110th Aaaby Lonnie R. Speer
Landing on the beach with elements of the 29th Infantry Division and later supporting the 30th Infantry Division in
"Hitler's Crawlin' Coffin" was an eighteen-ton M-4 high-speed artillery tractor that crept up out of the surf onto Dog-Green Omaha Beach hauling a 90mm anti-aircraft gun and its crew for the 110th AAA Battalion during the D-Day invasion of Europe.
Landing on the beach with elements of the 29th Infantry Division and later supporting the 30th Infantry Division in the breakout of St. Lo, the 110th AAA would become the FIRST 90mm Gun Battalion to shoot down a German plane on French soil, the first American AA unit to enter Paris, chosen to guard First Army Headquarters at Spa, Belgium, and then go on to distinction during the Battle of the Bulge and, later, in the protection of the Remagen Bridge.
Although Driving Hitler's Crawlin Coffin begins with the induction of one person into the 110th AAA, it illustrates how his situation was typical of all its members and then goes on to chronicle the entire history of the battalion from its inception at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in April 1943, through its combat history of WWII, to its deactivation in Germany in October 1945, all based on many first-hand accounts from interviews of the veterans, themselves, and a wide range of additional primary sources and previously unpublished material such as military records and archives, morning reports, individual, battery, and battalion awards and commendations and soldiers' letters, diaries, and memoirs.(323 pp, 40 photos, battalion roster, notes, bibliography, index)
- Xlibris Corporation
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)
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This book is great if you are trying to get the 'real feel' of what the American GI experienced in the second world war.Although it is told basically from the viewpoint of the author's uncle, it is jammed pact with the remembrances of many of the men who eventually made up one of the most important, if not highly recognizable, outfits in the US Army in Europe.The 110th AAA 'anti-aircraft artillery'Gun Battalion shot down the first German plane on French soil after the D-Day invasion, helped break out of the stalemate at St. Lo, was one of the first units to enter Paris to provide anti-aircraft support ahead of the advancing Allied armies, protected allied headquarters at Spa Belgium from German air and ground attacks during the Battle of the Bulge, and fought to protect the strategically important Bridge at Remagen on the Rhine River. This book is not a day-by-day, step-by-step chronology of the war. It is not heavy with analyses of tactical manuevers or political planning, far from it. What the book really does is put the reader in the shoes of the men who were there doing the best they could under very difficult circumstances. It really allows the members of the 110th AAA a chance to express feelings and recall experiences that they have suppressed for over 60 years. It is therapy for them, it allows the reader a chance to put onesself in their shoes -or in my case, my father's shoes- and get a feel for what the members of the 110th AAA gun battalion experienced from 1943 to 1945.