In World War I the 30th Infantry Division earned more Medals of Honor than any other American division. In World War II it spent more consecutive days in combat than almost any other outfit. Recruited mainly from the Carolinas and Georgia and Tennessee, they were one of the hardest-fighting units the U.S. ever fielded in Europe. What was it about these men that made them so indomitable? They were tough and resilient for a start, but this division had something else. They possessed intrinsic zeal to engage the enemy that often left their adversaries in awe. Their U.S. Army nickname was the “Old Hickory” Division. But after encountering them on the battlefield, the Germans themselves came to call them “Roosevelt’s SS.”
This book is a combat chronicle of this illustrious division that takes the reader right to the heart of the fighting through the eyes of those who were actually there. It goes from the hedgerows of Normandy to the 30th’s gallant stand against panzers at Mortain, to the brutal slugs around Aachen and the Westwall, and then to the Battle of the Bulge. Each chapter is meticulously researched and assembled with accurate timelines and after-action reports. The last remaining veterans of the 30th Division and attached units who saw the action firsthand relate their remarkable experiences here for the first, and probably the last time. This is precisely what military historians mean when they write about “fighting spirit.”
There have been only a few books written about the 30th Division and none contained direct interviews with the veterans. This work follows their story from Normandy to the final victory in Germany, packed with previously untold accounts from the survivors. These are the men whose incredible stories epitomize what it was to be a GI in one of the toughest divisions in WWII.
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