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The Filthy Thirteen (Paperback)

The True Story of the Dirty Dozen


By Richard Killblane, Jake McNiece
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 16 b/w pictures
ISBN: 9781932033465
Published: 1st May 2006



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Since World War II, the US 101st Airborne Division has achieved legendary status. But within the ranks of the 101st there existed a rougher, tougher and more ruthless unit whose formidable reputation has persisted over the decades to this day: the Filthy Thirteen.


Never ones to salute an officer, or take a bath, the men of this squad became singular within the ‘Screaming Eagles’ for their hard drinking and savage fighting skills . . . and that was only in training. Just prior to the invasion of Normandy, a Stars and Stripes photographer caught US paratroopers with heads shaved into mohawks, applying war paint to their faces. Unknown to the American public at the time, these men were the Filthy Thirteen. After parachuting behind enemy lines in the dark hours before D-Day, the Germans got a taste of the reckless courage of this unit, except now the men were fighting with Tommy guns and explosives, not just bare knuckles.


In its spearhead role, the unit suffered heavy casualties, with some men wounded and others blown to bits. By the end of the war thirty men had passed through the squad. However, the heart and soul of the Filthy Thirteen remained in a survivor named Jake McNiece, a half-breed Indian from Oklahoma: the toughest man in the squad and the one who formed its character. McNiece made four combat jumps, was in the forefront of every fight in northern Europe, yet somehow never made the rank of Private First Class. The survivors of the Filthy Thirteen stayed intact as a unit until the Allies conquered Nazi Germany.


Hugely popular on first publication, this books tells of a brawling bunch of no-goodniks whose only saving grace was that they inflicted more damage on the Germans than on MPs, the English countryside and their own officers. Still, the Filthy Thirteen remain a legend within the ranks of the 101st Airborne.

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