Men of Armor: The History of B Company, 756th Tank Battalion in World War II

Part 1: Beginnings, North Africa, and Italy

Jeff Danby

The story of B Co., 756th Tank Battalion from activation through to the eve of the battle for Monte Cassino, from the tanker's perspective.
Publication date:
September 2021
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Language:
English
Illustration :
maps and photographs
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781636240138

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
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+
Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.
£27.50

Overview
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• Based on 20 years of research and interviews of members of the 756th Tank Battalion, the text is illustrated by around 60 photos, many previously unpublished
• Vivid narrative that unfolds at the individual tanker's level, following key members of the unit through campaigns

After the shocking fall of France in June 1940, the U.S. Army embarked on a crash program to establish a new armored force. One of the units formed was the 756th Tank Battalion (Light), activated at Fort Lewis in June 1941. Because of severe equipment shortages, the new battalion trained without tanks for several months, but by early 1942 were equipped with new M3 light tanks. While companies A and C took part in Operation Torch, B was withheld for lack of cargo space in the transport ships and re-joined the battalion two months later in north Africa. The units undertook reconnaissance missions following the landings in Salerno.

In December 1943 the battalion was ordered to upgrade to a medium tank (Sherman) unit. Given less than a month to reorganize and train in M4s, the battalion was sent into the Mignano Gap on January 11, 1944 and supported the 34th Infantry Division in the capture of Cervaro and Monte Trocchio. Later in January B Company supported the troops of the 100th Battalion on bloody but ill-fated attempts to cross the Rapido river - finally at the third attempt the battalion established a secure bridgehead across the Rapido. During the next two days the nearby town of Caira was also captured, opening a clear avenue for an attack on Cassino.

Based on decades of research, and hours of interviews with veterans of the 756th Tank Battalion, Jeff Danby's vivid narrative puts the reader in the turret of B Company's Shermans as they ride into battle.

Endorsements:

"This is an excellent, in-depth, day-to-day account of the operations of one tank company of a US independent tank battalion, B Company, 756th Tank Battalion, in World War II… With its focus on tank crew members and their commanders this is a unique addition to the literature on WWII.”

--A. Harding Ganz, Associate Professor Emeritus of the Ohio State University at Newark, author of Ghost Division

"It is very rare to find a book that takes the reader down to the close and personal level of a company of men in battle. We have seen that for paratroopers in Band of Brothers and now we have it for a tank unit, in this case Company B of the 756th Tank Battalion. And what a remarkable book it is … the book is very hard to put down and by the end of it I found myself looking forward to reading the next volume.”

--Jeffrey Plowman, author of Rampant Dragons: New Zealander's Experience in Armour in World War II, Tank Attack at Monte Cassino: The Cavendish Road Operation 1944 and The Battles for Cassino Then and Now

"[Danby] brings all his considerable skills to this unique Battalion level history. No lead is left unfollowed and this adds not only to the legitimacy of his work but also tells the personal story of these valiant men … It may be the best US armored unit history ever put together so long after the conflict … For the small unit historian of the Armored Units of the Second World War, I cannot recommend this book more highly.”

--Victor Failmezger, author of American Knights, the Untold Story of the Legendary 601th Tank Destroyer Battalion

"Jeff Danby weaves an empathetic tale of people in his history of Company B, 756th Tank Battalion. From the very start, he frames portentous global events in terms of how the young men who would fight the war would have seen them. Danby's prose is punchy, visually evocative, and entertaining.”

--Harry Yeide, author of The Tank Killers, The Infantry's Armor, and Steeds of Steel

"Danby introduces and develops an extensive cast of personalities, average American soldiers, as they experience combat and the quiet periods in-between, and gives the reader precious insight in to why this unit was so combat proficient. Jeff has written another great story which I recommend to everyone interested in WWII and especially tank units in that war.”

--LTC Timothy R. Stoy, U.S. Army, retired, served 31 years in the U.S. Army as an Infantry and Foreign Affairs Officer. Historian for the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division (2007-2017) and currently Historian of the 15th Infantry Regimental Association since 1997.