Many narrative accounts of men in combat during World War II have conveyed the horrors and emotions of warfare. However, not many reveal in such an intimate way the struggle of innocent youth to adapt to the primitive code of ‚Äúkill or be killed,‚ÄĚ to transform from lads into combat soldiers. Another River, Another Town is the story of John P. Irwin, a teenage tank gunner whose idealistic desire to achieve heroism is shattered by the incredibly different view of life the world of combat demands. He comes to the realization that the realm of warfare has almost nothing in common with the civilian life from which he has come. The interminable fighting, dirt, fatigue, and hunger make the war seem endless. In addition to the killing and destruction on the battlefield, Irwin and his crew are caught up in the unbelievable depravity they encounter at Nordhausen Camp, where slave laborers are compelled to work themselves to death manufacturing the infamous V-rockets that have been causing so much destruction in London, and that are expected one day to devastate Washington, D.C. At the end of the war, the sense of victory is, for these men, overshadowed by the intense joy and relief they experience in knowing that the fighting is at last over. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Robert Dick
Publisher: Presidio Press
Soon after we landed it became apparent that there was more than enough artillery here, that the enemy were excellent shots, and that their ammo supply seemed to be endless. With the Japanese deeply entrenched and determined to die rather than surrender, Robert Dick and his fellow soldiers quickly realized that theirs would be a war fought inch by bloody inch‚Äďand that their Sherman tanks would serve front and center. As driver, Dick had to maneuver his five-man crew in and out of dangerous and often deadly situations. Whether crawling up beaches, bogged down in the mud-soaked Leyte jungle, or exposed in the treacherous valleys of Okinawa, the Sherman was a favorite target. A land mine could blow off the tracks, leaving its crew marooned and helpless, and the nightmare of swarms of Japanese armed with satchel charges was all too real. But there was a war to be won, and Americans like Robert Dick did their jobs without fanfare, and without glory. This gripping account of tanker combat is a ringing testament to the awe-inspiring bravery of ordinary Americans. From the Paperback edition.
Sixty Days in Combat
Author: Dean Joy
Publisher: Ballantine Books
‚ÄúThe infantryman‚Äôs war is . . . without the slightest doubt the dirtiest, roughest job of them all.‚ÄĚ He went in as a military history buff, a virgin, and a teetotaler. He came out with a war bride, a taste for German beer, and intimate knowledge of one of the darkest parts of history. His name is Dean Joy, and this was his war. For two months in 1945, Joy endured and survived the everyday deprivations and dangers of being a frontline infantryman. His amazingly detailed memoir, self-illustrated with numerous scenes Joy remembers from his time in Europe, brings back the sights, sounds, and smells of the experience as few books ever have. Here is the story of a young man who dreamed of flying fighter aircraft and instead was chosen to be cannon fodder in France and Germany . . . who witnessed the brutality of Nazis killing Allied medics by using the cross on their helmets as targets . . . and who narrowly escaped being wounded or killed in several ‚Äúnear miss‚ÄĚ episodes, the last of which occurred on his last day of combat. Sixty Days in Combat re-creates all the drama of the ‚Äúdogface‚Äôs‚ÄĚ fight, a time that changed one young man in a war that changed the world. From the Trade Paperback edition.
If You Survive
Author: George Wilson
Publisher: Ballantine Books
"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: Belton Y. Cooper
Publisher: Presidio Press
‚ÄúCooper saw more of the war than most junior officers, and he writes about it better than almost anyone. . . . His stories are vivid, enlightening, full of life‚ÄĒand of pain, sorrow, horror, and triumph.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒSTEPHEN E. AMBROSE From his Foreword ‚ÄúIn a down-to-earth style, Death Traps tells the compelling story of one man‚Äôs assignment to the famous 3rd Armored Division that spearheaded the American advance from Normandy into Germany. Cooper served as an ordnance officer with the forward elements and was responsible for coordinating the recovery and repair of damaged American tanks. This was a dangerous job that often required him to travel alone through enemy territory, and the author recalls his service with pride, downplaying his role in the vast effort that kept the American forces well equipped and supplied. . . . [Readers] will be left with an indelible impression of the importance of the support troops and how dependent combat forces were on them.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒLibrary Journal ‚Äú[DEATH TRAPS] FILLS A CRITICAL GAP IN WW2 LITERATURE. . . . IT‚ÄôS A TRULY UNIQUE AND VALUABLE WORK.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒG.I. Journal From the Paperback edition.
