- The Dogface Soldier Song | The Dogface Soldier
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- 11. Through the Valley of the Kwai (Ernest Gordon)
- From the Bronx to Berchtesgaden: The Combat Memoir of a World War II Hero
It's a fascinating read on so many levels. Webster, who died in a boating accident in , became featured in Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers , the now well-known book about E Company of the th Regiment of the st Airborne. He had been unable to obtain a publisher in his lifetime. HIs widow eventually got the book published. When the mini-series was released, interest grew in Webster once again.
The Dogface Soldier Song | The Dogface Soldier
Ambrose used Webster's writings for not just details about the veteran's life but for background regarding the entire company. That's what made Parachute Infantry such an important work: Webster was an Ivy League-trained writer serving as an ordinary private first class in an elite unit. Ambrose stated many times that the insight gained from Webster's articles was invaluable. Parachute Infantry provides answers to a lot of the questions I had after reading the book and seeing the series. Ambrose has been rightly criticized on many fronts regarding accuracy, but his heart was in the right place.
By using Webster's work, he did a valuable service to all of us who care deeply about the subject matter. Webster's growing disenchantment with the war is clearly heard in his letters home to his mother. That's not unusual for a front line soldier. But he never faultered in doing what he considered his duty. His anger was directed more toward many of his Ivy League classmates who he felt had obtained good billets away from the fighting. He was proud to be the point of the spear. The other very interesting aspect of his story is what happened between his wounding during Operation Market Garden later during the "island" fighting and his return to duty in early ' His trip to the aid station even turned into an adventure.
Most importantly he addressed the attitudes of the other Toccoa men towards him. Having been wounded in October '44, he missed the Bulge. They felt he had shirked his responsibility by not trying to come back sooner.
It took time to win them over again. Had he lived longer, Webster certainly would have become one of the premier historians of the war. But he disappeared off the coast of Santa Monica on September 9, in an apparent boating accident. His body was never recovered. He had been focused on writing about his sea adventures, particularly sharks, throughout the '50s and early '60s.
Peter Benchley has said he drew heavily on Webster's work in writing Jaws. As mentioned earlier, I always admired Astor's work and his collection of first person accounts of the Battle of the Huertgen Forest is one of his best. He draws on George Wilson's work but also some unpublished memoirs. The stories are tragic and triumphant as well as poignant. The Huertgen campaign lasted officially from September to January It was five months of misery and wasted toil with an undefined goal.
The soldiers' accounts of their daily life in the forest remind one of the soldiers' struggles in Vietnam twenty years later. Ground taken and not held. An enemy that is not seen but heard. Thick vegetation and a climate that is as much an enemy as the Germans. It was eerie. Fame does not stop bullets and his regiment was decimated within a month. Like many clergy, Boice spent a lot of time at the aid stations. His tale is one of broken men, both mentally and physically.
He later wrote a history of the Regiment that was published in Boice tells the stories that many veterans don't want to repeat to the their loved ones because of the pain it elicits. If you want to understand what your fathers and grandfathers went through during combat, read this book.
This is a highly readable account of a much forgotten group of soldiers, the combat engineers. David Pergrin was the commander of the famous st Combat Engineers, a detached unit under Corps command in the European Theater of Operations. Pergrin, a Penn State graduate, he became commander of the st at 26 years of age and led them overseas in late The unit just seemed to be in the right place at the right time. In December , Pergrin and his engineers found themselves at Malmedy, Belgium waiting for the Germans after they launched the Battle of the Bulge on December The young Colonel was also in charge of traffic duty among other things, as convoys fled the German onslaught.
But some units were heading east. Pergrin warned the men not to go forward. Rumors were of a large column of German tanks barreling down on the crossroads. Disregarding the warning, the th pressed onward and into history. What became known as the Malmedy Massacre occurred a short time later. Much of the battery was gunned down in a farmer's field a few miles away. The st was the first to hear about it, passing word up the chain of command.
The Germans eventually butted heads with the engineers, but demolition charges, heavy fire and grit stopped the offensive in its tracks. Later in March of , the st built one of the first temporary bridges at Remagen after the collapse of the now infamous original structure. It was one of the longest bridges ever built under combat conditions feet.
Pergrin was a real renaissance man. After the war, he took a job with the railroad, married and started a family. Then managed to write two books on the war and three on woodcarving. Pergrin passed away in In keeping with my fascination for the men of RAF Bomber Command, I recently found this memoir that is brilliantly written.
