E-BOOK: Volume IV: Up the Bloody Boot/The War in Italy—The Things Our Fathers Saw [2018]

E-BOOK: Volume IV: Up the Bloody Boot/The War in Italy—The Things Our Fathers Saw [2018]

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From the deserts of North Africa to the mountains of Italy, fifteen men and women veterans of the Italian campaign open up about a war that was so brutal, news of it was downplayed at home. Here are the stories from a vanishing generation speaking to America today.

296 PAGES.

Volume 4 in this series will take you from the deserts of North Africa to the mountains of Italy with the men and women veterans of the Italian campaign who open up about a war that was so brutal, news of it was downplayed at home. The war in the Mediterranean, and particularly the Italian Campaign, is one that for many Americans is shrouded in mystery and murkiness. Yet it was here that the United States launched its first offensive in the west on enemy soil, and it was here that Allied forces would be slogging it out with a tenacious enemy fighting for its life in the longest single American Campaign of World War II.

 

—"There was an old French fort there, and we could look down on it during the day. We gauged the way we would hit that place so that the moon would set right between two mountain peaks; we timed it so when we got there, that moon would silhouette them, but not us... We carried out the first and only bayonet charge [of the war] by our Rangers; we didn’t fire; very few people knew that we carried out an overnight bayonet attack. I'll tell you, that's something. You see that, it'll shake you up real good." —U.S. Army Ranger, WWII

 

— “We attacked another hill, and I shot a German soldier. And then the Germans counterattacked on the hill, and I could not escape, so I decided to just lay down on top of that soldier and make believe I’m dead. They passed me by, I got up and [this German I shot] starts talking to me in English, he says he’s from Coney Island, in Brooklyn; he went to visit his mother in Germany and they put him in the army. And he was dying, and he says to me, ‘You can take my cigarettes; you can take my schnapps.’ Then he died right underneath me. And I imagine he knew I had shot him...."

U.S. Army scout, WWII

 

— “So there was a terrific fight going on in a place called Santa Ma-ria, south of Rome. While we were going through, in transit, we stopped at a big Italian barn; they had a kitchen set up, and we had our own mess kits. As we were going through the line, we saw this huge rack of shelves with American Army duffel bags packed on there. And Hendrickson said to me, ‘Hey, Tony, you know what? My brother must be in the area someplace. There’s his duffel bag.’ The name was stenciled on. So I said, ‘That’s nice.’ [But] I was thinking, why is his duffel bag there? Well, there was a military policeman guarding these bags. I went back to the MP. I said to him, ‘What are these bags doing here?’ And I told him about Hendrickson. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I don’t know if you want to tell him, but these guys are all dead. They were all killed at Santa Maria.’” —U.S. Army map maker, WWII