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The Final Battle: An Untold Story of WW II's Forty-Second Rainbow Division

The Final Battle: An Untold Story of WW II's Forty-Second Rainbow Division - William George Hansult Jr

The Final Battle: An Untold Story of WW II's Forty-Second Rainbow Division


All men keep secrets from their children. Some men even keep secrets from their wives. My father did both.
By the dawn of 1945, the War was at its zenith. Nazi Germany was like a dying star burning its brightest just before going extinct. Germans were on their own soil and those protecting "the Fatherland" were the true believers - the fanatics - who would, and did, fight to the last man standing.


The battles fought were mostly in cities, house to house and sometimes hand to hand. Many of these battles were fought by untested teenage American boys. All the time, Hitler was using his futuristic "wonder weapons" on this European front, while committing mass murder in concentration camps.
My father was one of these American boys. At eighteen years old, he joined the Army in 1944, and fresh out of boot camp, he became one of those "replacements." Those men who replaced fallen comrades; and the ones battle hardened veterans didn't want to get to know.


But my father's experience was a little different than most, because he learned that he was fighting some of his own blood relatives who were either in the Nazi party, the army, or Hitler Youth.
Although untested, he and his comrades were thrown into one of the longest battles an American Army Division fought during the war. For thirty days they fought and marched. Those they fought were hardened SS and Hitler Youth. It was the formula for vicious, personal fighting and for unthinkable atrocities committed by both sides.
My father fought with distinction, all the while earning the respect of the veterans he served with. Then, when he thought the fighting was over, his unit was the first in for the liberation of one of Hitler's most famous concentration camps, Dachau.

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All men keep secrets from their children. Some men even keep secrets from their wives. My father did both.
By the dawn of 1945, the War was at its zenith. Nazi Germany was like a dying star burning its brightest just before going extinct. Germans were on their own soil and those protecting "the Fatherland" were the true believers - the fanatics - who would, and did, fight to the last man standing.


The battles fought were mostly in cities, house to house and sometimes hand to hand. Many of these battles were fought by untested teenage American boys. All the time, Hitler was using his futuristic "wonder weapons" on this European front, while committing mass murder in concentration camps.
My father was one of these American boys. At eighteen years old, he joined the Army in 1944, and fresh out of boot camp, he became one of those "replacements." Those men who replaced fallen comrades; and the ones battle hardened veterans didn't want to get to know.


But my father's experience was a little different than most, because he learned that he was fighting some of his own blood relatives who were either in the Nazi party, the army, or Hitler Youth.
Although untested, he and his comrades were thrown into one of the longest battles an American Army Division fought during the war. For thirty days they fought and marched. Those they fought were hardened SS and Hitler Youth. It was the formula for vicious, personal fighting and for unthinkable atrocities committed by both sides.
My father fought with distinction, all the while earning the respect of the veterans he served with. Then, when he thought the fighting was over, his unit was the first in for the liberation of one of Hitler's most famous concentration camps, Dachau.

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