Personal stories about the war are very fascinating. Reading or listening to them makes you feel part of the memory as you try to imagine what it must’ve been like for men to experience the war. That’s why I created a list of 5 books that you should read! They are memoirs of different veterans of different units that fought in the Battle of the Bulge. By reading these memoirs you can get a glimpse of what these soldiers experienced during the war. From the Elsenborn ridge in northern Belgium to the snowy hills of Luxembourg, these books share a unique view from the people who went through it all.
99th Infantry Division: Let’s start of at the most northern part in the Battle of the Bulge: the area near the Elsenborn ridge. The 99th Infantry Division heroically held the area where the most elite forces of the German army broke through on December 16th. The American division was a green unit, meaning it didn’t see combat yet. Their strength would be tested on those winter days. The book Brave Men Don’t Cry: The World War II Memoirs of a Veteran of the 99th Infantry follows Curt Whiteway. He was an NCO in E company, 394th Infantry Regiment. Whiteway’s book takes you back to his days on the frontline in the Belgian Ardennes and on to the liberation of a concentration camp. Click on the book cover to order your copy!
75th Infantry Division: The second book is from a Company Commander in the 75th Infantry Division: Company Commander: The Classic Infantry Memoir of World War II. His name is Charles B. MacDonald who fought with the 290th Infantry Regiment. The division saw heavy combat near the area of Grandmenil and Grand-Haleux in Belgium. Just like the 99th Division, the 75th also had minor combat experience. MacDonald’s book gives you an excellent description of how a 21-year old captain, led his troops through the Battle of the Bulge and beyond. People who are eager to learn more about the Battle of the Bulge should definitely get this best-seller. Click on the book cover get yours now!
101st Airborne Division: A lot of people have probably read this one already. The memoirs of Sgt. Donald Malarkey from E-Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division. His character is portrayed in the award-winning mini-series Band of Brothers. Malarkey recently passed away on September 31st 2017. His story is available in his memoirs Easy Company Soldier: The Legendary Battles of a Sergeant from World War II’s “Band of Brothers.” The books is a great addition to the mini-series and is personally one of my favorites. The reason for that is the book tells you of how Malarkey dealt with his wartime experience after the war. His memories continued to haunt him for a long time. It’s also a very good read when it comes to the Battle of the Bulge and really explains the breaking-point. A must-have for all the Band of Brothers Fans.
80th Infantry Division: Fourth on our memoir list is a book from a veteran who fought with the 317th Infantry Regiment of the 80th Infantry Division. His name is Andrew Adkins, Jr., a lieutenant and 81mm mortar section leader in H Company. Attacking in the Ettelbrück area the 80th division was one of the divisions sent to the Ardennes to and counter-attack the German winter offensive as part of Patton’s 3rd Army. In You Can’t Get Much Closer Than This: Combat with Company H, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division, Adkins memoirs will take you back to some very cold days in Luxembourg. He has vivid memories of the attacks he played part in and really grips your attention from the start. Click on the book cover to get yourself a copy!
5th Infantry Division: My personal favorite memoir is A Foot Soldier for Patton: The Story of a “Red Diamond” Infantryman with the US Third Army. In this memoir Michael C. Bilder shares with you his memories as an infantryman in the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the 5th Infantry Division. The reason for it being my favorite is because of his unit which I specifically research. The division is known for its role in the battle of Metz that started in September 1944 and caused a lot of casualties among the men. During the Battle of the Bulge the 5th Infantry Division also pushed back the German Offensive in its most-southern front in Luxembourg. After the failure of Hitler’s big gamble, the division attacked the German ‘Bulge’ and drove a deep wedge in the enemy lines in January 1945. Bilder shares unique memories of a fairly unknown division in the Battle of the Bulge. Only for that reason I think it’s a great idea to pick up a copy. Not only will you read about the infantryman’s experiences, you’ll also learn something new about the Battle of the Bulge.
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