It has had a lasting impact on the nation and its place in the world and on the Army and the way it organizes and fights. Although historians have written numerous volumes concerning this global conflict, some gap in the literature remain. In particular, the subject of an American field army headquarters and its organization and role have attracted little attention.
Studies on the personalities and styles of individual commanders exist, but the command posts themselves-the ways in they were structures and operated and the functions they performed-have not been much explored. Under Generals Omar N. Bradley and Courtney H. Hodges, the First Army headquarters oversaw the American landings on D-Day, the breakout from the Normandy beachhead, the battle of H]rtgen Forest along the German frontier, the defense of the northern shoulder during the Battle of the Bulge, and the crossing of the Rhine River at Remagen prior to the final American drive into central Germany.
In examining the First Army headquarters' role, this volume shows the army headquarters of World War II as a complicated organization with functions ranging from the immediate supervision of tactical operations to long-range operational planning and the sustained support of frontline units. The commander and staff faced the problem of coordination with Allied counterpartsas well as with headquarters and units from other services.
Inadequate information and the limitations of technology added to their challenges. The human dimension was always important, and at times critical, in affecting the work of the headquarters under the stresses of a difficult campaign against an obstinate and resourceful foe. Although times have changed and the modern Army focuses more on regional conflicts and contingencies than on global warfare, we can still learn much from the experience of the First Army headquarters.
The Gulf War reemphasized the role of an army headquarters in a theater of operations as a pertinent issue for today's military professional. By examining the experience of soldiers in past conflicts we gain the deeper perspectives and understandings necessary to meet the challenges facing the Army today and in the future. Washington, D. JOHN S. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
More Details Original Title. In all, American truck drivers in the PGC drove more than 97 million miles, much of the time under difficult conditions. In , the Shah of Iran made an inspection trip to an American camp and rode in a jeep for the first time in his life. There were plenty of physical, mental, medical, and environmental hardships for personnel assigned to the PGC.
Once they got to Iran, their letters to and from home had cut-outs of censored portions to ensure they did not reveal any classified information to their families. Speaking of mail, many soldiers in the PGC never received their Christmas mail because some bags of it went down when the Liberty ship Albert Gallatin was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine en route from British-controlled Aden to Bandar Shapur, Iran, on 2 January Technical Sergeant Ray B.
Every [day] drivers crashed [their] heads against the cab roofs and rubbed the skin off the small of [their] backs, and swallowed a bushel of dust and sand every day. You either boiled in the heat or nearly froze to death in the high mountains. There were plenty of challenges in communicating within the Persian Gulf.
Signal Corps units within the theater found most wire and radio facilities inadequate along the railroad and non-existent along the truck routes. This required thousands of miles of wire to be strung, including construction of fixed and mobile radio and teletype networks. Many highly technical installations were completed so that wire or radio communications were constant among all key points.
However, the Signal Corps work was not always successful. For example, it was discovered that over miles of copper communications wire was stolen from telephone poles strung along the railroad for conversion into bazaar trinkets. Weather also presented a problem. Those who arrived in theater in the summer of were welcomed by torrential rains and mud more than a foot deep. Soldiers had to pitch their tents and sleep on the ground for the next six months until huts were built. Walter C. No fresh fruit or vegetables, and we were served canned meat. Gad, what a memory! The rainy season was followed by temperatures that rose as high as degrees in the desert sun, accompanied by sand storms that persisted for as long as a week.
An old-time GI resident of this desert hot box will pour a canteen of water onto his mattress, then lie down in it and try to get to sleep before the water evaporates. Your dog tags will sear your chest in the short walk from barracks to the mess hall. Recreation for the soldiers of the PGC was handled by the Special Services Branch which showed movies, managed recreation halls, coordinated USO and soldier shows, and ran athletic programs.
Organized leagues and tournaments were made available to all soldiers in the main camps and some of the secondary camps of the PGC. Soldiers could take part in baseball, basketball, football, boxing, softball, track, swimming, volleyball, table tennis, checkers, bridge, and fishing. The trip took up to six days each way and included a five-day visit to various Holy Land sites.
