Friday, May 28, 2010

Military Snapshots - 82nd Airborne at Operation Market Garden

Members of the 2nd Battalion, 505th, parachute onto DZ "T" in Holland during Operation Market Garden. Because a navigation error put serial A-5 on course to arrive on DZ "N" at the same time as the 3rd Battalion, 505th serial, Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin H. Vandervoort and the pilot of the lead plane in the serial were forced to do some fast thinking and divert the serial to DZ "T." Photo by William H. Jenks, courtesy of the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum, from All American, All the Way: From Market Garden to Berlin by Phil Nordyke

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From the Pages - Fighting to Leave

In early 1972, the North Vietnamese kicked off the Nguyen Hue Offensive, also known as the Easter Offensive--a campaign designed to capture as much of the invaluable province of Quang Tri as possible and substantially weaken the South Vietnamese forces. Included in the offensive was the goal of capturing the provincial capital of Quang Tri City, opening an avenue of attack straight through the strategically important city of Hue. After an arduous, month-long battle, Quang Tri City finally fell to the North Vietnamese.

In the following excerpt from Fighting to Leave: The Final Years of America's War in Vietnam, 1972-1973, Col. Robert E. Stoffey, USMC (Ret.) details the retaking of Quang Tri City by the South Vietnamese (supported by U.S. air and sea power) and the events that followed.
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The 325th NVA Division, reinforced by elements of the 308th and 320th NVA divisions, defended their hold on Quang Tri City.

Each day of July and August 1972, the VNMC Brigade 258 slowly fought forward as they increased their attacks against the now-defending NVA at the Quang Tri Citadel.

As the Lam Son 72 attacks by the Vietnamese Marines began with the objective of retaking Quang Tri City, the 1st VNMC Battalion, commanded by Maj. Nguyen Dang Hoa, landed in a landing zone beside the city. They immediately encountered heavy NVA fire and began taking casualties as they fought elements of the 320B NVA Division.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Military Snapshots - The Javelin anti-tank missile

The Javelin is the first "fire-and-forget" shoulder-fired anti-tank missile now fielded to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, replacing Dragon. Javelin's unique top-attack flight mode, superior self-guiding tracking system, and advanced warhead design allows it to defeat all known tanks out to ranges of 2,500 meters. U.S. Army photo, from 10th Mountain Division by Fred Pushies

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Military Snapshots - Invasion of Namur Island

The invasion of the islands of Roi and Namur, part of the Kwajalein Atoll in the Japanese-mandated Marshall Islands, was a smash and grab operation very much like the November 1943 assault on Tarawa. U.S. forces invaded Namur, and its sister island Roi, in early 1944, with the goal of establishing mutually supporting airfields across the central Pacific. Here, riflemen take cover as five carrier bombers pass right over the Namur beachhead on their way to bomb Japanese positions in the northern part of the island. Official USMC Photo, from Tarawa and the Marshalls: U.S. Marines in World War II by Eric Hammel.

Monday, May 17, 2010

From the Pages - Operation Phantom Fury

In November of 2004, a joint U.S.-Iraqi force of thousands was constructed to move against the insurgent stronghold in the embattled Iraqi city of Fallujah. The goal of the operation was to capture or eliminate some of the region’s most “hardcore” insurgents and to restore relative order in what was once a peaceful city. As with most things in present-day Iraq, however, the best laid plans rarely go off without a hitch. In this exclusive excerpt from Operation Phantom Fury: The Assault and Capture of Fallujah, Iraq, author Dick Camp highlights the gritty close quarters combat of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines as they attempt to clear a section of buildings suspected of housing insurgents on November 13, 2004 -- D+6.


Kilo Company received orders to hold in place at the mansion complex and conduct local security patrols. “First thing in the morning, 3rd Platoon went out to conduct local patrols to our north,” Jacobs remembered, “to kind of clear out some of the places insurgents had run to after our fight on Phase Line Henry.” Nothing on November 13 seemed to indicate that the day would be anything but the same old stuff: search and clear. “The plan of the day,” according to Lance Corporal Boswood, “was to start back clearing the neighborhood.” The 3rd Platoon, under 1st Lt. Jesse Grapes, assigned each squad one block to clear. “Hell,” Boswood exclaimed, “they didn’t make it a block before they came to a house just loaded with foreign fighters inside.” Jacobs described the building as a “Pretty small, nondescript light yellow cement house, with a dome-shaped roof and a small second story. In the center of the house there was a large rotunda with a catwalk that ran around the inside . . . an outstanding kill zone. All the windows were bolted shut . . . and there was only one way in or out. The enemy had chosen well.”

Sergeant Christopher Pruitt, the 3rd Platoon guide; Cpl. Ryan Weemer’s fire team, consisting of Lance Cpls. Cory Carlisle and James Prentice; and Sgt. James Eldridge, a machine gunner, approached the house through an unlocked gate in the courtyard. An outhouse stood about ten to fifteen feet from the main entrance. Pruitt picked up the smell of fresh human excrement, indicating someone was nearby. “I told Weemer there were insurgents in the house,” Pruitt said. The men formed a combat stack—Weemer, Carlisle, and Pruitt, in that order—and prepared to enter the building. Eldridge and Cpl. Matthew Spencer waited outside to provide rear security.

