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Company Commander: The Classic Infantry Memoir of World War II Paperback – October 19, 1999
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"Nowhere is there a more honest, unassuming portrayal of the hopes and dreams and fears of a young infantry captain..." (Saturday Review)
"Impressive." (The New York Times)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
MacDonald was a 19 year old OCS graduate Captain when he took over a Infantry company in the 2nd Infantry Division. This was a veteran formation in Sept '44, it's not hard to imagine the difficulties faced by a green 19 or 20 year-old CO. MacDonald doesn't cut himself or those he leads slack, however and he honestly describes his accomplishments and screw-ups. By October his unit is poised on the Seigfried line and participates in the attempts to seize the Roer river damns. This is where he is when Hitler's Ardennes offensive breaks out, for me this was the heart of the book. You read in crushing detail as his command is smashed, steamrolled by German Panthers and panzergrenadiers outside Krinkelt-Rocherath. (Go to those towns in Belgium today and you will find a sad line of foxholes where MacDonald describes them-made all the more sad by knowing what took place there.) MacDonald describes the fighting retreats and pitched battles well-a WW2 company commander was never far from the front.
He was eventually wounded, and after recovery commanded a different company in the 2nd ID. The 2nd half of the book details the Spring offensives and eventual destruction of the Reich. There are some great combat descriptions there also such as when his company takes a battery of German quad 20mm guns.
This book is often described as a company commander's textbook, it may be that, but don't run away because you aren't a CO or planning on being one, this is, primarily in my book, excelent 1st person history. I can't believe this is out of print, don't know how much longer my Bantam "Combat Series" paperback will hold up...
In comparison to the more recent Band of Brothers, ostensibly a company-level account of E Company, 506th PIR's actions during the same period, Charles MacDonald's book is clearly superior. In fact, Company Commander is everything Band of Brothers is not: accurate, objective and informative. Unlike BOB, MacDonald does not claim that the companies he commanded were anything special or that he demonstrated heroic leadership (he did win the silver star in the Battle of the Bulge). Instead, the author is very honest, admitting his apprehension and anxiety about commanding infantry on the front line. Although there is some tension with battalion and regimental headquarters, mostly about ill-considered orders and creature comforts, there is not the character assassination that is so prevalent in BOB; Macdonald was career army and he wasn't going to make points by ridiculing superiors.
MacDonald arrived as a replacement and took command of I Company just as the unit was conducting a relief-in-place of another US unit in some captured positions in the Siegfried Line in the Ardennes. While civilian readers may find the first 100 pages devoted to this "quiet time" to be dull, military readers will not.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very well written book from the perspective of a novice Company US Army Captain during the final days of WWII beginning with the days just before the battle of the bulge through... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Joe 52
I enjoyed this book immensely. I was able to the drive thru Germany by following it on Google Earth. Which helped with my visualization. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Geoffrey
A surprisingly honest account. Captures the mundane day after day of real war and the leadership pressures in real life.Published 5 days ago by Mike Griffiths
This book certainly tells it like it was for the infantrymen in WW II. No easy days for these guys, would recommend this book for anyone interested in the war yearsPublished 14 days ago by Mark