Most officers and some enlisted men were able to make the trip by air. Marshall on 1 June During its entire period of operation, the PGC delivered over 2. This figure included assembling nearly 5, planes and , military vehicles. In its single-month peak operation, July , the command delivered nearly one-tenth of its total tonnage despite brutal summer heat.
Including the tonnage delivered by the British and Soviet trucking agencies, it was officially estimated in August that fifty percent of the total aid to the Soviet Union from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada had come through the Persian Corridor. The separation of the command from the Middle East Theater occurred in December In the summer of that year, the command was near its greatest strength. By the end of , the motor transport routes to the Soviet Union started closing down, narrowing the major supply activities to the more confined route of the railroad from Khorramshahr to Tehran.
Progressive reductions in tonnage through the first half of completed the primary mission of the PGC by 1 June, after which it packed and shipped excess supplies, turned over surpluses to a liquidation commission, provided security detachments for remaining fixed installations until they could be disposed of, and continued to supply the Air Transport Command. These residual duties required fewer troops and many soon began moving out of the command.
During , many units were sent home for reassignment or were transferred to other theaters of the war. In the summer many soldiers were released and sent home for discharge. Because it had completed its mission and had decreased considerably in size, the PGC again became the Persian Gulf Service Command in October and came under the U. Army Forces in the Middle East, in Cairo. Finally, on 26 December , the last echelon of the command left Khorramshahr for the United States or other theaters.
After Germany was defeated, Iran, under the Shah, remained an ally of the United States and Great Britain for decades, until he was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution in and replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Before the last man crossed the gangplank of the ship General Richardson , a considerable amount of planning had taken place for that inevitable moment.
This action was the culmination of a series of steps which included the disbandment of the Motor Transport Service on 1 December , the closing of the port of Bandar Shahpur for Soviet-aid purposes later that month, the ending of aircraft and motor vehicle assembly in early , the relinquishment of the railway in June , and a progressive contraction in function, structure, and personnel paralleling the falling off of incoming shipments. Their contributions to the war effort should not be forgotten.
In , Russia awarded veterans of the PGC a commemorative medal in recognition of their contribution to a common struggle against fascism during the last war. The accomplishments of the Persian Gulf Command cannot be overstated. They quickly began training the partisans in the raiding tactics, demolition work, and the use and maintenance of Allied weapons provided by air drops. Two raids successfully destroyed forty thousand liters of fuel and a locomotive with four cars of troops and material.
Later, the team took in a couple of Austrian Luftwaffe personnel, who said they were deserters. But when it was discovered they were planning to rejoin their unit and inform on the team, their throats were cut. That night, both sides withdrew; the next day, German troops arrived and blasted the mountaintop with artillery for six hours before overrunning it, only to find it the stone-hut vacant, except for a booby trap that the Americans left inside the door and which killed six Germans.
Everyone had to run for his life in different directions through the mountainous countryside. Most escaped, but half a dozen partisans and two Americans were captured. Radioman Oliver Silsby was the first to become exhausted and collapse. Captain Chappell stopped to help him, and both were captured, although Chappell was able to escape into the brush. Fabrega, who had dropped behind with two partisans, was also captured. He, like the partisans captured with him was tortured, tied to chairs, beaten with clubs, and given electric shocks to various parts of the body.
Fabrega did not disclose information. The next day, he and forty other prisoners were taken to the Belluno town square. The square was filled with townspeople, but all was quiet except the barked orders of the SS officers. A small German truck was backed under a tree; two youthful but beaten partisans stood in the rear. An officer brought Fabrega brought forward and asked the two youths if they knew him. Germans now beat them again and looped nooses over their necks, but neither said a word. Both looked up at the sky. The officer waved his arm, the driver pulled the truck forward, and the two bodies swung on the ropes.
Fabrega kept to his cover story and continued to be starved and tortured. After eleven days, he was taken to an SS prison camp near Bolzano, miles north. But the sergeant, either not believing him or realizing the importance of the kind of information the spy provided the Americans, declined. Instead Fabrega remained in the car all the way to the SS-run prison camp. There, he continued to undergo torture and interrogation.
He later killed an SS lieutenant with a walking stick. When the Allied offensives began in April , they and the partisans scattered roadways with four-pronged road spikes, which caused considerable damage to vehicular traffic, they tore down telephone poles and telephone and electric wire, and blew up bridges at Vas and Busche, and killed a couple of dozen enemy troops. On 24 April, seeking to get to a mountain pass to prevent retreating Germans, Chappell and two other Americans, aided by a blonde Italian countess, hid in boxes in the back of a truck, as their partisan driver narrowly got them though two German road blocks.
Together with partisan groups in the area, they mopped up a number of small German garrisons and learning that a large convoy was headed north, they blew up a bridge just north of Caprile and set up a road block and a trap for the Germans in the narrow winding mountain road. When the convoy arrived, Chappell and the partisans opened fire from the high ground, killing some Germans in fifteen minutes. The single-file convoy was trapped, and after the initial firefight, its leaders asked for terms of surrender. Chappell said unconditional surrender, and after a few minutes of threats and discussion, the 3, Germans surrendered.
Among the prisoners were a number of SS men, including the notoriously cruel Major Schroeder, head of the SS in the region and responsible for the torture and executions in Belluno and elsewhere. The morning after the surrender of the German convoy, several officers of the th Panzer Division and other units told Chappell that they were very disturbed about being confined with SS and asked to be separated.
Chappell granted their request. That night, he summoned Major Schroeder and his seven SS officers to his quarters, where they talked in German. We drank a little wine, and I learned the name of the spy who had disclosed my location prior to 6 March. This man was later killed in an attempt to escape. We laughed about the fact that some of my equipment that had been captured was in his, and some of his officers, possession. He told me at this time that neither he nor any of his officers had ever committed any outrages and they regretted some of the brutalities that other Germans had committed.
Before he left he told me that he was glad that he had surrendered to me because all of his staff felt I would treat them as they would have treated me, if they had the chance. That was the way I felt about it. All of them were killed that night trying to escape. They tied up several German divisions and forced the surrender of 7, Wehrmacht troops. On 3 May, Chappell drove down to Feltre and welcomed the U. In the final days of the war, Fabrega escaped in the confusion and went to Merano, where the top SS officials in the region were located. Brazenly, he walked into an SS barracks, announced he was a U.
Army captain and told the Germans they were restricted to the barracks. His bluff worked, they stayed put, and when the U. Thus ended the Tacoma Mission. Hearn, a former football player from San Jose State College in California, who joined the OSS in December , received SO and MU training in OSS training camps in Virginia and Maryland, and then ran boats along the Adriatic coast, bluffed a German commander in the city of Chioggia near Venice with the threat of an air attack, and accepted the surrender of a heavily armed garrison of 1, German troops on 24 April Mussolini, his mistress, and some of his ministers sought to escape to Switzerland.
Civitella and his unit were directed to go after Mussolini, capture him and hold him for trial. They were summarily executed by partisans on 28 April and their bodies hanged upside down in downtown Milan. In , the Germans had used a hundred thousand Italian police and Fascist militia to contain the Italian Resistance. But by February , the unified and Allied-directed Resistance movement had grown so strong in northern Italy that Field Marshal Kesselring ordered his commanders to suppress it, even if it meant bringing German combat units from the front.
But Kesselring argued that a more realistic estimate was some 5, German soldiers killed and 8, missing and presumed killed. His intelligence officers claimed the figures were even higher. This was from an original contingent of seventeen officers and enlisted men. The Germans launched major anti-partisan offensives in the winter of that included massacres of civilians, sometimes whole villages, for aiding the Resistance in its attacks on German soldiers.
A total of some 35, Italians, including partisans, died, some 21, were wounded, and 9, were deported to slave labor camps in Germany, as a result of German reprisals and the anti-partisan campaign. Directing the Resistance in France To the U. The role was firstly to establish contacts inside German-occupied France and provide intelligence about enemy strength and defenses and secondly, when the Allied invasions began, to lead French Resistance groups, the maquis, and block or at least impede German reinforcements.
The Allies decided to invade northern France, with a smaller subsequent attack in the south, at the Quebec Conference in August The target date set for the early summer of Rivalry and distrust existed among the different political groups in the Resistance in France, as in Italy, and there was outright hostility between the Communist Partisans and the others. The Allied agencies were often caught among these rivalries, but they were able in varying degrees to work with most of them with the frequent exception of the Communists.
SO began infiltrating agents—Frenchspeaking Americans or French nationals dressed in civilian clothes--into occupied France by parachute or rubber raft in early summer The maquis had long used women as well as men, and the British and Americans joined them. The risks were high. Thirteen SOE women agents were executed by the Nazis. This American socialite, who spoke fluent French, had been working as a code clerk in the U.
The Soviet-German War 1941 - 1945
She had a wooden leg, the result of a prewar hunting accident. It did not deter her, but it gave her a characteristic limp. We must find and destroy her. She was landed on the Brittany coast at night, three months before the Normandy invasion. Dying her hair gray and hiding her limp under the full skirts and shuffle of her disguise as an elderly peasant woman, Hall moved around the countryside in the central region of France, living in different places to avoid the Germans who tried intensively to find her by triangulating her radio signals and offering rewards for her capture.
She was co-organizer of the Heckler Mission, and working in the central France regions of Haute Loire and Le Puy in , she financed, armed, and helped to direct a couple of thousand members of the maquis. In July , three plane loads of arms, ammunition, and demolitions finally arrived, and these enabled the maquisards to destroy a number of bridges and tunnels and eventually to force the several thousand German troops out of Le Puy by sheer bluff. Her three battalions of Resistance fighters killed German soldiers and captured more, Finally in mid-August a three-man, multinational Jedburgh team arrived from OSS Algiers, and they organized a Resistance force at Le Puy of 1, men, a group, which Hall continued to supply with money and arms as she obtained them from Allied airdrops.
For her heroism, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Although their ship anchored within yards of the shoreline in the predawn darkness, it proved impossible to land the OSS SO party. Mills, a year-old Oklahoman from the field artillery who had trained at Area A, looked on in horror at the slaughter on Omaha Beach. God was with us that day and did not allow us to land two hours earlier as planned—or our OSS detachment would certainly have been destroyed.
Mere Eglise…until contact was made with the French Resistance. Against orders of the Secretary of the Navy, he persuaded an old friend to allow him in the forefront of the naval armada. From the cruiser U. Tuscaloosa, he and David Bruce, SI chief in London, watched the first waves of troops hit the beaches. In mid-afternoon, the two men went ashore at Utah Beach. That landing spot had been easily secured, but when Donovan and Bruce followed the infantry and OSS men into the hedgerow farm country, they suddenly came under enemy machine gun fire.
After all, I am your commanding officer. Afterwards, Donovan returned to London and then to Washington, while Bruce set up an OSS field headquarters in a secured area of the Normandy beachhead. The Jedburghs The special operations plan to support the Normandy invasion was to use various Allied teams to lead the French Resistance in the disruption of enemy communications, attacks on troop movements and supply columns, and raids on enemy headquarters in order to impede the German opposition to the Allied advance.
The most famous of these teams were the Jedburghs. The teams were drawn from Special Operations forces of the United States, Great Britain and France, and always included at least one native-speaking Frenchman. Their mission was to direct, supply and coordinate the Resistance groups according to directives from the Allied high command. Between June and September , Jedburghs were parachuted into the war zone.
Of these, 83 were Americans, 90 Britons and Frenchmen.
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Most of them were dropped into France with a few dropped into Belgium and Holland. In support of the Normandy Landings In northern France, ten Jedburgh teams jumped into the countryside on D-Day, and some twenty more teams followed in subsequent weeks. Most went into Brittany, the large peninsula west of Normandy that was heavily garrisoned with German troops, which could pose a threat to the flank of the invasion force.
Allied headquarters wanted the Jeds to direct thousands of French Resistance fighters and contain the Germans there by cutting off rail and roadways. They might also help conventional forces seize the big ports of Brest, Lorient, and Nazaire, which would be needed for supplying the rapidly expanding expeditionary force. At to feet, the agent would be on a ground in a few seconds, barely enough time for the parachute to open. It included a year-old British major, Adrian Wise, who had been on two commando raids along the Norwegian coast, and a French lieutenant, Paul Bloch-Auroch, a year-old reservist who had served in France and North Africa.
Although unlike them Kehoe had never been in battle, he felt ready. Their mission: connect with the French Resistance and prevent German troops or supplies from getting to Normandy by blowing up bridges and railroad lines and setting up barricades and ambushes on roadways. As they neared the drop zone, Kehoe remembered that after checking his equipment, he repeated the 23rd Psalm. The local Resistance set a triangle of bonfires to mark the drop site and when the three men reached the ground, gave them a warm cups of strong Breton cider. Kehoe quickly established radio contact with the OSS base station in London.
But the increased activity also led several hundred German troops to come looking for them. The Germans may have been tipped off by informers. They posted notices declaring that those found aiding parachutists would be shot, but informants would receive monetary rewards. The SAS dissipated into small groups and headed south, several were killed in skirmishes along the way.
The Jed team decided to go it alone. With the Germans only a few hundred yards behind them, Kehoe buried the radio equipment so the team could move faster. With the help of courageous local French men and women, the team survived and even continued operations against the Germans.
The first night on the run, as the team huddled in a concealed drainage ditch, their savior was a young woman, who like so many other female schoolteachers played a key role as guides, couriers, and coordinators in the maquis. At one point the Germans came within three or four feet from where the team members lay hidden in a briar patch, their guns drawn.
The body hormones apparently knew their job and did it well. By mid-June, the team was working actively with an armed and organized local Resistance to prevent tens of thousands of German troops in Brittany from moving east to attack the Allied force in Normandy. German truck convoys were subject to Allied air attacks during the day, but were generally safe at night, until the Jeds organized, trained and supplied the French Resistance to attack them.
As the team radio operator, Kehoe was the key link with headquarters. While the others slept during the night, he had to listen to one-way broadcast instructions from London scheduled from midnight to 3 a. In rapid Morse code, the broadcast would first list those who had messages coming. If none for his team, Kehoe would sign off, otherwise, he listened until the message to him was sent and then later to the repeat to ensure accuracy. Accuracy was difficult but essential, especially in setting up airdrops. The message was, of course, enciphered.
The one-time paid was based on a memorized transposition system keyed to a signal at the beginning of the transmission of where to start the five-letter groups on the pad. The Germans launched more sweeps, including a massive one in which 4, troops were sent out against the Jeds and the Resistance. Several members of the local maquis were killed in these, but the Jeds had now learned to plan for such attacks and had arranged in advance for escape routes and clear responsibilities to avoid confusion and delay.
It included a British radio operator, a French captain, and an U. Army captain, Bernard M. With the outbreak of the war, Knox joined the U. Army, became an officer and a U. When his combat experience in Spain became known, he was also made an instructor. They obtained a number of prisoners, many of whom had participated in atrocities against French civilians in the area. The French forces demanded they be turned over and quickly executed most of them.
In mid-July, the Allies broke through the German lines at St. Army, led by its armored divisions, began its famous, fast-moving, long-ranging swing south and east to trap Germans in Normandy from the rear. Task is now preservation not destruction. Greatest importance…road [to] Morlaix, Sant Breuc, Lamballe. While the main thrust of the Third Army swung southeast toward Paris, sizable armed columns also directed west into the Brittany peninsula toward Brest and the German submarine bases as St.
Nazaire and Lorient. The armored columns counted on having the French Resistance keep the roads open for the American tanks, which they did. The Jeds met up with the lead tanks on the way to Morlaix, and the commander of the column quickly asked them for the maquis as guides in front and to protect his supply line behind. Thus the Allies aided the Resistance as the Resistance had been aiding the Allies.
As a result of the Jeds, the French Resistance and Allied armor, the large German garrisons, with tens of thousands of troops in Brittany, were unable to provide reinforcements for the German effort to contain the Allied landings in Normandy. The OSS had recruited him from the airborne school at Ft. In Britain, he was assigned to a team with a French commander and a French radioman. They were dropped into southeastern Brittany three days after D-Day.
Their first problem was that the overeager maquis immediately attacked the Germans before an adequate supply of arms and munitions arrived. Consequently, the Germans counterattacked, and the Jeds had to blow up five tons of explosives and escape with their French SAS men to avoid capture. The Germans tracked them with dogs and executed families who sheltered them.
One or two of the Resistance leaders had been informants for the Gestapo. In a new district, where the Resistance was trustworthy, Captain Cyr and Team George led local maquis in numerous attacks on German troop convoys, railroads, canals and bridges. Because of earlier reports of French traitors and a two-week gap in transmissions, London would not respond to their radio signals, believing the radio had been captured.
Allied air forces subsequently bombed the key parts of those U-boat facilities and significantly reduced the effectiveness of German submarine operations in the Atlantic. The Jed team sent back reports on German strength to Allied headquarters by radio or using young French girls on their bicycles as couriers. In one raid, Dreux led a group of maquis to try to punch a hole through the rear of German concrete bunker defenses on the Brittany coast.
His group consisted of untrained French youths and some former French colonial soldiers from Senegal and Algeria. The Germans knew they were coming, drew them into a trap, and opened fire with machine guns. The colonial soldiers disappeared. The young Frenchmen stood fast but took a beating before Dreux could get them out. Yet, after the war, as he grew older, became a successful lawyer and raised a family, Dreux began to raise questions about the impact of his actions. He could not forget the lives lost because of him: the Frenchmen who had been executed because they helped him, the teenagers shot down in an ambush into which he had inadvertently led them.
The French villagers later reassured him that the defeat of the Nazis had been worth the price, but the deaths continued to haunt him. Yet beginning with the moment I flung myself out of the bomber the rest was up to me—up to me and chance. All I wanted to know then, for example, was what lay around the next bend of the road, or whether that enemy machine gun in that clump of trees could cover the road to my left, or how soon it would be before I could stop and rest.
Could I trust this Resistance leader? That barn we were hiding in, what was the best escape route if a German patrol came, and could we fight our way out? There was no need to consider a compromise between integrity and money, between moral courage and popularity. The answers often were not easy, but you got them fast enough. Jeds in Central and Southern France, July and August While some of the Jedburgh Teams parachuted into Brittany beginning in June, others jumped into central France in July to help the Allied advance eastward after the breakout from the Normandy lodgment.
And still others parachuted into southern France in preparation for the 15 August Allied landings on the French Riviera and the drive north up the Rhone River Valley. The highway and railroad from Bordeaux northeast to Clermont-Ferrand and on to Lyons, was the main German escape route from southwestern France, and Allied headquarters wanted the tens of thousands of enemy troops in the German First Army Group to be trapped there. The French were anxious for revenge. Singlaub impressed the rival French forces with his skill and bravery.
First, he helped shoot down a strafing German plane. Then, despite suffering bloody wounds to his ear and cheek from shell fragments, Singlaub grabbed a heavy Bren submachine gun, rushed forward, and from behind a shattered tree trunk, emptied two thirty-round magazines into the German gun crew sixty meters away, killing all of them. Team James forced the surrender of several small, isolated German garrisons along the main highway; they also convinced local French leaders to stage a series of small ambushes along the highway, particularly on the relief columns.
After seven weeks in the field, much of it with only minimal sleep, Team James, was flown back to England, their mission accomplished. Paul, Minnesota, and raised at military facilities around the world, including China. He had just finished his first year at Columbia Law School, when he was called to active duty in Bored with the field artillery, he joined the paratroops, from which OSS recruited him in September Their mission was to aid the French Resistance in the Yonne Valley some sixty miles southeast of Paris.
Instead of being dropped into a rural area, the plane on a mid-August night, dropped them right into the center of a German-occupied town. The falling supply containers woke up the townspeople as well as the Germans, and the Jedburgh team had to dodge patrols for two days until they were able to reach the maquis. Although it was later discovered that the local Resistance had been run by a collaborator working with the Germans, by August , Colby realized the Nazis would be defeated and he did not endanger the Jeds.
They ambushed German patrols, attacked convoys, blew up supply depots, and destroyed several bridges across the Loire River to impede German units from the South from attacking the flanks of the Allied armies which were driving toward Germany. A native New Yorker, Bank had worked as a youth as a lifeguard and swimming instructor in the Bahamas and southern France after high school. Traveling through Europe in the s, he became fluent in French and German.
He joined the U. Army as a private in and served in a transportation unit. He completed his Jed training in Britain. The Germans tried to track them down. Bank had some narrow escapes. But his mission was successful. Some 3, effective guerrillas were armed and directed, supplied by a dozen or more airdrops. They ambushed numerous convoys and imposed about a thousand or so casualties on the enemy. Like the other successful teams, they had helped a phantom Army arise, strike, and repeatedly melt away, helping to bleed the enemy economically and militarily.
As the advance elements of the U. When they saw him is his U. It was the thrill of a lifetime! Lieutenant Lucien E.
Born in Paris, Conein had been raised in Kansas City by an aunt. He served in the French Army, , then the U. There he worked with the maquis, including the Corsica Brotherhood, an underworld organization allied with the Resistance. Like Colby, Singlaub, and Bank, Conein would later become one of the most famous of the former Jedburghs, in his case emerging as one of the leading covert operators of the Cold War, first in Eastern Europe and then in Vietnam.
Alsop, 30, in Jed Team Alexander in central France. Operating out of the Pyrenees Mountains, the team was successful in blowing up railroads, especially the main line from Spain which had been delivering iron ore to the Germans. Fuller was awarded the Silver Star medal. They were the first Allied ground forces to arrive in France since , and the French locals cheered them heartily.
They arranged for the supply of weaponry and began training the Resistance in their use. Ortiz also liked to thumb his nose at the Germans, for example, by stealing Gestapo vehicles or making public appearances in villages in his Marine uniform. He opened fire with a. This time, he parachuted in as commander of Union II Mission to lead the maquis in raids against the retreating Germans and prevent the enemy from sabotaging key installations. Marines in the OSS. Sergeant Merritt Binns had been a parachute rigger and instructor at Quantico, Virginia.
Perry from Massachusetts, was killed when his chute failed to open. Another, Robert La Salle, was injured so badly that he could not continue in the mission. The rest spent several days training the maquisards with the weapons that had been dropped from Bs and then began attacking Germans. The Germans sent a force of nearly 4, to destroy what they believed was an entire Allied battalion, in the process, wiping out the entire village of Montgirod that had harbored the Americans and the maquis, burning the town and killing the villagers. The next day, 16 August , the Americans were forced to move out in daylight, and while moving just below the ridgeline, they were confronted by an armored German patrol and were forced to take cover in the nearby village of Centron.
The Germans started to surround the village and Ortiz and Sergeants Jack Risler and John Bodnar, who were the closest to the enemy, were pinned down by machine gun fire.
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On the other side of the village, Coolidge and the other two sergeants were able to escape by jumping into the Isere River. As the German infantry advanced, supported by the armored cars, Ortiz realized the situation was hopeless to him and also to the town, which might suffer the same fate at Montgirod. The French civilians urged him to surrender to avoid reprisals. We work together, we stay together. When the German major appeared, Ortiz negotiated the surrender of his Marines in exchange for the safety of the town.
He said they had only been passing through and that the villagers had not been harboring them. When Ortiz motioned the other two Marines forward, the German major could not believe that his battalion had been held off by only three men, but Ortiz, their automatic weapons, and a search of the town, convinced him.
The Marines, and the French officer, who was captured later, were held in a naval prisoner of war camp near Bremen until it was liberated. Ortiz received a second Navy Cross for his actions.
Coolidge and the other two sergeants were able to escape to American lines. After the war, Ortiz remained in the Marine Corps reserve, but as a civilian, he returned to Hollywood as both a technical adviser and a minor actor under his friend, director John Ford. Born in the United States, he had been raised since infancy in bilingual Alsace-Lorraine and became fluent in French and German.
Returning to the United States in , he joined the U. Army in and was trained as a radio operator by the Signal Corps before volunteering for the OSS in He remained in France until September. The training, particularly the SOE training had been vital. Coming unexpectedly across a German roadblock on their tandem bicycle, they were inspected.
When the Germans were about to find the pistols in their clothes and their radio in the suitcase, they shot their way out. They left the radio and their other supplies and ran as fast as they could. The remaining Germans continued to fire after them. Brucker knew he would be tortured and then executed if captured. If they hit the feet, I take the pistol and blow my brains out, so I kept on running and eventually found a safe house whose owner was part of the Resistance.
Brucker was promoted to lieutenant and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His next assignment was in China and after the war in , he would become one of initial members and instructors of the U. Army Special Forces. The last came from an old upstate New York family including newspaper publishers, politicians, and judges. After graduation, he joined the Marines, received a commission in December , and transferred to the OSS, where he received SO training in Maryland and Virginia, and additional training in Britain.
He was assigned as the weapons officer to the Freelance Mission which was parachuted into Montlucom in south central France. Macomber trained groups of maquisards in the use of automatic weapons, and they ambushed German convoys heading away from the advancing Allies. Lieutenants Macomber and Block with their maquis units met with German officers who made clear that they wanted to surrender to the Americans not the maquis and refused to have their units disarmed until they were escorted through masquis areas to the U. The two and a few hundred maquis were in a town with 6, armed Germany troops.
It was an extraordinary capitulation, as Macomber wrote in his report. They were actually overcome by the joining of the American Third and Seventh Armies, for this destroyed their escape route. Nevertheless…the nearest American regular troops that could be brought against them were those of the Third Army north of the Loire, and every bridge across the Loire was blown. If they had chosen to fight it out, it would have meant the diversion of sizeable forces and considerable cost in time, manpower, and material. Had there been no Maquis active, the Germans would almost certainly have followed this course.
It is highly significant that the maquis so completely destroyed their nerves by continual sniping and ambush and by killing every prisoner which fell into their hands.
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His mission was for Secret Intelligence as well as Special Operations in the Grenoble area in the southeast.. Synder and Coppier were parachuted into the mountainous region of southeastern France in May Since most of their mission was intelligence gathering about the German units in the area, they wore civilian clothing after the initial jump.
Yet they also engaged in paramilitary operations, including attacking convoys and facilities with guns and plastic explosives disguised to look like potatoes and radioing for Allied bombing attacks. They brought in B bombers which destroyed German ammunition and supply trains on the mail line between France and Italy.
Rail traffic came to a standstill. One of them was Roberto Esquenazi-Mayo, a native Cuban and graduate of the University of Havana, who immigrated to the United States in to continue this studies, he enlisted in the U. Army in , at age Unfortunately, he fractured his leg very badly in the landing and was unable to continue the mission.
He was rescued by Spanish Republicans working with the French Resistance, who got him out of the country and to a military hospital in North Africa. He arrived safely only to be told by the wounded officer that two hours earlier the advance elements of the U. Second Armored Division had raced through pursuing the Germans and that Hall had landed behind his own lines.
His brief mission was over. The OGs, usually composed of men from particular American ethnic groups, but sometimes including foreign nationals, were organized to fight in sections of a dozen men of more, and fought they did. The Jeds understood that. Major Alfred T. Cox was a strong and able athlete and an intelligent and commanding leader.
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Graduating from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, with a civil engineering degree and membership in Phi Beta Kappa, he was captain of the football team, co-captain of the baseball team, and class President. They arrived in Algiers in February , and they went to the OSS parachute school there and continued their field exercises, preparatory to being dropped into France south of Lyons in August to aid the Allied landings of nearly , men along the French Riviera beginning 15 August.
Outside, the sky was full of planes from horizon to horizon and as far as the eye could see.
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