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Patton's Panthers : The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II
Patton's Panthers The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II Author:Charles W. Sasser On the battlefields of World War II, the men of the African-American 761st Tank Battalion under General Patton broke through enemy lines with the same courage with which they broke down the racist limitations set upon them by others -- proving themselves as tough, reliable, and determined to fight as any tank unit in combat. Beginning in Novem... more »ber 1944, they engaged the enemy for 183 straight days, spearheading many of Patton's offensives at the Battle of the Bulge and in six European countries. No other unit fought for so long and so hard without respite. The 761st defeated more than 6,000 enemy soldiers, captured thirty towns, liberated Jews from concentration camps -- and made history as the first African-American armored unit to enter the war. This is the true story of the Black Panthers, who proudly lived up to their motto (Come Out Fighting) and paved the way for African-Americans in the U.S. military -- while battling against the skepticism and racism of the very people they fought for.« less
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While this is a good book on the experiences of the 761st, it can be somewhat disjointed in its coverage as, especially toward the end of the war, it seems to bounce around relating the experiences of the men who fought and serviced the tanks.
It often explores the prejudice the men received, while at the same time showing their "what the heck" attitude toward that prejudice.
The real crime was the report of their second battalion commander who pretended he supported the men and then submitted a degrading report on their fighting and leadership abilities that he apparently believed was what the army wanted. I hope this jerk received his just deserts later in life.
As a result, the army never sent another black armored battalion to combat, and the ones who paid for that were the white infantrymen who deserved better support.
For the men of the 761st were a well-trained and efficient fighting force that contributed more than their share to the victory in Europe. A fact that was confirmed when the battalion finally received the Presidential Unit Citation in early 1978 from President James Carter.
[For some reason, perhaps a typo, the text in the book listed the award as being given in 1998.]