The Making of a Paratrooper: Airborne Training and Combat in World War II (Modern War Studies)

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9780700604098: The Making of a Paratrooper: Airborne Training and Combat in World War II (Modern War Studies)

In World War II, few American soldiers equalled the gallantry of the Army's airborne divisions. These forces were often dropped behind enemy lines, and despite casualties they triumphed in some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, including the Battle of the Bulge. One such paratrooper was Kurt Gabel, and this is his story. In "The Making of a Paratrooper" Gabel conveys both the dangers of combat and his transformation from romantic idealist to warrior. At the same time, he illuminates the collective experiences of his unit - the 17th Airborne's 513th Regiment. Here, too, he tells the story of Bastogne of "Dead Man's Ridge". Gabel was a German Jew who emigrated to Hollywood in 1938, and after some difficulty enlisted in the Airborne. His account details the days of basic training and jump school. Overseas, in late 1944 Gabel underwent his baptism by fire - at the Battle of the Bulge. He recounts narrow escapes from numerous fire fights, separation from his battalion and rescue by another (only to be thrust right back into combat), assignment to an intelligence unit and interrogation of German prisoners. There are personal moments as well, like the discovery of family photos and letters on a dead German soldier and the stacking of frozen corpses - "like cordwood" - onto a truck.

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Gabel, Kurt
Published by Univ Pr of Kansas (1990)
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Gabel, Kurt
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