Browse Categories

Articles and other information on these subjects:

Return to the Rapido

<< Previous in • World War 2 Memoir Next in • World War 2 Memoir >>

Return to the Rapido: Company "D/F," 81st Reconnaissance Battalion, First Armored Division
A remarkable memoir of service by a tanker with the 81st Reconnaissance Battalion of the 1st Armored Division, equipped initially with the Light Tank M3 "Stuart" and later the Light Tank M24 "Chaffee". Covers the unit's service, from pre-war training, through shipment overseas to England, Northern Ireland, back to England and then to North Africa, where it fought at Station Sened, Faid Pass, Sidi bou Zid and the debacle of Kasserine Pass, El Guettar, Gabes, Beja, Mateur and the Axis defeat in Tunisia. Then on to Italy, landing at Naples, then to the Volturno River; landing at Anzio, the breakout from the beachhead and on to Rome; cross the Arno River, winter in the Apennines and Arno Valley, the final push over the Po River, and the surrender of the German forces in Italy.
This book was written more than a quarter century after hostilities ceased in North Italy and subsequently in Germany itself; but the urge to write was conceived long before the work was actually begun. Several books have been written that dramatically and eloquently describe the war from the standpoint of personal experiences such as daring missions, atrocities, captivity, escape and other facets that make for reader interest; but almost without exception such books were the work of talented journalists or officers of rank and fame. This book was written by a person who saw the war unfold from the lowly rank of a $21.00 a month private who was denied the opportunity to apply for officers candidate school, but who eventually rose to the modest rank of "sergeant." Seen through the eyes of a menial "enlisted man" army life and the war itself appear in a different light.
This book is an attempt by the author to speak in behalf of the common soldier; to relate his humiliations and frustrations, his hardships and his hopes; and to place him in his proper perspective. It is an attempt as well to preserve for posterity some of the personal history of an individual unit which was on occasion an expendable component of the First Armored Division as it fought its way across North Africa and later distinguished itself in the Italian campaign.
It has been stated that "old soldiers fade away." This may be true in a sense but the epithet does not reflect the accuracy of their memories. Old soldiers do not forget, rather, they are more likely to remember. Even as they approach the stage of surrendering to a philosophy of meditation looking back for them becomes a journey down an old but familiar road. The tendency to relate war experiences, even to a disinterested audience, is characteristic of most service men.
This book is based largely on memories retained by the author but substantiated by the collection of letters written to his family during the war years.
  • Dedication
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Life in the Homeland
  • This is the Army: An Irish Summer
  • Prelude to Peril
  • Africa and the Arabs
  • Axis Encounter
  • Axis Defeat
  • Rest and Respite
  • Return to the Rapido
  • Enemies Become Friends
  • On to Rome
  • Pursuit to Pisa
  • Apennine Winter
  • Unconditional Surrender
  • Appendix
    • Chronology of Company D (F), 81st Reconnaissance Battalion, First Armored Division

Product Reviews

(0 Ratings, 0 Reviews)