A Place To Be Lousy In

The American army that beat Hitler was thoroughly professional, but it didn’t start out that way. North Africa was where it learned the hard lessons—none harder than the disaster at Kasserine. This was the campaign that taught us how to fight a war.

There was no light. Most of the soldiers in the boats couldn’t see anything, but they knew they must be close because the wind offshore brought the smell of charcoal smoke and dry grass. The first assault troops landed sometime after eight bells. The only sounds they heard were the metallic jingle of their gear and the crunch of their boots on the wet beach. Two shore-based searchlights snapped open to look for aircraft. It took a moment for the enemy to realize that danger was coming at them not from the sky but from the sea.Read more »

“General” Eaton And His Improbable Legion

Weary of his humiliating job—American pay-off man to the piratical Arab states—this bold Yankee civilian raised his own army and won our strangest foreign war

When he wrote his classic History of the United States the Administrations of Jefferson and Madison seventy years ago, Henry Adams was inclined to look with mild disdain upon some of the sudden and uncertain forays in the foreign ReId undertaken under Jefferson in particular. Moreover, this most fastidious of the Adamses was generally not an admirer of the martial spirit.

 
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