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Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II (1998)

af Belton Y. Cooper

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1903107,441 (3.6)1
Stephen Ambrose said Cooper "saw more of the war than most. . . and he writes about it better than almost anyone." Publishers Weeklycalled it "Without a doubt, this is one of the finest WWII memoirs ever written." Maintenance seems an unlikely place to encounter indanger. When author Belton Cooper found himself assigned to the hard-charging 3d Armored Division, he discovered that recovering thedivision's broken-down, battle damaged, and even destroyed tanks often took him and his team of technical experts to the front lines, andeven beyond. So critical was the need for replacement combat-ready tanks that Cooper and his recovery team had to go to extreme lengthsto pick up the pieces from the battlefield, even if the battle was not yet over. Particularly notable is his criticism of the Sherman tank and ofGeneral Patton.… (mere)

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As history, this book is pretty bad. It’s full of repetitions (we read about the underground V2 plant at Nordhausen at three times, with identical language), speculation and myth presented as fact (most notably the author’s frequently repeated opinion that General Patton personally blocked the development of the M26 tank) and just plain errors (the author confuses Darmstadt and Dresden).


However, as a story you might hear in the VFW - when the old-timers (the author was 80 when the book was published) had a little bit more to drink than they should and begin with some funny anecdotes told dozens of times before, then get a thousand yard stare and begin talking about things that nobody heard before, or should hear - it’s pretty good. Belton Cooper was a university graduate with a degree in naval architecture and a ROTC commission. So naturally he was sent to Europe as an armor maintenance officer. His job was location, recovery, and repair of battle-damaged tanks. Although this was nominally a “rear area” job, in the fluid mobile warfare that developed Lt. Cooper got shot at his share of times (and at one point found himself in command of a group of replacement tanks being driven to the front that had to be pressed into service as an impromptu blocking force). He also had to recover many tanks with what was left of the crew still inside, which led to his vehement belief that the US Army needed a more heavily armed and armored tank in WWII. There are plenty of WWII memoirs around, but we don’t often get to hear from the support troops; it’s clear from this account that they were vital. So don’t get it for the bogus history, but for the very valid “I was there” account. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 6, 2017 |
This book is ok when Cooper stays in his lane and writes about what he knows and experienced, but too often he wanders off and starts talking about grand strategy and how everyone was doin' it 'rong. Frankly, I don't care about some snotty lieutenant's half-formed opinions about someone else's job. I want to read about what he did, how he did it, where he did it, and the impressions he formed while doing it. ( )
2 stem JonSowden | Jan 2, 2012 |
If you want to understand how an American armored division functioned during WW2 this is the book to read. Why the US only had a heavy tank that could stand up to the heavier German armor is a story I have never read before. ( )
  StuartW | Jul 18, 2011 |
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Stephen Ambrose said Cooper "saw more of the war than most. . . and he writes about it better than almost anyone." Publishers Weeklycalled it "Without a doubt, this is one of the finest WWII memoirs ever written." Maintenance seems an unlikely place to encounter indanger. When author Belton Cooper found himself assigned to the hard-charging 3d Armored Division, he discovered that recovering thedivision's broken-down, battle damaged, and even destroyed tanks often took him and his team of technical experts to the front lines, andeven beyond. So critical was the need for replacement combat-ready tanks that Cooper and his recovery team had to go to extreme lengthsto pick up the pieces from the battlefield, even if the battle was not yet over. Particularly notable is his criticism of the Sherman tank and ofGeneral Patton.

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