Included are more than 70 photos and maps.
There are several reasons that justify such a publication. The most important is to give both the military reader and the American public solid, uncolored material for a better understanding of the real nature of modern battle. Military operations on the scale of this war if treated, as they must usually be, in terms of armies and corps, can give only an outline account of the fortunes of units smaller than a battalion, and very often the battalion is treated as the smallest counter in the moves described on a battlefield. This tends to be misleading; a battalion has no such unity as a battleship, but is a complex organism that maneuvers ordinarily on a front half a mile or more in width, includes a variety of specialized weapons, and often has attachments of engineers or tanks to provide greater tactical flexibility. In jungle or hedgerow country, the battalion frequently exists only as a mechanism to coordinate, perhaps with the greatest difficulty, the separate engagements of companies, platoons, or even squads. When the record (or the military history) sums up an action by saying, "The 3d Battalion fought its way forward against heavy resistance for 500 yards," only the man who has himself experienced combat is likely to realize what this can involve, and what the phrase conceals. It does not give the story of the front line action as experienced by the combat soldier. That story, hardest of all military operations to recapture and make clear, lies in detail such as that offered by the narratives presented here.
The actions described in vivid and excellent detail are;
France: 2d Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc
Saipan: 27th Division on Tanapag Plain
Italy: 351st Infantry at Santa Maria Infante
France: 4th Armored Division at Singling