War Is Hell

Except in Rick Atkinson's hands

In late March 1945, as Allied armies coiled for their final assault on the doomed Third Reich, General George Patton launched a truly foolish raid on a small prison camp 60 miles behind German lines to rescue his son-in-law. The 300-man task force quickly ran into trouble. Within hours, the Wehrmacht had destroyed all 53 American vehicles and sent scores of GIs running for their lives down a wooded hillside, bloodhounds in pursuit. "The baying of dogs echoed across the slope," Rick Atkinson writes. "One by one, the GIs were captured or shot down." Patton's son-in-law, wounded in the rout, was...

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