World Battlefronts: Worst Defeat

U.S. soldiers clung like goats to the rocky hillside, dug into shallow holes, anxiously watched the German positions on the opposite ridge. In the peaceful valley between, where an ancient Roman column stood against the green olive groves of Arab farms, a shell from a U.S. 105-mm. howitzer exploded, sending a white puff rolling up through Faïd Pass.

From the German rear, 88-mm. guns coughed heavily in reply. A lieutenant on the rocky ridge pulled a U.S. infantryman down, saying curtly: "A man lying down looks like a rock. A man standing up looks like a man."

Early Sunday morning, hours before daybreak,...

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