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Mount Up! We're Moving Out! The World War II Memoir of an Armored Car Gunner

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Mount Up! We're Moving Out! The World War II Memoir of an Armored Car Gunner of D Troop, 94th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized, 14th Armored Division
  • by Vernon H. Brown Jr.
    • A Merriam Press World War II Memoir
      • Eighth Edition 2021
      • 148 6x9-inch pages
      • 52 B&W photos
      • 5 maps
      • 13 documents
      • 1 illustration
The big adventure for the men of D Troop, 94th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized (their official name), really began on October 8, 1944, when following a long cramped train ride they arrived at Camp Shanks, New Jersey.
The journey which started in Camp Campbell, Kentucky, was finally over, and morale took a noticeable turn for the better. This was the staging area for the New York Port of Embarkation (POE), and the start of the Big One for which they had trained so long and so hard.
At that point in time the author's Main Occupational Specialty (MOS) was to man the .50-caliber machine gun in a "Peep" (the armored soldier's name for a jeep). Later, he became the gunner of an M8 armored car.
The story of the author and his unit starts with their shipment overseas on the troopship Gen. James A. Parker and their landing in Marseilles, France. They undergo more training, followed by their first foray into combat in early December 1944.
The rest of the story unfolds as the author and his unit move inexorably towards Germany and the end of the war. The story will be familiar to all veterans, with episodes of camaraderie, laughter, combat, fear, losses, tears, peace and joy.
This is not a war story, nor is it a story about war; rather it is a story about men whose lives happened to become entangled in a war. The material for it has been derived from several sources; first of all from Troop and Platoon diaries in the author's possession which were written during the months of occupation shortly after the end of the conflict; secondly from the published history of the 14th Armored Division, and lastly drawn from several published texts which pertain to the events and places which are depicted.
That it is written in the first person was not the author's original intention, as it is meant to be a narrative about a team of which he was only one player, but once started this seemed the only practical way to accomplish the end product.
  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1: Embarkation
  • Chapter 2: Arrival in France
  • Chapter 3: Mount Up
  • Chapter 4: First Combat
  • Chapter 5: Taking Gambsheim
  • Chapter 6: Radio Watch
  • Chapter 7: Into Germany
  • Chapter 8: Booby Trap
  • Chapter 9: Holding Position Inside Germany
  • Chapter 10: Operation NORTHWIND
  • Chapter 11: Hatten-Rittershofen
  • Chapter 12: Withdrawal
  • Chapter 13: Spring Thaw
  • Chapter 14: Siegfried Line
  • Chapter 15: Across the Rhine
  • Chapter 16: The Final Curtain
The Author: Now that this phase of my life has come into such focus other incidents come to mind that could have gone into the book, too late of course, but they would have added human interest which is really what people like, not the Pvt. Ryan gore. Like after I fell off the peep up in the Bitche Forest I guess I must have been unconscious for a while and the guys that saw me lying there alongside the road figured that I was KIA and somehow this got reported to the 1st Sergeant. I finally tracked him down the next morning and straightened things out, but can you imagine what this would have done to my poor parents if the telegram had gone out! As it was I figure that my Mom spent most of the war in church lighting candles.
Lynda Taibi Hinckley, who is the daughter of Jim Taibi, to whom the book is dedicated (he is buried at Arlington) wants to buy a couple of copies to archive for her Dad's grandchildren. I also had a long phone call from Sidney Kweller, former troop officer, who said he had talked to you and had enjoyed the book so much that he is recommending it to John Kaiser, Evergreen, CO, who is one of the former Troop Commanders. I very much doubt if the former Capt. Kaiser would remember me from any of the other enlisted men in the Troop, but he is a first class sort of person.
I was also wondering now that tax time is upon us what my projected earnings from sales would amount to. As I remember I get 10% or something like that, and while I doubt that this will come to more than a dinner out at a good restaurant, I did have some expenses writing the thing and printing up early copies at Staples which I might as well claim as the whole project will probably come in at a loss. My real compensation has been the nice letters and phone calls from people who have enjoyed the book, and in a way this reflects on you also because you saw some merit in it.
It's fun to get a little check based on what I suppose is artistic endeavor, but I'd hate to have to live off it. What I would really like to know is if there are any sales other than the ones that I generate, and if you were the teacher and all your authors were students, where would I stand in the class. I know that some books are bigger, a whole lot are more sensational, but I have also read enough books of this kind to know that many of them are really not very well written. I kind of hoped that whatever it is that I produced has had some sort of success in the open market.
Review by David H. Ahl, book review in Military Vehicles (date/issue unknown): This is the story of the author's unit from their embarkation in October 1944 right through to the end of the war. With an MOS as a heavy machine gunner, the author was first assigned to a peep (the armored soldier's name for a jeep) and later to an M8 armored car. This is not a war story, nor is it a story about war, rather it is a story about men whose lives happened to become entangled in a war. The material has been taken from diaries, official documents, and other published texts. Of the many wartime memoirs I've read, this is one of the very best; it is cohesive, interesting, and alive. So often, these books are disjointed recollections of veterans with imperfect memories that, while colorful, leave big gaps in the story. Here you'll find camaraderie, laughter, combat, fear, losses, tears, boredom, and joy as the unit moves up from southern France, across the Rhine, and into Germany. When you read this book, you're right with the men every step of the way as they stand guard duty every night, send probes into the German lines, dive into frozen foxholes, slog through two-foot-deep mud, eat K-rations for Christmas dinner, fight Jerry, look for shelter, take prisoners, and wrestle with balky vehicles. With 52 previously unpublished photos plus five detailed maps, you're in the midst of the action. Get this book.

Review by Gary Venturelli, U.S.: My father, T/5 Ario Venturelli, was in the 1st Platoon, D Troop, 94th Cavalry with Vernon. I would like to thank him for publishing his book which will give my family an idea of what is was like for my father.  I will be sending a copy to my brother to put with my dad's war souvenirs. We didn't know about the pictures of my dad in the book. He did not want to talk about the war.
Review by David Donovan, Great Britain: The reason I want one of the books ordered is because my son and I have rebuilt a 1944 M8 armored car. You simply do not read much written by any crew members of M8s. Thanks again, glad to be dealing direct with you after having bought your books from others before.
Review by Bob Proctor, U.S.: I'm thoroughly enjoying your tale of World War II. I read a few pages at night before going to bed and then try to imagine what I've just read. The detail you supply makes for great imagery. You must have kept a comprehensive journal of your time there—or your memory is better than I can conceive. So much of World War II is locked up in the minds of the veterans and eventually all that will be lost unless some brave souls such as yourself muster the energy and courage to document the personal side of the battles fought. The personal aspect is what sets your writings apart from so many other documentary pieces. It's what makes it so real. It is what is needed to ensure future generations understand what their ancestors endured for world peace. Thanks for sharing it with us all.

Review by Lea Thompson, U.S.: Thank you for publishing this book. My Uncle was in the next platoon and thank you to Vernon Brown, Jr. for writing it for those of us who are still trying to drag it out of his colleagues as to what really happened.

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