The author was a tail gunner on a Lancaster bomber which flew for one of the elite Pathfinder Squadrons during the war. These planes flew ahead of the main bomber stream to mark the targets. It took skill and courage along with a lot of luck to survive. The author volunteered for the duty after being part of an RAF ground unit. Like so many young men, he was itching to see action and got more than he bargained for night after night.
His crew was part of some of the most famous raids of the campaign, including Berlin and Nuremberg. The horrors he witnessed thousands of feet above Nazi-held Europe stayed with him the rest of his life. Smith was a gifted storyteller. His vivid descriptions of the bomber streams and the duels with German fighters will give the reader chills. I can't recommend this enough.
Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Hi Mr. Menz, thanks for the recommendations. I will be getting those. I've heard about George Fraser and have been remiss in not reading him.
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The stress in between missions There are many great ww2 memoirs out there above these are a few more well worth reading. Perhaps you haven't studied the Pacific War? Thanks Homefront Gal. I have been remiss in reading Pacific War memoirs. But both Burgett and Sledge are must reads. We should never forget these events and reading about how they survived helps put our own lives in perspective. Stay well.
11. Through the Valley of the Kwai (Ernest Gordon)
Well written WWII memoirs not only tell a person's experience, they also weave into the story facts of the War, thus teaching readers history. Many of us remember being taught history by having to remember exact dates. Students may memorise the dates, only to forget them while never understanding or retaining the important aspects of history. Well written memoirs on the other hand make learning interesting and people remember. As long as you know when events happened and the timeline of events, the order in which they happened, one can always look up the dates.
The other thing that a well written memoir does is spark interest in the topic. After reading an excellent memoir I find myself wanting to know more,which leads to more books on the events in the memoir. I'm learning history. Sledge wrote one of best memoirs I've ever read. Max Hastings is an excellent author. Nigel Perrin has a wonderful list of books on the topic, which except for a few that I have yet to find, are in my library. If one likes spy novels, why not read the true stories?
Those are just a few of great memoirs on Arnhem. Memoirs by civilians on the Japanese invasion of the Philippines are also very good and teaches readers yet another aspect of WWII, of which there are numerous. There are several memoirs by Allied civilians who took to hills rather then surrender to Japanese.
Their stories are amazing. Thank you for sharing, and hopeful more people will continue to read these books on WWII. Today millions of people live lives that are very, very comfortable compared to the lives of our parents. If we lost the ability to generate, transmit, and receive power due to an act of nature, or another event, millions of people would be unable to communicate, read a map, or even write down information.
From the Bronx to Berchtesgaden: The Combat Memoir of a World War II Hero
That is just the tip of what many people would be unable to do. Never happen? How many times have people stated that? It's something to think about. Thanks, Ms. About 20 years ago I saw an interview with George Wilson If You Survive and he did express that writing the memories down helped. But like other men of that generation, he did not go further than that. I think they feel that it is vitally important for future generations to not only hear their stories but recognize how horrible war is.
Fantastic reviews on these books. Privacy was impossible and when it rained their foxhole would fill with water.
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On and on it went, not knowing if a German artillery shell might find the foxhole they had just dug. A shattering experience soon taught him it could be more than a possibility. It happened as he was nearing completion of a new foxhole. All of a sudden he had a feeling it was a bad location and he moved to another spot about 10 yards away. Two neighboring soldiers saw him leave and asked if they could take over his abandoned foxhole.
He had no objections and the pair moved in. Then, he became a lieutenant—a vulnerable rank considered by many to be the military kiss of death because second lieutenants usually led the charge toward enemy installations.
As his infantry unit moved closer to Rome, street fighting left German dead piled high. On another occasion, Lt. Dickerson writes about going up to the second floor of a building, looking outside and seeing the historic Leaning Tower of Pisa. Another memorable moment occurred when his unit stood in review at a just- taken town when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill approached the line of Yanks standing at rigid attention. Street fighting soon turned to mountain climbing as his unit continued its inexorable offensive as the sweltering heat of summer turned to bitter cold temperatures of winter.
Much of the time we were filthy, cold and wet as a duck-hunting dog and we were ordered around sternly and loudly like a half-trained dog. The term was used in media such as "Up Front" by combat cartoonist Bill Mauldin , who may have heard the term while serving with the 45th Infantry Division in Italy. The film included a song, The Dogface Soldier , originally written in by two U.
Army infantry soldiers; it was adopted as the song of the 3rd Infantry Division, and was widely played and sung during the war. The term is also mentioned in "The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk : "'If they decide to survey this bucket we'll sit on the beach with the dogfaces for a year waiting our chance for a ride back. Fix the pumps and you've got your private limousine to take you home, maybe in a week. How about another look at the pumps? From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Dogface.