[lit-ideas] Re: Americans close with the Germans at last

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 09 May 2008 19:27:46 -0700

David writes

I can't find Medjez in the Patton biography, but I'm assuming we're in maybe March of 1943? At that time the Americans were using a 75-millimeter gun mounted on a half track, designated "tank destroyers." They weren't successful. In one fight, German armor destroyed twenty four out of the thirty four engaged.

The passage reads

'“West of town, several British soldiers waited roadside to guide an American artillery battery into firing positions. At a fair distance, they spied a churning column of dust. Soon the column resolved into four bouncing howitzers and their gun teams hurtling up to and then past the frantically waving Tommies.'

'Bouncing' is just the right word to describe the motion of a towed gun. They bounce even on a paved road. Half tracks don't exactly bounce; they move, on open, uneven (as apparently here) ground somewhat as do tanks: with a sort of porpoise-like undulation (Rather clumsy porpoises though.)

That these were self-propelled guns might explain the headlong enthusiasm of the American artillerists, but it doesn't explain why they thought they didn't need to wait for anyone to position them. Atkins doesn't exactly knock one's socks off here. It's impossible, given what he says, to know exactly what he's talking about. For all their surface vividness, his words don't really describe anything.

I'll wait for Lawrence to give his summary judgment before I order the book.

Robert Paul,
waiting for sunshine
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: