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Beyond the Rhine: A Screaming Eagle in Germany (World War II Library) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 30. Juli 2002


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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 208 Seiten
  • Verlag: Dell; Auflage: Reprint (30. Juli 2002)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0440236363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440236368
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 10,6 x 1,4 x 17,5 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 215.746 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Synopsis

The 4th instalment in the fascinating story of Donald Burgett and the 101st Airborne Division which traces their WWII experiences from Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine through to the trek through war torn German towns towards the end of the war. - Excellent combat memoir - Insightful and chilling depictions of life in the 101st Airbourne division

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.


The Long Walk Out

We had fought well in the Battle for Bastogne--and we had paid a terrible price in lives of our comrades. We had been called up out of beds at 2:30 a.m., 17 December 1944, in our camp at Mourmelon-le-Grand, France. There the 101st Airborne Division packed, readied for battle, and were on the road in 380 open cattle trucks heading for Bastogne, Belgium, that same day. This was the first time in American military history that an entire division had been alerted and on the move toward combat in a matter of hours. It usually takes several weeks to ready a combat division for such a maneuver.

Upon arriving in Bastogne the division immediately went into action, attacking outward in all directions against far superior enemy armored forces. The 101st Airborne Division, without air support, held nine fully armed German divisions at bay for eight days and nights in subzero weather. We were aided only by a couple of battalions of the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions, one platoon of TDs of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and one battery of 155s manned by Negro artillerymen of the 969th Artillery Battalion. Ill armed, clothed, and fed, together we held Bastogne for eight freezing and grueling days. Patton's 4th Armored Division attacked at Assenfois, 26 December 1944, on our southern perimeter to breach the German lines surrounding us. We were then resupplied with weapons, ammunition, clothing, food, and a few new troop replacements.

Once we had received weapons, ammunition, food, and clothing we immediately went into an attack that lasted an additional twenty-two days and nights without a letup. After thirty continuous days of battle our assigned mission had been accomplished. We had not only stopped the Germans' advance, but we had driven them back to the original lines of their jump-off attack in what was to become known as "the Battle of the Bulge." It had all begun for us at 2:30 in the morning on 17 December 1944. The end came at 9:10 p.m. on 17 January 1945.

Our battle for Bastogne was over. We had won. Fresh troops and armor had finally moved up to replace us and relieve us of our burdens, and our tour of hell in the frozen Ardennes had come to an end. For the last twenty-four hours the war had moved steadily on without us and now seemed far away. We could scarcely hear the low rumble of artillery in the distance as the Allies pushed the battle lines ever closer to the German border. The Germans did not continue the fight to gain or hold. They did, however, fight with vigor and determination and gave way slowly, grudgingly, to buy time to extract their troops and war materiel out of the Ardennes and back to the soil of the Fatherland, where each German would have good reason to fight.

We bivouacked among our foxholes in a large snow-covered field alongside a macadam road as we awaited orders. Large warming fires were built without regard to telltale smoke that only the day before would have invited incoming enemy artillery.

A truck convoy moving slowly came into view, then stopped in place on the road when they saw us. Several drivers dismounted and walked to us to identify our group. Once they were satisfied as to our identity they returned to their trucks, drove them into our field, circling back to face toward the road, and stopped. Drivers and crews dismounted, crawled into the backs of the trucks, and began throwing barracks bags, without much care or regard, over the tailgate and sides of the truck into scattered piles on the ground. We were told that these were our barracks bags and that we could go through them to identify and retrieve our own.

As before, while we were in combat fighting for our lives, some rear echelon had slit our bags open with knives and had looted everything of value, even stealing the picture frames of loved ones. This left us with nothing more than empty or near empty bags. Our clothes, jump boots, uniforms, hard-won war souvenirs, and money had all been stolen. Troopers protested to the truck crews, some to the point of accusing the SOS (Service of Supply) men of looting and theft and threatening to beat some of them. The SOS men nervously denied any knowledge of the theft and wasted no time in completing the unloading of their trucks and getting the hell out of the area.

Most of us left our looted and cut bags where they lay on the ground, returning in disgust to our foxhole area. Men sat around the fires in the snow and on their helmets, and while some began heating K-ration food on their trench knives, others began pulling off their boots--some of them for the first time in weeks--to see what was left of their feet.

I sat on the cold ground and unlaced my boots. They came off with some difficulty. My socks, what was left of them, looked like crud-encrusted spats, no toes or heels left in them. My feet had turned white as snow. Large cracks in the skin laced deep around them, and my toes were swollen. I washed them with slushy snow that had partially melted by the heat of the fire. While I was massaging my feet gently to bring back the blood circulation and warmth, some skin rubbed off. I had expected worse than that. I dried them thoroughly and pulled on some almost clean socks found in my looted bag and replaced my now dry boots. Many of the men's feet were in bad shape. Later, some men's toes, feet, or fingers had to be amputated.

