You Can't Get Much Closer Than This

Combat with the 80th “Blue Ridge” Division in World War II Europe

A.Z. Adkins, Andrew Z. Adkins

 
Date Published :
April 2015
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
16 pages photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781612003108
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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+
In stock
$18.95

Overview
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After graduating from The Citadel in May 1943, Andrew Adkins, Jr. immediately attended the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School, where he was commissioned and sent on to the 80th Infantry Division, then undergoing its final training cycle in the California-Arizona desert. Upon reaching the division, 2d Lieutenant Adkins was assigned as an 81mm mortar section leader in Company H, 2d Battalion, 317th Infantry Regiment. When the 80th Infantry Division completed its training in December 1943, it was shipped in stages to the United Kingdom and then on to Normandy, where it landed on August 3, 1944. There, Lieutenant Adkins and his fellow soldiers took part in light hedgerow fighting that served to shake the division down and familiarize the troops and their officers with combat.

The first real test came on August 20, 1944, when the 2d Battalion, 317th Infantry, attacked high ground near Argentan during the Allied drive to seal huge German forces in the Falaise Pocket. While scouting for mortar positions in the woods, Andy Adkins ran into a group of Germans and shot one of them dead with his carbine. This baptism in blood taught him the answer to a question every novice combatant wants to hear: He was cool under fire, capable of killing when facing the enemy. He later wrote, "It was a sickening sight, but having been caught up in the heat of battle, I didn't have a reaction other than feeling I had saved my own life." Thereafter, the 2d Battalion, 317th Infantry, took part in a succession of bloody battles across France. Ineptly led through the tenures of several battalion commanders, the unit suffered grievous losses even as it took hills and towns away from brave and well-led German veterans. In the course of fighting graphically portrayed in this soldier's memoir, Andy Adkins acted with remarkable skill and courage, placing himself at the forefront of the action whenever he could. His extremely aggressive delivery of critical supplies to a cut-off unit in an embattled French town earned him a Bronze Star Medal, the first such award in his battalion. You Can't Get Much Closer Than This is at heart a young soldier's story of war. In vibrant, piercing terms, a junior officer's coming of age in battle is the compelling focus of page after page of action sequences.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

CHAPTER 1: THE MAKING OF A SOLDIER
CHAPTER 2: FIRST TASTE OF BATTLE
CHAPTER 3: CROSSING THE MOSELLE
CHAPTER 4: HILL 382 (ST. GENEVIEVE)
CHAPTER 5: VILLERS-LES-MOIVRON
CHAPTER 6: SIVRY, FRANCE
CHAPTER 7: MEDICAL EVACUATION AND RECOVERY
CHAPTER 8: BACK TO THE FRONT
CHAPTER 9: THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE
CHAPTER 10: THE RELENTLESS, BITTER COLD WINTER
CHAPTER 11: THE SIEGFRIED LINE
CHAPTER 12: R&R IN PARIS
CHAPTER 13: MARCHING ONWARD
CHAPTER 14: CROSSING THE RHINE
CHAPTER 15: MOVING FAST
CHAPTER 16: BUCHENWALD
CHAPTER 17: NUREMBERG
CHAPTER 18: THE END OF THE WAR

APPENDIX 1: THE 80TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APPENDIX 2: INFANTRY ORGANIZATIONS

GLOSSARY
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

REVIEWS
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It is a fascinating account to read of a junior officer learning his trade in difficult circumstances, but where he earned the respect of his men.  A personal record like this is a valuable resource to anyone interested in the period and made available to us thanks to his son, Andrew Adkins III..

- Military Modeling, July 2016

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