Thursday, May 6, 2021

And Speaking of the Rhine

I just finish this great book about Colonel Anderson, CO of the 1111th Combat Engineers Group.  

Combat Engineer: The Life and Leadership of Colonel H. Wallis Anderson, Commander of the Engineers at the Bulge and Remagen

He was there as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard when Pancho Villa had little excursions el Norte, he was an Engineer in WWI, he worked the rails all around PA as a civil engineer, and then he trained an engineering unit that was pretty much him and green 2nd Lieutenants sleeping in pup tents in the winter in Plattsburg New York.  Brrr.

Then he and his unit found themselves in a quiet sector near the Ardennes in the Autumn of 1944.  A good engineer might keep his head and know what few bridges he'd need to drop in the unlikely event a buttload of SS Panzers came rolling in, wandering around an area like that, making lumber and gravel for engineering purposes...  

And then a unit like that might be handy to construct back up bridges if they ever captured a damaged but semi-intact bridge over the Rhine.  

Just extraordinary displays of leadership and professional competence, and the book was a pleasure to read.  If you like military engineers, quiet competent leadership by example, or SS Generals losing battles, then you, too, might enjoy this book.      


Jonathan H said...

Sounds like a neat read.
In particular, I bet he saw huge changes in technology from Pancho Villa to the Rhine...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Tons of footnotes, too.