This remarkable and very rare memoir discusses the bloody combat history of the Texas National Guard 36th Infantry Division in World War II, from pre-embarkation training through the capture of Rome. The perspective, as seen through the eyes of its author, General Fred Walker, is refreshing for its refusal to rely upon hindsight and revisionist history.
Walker led a division longer than any other American officer during World War II. The 36th earned a formidable reputation—and paid a high price for that distinction. Only five divisions in the entire U.S. Army suffered more casualties than the 36th during the course of the war.
Some of the division’s fighting included the hard battles of Salerno and Monte Cassino. The 36th was assigned an assault river crossing at the Rapido to outflank the Cassino position and although several companies made it to the far bank, their tank support failed to cross the river. A German panzer grenadier counterattack pushed the infantry of the 36th back across the river with heavy losses.
General Mark Clark, the 5th Army Commander, in what appeared to be an effort to scapegoat, relieved several key 36th division officers, although General Walker was retained as its commanding general. After the allies captured Rome, Walker was reassigned to command the Infantry School at Fort Benning. Includes a special guest Preface by Jeffrey W. Hunt, Director of the Texas Military Forces Museum, illustrations, photographs, maps. 504 pages.