101st and related WW2 books- cont'd
F/506th has now become perhaps the most documented company in a well-documented regiment, as historian Bill Brown spent at least 2 decades writing a company history of Kidnap Fox, and at least one other personal memoir was authored by Sgt John H. Taylor.
"The Cow Spoke French" is a new personal experience memoir by Bill True, who went from Toccoa to Austria as a member of Company F, 506th PIR. Many of you have seen Bill as a talking head on The History Channel. He is a natural born storyteller. This memoir is filled with the kind of details that Airborne history buffs are seeking, telling what day to day life was like, in both garrison and combat, for a 101st Airborne paratrooper. Bill's narrative doesn't gloss over the unusual or controversial and is always presented with the humorous, matter of fact personality of it's author. You will get considerable insights into some of the men Bill served with, as well.
The details of training in Camp Toccoa are the best I've seen yet, and I really loved the Normandy chapters-especially coverage of Bloody Gulch, and the Bastogne section. The book does include some photos but they are not the outstanding element of the book. For the information alone, you'll find it well worth the read, and some of Bill's stories would qualify for inclusion in my 'Forbidden Tales' book.
To order a copy of Bill's hardcover masterpiece, you can phone the Merriam Press at 802-447-0313(credit card orders), or order online at: merriam-press.com
The price is $34.95 each, which includes shipping. Autographed copies are $10.00 additional
UPDATE, February 2006: Bill's book is now available in trade paperback-you can go to his website at: http://www.thecowspokefrench.com/ for more info and ordering information.
New from After The Battle
OPERATION MARKET GARDEN THEN AND NOW
Dutch author Karel Margry has devoted almost 2 decades of his life to gathering comparison photos and records to compile the materials in these 2 massive volumes. Many rare, pertinent records are presented, which shed light on both the ground and airborne aspects of the Holland invasion of September, 1944. Both British and American units are presented as well. The main focus is on the Corridor aspects of the operations, with less space devoted to the prolonged fighting on 'the Island', between the Waal and Neder Rhine rivers. The publishers' claim that these volumes contain virtually every photo made during the operation is somewhat impossible to actually achieve, although the author did come close.
Having grown-up in the Netherlands and lived near the corridor all his life, Margry was well-suited to find the various then and now locations for the book. The overall presentation gives the reader a comprehensive overview of this entire campaign, its objectives, successes and failures. Despite the pricetag, all serious students of Market-Garden will want to add these volumes to their WW2 library. Price for both books combined in a boxed set, is $159.90. You can order from RZM Imports at
or phone order by calling 203-264-0774.
Great New Books from Mike Detrez
A Giant new Tome on St Mere Eglise
Another giant work from Michel Detrez, this book includes most of the known and previously unknown photographs of both 82nd and 101st ABD units, which fought in the vicinity of this famous village during the Debarquement. Mike has located some incredible 1944 vintage images and has supplemented them, as usual, with color shots of vintage uniforms, equipment and other related artifacts.
His book philosophy has generally been-'Bigger is Better'. In the case of many of these photos, it certainly is a delight to see them in large format.
Many of you who traveled in Europe during the 60th Anniversary observances in 2004, were able to see and/or purchase this book already. All hardcore US Airborne fans will want to add this valuable collection of rare photos and information to their library.
To order a copy of Mike's hardcover book, you can order online at: www.d-day-publishing.be. The price for Trigger Time readers is $ 77.00, which includes Priority Airmail shipping. (Please mention Trigger Time while order to get this price). Autographed copies available with no additional cost.
There will probably also be copies available at the larger Militaria shows, such as the SoS in February 2005.
Michel 'Mike' Detrez, who we fondly know as 'The Belgian Waffle' is not only a man of great drive, but also one of great Vision. He conceives of a vivid, fascinating book project, then brings it into creation.
The two recent books pictured above, are in trade paperback, on all-glossy paper, with many B&W and Color photos.
The new book on the D-day cricket signalling device contains obscure info on the single British company which made them, and will dispell many long ingrained myths.
His Forrest Guth book is just one of a series in which each book profiles, in detail, a single WW2 paratrooper. The Guth book would be of most interest to visitors of the Trigger Time site.
