» » UNLESS VICTORY COMES: Combat With a Machine Gunner in Patton's Third Army
UNLESS VICTORY COMES: Combat With a Machine Gunner in Patton's Third Army by Patrick Gilbert,Gene Garrison
  • Author: Patrick Gilbert,Gene Garrison
  • Title: UNLESS VICTORY COMES: Combat With a Machine Gunner in Patton's Third Army
  • Size PDF ver: 1480 kb
  • Size ePUB ver: 1785 kb
  • Size Fb2 ver: 1987 kb
  • ISBN: 1932033300
  • ISBN13: 978-1932033304
  • Pages: 256
  • Other formats: rtf mobi txt azw
  • Category: Biographies & Memoris
  • Subcat: Leaders and Notable People
  • Language: English
  • Rating: 4.9 of 5
  • Votes: 235
  • Publisher: Casemate; First Edition edition (July 19, 2004)
  • Hardcover: Here
UNLESS VICTORY COMES: Combat With a Machine Gunner in Patton's Third Army
Gene Garrison spent a terrifying nineteenth birthday crammed into a muddy foxhole near the German border in the Saar. He listened helplessly to cries of wounded comrades as exploding artillery shells sent deadly shrapnel raining down on them. The date was December 16, 1944, he was a member of a .30-caliber machine-gun crew with the 87th Infantry Division and this was his first day in combat. Less than a year earlier, he had taken the first steps in charting his future, entering college as a fresh-faced kid from the farmlands of Ohio. Now, as the night closed around Garrison, slices of light pierced the darkness with frightening brilliance. Battle-hardened German SS troopers using flashlights infiltrated the line of the young, untested American soldiers. Someone screamed "Counterattack!" In the maelstrom of gun fire that followed the teenaged Garrison struggled to comprehend the horrors of the present, his entire future reduced to a prayer that he would be alive at daybreak. From those first frightening, confusing days in combat until the end of the war five months later, Gene Garrison saw many of his buddies killed or wounded, each loss reducing his own odds of survival. Convinced before one attack that his luck had deserted him, he wrote a final letter to his family, telling them goodbye. Garrison gave the letter to a buddy with instructions to mail it if he died. From the bitter fighting west of Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge to the end of the war on the Czechoslovakian border, Garrison describes the degradation of war with pathos and humor. Gene Garrison's story is told through the eyes of the common soldier, a man who might not know the name of the town or the location of the next hill that he and his comrades must grimly wrestle from the enemy but who is willing to die in order to carry the war forward to the hated enemy. He writes of the simple pleasure derived from finding a water-filled puddle deep enough to fill his canteen; a momentary respite in a half-destroyed barn that shields him from the bitter cold and penetrating wind of an Ardennes winter; the solace of friendship with a core of veterans whose lives hang upon his actions and whose actions might help him survive the bitter, impersonal death they all face. The rich dialogue and a hard-hitting narrative style bring the reader to battlefield manhood alongside Garrison, to each moment of terror and triumph faced by a young soldier far from home in the company of strangers.

Reviews num: (7)

I didn't care for this book. He (Gene) seemed detached from the events, he was being informed of events, but not really participating that much. He was always in the rear, and called up front for more fire-power. I never thought at any time that he was in peril. He never seemed to be in the fire-fights, he just heard his supposed friend were killed or wounded.
Character development was missing. Hum drum army life. To much detail about finding a place to eat or sleep.
Over and over he referred to his superiors mentioning him shirking duty or going to medics, always problems. I would not have wanted him in my squad or platoon.Over all it was boring, I couldn't wait to finish.
I don not recommend this book.
I am baffled by the high review of other readers.
If you like war stories, this one is for you. The story starts when the new 87th "Golden Acorn" Infantry Division is in training stateside, and then the movement overseas. They get to Europe and are assigned to Patton's 3rd Army just in time to celebrate Christmas 1944 and relieve the Bulge at the same time.

Gene Garrison writes in the first person of his experiences as an ammo bearer in an infantry light machine gun squad, working his way up to assistant gunner and sometimes gunner. It's a story of indurance -- the biting cold, wounds and minor injuries, and the loss of friends. How they engaged the enemy and how the enemy reacted is a big part. His encounters with friendly German civilians is especially enlightening.

At the museum where I work we're preparing an exhibit of one of the M1919 machine guns like the ones Garrison talks of in his book and it was interesting to read of the little nuisances in the handling and operation of the gun that aren't normally found in manuals and official histories.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys military history on the personal level.
A memoir of the last 6 months of WW II written from the perspective of a fighting infantry soldier. One actually feels like one is in the midst of the squad. No hyperbole or bravado; rather a tale well told. A great read for those interested in the reality of an ordinary soldier on the front lines.
Gene's story traces his "coming of age" in the terrifying experience of world war II. His experiences demonstrated the vivid memories that followed these soldiers for the rest of their lives. The book was well written, and the flow followed a typical soldier's own limited viewpoint of going from place to place without being told why or what's next, but going ahead and making the most of a tough situation anyway. Many thanks to the men like Gene who sacrificed greatly in horrifying conditions during the war to preserve our freedoms.
My great uncle (Robert Walsh) was in the 87th Infantry Div and went thru the battle of the bulge . . . this book was great because it gave me insight into what he must have experienced (he never talked about it himself). Excellent perspective from one of his comrades.
Having served as an Infantryman in the US Army--this book tells it like it is.
Unless Victory Comes: Combat With a World War II Machine Gunner in Patton's Third Army
Gene Garrison and Patrick Gilbert use all the right words to paint a clear and colorful picture of what World War II was for them and for those who fought along side them. I have the privilege to know one of the men (Anthony D'Arpino), who is frequently mentioned throughout this book, and it was he who recommended I read it; I'm glad I took his advise. This is a no nonsense, factual, sad, funny, and very entertaining account of what our soldiers experienced while defending our country in WWII.

Although the book is full of true hero's, I doubt that any of them ever considered themselves to be a one. Well, they've earned the title and I wish I could say "thank you," to all of them. Unfortunately, due to the nature of war, that's not possible; so many of them never made it home, and now even more of them are no longer with us. But, for the few who are still around, like Mr. D'Arpino, thank you for what you did for us. Thank you for keeping our country out of the hands of those intent on destroying us. Thank you for allowing the rest of us to live in a country that continues to embrace democracy.

And for those of you who have taken the time to read this review, please do what I did, take Mr. D'Arpino's advise and read this book. You'll be glad you did.

Related at UNLESS VICTORY COMES: Combat With a Machine Gunner in Patton's Third Army eBooks: