"...the touching humanity of boys growing up
in the crucible of war and the fascinating details of artillery forward observation." -- General James T. Hill, U.S. Army, Commander, United States Southern Command
"John Rieth has mastered an amazing amount of detail
and woven it into a lively tale of citizen soldiers...." -- Ed Ruggero, Author of Combat Jump: The Young Men Who Led the Assault into Fortress Europe, July 1943
"This much-researched volume provides insight to the lives we lived and lost." -- Charles J. Wright, Jr., Veteran, 7th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, 1943-1945
From the Publisher
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.
Pattons Forward Observers is told by a unique collection of highly trained artillery observers who fought every step of the war with Pattons famed Third Army. We remember Patton today only through the service of men like these.
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 Hitlers birthplace in Braunau, Austria.
Pattons Forward Observers is a soldiers story. Derived from wartime letters and oral histories told by the veterans themselves, we see the classic American Army experience of WWIIthe friendships, courage, terror, carnage, humor and ultimate victory that is all part of the Patton legenda legend built by soldiers.