Onward We Charge: The Heroic Story of Darby's Rangers in World War II

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Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart, and posthumously promoted to Brigadier General by President Truman, Colonel William Darby was an indisputable hero. His elite battalion of Army Rangers paved the way for Ranger success in subsequent wars-and left an unforgettable legacy in its wake.

Onward We Charge takes readers from the beachheads of North Africa to the bloody campaigns of southern Italy, and to Darby's tragic death by German shrapnel just eight ...

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Onward We Charge: The Heroic Story of Darby's Rangers in World War II

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Overview

Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart, and posthumously promoted to Brigadier General by President Truman, Colonel William Darby was an indisputable hero. His elite battalion of Army Rangers paved the way for Ranger success in subsequent wars-and left an unforgettable legacy in its wake.

Onward We Charge takes readers from the beachheads of North Africa to the bloody campaigns of southern Italy, and to Darby's tragic death by German shrapnel just eight days before V-E Day. This is the true story of a man who held his own beside the greatest military figures in history.

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Editorial Reviews

Larry Alexander
A thoroughly engrossing, can't-put-it-down history of a battalion of courageous men. (Larry Alexander, author of Biggest Brother)
John C. McManus
Anyone who is interested in the U.S. Army Rangers should read this book. (John C. McManus, author of Alamo in the Ardennes)
Publishers Weekly

A retired journalist and the author of several biographies of military heroes, Jeffers (Ace of Aces: The Life of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker) combines a bare-bones life of World War II hero Col. William O. Darby and a battle history of the legendary unit he organized and led. After a cursory account of Darby's Arkansas boyhood and West Point education, the author quickly gets to the war and Darby's appointment to head a newly created infantry battalion modeled on the British army's Commandos. Christened the 1st Ranger Battalion, the unit underwent months of arduous training in Scotland before being tapped to spearhead the Allied invasion of Algeria in 1942. Expanded to a three-battalion Ranger force and anointed "Darby's Rangers" by war correspondents who "found good copy in them," the Rangers led the subsequent invasions of Sicily and Italy. In an attempt to break out at Anzio, Darby's Rangers were surrounded and almost completely annihilated by German forces. Darby was reassigned and later killed in action. Relying primarily on secondary sources, Jeffers has written a spotty but serviceable introduction to one of World War II's most storied units and the hero who led them. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
An enthusiastic, only mildly critical account of America's original elite fighting unit. Special forces like the Green Berets and SEALs didn't exist when the U.S. entered World War II. Admiring the spectacular hit-and-run tactics of British Commandos, American leaders decided to form a similar unit in 1942. Chosen as its leader was William Darby, an obscure but popular staff officer of the 34th Infantry, the first American division to arrive in the U.K. Within two weeks, Darby had assembled 600 volunteers and led the newly named 1st Ranger Battalion to a Commando camp in Scotland for a brutal summer of training. That autumn, the battalion stormed ashore in North Africa to knock out two batteries just before the main landing. After other successful raids during the North African campaign, the Rangers, now expanded to a regiment, preceded the invasion of Sicily and of the Italian mainland at Salerno to protect one flank of the landing. An avalanche of publicity fostered by Phil Stern, a famous photographer who attached himself to the unit, made Darby's Rangers as familiar to Americans as Patton's Third Army or Rommel's Afrika Korps. Britain's handful of Commando units remained reserved for special operations, but the Rangers kept growing, and commanders could not resist using them on the front lines, where they suffered far more casualties than in raids. In the bloody January 1944 Anzio campaign, a botched attack decimated the unit. Other Ranger units made history in Normandy and the Pacific, but the remnants of Darby's group scattered and never again fought together. The extremely prolific Jeffers (An Honest President, 2000, etc.) does much of his research in other popular histories.Military buffs who have read those same books might give this one a pass, but readers unfamiliar with the Rangers will enjoy this dramatic account of their adventures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451221285
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/3/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

H. Paul Jeffers is the author of 70 books, including biographies of Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, and General Billy Mitchell. He has taught journalism at New York University, Syracuse University, and Boston University and has published 15 mystery novels.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Great Read

    This book is written from the stand point of those who were really there. It includes the actual names of all the Rangers not just the main characters. It also includes private thoughts and actions of many not just a select few participants.
    I recommend it for all WWII buffs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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