In 1944, two Allied armies were ready to launch an assault against German forces in central Italy so they could march to Rome. There were three routes available to get there. The fastest one passed through the Liri valley. The entrance to the valley, however, was blocked by the rugged Monte Cassino massif with its hilltop medieval monastery and the town below, which controlled the battlefield. In front of them ran the Gustav Line, the most formidably constructed defensive line the Western Allies would ever come up against.
The second possible route would be to outflank the Gustav Line to reach the valley, but they would also have to capture the innumerable rough peaks and ridges along the massif on a treacherous terrain that favoured the defenders. The third and last option would be to breach the Gustav Line directly in front of the Cassino town. Nevertheless, they would have to engage in costly house-to-house fighting against stubborn German paratroopers lurking beneath the rubble. They decided to try all three routes. None of those was easy and all proved deadly...
This sequel to Flying American Combat Aircraft of World War II spans the Cold War, taking a look at the planes that defined the era and fought in places like Korea and Vietnam. Covering all manner of aircraft-including fighters, bombers, and transports-seasoned pilots tell what it was really like to be in the cockpit of some of the world's classic planes.
The authors describe how the officers and men moved from the routine of cold war training to leading the Big Red One in battle through the Iraqi defenses and against the Iraqi Republican Guard. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry participated in the 1st Brigade attack on G-Day, the large tank battle for Objective Norfolk, the cutting of Basra Road, and the capture of Safwan Airfield, the site where General H. Norman Schwartzkopf conducted cease-fire negotiations with the Iraqis. The squadrons activities are placed squarely within the context of both division and corps activities, which illustrates the fog of war, the chain of command, and the uncertainty of information affecting command decisions.
The Road to Safwan challenges the myth that technology won the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Contrary to popular view, it was a soldier's war not much different from previous conflicts in its general nature. What was different was the quality and intensity of the unit's training, which resulted, repeatedly, in successful engagements and objectives secured. It is the story of the people, not the machines, which ultimately led this squadron to the small town of Safwan.