Magazine article Army

Varied Fare

Magazine article Army

Varied Fare

Article excerpt

Fighting with the Screaming Eagles: With the 101st Airborne from Normandy to Bastogne. Robert M. Bowen. Stackpole Books. 256 pages; black & white photographs; maps; bibliography; $24.95.

Robert M. Bowen fought with the 101st Airborne Division in every major battle the unit participated in, but he never put on a parachute harness and never jumped out of a plane. Instead, Bowen was a gliderman, arriving on the battlefield in a metal and canvas plane with no engine. Actually he only arrived on the battlefield once via this craft: in Holland. He landed by boat at Normandy and by truck at Bastogne.

Bowen has put together an interesting memoir about his combat experiences and capture in World War II. He was wounded in the ankle early in the fighting in Normandy and saw little of the struggle for the hedgerows. In Holland, he flew into Eindhoven and helped secure "Hell's Highway," the vital road used by British armor, before being trucked north to participate in the struggles west of Arnhem, fighting the Germans in relatively static battle lines.

The most intense action took place in Bastogne, where Bowen constantly ran through enemy fire to assault houses, retrieve wounded and command troops. He even tried to recover civilian belongings. It was while holding the line northwest of Bastogne that a German artillery shell exploded, wounding him and sending him to a makeshift hospital which the Germans soon overran.

As a prisoner of war, Bowen survived his wounds and starvation while being transferred from one camp to the next. …

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