Day of the Panzer [NOOK Book]

Overview

This is a rarely detailed "you are there" account of World War II combat, describing a brief but bloody tank/infantry action in August 1944. Based on six years of research-drawing from interviews, primary documents, and visits to the battlefield-"The Day of the Panzer" transports the reader into the ranks of L Company, 15th Regiment, Third Infantry Division, and its supporting M4s of the 756th Tank Battalion as they grapple head-on with the ...
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Day of the Panzer

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Overview

This is a rarely detailed "you are there" account of World War II combat, describing a brief but bloody tank/infantry action in August 1944. Based on six years of research-drawing from interviews, primary documents, and visits to the battlefield-"The Day of the Panzer" transports the reader into the ranks of L Company, 15th Regiment, Third Infantry Division, and its supporting M4s of the 756th Tank Battalion as they grapple head-on with the Wehrmacht.

L Company was nearly wiped out during the bloody Anzio breakout of May 1944. Under the fiery leadership of Captain James "Red" Coles, the unit was rebuilt and molded into a tough, colorful bunch in preparation for "Operation Dragoon." On August 15, 1944, they hit the beaches in southern France, joined by the tank crews of 2nd Lt. Andrew Orient's 3rd Platoon, all veterans of Cassino.

After overcoming pockets of resistance along the coast, the tanks and infantry swept inland, nipping at the heels of the retreating German Nineteenth Army. A sudden German artillery salvo dispatched six L Company men and left Lt. Orient dead. 1st Lt. Edgar Danby, an armor instructor (the author's grandfather), was flown in from Italy to replace him.

Despite logistics problems, the Third Division forged north through the Rhône River valley until they found the Germans holding fast, L Company and its supporting tanks leading the regimental charge. In the haste and chaos of the day, they managed to slip the German rearguard and unwittingly attacked the German LXXXV Armeekorps headquarters in the small town of Allan. Both sides were shocked by the ferocity of the battle.

Led by a rampaging Panther tank, the Germans counterattacked, knocking out the Sherman of Lt. Danby while threatening to cut L Company's positions in half. Surrounded and facing annihilation-but steeled by the courageous leadership of Captain Coles and others-L Company held fast despite dead and wounded on all sides and 13 men captured. The seemingly unstoppable Panther, stalking the battlefield like some black knight from a Teutonic fantasy, continued to hold off American reinforcements in the morning, until the Armeekorps headquarters executed a withdrawal.

In this book, the minute-by-minute confusion, thrill and desperation of WWII combat is placed under a microscope, as if the reader himself were a participant. In this small but singular battle, the courage of US troops in their liberation of France is given full due.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Amateur historian Danby resurrects "the forgotten campaign of World War II" in this excellent popular history. While the world's attention was focused on Normandy, a second, smaller invasion-Operation Dragoon-landed on the French Riviera on August 15, 1944, to open another supply route for Allied troops. When Hitler ordered a "general withdrawal from France" on August 16, the Allies rushed to trap and destroy the retreating enemy. But a shortage of fuel and German rearguard attacks foiled the Allied plan. While Danby provides an overview of the entire campaign, he focuses on a single, pivotal battle at the village of Allan where one infantry company encountered a German army corps headquarters. The infantrymen fought heroically and prevailed despite heavy losses-including the author's grandfather. The fight to liberate southern France is often derisively called the "Champaign Campaign," but the action at Allan was one of many fierce small-unit clashes that argue otherwise. Danby's revisionist view of the campaign-supported by extensive research including dozens of interviews with survivors-is a sprightly and evocative tribute to the troops of Operation Dragoon. 16 pages of photos; maps. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
History Book Club
. . . one of the most interesting and absorbing battles histories that this reviewer has ever read...remarkably realistic and personal . . .
Military Modeling (UK)
. . . clearly written, pacey and exciting whilst giving a clear account of the sequence of events, a first hand perspective and a "flow" that keeps one keen to thumb over the next page.
AFV Modeler
...well-written and entertaining book capturing the chaotic nature of combat for the average infantryman.
Magweb
. . . a gripping story of initiative and confusion (on both sides) competently told and one that shows the details of extensive research . . . delivers the nitty gritty . . .
IPMS
...riveting...very well done and gives the reader a much broader vision of the "forgotten" Invasion of France.
WWII History
Through his well-wrought prose, Danby paints a detailed picture of deadly fighting and stunning victory.
Michigan War Studies Review
...makes a major contribution to our understanding of American infantry in Europe.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935149606
  • Publisher: Casemate Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/8/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,322,555
  • File size: 8 MB

Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     xv
L Company     1
Respite and Preparations     21
Yellow Beach     35
On to Saint-Tropez     51
Across Southern France     65
Toward Marseille     81
Roadblock     103
Pursuit North     117
Armor Column     139
Allan     149
Reconnaissance     171
The Crossroads     183
Trouble in the Rear     205
The Gauntlet     217
A Small Revenge     233
Epilogue     237
Postscript     257
Appendices     275
Notes     292
Bibliography     337
Index     351
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Day of the Panzer is captivating.

    Jeff's literary depiction of the heroics in Southern France during WWII is beyond reproach. His detailed footnoting serves his work masterfully. Anyone who values freedom and democracy should pay tribute to the great generation that served so valiantly during this troublesome time. Jeff's done a masterful job at depicting the day-to-day challenges, triumphs and failures of ordinary men made extraordinary by the times and places of WWII.

    Some day all that will be left of these extraordinary times will be the written detailed stories of WWII, such as Jeff has done here with "Day of the Panzer." He should be commended for his research and perseverance in writing this account.

    I highly recommend you take a few days and indulge yourself in this well written episode of the southern France campaign of WWII and those treacherous days of L Company, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in Allan, France.

    Colonel Tom Ahrendt
    Ohio Army National Guard
    Iraqi War Veteran

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 7, 2011

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