Weemer grasped his 9mm pistol—he preferred it in close quarters—and started the ball rolling. “The house had full length saloon-style doors. I pushed in the one on the left and went through.” He spotted an insurgent down on one knee in the far left corner of the room. “I started shooting,” he said, “and gave him three rounds in the chest.” The three men kept going and pushed into the next room. “I saw an insurgent directly to my front,” Pruitt remembered, “[and] an insurgent came out from the left side of the room and started shooting.” Pruitt, hit in the wrist, dropped his rifle, and pulled out of the house to bring in the men outside. Weemer unloaded his 9mm into one of the insurgents, but the man would not go down. “The pistol wasn’t doing the job,” he exclaimed. The two Marines hurriedly backed out of the room. Weemer switched to his rifle, while Carlisle reloaded. They reentered the room. “Another insurgent came toward us,” Weemer said. “I shot him in the legs and when he went down in the doorway, I shot him in the face.”

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sweepstakes Winners! - "All American, All the Way"

Congratulations to our "All American, All the Way Sweepstakes" winners, Paula Wilkinson of Owasso, OK and Chris Sheppard of St. Petersburg, FL! 

Each will receive the two-volume combat history of the 82nd Airborne Division, All American, All the Way by Phil Nordyke.

A big "thank you" to all who entered our first-ever blog sweepstakes. Stay tuned to "Zenith Press...The Blog" and our Facebook page for future sweepstakes opportunities, as well as the latest book excerpts, author interviews, photo features, and new release information.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Beyond the Book - Q & A with Otto Lehrack, author of Road of 10,000 Pains

For decades, the story of what took place in the lush expanses of Vietnam’s Que Son Valley in 1967 has languished in the crowded realm of historical events that is rarely, if ever, studied, discussed, or honored.

Now, with the release of his new book Road of 10,000 Pains, veteran and author Otto Lehrack shines a long-overdue light on the courageous actions that took place in “The Valley,” honoring the men who risked, and often lost, their lives so far from home. In the following Q & A, Lehrack discusses what drew him to this largely untold story, why people need to know about what took place, and what writing the book has meant to him.


ZENITH PRESS: Road of 10,000 Pains is the first book to fully recount the Que Son Valley campaign. What first attracted you to this largely untold story?

LEHRACK: I was in Vietnam with a tour group in order to interview former enemy soldiers about the first major battle of the Vietnam War for my book The First Battle: Operation Starlite and the Beginning of the Blood Debt in Vietnam. I was not particularly interested in the Que Son Valley but because we had some Que Son Valley veterans in our tour group, both American and Vietnamese, it was on the schedule. As we drove through the valley, the amount of chatter from the American and enemy veterans reached a crescendo. Curious about all the emotion, I began to ask questions, and soon it became apparent that something had happened there that had gone unreported. From those questions, a book was born.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Military Snapshots - P-47 Thunderbolt

At Chievres, Belgium, in late 1944, Capt. George W. King taxies a 386th Fighter Squadron Thunderbolt past an M45 quat-.50-caliber antiaircraft emplacement. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army, from Hell Hawks! The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht by Robert F. Dorr and Thomas D. Jones.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Release - War Stories of the Battle of the Bulge

by Michael Green & James D. Brown

The powerful German counteroffensive operation code-named “Wacht am Rhein” (Watch on the Rhine) launched against the American First Army in the early morning hours of December 16, 1944, would result in the greatest single extended land battle of World War II.

To most Americans, the fierce series of battles fought in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium and Luxembourg from December 1944 through January 1945 is better known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” Almost one million soldiers would eventually take part in the fighting. At its high point, the German crescent-shaped bulge was sixty miles deep by eighty miles wide behind American lines.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Sweepstakes - All American, All the Way

All American, All the Way Book Sweepstakes

Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about America's first airborne division -- the "All Americans" of the 82nd Airborne Division? If so, Zenith Press has a sweepstakes for you!

In 2010, Zenith Press released Phil Nordyke's classic combat history of the 82nd Airborne Division, All American, All the Way, in a new two-volume set. Following the 82nd first from Sicily to Normandy (volume 1), and then from Market Garden to Berlin (volume 2), Nordyke's books recount the service of one of these legendary soldiers in gripping and uncompromising fashion. Now, Zenith Press is giving away sets of these books to two randomly selected fans and followers of Zenith Press on Facebook or "Zenith Press...The Blog."

You can enter the contest one of two ways (see below*):

Contest entry:
1) Become a Fan of Zenith Press on Facebook AND share your thoughts about the role of U.S. paratroopers in World War II (82nd Airborne Division or otherwise) as a comment on the Zenith Press Facebook page (under the contest post).


2) Send us an email with your name and reply email address to “ (at)” AND share share your thoughts about the role of U.S. paratroopers in World War II (82nd Airborne Division or otherwise).

Deadline for entries is 11:59 pm CST on Thursday, May 13, 2010. We will pick the winners on May 14, 2010.

Learn about future book contests/sweepstakes, exclusive book excerpts, author interviews, photo features, and videos by following Zenith Press’ Facebook page and/or Zenith Press…The Blog!

*Contest Terms and Conditions – This contest is for the two-volume set of Phil Nordyke’s All American, All The Way to two (2) contest winners drawn at random. Books will be new and provided by the publisher. All entrants must complete the entry task(s), or in case of any issues an email to (at) One entry per household. All information provided will be kept confidential. Entries must be received by May 13, 2010 at 11:59pm Central Standard Time. Contest winners will be drawn at random and notified after the close of the contest. The books will be shipped directly to the winners. US residents only.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Military Snapshots - Gliders in Operation Market Garden

Landing by glider was one of the most dangerous ways for airborne soldiers to get to the battlefield. This glider collided with another in mid-air over the drop zone at Son during Operation Market Garden in World War II. The glider carried a Jeep and three men from the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. Members of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment dug out the survivors from the wreckage. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army, from Hell's Highway: The True Story of the 101st Airborne Division During Operation Market Garden by John Antal.