From New Britain through Peleliu to Okinawa, Burgin’s platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division, encountered a ferocious, committed, and desperate enemy in the Japanese—engaging them in some of the most harrowing and horrifying conflicts of the war. In this harrowing memoir, R.V. Burgin reveals his experiences as a marine at war in the Pacific Theater. Schooled in Melbourne, Australia, by the veterans who had just returned from combat in Guadalcanal, Company K confronted snipers, ambushes along narrow jungle trails, abandoned corpses of hara-kiri victims, and howling banzai attacks as they island-hopped from one bloody battle to the next. During his two years of service, Burgin rose from a green private to a seasoned sergeant, and earned a Bronze Star for his valor at Okinawa. With unforgettable drama and an understated elegance, Burgin’s gripping narrative chronicles the waning days of World War II, bringing to life the hell that was the Pacific War.
Author: Jay A. Stout
Release Date: 2015-01-06
During the air battles that destroyed Nazi Germany’s ability to wage war, one bomb group was especially distinguished. The Hell’s Angels. At the outbreak of World War II, the United States was in no way prepared to wage war. Although the U.S declared war against Germany in December 1941, the country lacked the manpower, the equipment, and the experience it needed to fight. Even had an invasion force been ready, a successful assault on Nazi-occupied Europe could not happen until Germany’s industrial and military might were crippled. Because no invasion could happen without air superiority, the first target was the Luftwaffe—the most powerful and battle-hardened air force in the world. To this end, the United States Army Air Forces joined with Great Britain’s already-engaged Royal Air Force to launch a strategic air campaign that ultimately brought the Luftwaffe to its knees. One of the standout units of this campaign was the legendary 303rd Bomb Group—Hell’s Angels. This is the 303rd’s story, as told by the men who made it what it was. Taking their name from their B-17 of the same name, they became one of the most distinguished and important air combat units in history. The dramatic and terrible air battles they fought against Germany changed the course of the war.
As the Red Army advanced across Poland in 1945, thousands of freed Allied POWs – viewed by the Soviets as cowards or potential spies – were abandoned to wander the war-torn Eastern Front. In total secrecy, the OSS – wartime forerunner to the CIA – conceived an undercover mission to rescue them. The man they picked to undertake it was veteran Eighth Air Force bomber pilot Captain Robert Trimble. With little covert training, Trimble survived by wit, courage, and a determination to do some good in a terrible war. Alone, he faced up to the terrifying Soviet secret police and saved hundreds of lives, fighting his own battle against the trauma of war while finding his way home to his wife and child. Based on hours of testimony from his father, Beyond the Call is written by Trimble’s son and by British historian Jeremy Dronfield. It is a filmic, inspiring story of a hitherto unknown true hero.
Author: Alex Kershaw
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2015-07-30
A cold winter morning in the Ardennes Forest, 1944, and Hitler launches his last and most audacious attack on the unprepared Allies. Standing between the German forces and the desperately regrouping Allies were just eighteen young Americans, hidden in fox holes. In a fierce day-long battle, this small band of soldiers repulsed the German attack three times, inflicting severe casualties and defending a strategically vital hill despite being vastly outnumbered. They surrendered only when they ran out of ammunition. But then the real battle for survival began ... Alex Kershaw's brilliant account draws on the words of the decorated men who fought this heroic action, bringing vividly to life their struggle on the battlefield and later off it - as POWs.