Rite of Passage: A Teenager's Chronicle of Combat and Captivity in Nazi Germany

Overview

Drawing on a vast array of original source material that has survived for decades and previously classified information, this thrilling narrative history documents a young soldier’s miraculous survival in war-torn Europe during World War II. Soon after joining the U.S. Army Corps, a wiry, baby-faced 17-year-old found himself a seasoned warrior desperately battling head-to-head against the Luftwaffe’s best fighter pilots over Nazi Germany. Having amazingly escaped the fiery wreckage of his B-17, he ...

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Rite of Passage: A Teenager's Chronicle of Combat and Captivity in Nazi Germany

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Overview

Drawing on a vast array of original source material that has survived for decades and previously classified information, this thrilling narrative history documents a young soldier’s miraculous survival in war-torn Europe during World War II. Soon after joining the U.S. Army Corps, a wiry, baby-faced 17-year-old found himself a seasoned warrior desperately battling head-to-head against the Luftwaffe’s best fighter pilots over Nazi Germany. Having amazingly escaped the fiery wreckage of his B-17, he relied on his ingenuity and determination to get him through two bitter winters in confinement as a POW in the infamous Stalag 17. Along with other American prisoners, he was coerced to flee the rapidly advancing Red Army as the European war came to a close and endure a brutal 18-day march where he witnessed firsthand the horrors of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Weighing an emaciated 110 pounds, he was finally rescued by Patton’s Third Army just days before Germany surrendered.

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What People Are Saying

DeLoy Spencer

Both unique and compelling . . . a haunting reminder of the personal tragedies that occurred each day in the skies over Germany, the deadliest battlefront of World War II. (DeLoy Spencer, Hill AeroSpace Museum)

Russell A. Madsen

An amazing sequence of challenging experiences-most amazing of all, he survived. This is a great book. (Russell A. Madsen, flight engineer, B-17G, 350th Sqdrn, 100th BG)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981848914
  • Publisher: American Legacy Media
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 567,730
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Matheny served as a flight engineer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and as an aircraft inspector for the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He went on to distinguished careers as an archaeologist, professor, researcher, and scholar and is still an active participant in archaeological digs around the world. He lives in Lindon, Utah. Gen. Johannes Steinhoff was a highly decorated pilot in the German Luftwaffe during World War II who later became commander of the West German Air Force and chairman of the NATO Military Committee. He was the author of The Final Hours, Messershmitts Over Sicily, and Voices from the Third Reich: An Oral History.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 6

Preface 8

Prologue 10

Part I The Deacon's Sinners' War

Chapter 1 Aerial Gunnery School 21

Chapter 2 Combat Flight Training 32

Chapter 3 To Europe 65

Chapter 4 Flying The Atlantic 78

Chapter 5 Initiation To The ETO 97

Chapter 6 Bremen 114

Chapter 7 The Final Battles 150

Part II Life As a Teenage POW

Chapter 8 The Enemy Revealed 182

Chapter 9 Survival In Stalag 17-B 209

Chapter 10 The Beginning of The End 242

Chapter 11 The Toll Of Another Winter 254

Chapter 12 The Forced March 270

Chapter 13 Liberation 282

Chapter 14 Coming Home 298

Chapter 15 Epilogue 301

Return to Austria 310

Acknowledgements 314

References 316

Glossary 318

Index 324

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