US Forces in Europe: Elite Attack Forces

US Forces in Europe: Elite Attack Forces by SMITH STEVE & WESTWELL IAN

186 x 246mm

Of all the US Army's forces in Europe during World War II, two outfits stand out for special recognition: 1st Infantry Division (?Big Red One') and 2nd Armored Division (?Hell on Wheels'). Their preparation for war, their weapons and equipment, and the ferocious battles they fought against German and other Axis forces are described in this highly illustrated, fact-packed book. The oldest continuously serving division in the US Army, the 1st Infantry Division fought with honour in France during World War I. Its first action in World War II was during the invasion of North Africa, landing on the coast of Algeria. After the capture of Oran it took part in the taking of Tunisia, including the battle of Kasserine, before playing an important role in the invasion of Sicily. The ?Big Red One' left the Mediterranean Theatre before the invasion of Italy to train for the Normandy landings. On 6 June 1944 the division was once again in the front line, landing on Omaha Beach and fighting tooth and nail for a foothold against a desperate defence. Having performed heroically, the division would go on to fight with distinction during the breakout from Normandy and the advance into the heartland of Germany. The 2nd Armored Division, nicknamed ?Hell on Wheels', fought with distinction in World War II and was the first US division to reach the Elbe and to enter Berlin. Elements of 2nd Armoured first saw action in North Africa, landing at Casablanca on 8 November 1942, but the division as a whole did not enter combat until the invasion of Sicily. After this it trained in England for the invasion of Normandy, landing on D+3 and going into action near Carentan; it would go on to play a significant role in the Falaise Gap battles, subsequently racing across France, through Belgium and into Germany. The division also played an important role during the Ardennes offensive, blunting the German Fifth Panzer Army's penetration of American lines. The 2nd crossed the Rhine on 27 March 1945, and reached the Elbe at Schonebeck on 11 April.

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