Brothers in Arms: THE EPIC STORY OF THE 761ST TANK BATTALION, WWII'S FORGOTTEN HEROES
A powerful wartime saga in the bestselling tradition of Flags of Our Fathers, BROTHERS IN ARMS recounts the extraordinary story of the 761st “Black Panthers,” the first all-black armored unit to see combat in World War II.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar first learned about the battalion from family friend Leonard “Smitty” Smith, a veteran of the battalion. Working with acclaimed writer Anthony Walton, Abdul-Jabbar interviewed the surviving members of the battalion and their descendants to weave together a page-turning narrative based on their memories and stories, from basic training through the horrors on the battlefield to their postwar experiences in a racially divided America.
Trained essentially as a public relations gesture to maintain the support of the black community for the war, the battalion was never intended to see battle. In fact, General Patton originally opposed their deployment, claiming African Americans couldn’t think quickly enough to operate tanks in combat conditions. But the Allies were so desperate for trained tank personnel in the summer of 1944, following heavy casualties in the fields of France, that the battalion was called up.
While most combat troops fought on the front for a week or two before being rotated back, the men of the 761st served for more than six months, fighting heroically under Patton’s Third Army at the Battle of the Bulge and in the Allies’ final drive across France and Germany. Despite a casualty rate that approached 50 percent and an extreme shortage of personnel and equipment, the 761st would ultimately help liberate some thirty towns and villages, as well as the Gunskirchen Lager concentration camp.
The racism that shadowed them during the war and the prejudice they faced upon their return home is an indelible part of their story. What shines through most of all, however, are the lasting bonds that united them as soldiers and brothers, the bravery they exhibited on the battlefield, and the quiet dignity and patriotism that defined their lives.
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Review: Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten HeroesUser Review - Tomlikeslife - Goodreads
Interesting to read about the battalion but not a well-written book. Read full review
Review: Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten HeroesUser Review - Lamarr - Goodreads
I really enjoyed reading this book. Read full review
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Page vii - Men, you're the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren't good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don't care what color you are, as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sonsabitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all, your race is looking forward to you. Don't let them down...
Page 27 - In the army the Negro is taught to be a man, a fighting man; in brief, a soldier. It is impossible to create a dual personality which will be on the one hand a fighting man toward the foreign enemy, and on the other, a craven who will accept treatment as less than a man at home.