The Odyssey of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team 1943-1945
by Gerald Astor
The Few and the Brave
Convinced by 1943 that the assault upon Nazi-held Europe would yield swiftly to elite troops, the U.S. Army created parachute regimental combat teams. Drawing on daring volunteers willing to hurl themselves from airplanes and hit the ground fighting, the 517th PRCT became one of the most highly trained airborne units in the world.
Blooded in northern Italy in 1944, the Battling Buzzards dropped at night in southern France for the second D-day to spearhead a savage advance through the Champagne region and then into the Alps.
Gerald Astor, acclaimed author of A Blood-Dimmed Tide, draws on the words of the men of the 517th to create this gripping, action-packed account of a unit that existed for only two years but fought heroically to defeat the vaunted German forces.
From its campaign in Italy to its assault in the French Alps, the Battling Buzzards helped push the Germans out of southern Europe one fierce, close-quarter battle at a time. Then, after six months of nonstop action, the exhausted, battle-hardened 517th was called into the ultimate battle — at a place called The Bulge....
- Random House Publishing Group, April 2009
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