By Tank Into Normandy
Author: Stuart Hills
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
'One of the best half-dozen personal accounts of the Normandy campaign' - Richard Holmes Stuart Hills embarked his Sherman DD tank on to an LCT at 6.45 a.m., Sunday 4 June 1944. He was 20 years old, unblooded, fresh from a public-school background and Officer Cadet training. He was going to war. Two days later, his tank sunk, he and his crew landed from a rubber dinghy with just the clothes they stood in. After that, the struggles through the Normandy bocage in a replacement tank (of the non-swimming variety), engaging the enemy in a constant round of close encounters, led to a swift mastering of the art of tank warfare and remarkable survival in the midst of carnage and destruction. His story of that journey through hell to victory makes for compulsive reading.
Andrew Z. Adkins, Jr., graduated from The Citadel in May 1943 and immediately attended the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School, where he was commissioned and sent on to the 80th Infantry Division, then undergoing its final training cycle in the California-Arizona desert. Upon reaching the division, 2d Lieutenant Adkins was assigned as an 81mm mortar section leader in Company H, 2d Battalion, 317th Infantry Regiment. When the 80th Infantry Division completed its training in December 1943, it was shipped in stages to the United Kingdom and then on to Normandy, where it landed on August 3, 1944. There, Lieutenant Adkins and his fellow soldiers took part in light hedgerow fighting that served to shake the division down and familiarize the troops and their officers with combat. The first real test came on August 20, 1944, when the 2d Battalion, 317th Infantry, attacked high ground near Argentan during the Allied drive to seal huge German forces in the Falaise Pocket. While scouting for mortar positions in the woods, Andy Adkins ran into a group of Germans and shot one of them dead with his carbine. This baptism in blood taught him the answer to a question every novice combatant wants to hear: He was cool under fire, capable of killing when facing the enemy. He later wrote, "It was a sickening sight, but having been caught up in the heat of battle, I didn't have a reaction other than feeling I had saved my own life." Thereafter, the 2d Battalion, 317th Infantry, took part in a succession of bloody battles across France. Ineptly led through the tentures of several battalion commanders, the unit suffered grievous losses even as it took hills and towns away from brave and well-led German veterans. In the course of fighting graphically portrayed in this soldier's memoir, Andy Adkins acted with remarkable skill and courage, placing himself at the forefront of the action whenever he could. His extremely aggressive delivery of critical supplies to a cutoff unit in an embattled French town earned him a Bronze Star Medal, the first such award in his battalion. You Can't Get Much Closer Than This is at heart a young soldier's story of war. In vibrant, piercing terms, a junior officer's coming of age in battle is the compelling focus of page after page of action sequences that add up to a solid description of what modern warfare is really all about. Before his death in 19--, Andy Adkins was able to face his memory of war as bravely as he faced the war itself. He set it all down on paper, honest, unflinching, and straightforward. In 1944 and 1945, young Lieutenant Adkins did his duty to his men and his country, and much later he did his duty to his readers. Indeed, you really can't get much closer than this.
Islands of the Damned
Author: R.V. Burgin, Bill Marvel
The true story of R.V. Burgin, the real-life World War II Marine Corps hero featured in HBO¬ģ's The Pacific. ‚ÄúRead his story and marvel at the man...and those like him.‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒTom Hanks When a young Texan named R.V. Burgin joined the Marines 1942, he never imagined what was waiting for him a world away in the Pacific. There, amid steamy jungles, he encountered a ferocious and desperate enemy in the Japanese, engaging them in some of the most grueling and deadly fights of the war. In this remarkable memoir, Burgin reveals his life as a special breed of Marine. Schooled by veterans who had endured the cauldron of Guadalcanal, Burgin‚Äôs company soon confronted snipers, repulsed jungle ambushes, encountered abandoned corpses of hara-kiri victims, and warded off howling banzai attacks as they island-hopped from one bloody battle to the next. In his two years at war, Burgin rose from a green private to a seasoned sergeant, fighting from New Britain through Peleliu and on to Okinawa, where he earned a Bronze Star for valor. With unforgettable drama and an understated elegance, Burgin‚Äôs gripping narrative stands alongside those of classic Pacific chroniclers like Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge‚ÄĒindeed, Burgin was even Sledge‚Äôs platoon sergeant. Here is a deeply moving account of World War II, bringing to life the hell that was the Pacific War.
