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Patton’s Forward Observers: History of the 7th Field Artillery Observation Battalion XX Corps, Third Armyby John Kurt Rieth $23.95
by John Kurt Rieth More than any other, General George S. Patton Jr. conjures up the image of the ultimate World War II American warrior, and even today, the Patton mystique continues to grow. Despite his renowned egotism, Patton understood that it was the blood of his soldiers that earned the glory attributed to him. Formed on the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the 7th Field Artillery Observation Battalion (7th FAOB) was assigned the hazardous task of determining the source of enemy artillery fire. The exceptional level of training prepared the battalion well for combat in July 1944 when they landed in Normandy. Serving as XX Corps (the Ghost Corps) primary counterbattery unit, the battalion quickly advanced through France. Stopped cold by a ferocious German defense in Metz and Saarland in the bitter winter of 1944-1945, the 7th FAOB participated in some of the bloodiest, yet least well published, fighting of the war. Finally breaking through the German West Wall, XX Corps and the 7th FAOB ultimately crossed the Rhine and ended the war at Hitler’s birthplace in Braunau, Austria. Patton’s Forward Observers is a story told by a unique collection of highly trained artillery observers who fought every step of the war with Patton's famed Third Army. We remember Patton today only through the service of men like these. This is a soldier's story. Derived from wartime letters and oral histories told by the veterans themselves, we see the classic American Army experience of World War II—the friendships, courage, terror, carnage, humor and ultimate victory that all part of the Patton legend—a legend build by soldiers.