Item description for The Filthy Thirteen: From the Dustbowl to Hitler's Eagle's Nest - The True Story of the 101st Airborne's Most Legendary Squad of Combat Paratroopers by Richard Killblane & Jake McNiece...
Now in Peprback for the first time.
Since World War II, the American public has become fully aware of the exploits of the 101st Airborne Division, the paratroopers who led the Allied invasions into Nazi-held Europe. But within the ranks of the 101st, a sub-unit attained legendary status at the time, its reputation persisting among veterans over the decades.
Primarily products of the Dustbowl and the Depression, the Filthy13 grew notorious, even within the ranks of the elite 101st. Never ones to salute an officer, or take a bath, this squad became singular within the Screaming Eagles for its hard drinking, and savage fighting skill--and that was only in training. Just prior to the invasion of Normandy, a "Stars and Stripes" photographer caught U.S. 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 13. 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 13 suffered heavy casualties, some men wounded and others blown to bits. By the end of the war 30 men had passed through the squad.
Throughout the war, however, the heart and soul of the Filthy 13 remained 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 PFC. The survivors of the Filthy 13 stayed intact as a unit until the Allies finally conquered Nazi Germany.
The book does not draw a new portrait of earnest citizen soldiers. Instead it describes a group of hardscrabble guys whom any respectable person would be loath to meet in a bar or dark alley. But they were an integral part of the U.S. war against Nazi Germany. 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, the Filthy 13 remain a legend within the ranks of the 101st Airborne.
Over 20,000 copies sold of the hardcover edition.
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More About Richard Killblane & Jake McNiece
Killblane is a published author and currently serves as the Transportation Corps historian.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Filthy Thirteen: From the Dustbowl to Hitler's Eagle's Nest - The True Story of the 101st Airborne's Most Legendary Squad of Combat Paratroopers?
The Filthy Thirteen Jun 18, 2008
A great explination of the real group that the Dirty Dozen movie is losely paterned after. It clears up alot of missconcepions and gives you the real story and the reason why the entertainment industry was forced to not use the real name and actual events.
Contrived and self serving Jan 25, 2008
This presents the age old mythology of the rebel soldiers, those who refuse to accept the discipline of the unit, being the greatest combat soldiers. Of course, there is a certain anecdotal truth to this. This is shown by the very existence of the unit and the writing of the book itself that this story has a basis in truth.
But it allows the author a few hundred pages to brag about how much trouble he caused dozens of officers and NCO's. These same men were American heros too, and this celebration of disrespect towards them is a but boorish. The story is related to an author but so much of it is first person accounts by the subject and he blusters and brags so much that this reader grew to dislike him. I'd have rather seen the book end with him in the stockade.
pathfinder on the loose Feb 14, 2007
I met the author at a paratrooper reunion,(the 26th infantry pathfinder platoon in 2006) and was amazed of how great a storyteller he was, he was a great featured speaker. But the fact that Jake is a natural storyteller shouldn't fool you, jake's adventures were quite real and even in the 1980's , my pathfinder unit was able to get away with some pretty wild antics as long as we did our mission well. This book is well worth buying or reading because it has the laid back style of jake himself. Men like jake helped us win that war and men like him are still around fighting and having adventures in todays airborne units as well. They make no apologies for killing anyone who is trying to kill their buddies regardless what anyone else thinks about it. The book is a unapologetic look at a wild trooper and his war and on that ground alone I would say buy it!
Good Parts, but mostly bad Mar 24, 2006
I just would like to add that the book was a real letdown for me. There were some really funny parts in the first half of the book, while the unit was in training but when the unit actually went into combat in Normandy the book really went down hill fast.
Very Impressive Feb 22, 2006
I just finshed reading the Filthy Thirteen by Richard Killblane and found it very interesting. I actually went to church with Jake McNiece when I lived in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He was a very interesting individual. I have the highest regard for his efforts during WWII. The writing of this book isn't the best and it was difficult to follow at times since it jumped from first person to third person. Over looking the writing style I couldn't help but be impressed and appreciative of what the men in battle had to endure. I would recommend this book if for nothing else than to get an upclose view of war. I also read some previous reviews stating they doubted the validity of Jakes escapades. As I stated before I personally know Jake and his escapades mentioned in this book although seem over the top are quite true.