The Spearheaders

Written by James Altieri

New introduction by Mir Bahmanyar

The SpearheadersThe outlook for a victory by the Allied Powers was dim in the spring of 1942. With only two untested American divisions arrived in the European theatre, Gen. Lucien K. Truscott conceived the plan of organizing an American commando unit to be known as the “Rangers.” Maj. William O. Darby was placed in command of the first Ranger Battalion and proved himself an officer of such extraordinary leadership that his unit became known as “Darby’s Rangers.”

This unit was destined to be the first American ground forces to battle the Germans in Africa and Europe in World War II. The Spearheaders the account from an enlisted man’s point of view of the intensely dramatic career of the Rangers from their beginnings as soldiers in Ireland, through their grueling training in Scotland, to their role in combat operations from Dieppe, France, to North Africa, Sicily and mainland Italy, battling Vichy French soldiers, Italians and battle-hardened Germans until the Ranger Force gets wiped out one bitter day in January 1944 near Anzio, Italy.

Naval Institute Press, 2014