Command is Forward – (101/26-YD) – Sgt James C. Haahr

The author of the book, James ‘Jimbo’ Haahr is, first, a friend of mine and a Combat Infantry Veteran of World War II. He served in the European Theater with Charlie Company of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division (Yankee Division) in Gen George S. Patton’s Third Army. He was wounded in action twice during the Lorraine Campaign in northeast France. After his discharge, he received his BA from George Washington University and entered the Foreign Service of the United States in 1949. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1981 after serving in a number of overseas posts in Europe and Latin America. Today, Jimbo lives in Reston, Virginia.

The so-called lull in October 1944 in Lorraine was anything but that. It was Hell for the infantrymen of the 101st Regiment, and we did not know that Hell could be so cold. We lived like animals in our holes in the ground in the mud, cold, wet, and rain under artillery barrages and sniper fire. Men were killed every day. Then came the Third Army offensive of November 8. It was Hell all over again, but there was no lull. We were still covered with mud and we were wet, cold, hungry, and miserable. After attacking one day, we had to get out of our holes and do it all over again the next morning against an enemy that contested every few yards of ground. And we did this for the next five weeks in the same conditions in the fortifications of the Maginot Line until the brief respite in Metz. The story of the 101st Infantry Regiment in Lorraine is told through first person narrative accounts of bloody and violent combat engagements. These are blended with the war diary of the 101st Infantry from August 1944 to May 9, 1945, and the first person campaign reports of the commanding generals of the two main German divisions against which the 101st fought up to mid-November, the 11.Panzer-Division and the 361.Volks-Grenadier-Division. Photographs and maps portray some of these actions.

Review (5 Stars) Joseph A. Haymes: A Treasury Of Information on the WW2 Lorraine Campaign. I expected to find this book interesting because I fought in this campaign. I was a sniper in the 26th Division of Patton’s Third Army. But I never dreamed I would find so much information. Information I had been searching for. Like, for instance, what happened to my squad leader and the remnants of my squad after they left me wounded on the foot of Hill 310. I found that information, and lots more, in “The Command Is Forward.” I not only found a daily diary kept by our regiment for every day of the campaign. I found similar records kept by the German outfits we were fighting. And I found comments from the German commanders as to what they had expected from our division. And what they got. I have filled my book with highlighting marks, and I often just go back and review those highlighted parts. Most are very personal. Anyone who fought in Europe, especially in the 26th Division or the Third Army should have this book, and so should any relatives or descendants of such veterans. Try it. You will be as pleased as I was.

Review (5 Stars) James Hicks: My dad’s war. The book “The Command Is Forward” has been an incredible journey for me to take back through those days with my father. He and I each have a book and we are reading and discussing it over the phone. Last weekend he told me that the book made him cry. I have never seen my father cry. The division make-up was an incredible construct of college students, National Guard cadre and filler personnel. If you want to know what it feels like to go into combat as a green private lead by green officers and NCOs and facing a seasoned Panzer division you will never come any closer to the real experience then this book. Read it or miss one of the most important pieces of literature to come out of WWII. This book is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received and I owe Jim a debt that I will never be able to pay.

Review (5 Stars) A customer. From the Foreword to the Book : Anthony Kemp, author and military historian, wrote the Foreword to “The Command is Forward.” He called the book ” — an immensely detailed and honest –” work on WW II and the role of the infantryman. Kemp’s works include several books on the Lorraine Campaign, particularly those on the battle for Metz in late 1944.

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