Author: Jon Savage
In his previous landmark book on youth culture and teen angst, the award-winning England's Dreaming, Jon Savage presented the "definitive history of the English punk movement" (The New York Times). Now, in Teenage, he explores the secret prehistory of a phenomenon we thought we knew, in a monumental work of cultural investigative reporting. Beginning in 1875 and ending in 1945, when the term "teenage" became an integral part of popular culture, Savage draws widely on film, music, literature high and low, fashion, politics, and art and fuses popular culture and social history into a stunning chronicle of modern life.
Author: Charles W. Sasser
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
On the battlefields of World War II, the men of the African-American 761st Tank Battalion under General Patton broke through enemy lines with the same courage with which they broke down the racist limitations set upon them by others -- proving themselves as tough, reliable, and determined to fight as any tank unit in combat. Beginning in November 1944, they engaged the enemy for 183 straight days, spearheading many of Patton's offensives at the Battle of the Bulge and in six European countries. No other unit fought for so long and so hard without respite. The 761st defeated more than 6,000 enemy soldiers, captured thirty towns, liberated Jews from concentration camps -- and made history as the first African-American armored unit to enter the war. This is the true story of the Black Panthers, who proudly lived up to their motto (Come Out Fighting) and paved the way for African-Americans in the U.S. military -- while battling against the skepticism and racism of the very people they fought for.
Author: Bill Bellamy, Richard Holmes
Publisher: The History Press
Commissioned out of Sandhurst in 1943, nineteen-year-old Bill Bellamy joined the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars. Following the Normandy landings in June 1944, he was involved in the great tank battles around the town of Caen, the battle of Mont Pincon, and then the Allied breakout into Belgium. There followed the advance into Holland and onwards to the River Maas. In October 1944, during this phase of the fighting, he was awarded an immediate Military Cross for bravery during the battle to secure the Dutch village of Doornhoek. In the spring of 1945, the 8th Hussars thrust into Germany and on towards Hamburg, eventually winding up at the very heart of Hitler's Reich, Berlin. Bill kept diaries and notes of his experiences, and shortly after the war he used them to write up a series of articles recounting his part as a junior officer in the hard-fought battles to free Europe from the Nazis.His accounts of tank fighting in the leafy Normandy bocage at the height of summer, or in the iron-hard fields of Holland in winter, are graphic and compelling. This personal account of a British tank commander in the battles for Normandy and the Low Countries is illustrated with archive and personal photographs, some never previously published.
Draws on eyewitness accounts and primary sources to describe the first months of World War II in the Pacific, after the U.S. Navy suffered the worst defeat in its history at Pearl Harbor.
March East 1945
Author: Peter Green
Publisher: The History Press
During the final days of the Second World War, for 900 Allied officers, held by the Germans in Oflag IX A/H and Oflag IX A/Z, freedom was still a world away. Marched east by their captors, away from the liberating American forces, March and April 1945 was a time of great trials, at the mercy of vengeful Nazis and Allied air raids. Amongst their number were many men whose names would become well known, Desmond Llewellyn, 'Q' in the Bond films, Frederick Corfield, a cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher, and Major Bruce Shand, father of Camilla Parker Bowles. The March East 1945 reveals the human story that unfolded over two weeks in Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony, and explains how the prisoners lived and died until their final liberation. Complemented by 100 photographs and illustrations taken and drawn by PoWs, as well as the German instructions for camp evacuation published for the first time in English, this book provides a fascinating insight into the last days of the Second World War.
Author: Donald J. Rich, Kevin Brooks, Kevin W. Brooks
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Rich's first-person narrative includes vivid coverage of the action, featuring an especially rare account of arriving on a combat landing zone by glider. Detailed, day-to-day depiction of some of the heaviest fighting in Holland follows, including the action at Opheusden, the center of the infamous ‚ÄúIsland.‚ÄĚ
Pershing vs Tiger
Author: Steven J. Zaloga
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
During the final battles on World War II's Western Front, the legendary German Tiger I heavy tank clashed with the brand-new M26 Pershing fielded by the United States. The Tiger I had earned a formidable reputation by the end of 1944, although its non-sloped armour and poor mobility meant it was being superseded by the Tiger II or 'King Tiger'. While the Tiger I had been in the front lines since 1942, the US Pershing first entered combat in late February 1945, and more than 20 Pershings would see action before war's end. This book examines the dramatic Tiger/Pershing duel at Elsdorf in Germany, and also assesses the clashes between German armour and the sole 'Super Pershing' deployed to Europe. Featuring full-colour artwork, carefully chosen photographs and specially commissioned maps, this is the story of the first US heavy tanks in combat with the fearsome Tiger I during the last months of World War II in Europe.