An impossible mission
Behind enemy lines
The never-before-told true story of a small team of American saboteurs with orders to sever the Third Reich's main supply artery -- the Brenner Pass
Like a scene from Where Eagles Dare , a small team of American special operatives parachutes into Italy under the noses of thousands of German troops. Their orders: link up with local partisans in the mountains and sabotage the well-guarded Brenner Pass, the crucial route through the Alps for the Nazi war machine. Without the supplies that travel this route, the German war effort in Italy will grind to a halt.
Using thousands of recently declassified files, personal interviews, and private documents, including a behind-the-lines diary buried in a bottle, military historian Patrick K. O'Donnell has written a cinematic World War II adventure story. The unforgettable cast of characters includes the dashing and daring team leader; the romantic idealist who plans the operation; the seductive Italian countess who is also a double-agent; and the maniacal SS officer who will stop at nothing to kill the team and their partisan collaborators. The Brenner Assignment is also a World War II story that resonates today, revealing lessons for the war on terror and illustrating the complex nature of insurgency.
Packed with action, suspense, intrigue, and even romance, this exciting true tale of survival and sabotage behind enemy lines is one of the greatest untold adventure stories of World War II.
Military historian Brenner (We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah) brings a cinematic style and considerable expertise to this engrossing tale of a behind-enemy-lines mission during the last year of WWII. Conducted by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the predecessor to the modern CIA), the plan was to cut "a carotid artery of the Third Reich," the infamous Brenner Pass through the mountains between Austria and Italy, leaving the German army in Southern Italy isolated. Arguably one of the war's most dangerous operations, it was led two OSS operatives who never met: Stephen Hall, a combat engineer trained in demolitions, who conceived and sold the plan (and himself) to the newly formed OSS; and Howard Chappell, a Fort Benning paratroop trainer recruited by the OSS to train the team of "shadow soldiers" who would infiltrate Nazi Germany under Hall's command. Unfortunately, the main theater of operations had shifted to France by the summer of 1944, and the team was shorted critical logistical support. With thorough research and new interviews, O'Donnell provides an insightful look into the internal struggles of the burgeoning OSS as well as a real-life espionage adventure of bravery, ingenuity and sacrifice.