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BEYOND THE BEACHHEAD: THE 29TH INFANTRY DIVISION IN NORMANDY

New 2005 Edition

by Joseph M. Balkoski

Author of Omaha Beach and Utah Beach

Published by Stackpole Books



The Story of the 29th Infantry Division

The 29th Infantry Division was one of the most renowned American combat units in World War II. It originated as a National Guard outfit, largely composed of Marylanders and Virginians, and landed in the first wave of the invasion of Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. It was in combat nearly continuously over the next eleven months and suffered more than 20,000 casualties, including more than 7,000 killed in action.

In Beyond the Beachhead, Joseph Balkoski vividly narrates the brutal D-Day experience and combat in the Norman hedgerows against a ferocious and unyielding enemy. The story is in large measure based on original 29th Division documents as well as the experiences related by the 29ers themselves, who Mr. Balkoski has been privileged to know intimately for the last 25 years.


Selected Excerpts from the new edition of Beyond the Beachhead


FROM NEW EPILOGUE: VIRE

As General Gerhardt sat in a chair at the corner of an intersection south of St. Lo and watched his men pass, he could not help but note with amazement that military necessity had forced his 29ers to violate the US Army's cardinal rule of vehicular movement: Don't bunch up! In Normandy, war was no longer practiced by the book. Had German aircraft made an appearance south of St. Lo that day, their eager pilots would have relished an unprecedented opportunity of attacking an American road column featuring bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles, moving in short spurts and averaging little more than one mile per hour. By July 1944, however, Allied air superiority was so secure that the 29th Division could carry out a maneuver that would have resulted in the immediate relief of any general who had practiced it during a field exercise in the States.


FROM THE SAME CHAPTER:

On August 17, the 29ers received the marvelous news that they would soon get a real break. Given the apparently inevitable annihilation of the enemy horde in Normandy and the Allies' imminent liberation of Paris, this time Hitler was finished for good -- or so many confident 29ers thought. True, there would probably still be fighting ahead, but nothing could ever be as bad as what the 29th Division had just experienced over the past two months in Normandy.

Apparently the moment was rapidly approaching when the men of the 29th Division would modify their cherished battle cry to: "Twenty-Nine, Let's Go ... Home!"


CLICK HERE for historical information on the 29th Infantry Division

CLICK HERE if you would like to order a copy of Beyond the Beachhead, signed by Joseph Balkoski.

CLICK HERE to view copies of the 29th Division's renowned wartime newsletter, 29, Let's Go!

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