General Maxwell D. Taylor had sent out a directive that all troopers be clean shaven, cleaned up, and looking their best before morning. So it was that later that afternoon, while we were sitting around the fires shaving, taking helmet baths, massaging our feet, scraping crud from our clothes with trench knives, and digging through what was left of our pillaged barracks bags, the 17th Airborne Division came marching up the road. The 17th troopers were fresh faced, well fed, clean shaven, and wore neat, clean jumpsuits.

Then we looked at ourselves. We had done our best, but our clothes were still somewhat dirty and ragged and we were gaunt and hollow-eyed, like we had been put through the mill. But we were full of spirit and began yelling friendly jibes at the newcomers, as is the custom with men of brother outfits. They responded in kind.

Some of the 17th Airborne troopers called back that they were here to relieve us and we'd better not get too damned smart or they wouldn't do it. It was difficult to believe. We thought immediately of hot showers, clean, warm bunks, clean uniforms, back pay, beer, wine, and women. And with most of us, in that order.

In reality, it was the 11th Armored Division, who had had their baptism of fire in the latter part of this battle and had, in those last days of the battle for Bastogne, fought alongside us to the end, who now relieved the 101st this day, 17 January 1945. The newly arrived 17th Airborne Division now moving up would be relieving the 11th Armored Division within the next few days.

Later that afternoon, as daylight waned and the air grew colder, our officers formed us up on the road to move out. The order of march was 3d Battalion, 1st Battalion, HQ, and 2d Battalion last, being relieved at 9:10 p.m. Moving into battle in Bastogne one month earlier, our order of march had been 1st Battalion, 3d Battalion, HQ, and 2d Battalion.

We were supposed to ride back to France in the same-style semitrucks pulling open cattle trailers that had transported us to the front surrounding Bastogne. However, for some reason the motor transport division would not drive up to where we were. We would have to walk eight miles back to a monastery where the men of the motor transport sat waiting for us. Monastery may not be the correct term for the building we were to rendezvous at, but that is the way our orders read.

At convoy speed on icy roads the trip would have taken the trucks between fifteen and eighteen...