This book traces the military career, via photos and artifacts, of Cpl. Forrest Guth, a member of the now famous E/506th, who served with that unit from Toccoa into 1945. The whole concept of this book is new, tracing the activities of an obscure enlisted man through an entire war. This project was virtully made possible by the uniqueness of Guth himself. Although ommitted from the HBO production 'Band of Brothers'(there was no character in that series based on him), Guth used a camera in Normandy and took all the best photos which appear in Ambrose's book of the same title, including the lineup in St Marie du Mont, which appears on the cover. Guth was also an avid collector of German souvenirs, as well as a saver of his own uniforms, equipment, and insignia. Michel D has skillfully blended the photos and artifacts together, to make a delightful presentation which I'm sure will sell MANY copies, especially with the current craze about Easy 506th. The cost of this book is $19.95 U.S., with postage additional. To order, you can use this hyperlink firstname.lastname@example.org, to inquire about the total cost for shipping to your address. Highly recommended by the webmaster.
BOOKS BY GEORGE KOSKIMAKI
George served in Division Signal Company of the 101 in WW2. He
was General Taylor's personal radio operator. George began interviewing fellow 101st veterans and sending out questionnaires soon after WW2 ended. He traced thousands of veterans to current addresses, which is why the 101st Airborne Association has one of the largest memberships of any WW2 divisional veterans organization. George's books contain a wealth of facts, figures and human interest stories and are a valuable source of information on the WW2 101st Airborne. His books are:
"D-Day With the Screaming Eagles"(Normandy),
"Hell's Highway" (Holland), and
"The Battered Bastards of Bastogne" These books are available from the 101st Airborne Division Association in Bentonville, OH. A reprint of 'diDay With the Screaming Eagles' was done by Casemate Publishing in mid 2002.
BOOKS BY S..L.A.MARSHALL
'SLAM' Marshall was the official Army historian who covered both the Pacific and the E.T.O. in WW2. Marshall's favorite troops to study were Airborne soldiers. He wrote "Night Drop", a study of both the 82nd and 101st divisions in Normandy, about fifteen years after D-Day. But the notes he used to compile that book were made on the scene only days after the battles. He interviewed hundreds of survivors in 1944, in France. "Night Drop" has been through several printings but is currently available from The Battery Press in Nashville, TN. Among his other works, "Battle At Best", "Bastogne-The First Eight Days", and "Men Against Fire" also contain valuable 101st-related materials.
On a recent visit to Borders' Books I was appalled to find only one of Marshall's titles on the shelf-'Men Against Fire', which was reprinted in 2000 by the University of Oklahoma Press. I
am reading it now for the first time and found that many of Marshalls' controversial assertions about the percentage of men who fire their weapons in combat was based on his study of 3rd Bn 502 PIR in WW2. An interesting read whether you believe his findings or not.
MORE BOOKS ON 101st HISTORY
Above: the original announcement of the 1st edition of Rendezvous With Destiny a.k.a. 'RWD', circa 1948, also the original blue cover of same.
RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY is the official divisional history of the 101st Airborne. Originally published in 1947 by Infantry Journal Press, it was authored by Leonard Rapport, a replacement officer with C/502, and Arthur Northwood, a replacement officer in the 501. The first edition has blue covers and is quite difficult to find. The 101st Airborne Assn. reprinted the book in the 1970's, with a supplement covering the period from 1956-64 at Ft Campbell, stopping just short of the first brigade's involvement in Vietnam. These reprints are around, but even they have soared upward in price. The Battery Press of Nashville, TN has reprinted the book in year 2000, and it is available again. Another reprint has been available in early 2002, at Barnes & Noble stores, ranging in price from $7.50 to $15-, depending on if you can find them on the clearance tables.
This book contains an objective and detail-filled narrative as well as many informative statistical indexes and a listing of the many KIA's from each sub unit. A must for students and buffs of the 101st ABD.
Look Out Below- (501 Chaplain) Fr Francis Sampson 1958 CUA Press
It Was My War-Bill Sefton (501)-Sunflower Univ. Press, 1994
D-Day to Bastogne- R.J. Houston(3/501), Exposition Press, 1980
With Geronimo Across Europe-(501 medic)Edw.O'Brien 1990, 101 Assn
The Last First Sergeant-Layton Black (C/502)-Griffith pub., 1998
above, S/Sgt Layton Black of C/502 in 1945, shortly before his promotion by Captain Frank Gregg to 1st Sgt
A Military Interlude-H.W.Hannah-(506th S-3, 101 G-3), 1999
A Soldier's Armageddon- James B. Simms (HQ/1-506) Sunflower Un. Press 1999
Parachute Infantry-David K. Webster (2/506 and E/506) new edition by Delta Press, costs only $12.95, released Nov.2002 with much new text, including some wartime letters and other changes. These include the use of real names of some characters previously described by psuedonym.
Fighting With The Screaming Eagles-Robert Bowen C/401 GIB, Greenhill Pub.2001
Winning Wars Without Heroes-(F/506)Tom Adams a.k.a. Ed Piniak,
Proctor pubs, 1996.
3/506th Personal Experience Book
Robert Webb, who made all the WW2 missions of the 506th with HQ/3, has
passed-on in December of 2001. About a year before his death, Bob published his WW2 memoirs, entitled "Freedom Found". I read this book in year 2000, and found it to be rather good. It is similar to 'The Last First Sergeant' but considerably shorter. This sheds light on the actions and humorous episodes of 3/506th. The books contains some very worthwhile info and I can recommend it to all 101st buffs-especially 506th fans.
The Story of a Soldier
A slightly different type of personal experience story, in that it is written by the son of a paratrooper lieutenant. Edward S. Mehosky was a platoon leader in Company 'H' of the 506th through Normandy and later transfered to Company 'C' of 1st Bn. Nicknamed "Ivan", this Lt was the leader of a platoon known as "The Forty Thieves" in Company 'H'. I have read Mr. Mehosky's book, and found it to contain some human interest tales about members of both 3/506th and C/506th, which were not previously known. It is an engaging personal memoir, much like Robert Webb's, which sheds even more light on the personalities and history of what has become the best-documented P.I.R. of WW2.
This book is available for a mere $12.76 from Amazon.com
From Our Airborne History Authors in Europe
US Helmet Books by European Authors
Both of these books are large format
and they contain many examples of rare, original helmets. Many of you will want to order them as a useful reference,
since so many helmets have been painted with unit markings in recent years. The deTrez book came-out in the spring of 2010
and can be ordered from his website:
email@example.com for $55- USD, which includes shipping. You will find an amazing number of original
paratrooper specimens illustrated in this tome, from the 82nd, 101st, and many independent battalions. This is an opportunity
to see what some real examples look like. Mr. deTrez has found a number of originals at farms in France, Holland, Belgium
and Germany, where the actual fighting took place.
Glider BOOK13 May, 2001. From French historian Philippe Esvelin (a friend of Emanuel Allain) comes this new book on U.S. Gliderborne operations in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. The publisher is Heimdal in Bayeux, France. The book features a bi-lingual French-English text, and 160 pages of which 60 are in color. The price is $35.00 plus overseas shipping. To order, contact Philippe at:
The publisher's description says:
"The first part of the book recalls the history of the gliders and their development within the American Army, following the staggering successes of the German (Airborne) in 1940. Everything is precisely described, the creation of the piloting schools, different steps of training for the pilots, their intensive ground and flight tutoring, and conceiving and manufacturing of the gliders.
The second part of the book relates the D-Day actions. Each assignment of the 82nd and 101st Airborne is accurately studied, with testimony which illustrates the first hours of the landings. Carrying men and equipment of these divisions
contirbuted in a large degree to the success of the Airborne landings in Normandy. The book is well-illustrated with photos and documents."
I have received a sample copy of Philippe's book in the mail and having looked it over, I can vouch that it is readable, well-presented and filled with facts and photos about these little-known operations. It is the first book totally dedicated to the subject of D-Day Glider ops.
