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Volume VI: The Bulge And Beyond—The Things Our Fathers Saw [2020]

$21.99

~RELEASED NOVEMBER 2020~ 

In THE BULGE AND BEYOND, you will be with the soldiers going into the heart of the bloodiest single battle fought by the US Army in American history, the so-called 'Battle of the Bulge'.

You will be with them as they sense the fear of the unknown, the crush of impending doom, the scale of being among the columns of young, tired men slogging into a forest, medieval and dark, with the complete inability to ever get warm again.

19,000 American GIs never saw their mothers again.


— “Hell came in like a freight train. I heard an explosion and went back to where my friend was. His legs were blown off-he bled to death in my arms.”


This is the sixth book in the masterful WWII oral history series, but you can read them in any order.

It's time to listen to them. REMEMBER how a generation of young Americans truly saved the world. 

309 PAGES

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— TABLE OF CONTENTS —

AUTHOR’S NOTE 9
THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE 17
PART ONE: THE FOREST 
THE REPLACEMENT 23
The Hürtgen Forest 23
Replacement, 4th Infantry Division 26
‘This Is It’ 28
‘Made It Through Four Campaigns’ 32
THE RIFLEMAN 35
Inland 37
Mortain 37
The Cold 40
THE REPLACEMENT RUNNER 43
Great Britain 46
Medals 47
Experience 49
The 28th Infantry Division 50
Paris 51
‘We'll be Home for Christmas’ 52
The Forest 53
‘Say Hello to Hitler!’ 54
Private Eddie Slovik 56
The Replacement System 58
‘They Made Them Go Back’ 59
THE SCOUT 67
College Man to Rifleman 70
The Repo Depot 71
‘Combat Team’ 77
The Minefield 78
‘Don’t Leave Us Here’ 80
Evacuation 82
Rocket Science 86
Payback 87
PART TWO: MALMÉDY 
MEN OF OLD HICKORY 91
The Battle of the Ardennes: Malmédy, Belgium 97
The Attack 98
Axis Sally Reports 100
Malmédy 101
Pfc. Francis S. Currey, MOH 104
‘The 9th U.S. Luftwaffe’ 105
T/Sgt. Paul Bolden, MOH 108
THE SERGEANT 111
Overseas 114
Digging In 118
Replacements 119
The Accident 124
Weapons 125
The Prisoners 127
Across the Rhine 128
PART THREE: GUESTS OF THE REICH 
THE ARTILLERY SPOTTER 133
Canada 135
Field Artillery Spotting 136
The Last Mission 138
The Stalag 143
Liberated by the Russians 145
‘I Just Couldn't Believe What I Saw’ 146
Home 149
‘I Had to Get On’ 152
THE GLIDER PARATROOPER 155
The Glider Crash 158
The Battle of the Bulge 161
The Country Sharpshooter 163
Surrender 164
Alone 167
Slave Labor 168
‘Smart for Self-Preservation’ 169
Collapse 169
Liberation at Bad Orb 170
The Spoon 171
THE SURVIVOR 175
Shipping Out 178
The Suicide 180
‘An Awful Racket’ 181
Tiger Tanks 182
Wounded and Captured 183
Strafed 185
The Estate 187
The Gauleiter 189
On The Move 189
Going Home 193
A Survivor 195
THE ESCAPEE 197
The Hürtgen Forest 199
The Battle of the Bulge 200
‘We Just Cheered’ 202
Captured 203
Wounded 204
Interrogation 207
The First Escape 208
The Second Escape 211
‘We Are Going to Execute Them’ 212
Strafed 213
Slave Labor 214
The Last Escape 215
Home 218
Antisemitism 219
The Saddest Thing 220
BERGA 223
The Whiz Kids 226
‘The First Scout is a Target’ 228
‘Not me, Howard. I'm Jewish!’ 230
Interrogation 233
Bad Orb 235
‘Step Forward’ 236
Berga 238
The Germans’ ‘Final Solution’ 239
Slave Labor 241
The Death March 243
‘My Bittersweet Day’ 249
‘Justice’ 252
‘They Thought We Were All Dead’ 253
THE INTERPRETER 257
Growing Up 258
‘All Safe ‘Til Peace’ 260
‘We’ve Got Company’ 263
Captured 264
The Work Detail 269
The Prisoner Who Lost His Mind 269
Interpreting for the Germans 270
The Work Strike 273
The Captives Become the Lords 275
Free 277
Home 278
My Enemy is My Friend 279
EPILOGUE: “YOUTH” 
ABOUT THIS BOOK/ ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 303
NOTES 305


~AN EXCERPT~

Author’s Note

I had no idea where I was, or why I was fighting, or where I was fightingI had no idea. All I knew was that they'd tell me to go here, and I'd go there. And they'd say shoot, do this, do that. I knew my lieutenant, and I knew my sergeant. I didn't know who the commanders were. You don't know one day to the next. We had the saying that if a bullet’s got your name on it, it's going to get you. And you just never knew; it was just luck and chance.

― Infantryman, 4th Infantry Division

As is my nature, and as I suppose is the nature of all writers of history, I started this book with a lot of questions.

How does one write a new book around the Battle of the Bulge, when there are so many good books on the subject out there? How does one even begin to make sense of a battle where over a million soldiers were committed to fight—a battle, like many, where incompetence and ‘uncommon valor’ existed side-by side? How does the author do justice to the memory of the nineteen thousand American GIs who never saw their mothers again? How does one attempt to tell the story of the tens of thousands more who staggered or were carried out of the aftermath with the physical and mental wounds that would afflict them for the rest of their days? Of those men forced into captivity and slave labor?

It’s a daunting task. But like all of my books, I have chosen to thread a narrative by letting the soldiers speak for themselves. If you are looking for an hour-by-hour account on the strategic, operational, tactical, and technical aspects of the Battle of the Bulge, I did not write that book, and you can do better elsewhere. I hope the narrative flow serves up enough of the above to keep the reader engaged in a chronological and contextual ‘big picture’ fashion, keeping in mind that in most cases the common soldier had no idea what was happening around him. I just wanted to talk to the men who were there, and that is what I share with you—their words.

In sorting through the stories as another worldwide crisis unfolds, I am confident that we need them now more than ever before. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to know: how did these young people, thrust into a world of unknown and uncertainty, handle the most cataclysmic event in the history of the world? How did the American soldier—like my late friend, scrawny orphan and replacement GI Francis Currey, MOH—average age just nineteen, cope with being thousands of miles away from family, freezing in the most brutal temperatures in modern European memory, pushing back against a quarter-million-man counterattack through the Ardennes Forest in the bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II? How did the kids like Frank, who admittedly went into the Army “to get the hell out of Hurleyville, New York”—only to be deemed ‘too immature’ to be an officer—stand up against an onslaught of German tanks and infantry in endless days where fighting began long before daylight?

“We were not prepared for it because we were told it wouldn’t happen,” he remarked to an interviewer in later years. “We didn’t even know where we were.” But as the first German tank crossed his path at 4:00 AM on December 21, 1944, his instincts and training kicked in. Seven months later, on July 27, 1945, the Medal of Honor was presented to Currey by the 30th Infantry Division commander, Major General Leland Hobbs, in front of the assembled division. The official citation reads: ...

 

 

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