Task Force Hogan The World War II tank battalion that spearheaded the liberation of Europe

William R. Hogan

Book - 2023

"A fourth-generation soldier tells the story of his father's tank battalion, the "Spearhead," that selflessly led the charge on the front lines from Normandy into Germany--against impossible odds, technologically superior weaponry, and a fanatical enemy on its home turf--and the heroes whose sacrifice won World War II"--

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2nd Floor New Shelf 940.541273/Hogan (NEW SHELF) Due Apr 23, 2024
  • Map: The Route of Task Force Hogan
  • 1. First Blood on Hill 91
  • 2. Preparing to Unleash Hell
  • 3. Operation Cobra: Breakout from Normandy
  • 4. Through France Like Butter
  • 5. Into Belgium
  • 6. Attacking the West Wall
  • 7. Not a Quiet Christmas
  • 8. Never Surrender
  • 9. The Scotch Bet and the Rose Pocket
  • 10. Ninety Miles to Berlin
  • Epilogue
  • The Men of Task Force Hogan
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
Review by Booklist Review

Lieutenant Colonel Sam Hogan came ashore in Normandy soon after D-Day with a battalion of M4 Sherman tanks from the Third Armored (Spearhead) Division of the U.S. Army. He and his valiant men spent the next 220 grueling days in combat, sustaining staggering losses while liberating parts of France and Belgium, POWs and victims of the Nordhausen concentration camp, and ending up a stone's throw from Berlin when Nazi Germany surrendered. Hogan's youngest son, William, used a trove of archival documents to construct this incredible, thrilling narrative of armored, combined-arms WWII. This chronicle brings the reader right into the horrors of combat, the fatigue the men felt, the mud, the fear, and the constant awareness of the law of averages that chases every soldier on the battlefield. The author writes about his father's service and that of his comrades with a sympathetic but professionally distanced style that does an excellent job of humanizing the brothers-in-arms and empathizing with their situations. Task Force Hogan cannot be recommended strongly enough for anyone interested in the full, harrowing details of the crucial blood-and-guts grind of America's armored spearhead into Nazi Germany.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Former U.S. Army officer and fourth-generation soldier Hogan debuts with a fast-paced and immersive chronicle of the wartime exploits of his father, Samuel Hogan, who fought in WWII as a member of the Third Armored Division. At 28 years old, Hogan was one of the youngest lieutenant colonels in the army when he risked his life daily from July 1944 to April 1945, leading a column of Sherman tanks from Normandy to Berlin. During that period, the Third Armored Division, nicknamed the "Spearhead," suffered 2,214 killed in action, 7,451 wounded in action, and 706 missing. The bond between Hogan and some of his men stretched back to a few months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, when the newly created division came together in Louisiana. Drawing on recollections of conversations with his father before his death in 2005, official Army after-action reports, and his own experiences serving in war zones, Hogan captures the constant danger, uncertainty, and stress of combat. The result is an action-packed tribute to a father from his son. (Nov.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

World War II story of a tank unit battling to victory, from the Normandy beaches across France, Belgium, and Germany. Hogan, a fourth-generation soldier, chronicles the story of his father, Lt. Col. Sam Hogan, who was only 28 when he led his battalion onto the beach on July 10, 1944, a month after D-Day, and immediately joined the fight. "A West Pointer, he was firm in personality and convictions; but to armchair generals and colonels pressuring him to move his people forward from the safety of a command post ten kilometers behind him, he could be irreverent and understatedly sarcastic." Following this assessment of his courageous father, the author combines official sources with family correspondence, journals, and interviews with surviving members of the task force to deliver an admiring account of 10 months of brutal combat. This is a docudrama with invented dialogue and the characters' inner thoughts, but the author has done his homework, delivering a capable nuts-and-bolts, often gruesome description of small-unit action that undoubtedly resembles what actually occurred. Readers will learn the smell, sound, operation, and defects of a Sherman tank; the makeup, command structure, and tactics of an American armored division; and personal stories of scores of men under and above Sam Hogan. The author also delivers plenty of vivid descriptions of the enemy, whose soldiers were (in the author's eyes) elite and fanatic, with better weapons and vastly superior tanks. (Unmentioned are the facts that the enemy's men and tanks were vastly outnumbered, and their experienced commanders were regularly overruled by Hitler, with disastrous results.) What readers will not get is the big picture, as the author rarely steps back to describe the overall campaign. Readers searching for an overview should consult Stephen Ambrose or Max Hastings. An adequate account of ground-level fireworks in the war's final year. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.