Invading Hitler's Europe (Kindle)
From Salerno to the Capture of Göring - The Memoir of a US Intelligence Officer
On the day that Roswell K. Doughty graduated from Boston University he also received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army of the United States of America. That, though, was in 1931 and it was not until 1942 that he was called to active duty – to face some of the toughest fighting of the Second World War.
With the rank of 1st Lieutenant, Doughty became an Intelligence Officer with the US 36th (Texas) Division. He subsequently saw action in North Africa, then at the disastrous Salerno landings in Italy – where the Allied divisions involved suffered 4,000 casualties – about which the author reveals that suspected intelligence breaches led to the Allies’ plans becoming known to the Germans.
Doughty was involved in the grueling battles against the formidable German defences of the Gustav Line, particularly in the tragic failed attempt to cross the Gari river (Battle of the Rapido River, January 1944) and the struggle to conquer Monte Cassino. After the Anzio landings and the liberation of Rome, Doughty and his infantry regiment, the 141st, took part in the invasion of Southern France in Operation Dragoon, fighting its way up the Rhône River and advancing up to the River Moselle in December 1944. In March 1945, his unit breached the Siegfried Line and crossed into the Germany itself.
Promoted to captain and later to major, Doughty led an Intelligence and Reconnaissance unit, the role of which was to learn what it could of enemy strengths, minefields, useable roads and so on, which involved going behind enemy lines to observe enemy movements first-hand. As an Intelligence Officer, it was also part of Doughty’s duties to interrogate enemy prisoners, which led him to being involved in the capture and detention of Reichsmarschall Göring and in negotiating the surrender of the still-armed and hostile German First Army in May 1945.
This is the fascinating and diverse account of one officer’s part in the liberation of Europe in the Second World War, one which led him from North Africa through Italy and France into the heart of the Third Reich.
The book is also a good encapsulation of American perceptions and attitudes towards a war many considered not to be ‘theirs’ – not just during the war but in the years after, it also highlights the disconnect between American units, Commanders and Generals, no doubt some of it felt keenly at the time but as mentioned previously, I can’t help feel there is a good amount of hindsight introduced in the intervening years so as to become ‘received memories’.Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)
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This was a fascinating book to read and certainly one most WW2 reading fans will enjoy, as we see how the Americans help take Italy with the Americans making their way up one side and the British making their way up the other to push the Germans further back. I specifically enjoyed this book because they followed and officer in Roswell Doughty and US Intelligence Officer with the 36th Infantry Division. Other books about ‘ordinary’ soldiers are just as good but when comes to an officer you get more of the planning or intelligence side of battle and warfare. This book was good and the writing and storytelling were excellent and reminded me of Fighting Through to Hitler’s Germany. I also enjoyed reading about the Italian side of things as most of my reading had involved reading France dominated stories or information. This was a thoroughly good read and will appeal to many WW2 readers.UK Historian
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Review by Jason HubbardIrregular Magazine | Spring Issue 2021
This is one of those books that will appeal to military historians more than a wargamer, though it’s an interesting read from a wargaming perspective. I think those interested in the history of World War 2 will enjoy this book more. I did like the fact it was a memoir from a HQ officer rather than a frontline combat soldier, it gave another perspective that I found interesting to read about.
Impressively informative, expertly presented, and inherently interesting read that will be especially appreciated by both academia and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the World War II European Theatre operations.Midwest Book Review
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I did not expect too much from the book but was pleasantly surprised. The author had the benefit of being part of the HQ reconnaissance team so was able to describe front line events with a significant overview, something that is often missing in the traditional accounts by soldiers with a ‘10 yard horizon’.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide
I have a close connection to the stories told in this memoir. Roswell Doughty was my grandfather. Although the stories he told his grandchildren were carefully chosen for children's ears, I recall his retelling of a few stories found in the chapters of this book. Once you're past the historical introductions, the book reads like an on-the-ground and in-his-boots-experience. It is as close as I've been able to get to feeling the atrocities of war. Roswell's retelling from training camp to post war Germany is a good read.Laura Ford