During the last miserable days of 1944 came this one page, first person account by a common American soldier marching through a shell-pocked German landscape. The fellow went to great effort to describe the general discomfort experienced by all those GIs privileged enough to be posted at the spearhead of that winter advance through the Hürtgen Forest. Halting in frozen rain and blinding winds, his platoon languished around a liberated Nazi pillbox where it was decided that each of them should enjoy a three hour respite inside to escape the cold. When it was our hero's turn he explains how nice it was to be surrounded by four walls and a roof.
Click here to read about the mobile pill boxes of the Nazi army.
An eye-witness account of the first major American battle to be fought on German ground during World War II. Aachen, the Westernmost city in Germany was defended by some 44,000 men of the Wehrmacht as well as assorted elements of the First SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Division which combined to offer a stubborn defense that lasted nineteen days. This article, written by Bill Davidson, who witnessed the most vicious kind of street combat, believed that the battle for Aachen was simply a re-staging of the battle of Stalingrad and he supports this point throughout the article:
"Godfrey Blunden,the Australian war correspondent, was here in Aachen...he was immediately struck by the similarity between the two battles. 'There is is the same house-to-house and room-to-room fighting, the same combat techniques, the same type of German defense.'"
Years later, historian Stephen Ambrose remarked that the Battle of Aachen was unnecessary.
Moved by the devotion and fortitude of the U.S. Army combat medics serving in the New Guinea campaign, YANK correspondent Dave Richardson wrote this short article in praise of the selfless acts performed by four outstanding medics.
1943 was truly the year that proved to have been the turning point in the war, click here to read about it...
The attached W.W. II magazine article tells the story of the hard-charging "Goums" - a detachment of French-Moroccan infantry who appeared to the American GIs as genuine curios (Wikipedia definition: "Goumier is a term used for Moroccan soldiers, who served in auxiliary units attached to the French Army, between 1908 and 1956").
"The Germans definitely don't like the Goums. As for the Italians, they're scared to death of them. In the Mateur and Bizerte sectors, where the Goums were attached to the Ninth Division, three Italian companies surrendered en masse as soon as they heard that the guys in front of them were Goums."
The attached article tells the story of the first Americans to cross the Rhine river into Germany following the capture of the Ludendorf Bridge at Remagen, Germany.
"One of the most striking incidents of the first day's action on the bridge was the way German snipers opened up on their own men who had been taken prisoners. As each batch of PWs was lead across the bridge, a storm of sniper fire from the surrounding hills swept its ranks. Several were killed."
Pictured on page two is a photograph of the first American to make it across: Sgt. Alexander A. Drabik (1910 - 1993) of the 27th Armored Infantry Division.
Click here to read about a popular all-girl band that performed with the USO.
The editors at YANK MAGAZINE were always aware that the publication existed primarily to keep U.S. Army morale on the upward swing, but they never wished to patronize their readers by feeding them Army approved-malarkey either. They knew fully that they had to give the straight dope as often as possible or they, too, would be eating k-rations at the front. There are examples of articles that seriously downplayed the disappointing outcomes of major engagements (such as Kasserine Pass and Operation Market Garden) but, by enlarge, the sugar-coating was lighter than you might think. That is why this 1944 article concerning the Battle of Tarawa is important. YANK correspondent John Bushemi (1917 - 1944) made it quite clear the U.S. Marine losses were heavy, and for that reason alone the battle was of historical significance.
Click to read about the U.S. fabric rationing during W.W. II.