By now, every collector of U.S. Airborne artifacts in the world knows of Mike Detrez's books and his formidible collection of artifacts. Although somewhat pricey, his large format glossy paged books are loaded with first class authentic gear, uniforms and insignia. 'American Warriors' describes the period just prior to D-Day in England, with many photos of jump uniforms and gear. 'At The Point of No Return' takes the reader into Normandy for a closeup view of vintage photos and new color shots of vintage combat equipment. Although short on historical accounts these first two books have a wealth of material for the collector. Mike's 3rd book, 'First Airborne Task Force', is
all that the first two books are, plus much more. Not only is there an exhaustive photo study of all the Airborne units which invaded southern France in Operation Dragoon in August, 1944, there is a fabulous array of parachutist equipment, including modified weapons and rigger-made accoutrements. The exotic, esoteric, outrageous and obscure abound. Where his first two books were somewhat short on text, this book not only gives a clear definition of the objectives and geographic zones of responsibility for each unit, it also incorporates some graphic and previously untold combat stories. The combination is a tour de force volume which was badly needed to explain this little known campaign in a manner which will certainly remain unsurpassed. This massive volume as well as Mike's first two books can be ordered by contacting him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Book for Glider FansA massive technical study of Glider development and manufacture in WW2. This work by Michigan author Charlie Day contains 300 pages in 8.5 x 11" format, with 300 photos and 120 pages of text. A massive, scholarly achievement. Tests, behind the scenes controversies and little-known experiments are included in this work, which can be ordered from the author. send $39.95 plus $5- shipping for softcover edition or $64.95 plus $5- shipping for hardcover, to:
C.L.Day, P.O. Box 439, Lambertville, MI, 48144. You can e mail Charlie at: email@example.com
Book ReviewThe name T. Moffatt Burriss is familar to many of us because he was a longtime member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina. Mr Burris was also a platoon leader in the 3rd Bn of the 504PIR in WW2, a survivor of many bloody battles in Sicily, Anzio, Holland and the Bulge. He has recently written his war memoirs,
entitled 'Strike and Hold', which is available from Brassey's publishing, ISBN: 1-57488-258-9, at a hardcover price of 24.95.
I was able to read Mr Burris' manuscript, pre-publication, and have found it to be readable, and most rewarding. The chapters describing the chaotic night fighting at Anzio make you wonder how anyone survived that ordeal. That is worth the price of the book alone. But Mr Burriss' treatment of the epic Waal River crossing is something that no Airborne history buff should miss. We have all seen the Hollywood reenactment in 'A Bridge Too Far', but Burriss gives us not only his experience, but also the accounts of several of his buddies, who each survived the crossing with their own perspective on the action. This was truly one of the great Airborne combat epics of all time and will live forever in the annals of modern warfare.
One aspect I hadn't been aware of, was that after reaching the enemy shore, the crossing survivors had to charge across 500 yards of flat, open ground, to wipe out the Germans who were shooting at them. This attack, also made against murderous fire, was as suicidal as the river crossing itself, but through the eyes of the Airborne, a frontal charge was the only viable alternative.
One inaccurate comment made by Mr Burris in describing the Bulge fighting was that the 101st at least had the luxury of defending Bastogne, where they could take shelter in warm houses most of the time. While it is true that the 101st remained anchored to static positions, those positions were 3 to 8 miles outside the town of Bastogne and troops in the perimeter found about as much shelter as the 82nd line companies did in their nomadic fighting across the northern sector. I pointed this out to the book's editor before it went to print, but my criticism went unheeded. Any 101st survivors of Bastogne would no doubt find this statement offensive, but that aside, the book should be enjoyed for its strong points: the descriptions of Anzio and the epic Waal river crossing.
It also seems that the 504 PIR's website is ignoring this book. Is that deliberate or is there some other reason? All the more reason to read it. I endorse this book for anyone interested in the heroic deeds of the U.S. Airborne in WW2.
Epic of the 101st Airborne- 1945 Div. public Relations office
Currahee-506th Scrapbook- 1945 Germany
Mission Accomplished- 1945 Austria-(history of the 321st GFA Bn.)
Four Stars of Hell-(501 PIR)-Laurence Critchell -McMullen 1947
Sky Riders-(327 GIR), McDonough/Gardner, Battery Press 1980
Kilogram- (907th GFA Bn) Bob Minick, 1979
Band of Brothers (E/506) Ambrose, 1992 Simon-Schuster
Fighting Fox Company (F/506th History)Bill Brown 1981