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Von JC am 23. Mai 2011
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Like the other books in the series this a very good read. A very honest and frank account of the last days of the second world war. A must for all military history buffs.
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Amazon.com: 41 Rezensionen
17 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Another 5-Star book from Don Burgett 9. September 2001
Von Douglas Topolski - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Ironically, the more I read the works of Mr. Burgett, the more I understand, to his credit, that despite his direct presentation, it is all but impossible to have anything but the remotest idea of what it is like to be a front row participant in total war by reading a book. A book can certainly help one appreciate what he went through in Europe, but there's no way we can know what he now knows. I suppose you could have a better understanding of what it was like for him if you read the book in a hole half-filled with freezng water while someone tried to drop high explosives on your head. A common theme in all of Burgett's books is that there is much honor in what he and his brothers did, but no glory. The troopers in "Beyond the Rhine" follow a pattern familiar to those who have read Burgett's first 3 books. They are thrown into combat, lightly armed, before any other units, or where other units have failed. Men who are too young to vote, and who have only known one president their whole lives fight and die at the level of animals. The survivors count their blessings and assemble after battle to gather their garrison bags full of personal possessions only to learn that their bags have (as usual) been cut open and looted by the rear echelon troops tasked with storing and delivering the bags to the front. The most compelling chapter of the book describes what the author saw at the concentration camp at Landsberg. I finished the book feeling greatful that men like Mr. Burgett did what they did so that my kids will likely never have to. "Beyond the Rhine" is the final chapter in a story that is destined to become known as the finest first-person account of combat produced to date.
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Another exceptional work! 7. September 2001
Von Dan Albers - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is the 4th in a series of books written by Mr. Burgett about his experiences as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division in the European theater during World War II. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three and this one is a great read as well.
For me, the book seemed to really pick up about halfway through and it was extremely hard to put down (I spent many nights reading it into the early morning hours). The focus of this book is the author's experiences in Germany. While he was there he was part of a group that liberated the Landsberg concentration camp. The things that he and his comrades saw there were horrific, to say the least. The starvation and torture of the inmates is described with a great deal of intensity. Yet not all of Mr. Burgett's experiences were terrible - one particularly encouraging story was of a 15-year-old Polish girl from a labor camp that was liberated. The author and his buddies befriended her and as she recovered from her imprisonment they could tangibly see one of the reasons why they were fighting. There's also an interesting story of the author's experiences with the Russian troops which was an entertaining cultural experience (sorry - no spoilers).
Mr. Burgett also recounts the encounters with some recalcitrant German civilians who were defying curfews. He demonstrated his ability to maintain emotional control and quick thinking there as well as on an occasion when he and his buddies surprised some German troops in the mountains (Don and some of his fellow troopers were sent there to announce that the war was over and that any soldiers were to report to authorities in a nearby town). The author describes both incidents with such detail that one can easily visualize the seriousness of the situation.
Two especially pointed personal encounters the author had with a German commander (a general of some sort) and with an SS trooper, each of whom were fleeing the Russians, ended in dramatically different fashions. They were great examples of the chaos and volatility of war.
I could go on and on about the author's incredible experiences but I don't want to spoil anything.
The book includes more than 15 pages of photographs (black and white) some of which are from the author's own collection . In addition, there are a few maps which help to trace where Mr. Burgett and his colleagues were sent.
Finally, the author describes what he did after the war, both in Europe and in the United States. It helps to bring a sense of closure to the book.
If you have read any of Don Burgett's previous works or if you enjoy books about World War II that are written by the people who lived the experiences firsthand, you will almost certainly love this one as well. I highly recommend this book!
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Grand Finale!!! 12. Februar 2002
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This 4th installment in the story of Donald Burgett and the WWII
experiences of the 101st Airborne Division is a fitting end to a fine combat memoir. The author picks up where he left off in "Seven Roads to Hell" in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge and traces his experiences from crossing the Rhine River to the end of the war in Hitler's vacation resort in the Alps. Aside from his usual description of battle with the enemy, he also makes liberal use of noncombat scenarios during his unit's advances. His writings will be the standard against which future authors' wartime reminiscences will be compared. I highly recommend this book to all WWII history enthusiasts.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Possibly Burgett's most powerful book 10. Februar 2002
Von Casey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In what may be his last book, Donald Burgett has left us with insightful and chilling depictations of life in the 101st Airborne during World War Two. Entering the war as a teenager, readers of his books seem to grow with him, as well as being grateful for only being able to read about his exploits and not experience them.
Beyond the Rhine is a more informational book than his other books. While battles still rage, the experiences of this book rely more on chasing the Germans down while the war quickly ends. What the book accomplishes is the thoughts of Burgett over the war, his maturity, and the realization of not only his readers but also themselves that the war is ending. The question "What's next?" seems to lie deep within the book's pages.
In "Currahee", he brought to the horrors and chaos of Normandy, America's first full scale effort into Europe since WWI. In "Road to Arnhem", he brought us to Holland and the depressive defeat of the American and British troops to secure the keys bridges into Germany. In "Seven Roads to Hell", he brought us to Bastogne and the fear of entrapment when they were surrounded by Germans for weeks. Now, with "Beyond the Rhine", Burgett brings us to the wars end, and a trek through Germany that is filled with concentration camps, ruined towns, and fleeing German troops from the Soviets.
I hope this isn't the end for his books, but if so, hats off to Mr. Burgett. I can't fathom any other books so honest about a young man's journey through World War Two from a American perspective.
Mr. Burgett, you are the man.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Final Days 17. Oktober 2001
Von George G. Kiefer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
In what may become his last book, Donald Burgett closes his account of A co., 506th, 101st with the long walk from Bastogne to war's end. Given an all too brief respite after their magnificent stand at Bastogne during the Bulge, the 101st was called upon again and convoyed for 36 hours into the Alsace region near the town of Wickersheim. There they remained at the ready in the path of one of Germany's last gasps, "Operation Nordwind".
From Bastonge on, the outfit saw only limited battle. The anxiety of a night patrol by boat across the Moder River and a few minor skirmishes, while well written, are a far cry from the bloody pace of the earlier books. During this period, men still died, but the war was all but over. Burgett tells of doing morning exercise on March 24th, 1945 and looking skyward to see over 5,000 Allied aircraft heading into Germany. At Remagen the patrol that crossed the Rhine some few weeks before became the vanguard of what was to be the largest river crossing in history. Three armies under Montgomery had crossed the Rhine that morning at daybreak.
As Normandy, Market Garden and the Bulge formed the nucleus of the three prior books, the horrors the 101st witnessed at the concentration camp at Landsberg form the core of this latest volume. Told in Burgett's straightforward, clean style, the insanity and demonic results of Nazi Germany leaves the reader with an unreal nausea. Not even animals are capable of this degree of cruelty.
It seems to this reviewer that from this point forward, the writing becomes more introspective. From Burgett's reflecting upon the hundreds of thousands of Germans surrendering along the highways, to his watching at night the sight of a full division singing by candle light as they walked home defeated but glad to be going home, to his walking through Flanders Field blanketed with red poppies, his style becomes far more lyrical than his earlier writing.
Upon hearing that Japan had surrendered he came to understand that he had lived; that he and the others were going home. "We were to go home instead. Go home to America. America- it seemed to be a dream now, a misty wonderland that had existed only in our minds." God bless all of them, they sure as hell earned that and more.
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