Strike Swiftly: The 70th Tank Battalion: From North Africa to Normandy to Germany

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9780891416104: Strike Swiftly: The 70th Tank Battalion: From North Africa to Normandy to Germany

The 70th Tank Battalion was at the forefront of virtually every major campaign against Hitler's war machine - eight in all, more than any other U.S. tank battalion in World War II. They were there in the very beginning as the battalion chosen by General Patton to strike the first blow against Nazi-controlled North Africa in 1942. They helped finish off the Wehrmacht in late 1994 during the battle of the Bulge, and ultimately crossed the Rhine to victory. In between, the 70th engaged in some of the bloodiest and most grueling battles of the war including the Tunisian campaign, the invasion of both Sicily and Normandy, the push to the Siegfried Line, and the battle of the Huertgen Forest. Strike Swiftly: The 70th Tank Battalion - From North Africa to Normandy to Germany is the only book available about this uniquely active and historically important World War II tank battalion. The author, Marvin Jensen, a participant of the 70th during many of these campaigns, has written a complete history told almost entirely through primary sources; i.e., through the eyes of the enlisted men in the battalion. Author Jensen has produced a valuable work of military history that not only spans the entire course of the U.S.-led war against the Nazis, but is a wonderfully written, inside view of combat from the American tanker's perspective.

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Review :

Jensen's book is a collection of tales, events, and history all sewn together. It read quickly and left the reader wanting to learn more about the experiences of the men of the 70th battalion. It was told from the perspective of those who were truly involved in and affected by the war, not by some staff officer retelling the events from afar. It was warm, engaging, funny, serious, sad, and real. A Great book! --By A Customer

Strategists and historians, writing about World War II, D-Day, the landings at Normandy, and the battles to liberate Europe would do well to read Mr. Jensen's compelling book about the role of the 70th Tank Battalion. As an historian, he has a fine sense of history. As a participant, a fine memory. His account is made vivid and immediate by the accounts of the men themselves, who were responsible for the allied victories. I doubt if you will read better descriptions of the citizen army, trained for the landing, but for little else the men were to encounter on land, than the narratives of these ordinary men from an extraordinary battalion. We have read this book and highly recommend it --By A Customer

The 70th Tank Battalion was an elite unit from the start. Created in 1940 as the first independent tank battalion in the U.S. Army, it was relied on for the critical jobs in eight campaigns. The 70th was selected by Patton for North Africa (where A Company was attached to the French Forces), fought in Sicily, and went ashore with the 4th Division on 6 June 1944. Their subsequent Normandy efforts won their first Presidential Unit Citation.. They continued through the Siegfried Line and the incredibly tough Huertgen Forest, fought in Korea and in the Gulf War, and today is the most decorated armor unit in the United States. Their story is very well told here, with particular attention to the war as fought by the tankers themselves; the heart of the story. Readers who wish to follow the developments of the campaigns will need to furnish their own maps, but this failing doesn't detract seriously from this valuable record of one of the most remarkable units of World War II. --By A Customer

From Kirkus Reviews :

During WW II, Jensen served as a cook in the bivouac of a potent tank battalion. His first book is a proud history of the unit and, not incidentally, a tribute to his friends at the front. The men of the 70th Tank Battalion fought from Tunis and Sicily to Normandy on D-Day. Then, through the hazardous Norman hedgerows to the glory of Paris on Liberation Day, from the Seigfried Line into the Battle of the Bulge, often advancing beyond their maps, they were an integral part of bloody, cosmic events. Jensen records the details, including the symbiotic kinship of the tankmen and the infantry. We learn the difference in handling a light tank and a medium one. He notes the functions of quartermaster and ordnance, field kitchen and graves registration. Official records, action reports, citations, and other historical sources are marshaled to record events in the life of the battalion (like the surrender of some 20,000 Germans to its A Company, consisting of just 134 men). But the personal journals and letters and many interviews with veterans of the 70th are the most powerful evidence of military prowess coupled with basic humanity. Jensen's debriefing is almost pedestrian, merging minor events and high drama. Yet it is a matter-of-fact record of unsurpassed comradeship and courage. By the last page, these tales of bravery become a powerful evocation of the world's last good war. For this military history, a feeling for the difference between a squad and a division or a carbine and a howitzer might be helpful but is certainly not required. It's a simple text of a harrowing time when men fought, not for a flag, but for their brothers-in-arms and their honor and then went--those who survived- -home again. (maps and photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Marvin Jensen
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Jensen, Marvin
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