Follows the paratrooper invasion of Sicily in 1943 that set the groundwork for the Fortress Europe attack, citing the challenges that were presented to Dwight Eisenhower's troops, the consequences had they failed, the force's training activities, and their encounters with German Wehrmacht. Reprint.
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Ed Ruggero is the author of Duty First: West Point and The Making of American Leaders, in addition to five novels about the military. He is an experienced keynote speaker on leadership and leadership development, and was an infantry officer in the United States Army for eleven years.From Publishers Weekly:
Based on veteran interviews and backed by published sources, thissuspenseful history recounts the first paratrooper invasion inAmerican history. In July 1943, when Eisenhower was ordered to invadeSicily, he dropped the soldiers of the 505th Parachute InfantryRegiment behind enemy lines in order to prepare the way for hissubsequent naval assault. The paratrooper outfit endured ferociouscombat during the first four days of the campaign, combat that Ruggeroaccurately and vividly describes using the recollections of more than20 veterans of the 505th. The book is filled with reconstructedservice anecdotes and "army stories" of hair-raising combat behindenemy lines: soldiers against German tanks, soldiers against soldiershand to hand, and the desperate battle to hold Biazza Ridge againstattacking German tanks and infantry. James Gavin, the regiment'scharismatic commander and, later, an ambassador to France during theKennedy Administration, features prominently throughout the book. Thismini-biography is complemented by Ruggero's engaging backgroundhistories of the development of the paratrooper force in theU.S. Army, the training of paratroopers at Fort Benning and thedevelopment of the "airborne culture" in the U.S. Army. But themajority of the book focuses on the combat action surrounding of thejump itself, which was poorly executed by the Army Air Force anddropped many paratroopers far from their targets, leaving them to fendfor themselves. Readers in the market for good war stories would dowell to put this volume on their reading lists. (Nov.)
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