To D-Day and Back: Adventures with the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment and Life as a World War II POW: A memoir

Overview

In the predawn hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, which would become immortalized as the Longest Day, Bob Bearden and his comrades in the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment jumped into the inky skies over Normandy. Their mission: defend the west bank of the Merderet River against German counterattack. After long months of training they were finally taking the war to the Germans. Bearden's time in combat proved shortlived, however, when he was captured on D+2, June 8. This was only the beginning of a new war for his ...

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Overview

In the predawn hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, which would become immortalized as the Longest Day, Bob Bearden and his comrades in the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment jumped into the inky skies over Normandy. Their mission: defend the west bank of the Merderet River against German counterattack. After long months of training they were finally taking the war to the Germans. Bearden's time in combat proved shortlived, however, when he was captured on D+2, June 8. This was only the beginning of a new war for his very survival through multiple German POW camps and ultimately on an epic journey that would take him largely on foot all the way to Moscow on his journey home, all of which makes for exciting reading in this remarkable memoir.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
World War 2 Database, October 2007

“Bob Bearden's To D-Day and Back was not just another paratrooper-themed memoir trying to ride on the success of others. Several distinctions set this work apart from others. Bearden told his story from a very personal angle. Coupled with the use of everyday prose, the book was another one of those works that felt much like storytelling by a member of the family. It was not just another war memoir, but rather, the book told how the war interacted with Bearden's life.

“Bearden also had the unfortunate experience of becoming a German prisoner of war merely two days after he jumped into Normandy, France. He faithfully recorded his observations while it came, amidst braving malnutrition and the cold winter. While other authors told the horrors of war through descriptions of exploding shells and flying shrapnel, Bearden completed the picture by telling the horrors of war through experiences of being imprisoned by the Germans … Indeed, his WW2 experience was a unique and remarkable adventure, recorded in captivating detail in To D-Day and Back.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760332580
  • Publisher: Zenith Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2007
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Bearden was a paratrooper with the 507th PIR during World War II. He lives in Belton, Texas.

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Read an Excerpt

"As the camp descended into chaos, one of the grizzliest scenes took place in the IIIC delouser. If you ever had a bath, this was the place where they took your clothes to rid them of lice. It did the job with steam and was a simple room. The Russians started gathering up Germans and forcing them into the delouser, locking the doors, and turning the steam up to max . . . . I heard others say that when they opened the doors of those chambers, the Germans' bodies had shrunk to the size of pygmies. I certainly never went over to check the matter out."
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

 

PART I

Doing my bit

  One                              Texas National Guard, 144th Infantry

Two                             Parachute School, Fort Benning, Georgia

Three                           507th Cast of Characters

Four                             Payday Parties

Five                              Training Jumps in a Peanut Patch

Six                               Louisiana Maneuvers, 1943

Seven:                          Rodeo Jump: Alliance, Nebraska, August 1943

Eight                             The Jumping Mascot Nine                             Sedalia, Missouri Jump

Ten                              Taking My Exclusive Furlough to Wyoming

Eleven                          The 507th PIR in Northern Ireland

Twelve                         Jolly Olde England: Fish and Chips, 507th Style

PART II

D-DAY AND THE BATTLE FOR NORMANDY

 

Thirteen                        D-Day Jump and the Little French Maid

Fourteen                       Assembly

Fifteen                          The Battle for Fresville

Sixteen                         Taylor’s Group: Bundle Duty and Ear Injury

Seventeen                     Millett’s Group: My Hottest Day of the War

Eighteen                       Avoid Crossing God in Combat

Nineteen                       Patrols and Moving Out

Twenty             Capture

PART III

TOURING EUROPE 10TH CLASS: MY LIFE AS A POW

 

Twenty-One                 From St. Lo to Alencon

Twenty-Two                We Lay Tracks, Dig Bombs, and Play Nurse

Twenty-Three               Gimme Shelter

Twenty-Four                Buttered French Bread

Twenty-Five                 Alencon-Paris and a Meeting with the Berlin Bitch

Twenty-Six                   Victory Is Sweet

Twenty-Seven              A Boxcar Ride to Stalag XIIA: Horrors by Day or Night

Twenty-Eight                Stalag IVB to Stalag IIIC: Learning the Ropes as a POW

Twenty-Nine                Stalag IIIC, Kuestrin: Willkommen!

Thirty                           Daily Life at Stalag IIIC: Pals So Good and True

Thirty-One                   Red Cross to the Rescue

Thirty-Two                   Deutsch fur Amerikaner: Swaps and Scams at Stalag IIIC

Thirty-Three                 Life and Death (Mostly Death): The French and Russian Compounds

Thirty-Four                   The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

Part IV

The Russian Experience Or, heading east to go west

 

Thirty-Five                   Vodka, Vodka, Everywhere, and Plenty of It to Drink

 

Postscript                     Taking the Ankle Express Home

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