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They Were All Young Kids: The story of Lieutenant Jim Flowers and the first platoon, Company C, 712th Tank Battalion, on Hill 122 [Kindle Edition]

Aaron Elson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On 10 July, 1944, four Sherman tanks went to the aid of an infantry battalion that was surrounded at the top of Hill 122 in Normandy by elite German paratroopers. The plan was for the tanks to create a path through the almost jungle-like tangle of trees and shrubbery and for a company of infantry to follow close behind, creating an opening that would let the rest of the battalion break out.
The plan seemed to be working as the tanks crashed through the German defenses on the steep front slope of the hill. At the bottom, the tanks crossed a road, climbed over a hedgerow, crossed a field, climbed another hedgerow and kept on going.
It was late in the afternoon when the first shell struck Lieutenant Jim Flowers' tank and caromed off, with a sound he would compare to "a big bell ringing." Within moments, all four tanks were knocked out, three of them burning fiercely. Nine of the 20 crew members were killed, several wounded, and two both wounded and captured. For Flowers and his gunner, Jim Rothschadl, their ordeal was just beginning.
This is the story of that battle as told by Flowers and several of the surviving members of his platoon.

Editorial Reviews


I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about oral histories. Some are great, and some are just 'not so good.' 'Tanks for the Memories' and 'They were all young kids' are excellent. The books are well-written, informative, and fun to read. Both detail life as a tanker in World War II from a tanker's perspective. A perspective that, I believe, is all too often overlooked. 'They were all young kids' is a microcosmic look at a particular unit, 1st Platoon C Company, 712th Tank Battalion, during a particular battle. However, through this one battle, the reader is taken through a series of events that depicts in great detail the various aspects of tank warfare in WWII, the complexities of modern warfare, and the spirit of the American fighting man. -- Brett W. Avants, reviewed on Achtung! Panzer, the home page of the Washington Armor Club.

The story of Lieutenant Jim Flowers and the first platoon, Company C, 712th Tank Battalion on Hill 122. -- Book Descripton

From the Publisher

This is a unique oral history of a battle in which four tanks were destroyed in Normandy, as told in the words of the platoon's survivors.

Product Details

  • File Size: 971 KB
  • Print Length: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Chi Chi Press (December 21, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005L9YA7E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,225 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tanks for the Memories September 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"They Were All Young Kids" is a campitulation of oral histories taken from about ten surviving members of a tank batallion in WWII Normandy in July 1944. Their objective was to take a hill (#122) held by German paratroopers. On the positive side, the book presented personal combat experiences as lived by the individuals involved. The humanity and inhumanity of war is graphically described, something that is hard to imagine for anybody who has not been there. The negative side of the book is probably its style. These oral histories were writen as spoken by the individuals 40-50 years after the events. Some histories ramble, facts are forgotten, there are many digressions. Sometimes a impressive event is repeated by all who witnessed it, giving a redundancy rather than a fresh perspective. Overall, the book was enjoyable and I would recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good writeup of the "Greatest Generation" September 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the most recent of the WW2 "small memoirs" that have came out lately, and well worth the read. The collection of stories which detail the service of Lt. Jim Flower's tank platoon in Normandy give you the feel that you are actually there. No opinions are held back, and the veterans recount their service in graphic, unapologetic detail. Reading the story humbles you and makes you realize just how much we owe the vanishing soldiers of WW2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They Were All Young Kids August 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A delightfully book about the personal stories of tankers under fire. Shows how the fog of war can change everyone's view of what happened during an attack,where people went,how each person reacted to what happened after they left their disabled tank and their last contact with unlucky crew members.Dan H
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Were All Young Kids, by Aaron Elson October 5, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I fully enjoyed this book. I thought the oral interview approach served my interests well. To hear these men's commentary about their upbringing and pre war lives, sets the stage for their roles in the war. It also makes formatting it all into an intelligible chronology a bit difficult. I suppose the book could have been done in a number of different ways, but I found the author's format easy to follow, and very captivating. These were men who had been raised during the depression. Some joined the Army so they could eat, as they had been jobless.
Others were moved by a sense of duty. They were all members of "The Greatest Generation", to quote Tom Brokaw. And their ranks were rife with heroes. I thought this was a great book. They Were All Young Kids: The story of Lt. Jim Flowers and the first platoon, Company C, 712th Tank Battalion, on Hill 122
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