The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach

The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach

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by John C. McManus
     
 

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Nicknamed the Big Red One, 1st Division had fought from North Africa to Sicily, earning a reputation as stalwart warriors on the front lines and rabble-rousers in the rear. Yet on D-Day, these veterans melded with fresh-faced replacements to accomplish one of the most challenging and deadly missions ever.

As the men hit the beach, their equipment was

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Overview

Nicknamed the Big Red One, 1st Division had fought from North Africa to Sicily, earning a reputation as stalwart warriors on the front lines and rabble-rousers in the rear. Yet on D-Day, these veterans melded with fresh-faced replacements to accomplish one of the most challenging and deadly missions ever.

As the men hit the beach, their equipment was destroyed or washed away, soldiers were cut down by the dozens, and heroes emerged: Sergeant Raymond Strojny, who grabbed a bazooka and engaged in a death duel with a fortified German antitank gun; T/5 Joe Pinder, who braved enemy fire to save a vital radio; Lieutenant John Spalding and Sergeant Phil Streczyk, who together demolished a German strong point overlooking Easy Red, where hundreds of Americans had landed.

Along the way, McManus explores the Gap Assault Team engineers who dealt with the extensive mines and obstacles, suffering nearly a fifty percent casualty rate; highlights officers such as Brigadier General Willard Wyman and Colonel George Taylor, who led the way to victory; and punctures scores of myths surrounding this long-misunderstood battle.

Drawing on a rich array of new or recently unearthed sources, including interviews with veterans, this is the unforgettable story of the Big Red One’s nineteen hours of hell—and their ultimate triumph—on June 6, 1944.

INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS
 

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-11
A focused tale of the hellish ascendancy of the U.S. Army's famed 1st Infantry Division on June 6, 1944, underscoring how the Normandy invasion nearly went terribly awry. With several World War II volumes under his belt (September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far, 2012, etc.), military historian McManus elicits moving details of courage and hardship from personal as well as historical sources, spotlighting the feats of this heroic division that took the brunt of the first-wave assault on Omaha Beach. Hardened by heavy fighting only months before in Tunisia and Sicily, considered somewhat arrogant and full of themselves, many of the 1st expected to go home. Instead, Gen. Omar Bradley, commander of U.S. ground forces in the coming invasion, discarded "the niceties of justice" and needed to rely on those troops. Trained vigorously in England under Gen. Clarence Huebner to attack and destroy coastal defenses, the men were well-prepared yet hindered by the very technology that was supposed to cause the breakthrough of German defense. The Normandy beaches were wired and rigged with every contrivance of mines, "Belgian gates" and hedgehogs, with gunners perched in pillboxes on the bluffs. The troops, disgorged from landing craft in huge, unmanageable swells, were overladen with gear and unable to move quickly, offering sitting-duck targets for the German gunners, while the beaches became clotted with machinery and armament launched on an unsustainable schedule. McManus does not spare us the slaughter of those first hours: He even quotes one German soldier observing the carnage, murmuring, "Poor swine." Getting the men off the beach became Col. George Taylor's rallying cry (he is credited with the title's quote), while the offshore destroyers helped dismantle the pillboxes to allow the intrepid leaders of the Big Red One to breach German defenses and push inland. An exciting account from the personable point of view of the soldier.
From the Publisher
“[A] simply magnificent narrative of one of the most famous and gripping events of modern military history.”—Paul Kennedy, New York Times bestselling author of Engineers of Victory

“This is gripping history—beautifully and masterfully told by one of America’s premier historians.”—Patrick K. O’Donnell, national bestselling author of Dog Company

“Magnificent! I could not put this book down!”—Joseph Balkoski, author of Omaha Beach and Utah Beach

“A gripping account of the desperate battle for Omaha Beach on D-Day by the legendary 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One.”—Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius for War

 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451415295
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/29/2014
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
203,462
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“[A] simply magnificent narrative of one of the most famous and gripping events of modern military history.”—Paul Kennedy, New York Times bestselling author of Engineers of Victory

“This is gripping history—beautifully and masterfully told by one of America’s premier historians.”—Patrick K. O’Donnell, national bestselling author of Dog Company

“Magnificent! I could not put this book down!”—Joseph Balkoski, author of Omaha Beach and Utah Beach

“A gripping account of the desperate battle for Omaha Beach on D-Day by the legendary 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One.”—Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius for War

 

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