Uniforms, Weapons, and Insignia:
The World War II GI - US Army Uniforms 1941-45 in Color Photographs
by Richard Windrow & Tim Hawkins
Motorbooks International Publishers & Wholesalers, Osceola, Wisconsin
Many excellent modern color photos of just about evey item of US Army clothing and equipment used in WWII. A must have.
US Army Uniforms of World War II
by Shelby Stanton
Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA
Many excellent period black and white photos. Plenty of information on the development and evolution of various uniforms. Good section on women's uniforms.
US Army Handbook 1939-1945
by George Forty
Charles Scribner and Sons, New York, NY
Many period black and white photos. More general information on the overall organization of the Army in WWII. Lacks detail desired by reenactors in several areas, but also covers some areas not found elsewhere.
A Collector's Guide to the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine
by Bruce N. Canfield
Andrew Mowbray, Lincoln, RI
Extensive, detailed information on the two primary US infantry weapons of WWII. Plenty of modern black and white photos. More information than you will probably need on these weapons and all their variants.
US Infantry Weapons of World War II
by Bruce N. Canfield
Andrew Mowbray Publishers, Lincoln, RI
Plenty of excellent black and white photos of just about every U.S. infantry weapon used in WWII including edged weapons, pistols, rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, automatic rifles, machine guns, bazooka, grenades and launchers, mortars, recoilless rifles and flamethrowers. Plenty of good information. A must have.
U.S. Army Heraldic Crests
by Barry Jason Stein
University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC
Good coverage, including color photos, of all distinguishing unit insignia ("unit crests," or "DIs") as of the date of publishing (1993). More information than the average person needs unless you are a DI collector. Many WWII era crests are not listed, presumably because the units were deactivated. May be out of print.
World War II Order of Battle
by Shelby L. Stanton
Galahad Books, New York, NY
Excellent compilation of information about every US Army unit in World War II. Includes history of each division, and a thumbnail history of smaller units including regiments, groups, and some separate brigades and battalions. Shows typical organization of each division, and has color plates of most shoulder sleeve insignia, and black and white line drawings of most DIs. May be out of print.
Infantry Regiments of the United States Army
by Kenneth S. Gallagher and Robert L. Pigeon
Combined Books, Bryn Mawr, PA
Covers 61 infantry regiments on active duty at the time the book was published (1986). Has an explanation of the unit coat of arms (DI), unit motto, lineage and honors, and a large color illustration of the complete coat of arms and the unit crest or DI for each unit. Again, probably more information than the average reenactor cares about, especially given the limited scope of this book.
American Military Bayonets of the 20th Century
by Gary M. Cunningham
Scott A. Duff Publications, Export, PA
This covers bayonets of the entire 20th century, so the section on WWII bayonets is relatively small. Black and white line drawings and detailed descriptions of bayonets and scabbards. Covers most variants. Probably more information than most reenactors care about. Recommend Bruce Canfield's Infantry Weapons book first.
Army Service Forces Catalog QM Sec. 1
Quartermaster Supply Catalog - OQMG Circular No. 4-Revised August 1943
Reprinted by George A. Peterson
National Capitol Historical Sales, Inc.
PO Box 605
Springfield, VA 22150
Softcover reprint of the army quartermaster supply catalog which has black and white photos with a brief description of just about every article of clothing or equipment an American soldier could be issued in WWII. Definitely worth having.
The War in Europe - From the Kasserine Pass to Berlin, 1942-1945
by John P. Langellier
Greenhill Books, London/Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA
Volume 1 of "The GI Series." Many good black and white period photos, and a few period color photos. Lots of detail apparent in the photos, with the only text in the photo captions. A few captions are incorrect, but overall this is an interesting book.
The American Soldier in World War II
by Chester G. Hearn
Salamander Books Ltd., London
Lots of period black and white photos, but too many of them are found in too many other books. A lot of photos are not even of soldiers. Also, the author covers US Marines, Navy and Air Corps. This book probably should have been more accurately titled something like "The American Fighting Man of WWII." Also, too much of the information in this book is misleading, incomplete, or just plain wrong.
D-Day - Operation Overlord - From its planning to the Liberation of Paris
No author listed
Salamander Books Ltd., London
Many black and white period photos, maps, color illustrations, and a fairly good text covering D-Day including the preparation and the breakout from the beachheads. The high point of this book is the many modern color photos of uniforms, weapons and equipment of all the combatants. This book is worth the price for those photos alone. May be out of print.
The American Soldier. U.S. Armies in Uniform, 1755 to the present.
by Philip Katcher
Military Press, New York, NY
A few black and white period photos, but most of the book is comprised of clear, accurate color illustrations of US military uniforms from 1755 to 1990. World War II is well represented, especially the separate plates toward the back of the book showing the evolution of US Army combat equipment. May be out of print.
Histories and anthologies:
Spearhead in the West - The Third Armored Division 1941-45
No author attributed
Reprinted by: The Battery Press Inc.
PO Box 3107, Uptown Station
Nashville, TN 37219
$59.00 including shipping (as of March 2002)
This book is a must-have for the 3rd Armored Division reenactor. It is a reprint of the 3rd Armored Division "yearbook" that was published in Europe shortly after the end of WWII. It contains extensive information about the division including plenty of photographs, a brief run-down on each sub-unit of the division, a narrative history of the division, and a copy of the "Official Record of Combat" authored by the division G-3. The photos are often dark and murky - a result of the copying process used to create this reprint. Otherwise it is an excellent book and highly recommended. Oddly enough, originals of this book can sometimes be found on e-bay and elsewhere for about the same cost as the reprint.
A Time for Trumpets
by Charles B. MacDonald
William Morrow, New York, NY
An excellent overview of the battle, complete with personal anecdotes, written by a participant and author of one of the best personal accounts of WWII (See "Company Commander" below). Includes accounts of the 3rd Armored Division's role in the Battle of the Bulge.
Nothing Less Than Victory
by Russell Miller
William Morrow, New York, NY
Although this book is only about D-Day, and does not mention the 3rd Armored Division, it is included here as a worthwhile anthology of oral histories and personal recollections that give the reader a better understanding of the mindset of the WWII GI in Europe.
Why the Allies Won
by Richard Overy
WW Norton & Company, New York, NY
This book may not be of much interest to the average reenactor since it contains few pictures, or personal information. It does however present an interesting thesis on why the Allies won, and in the process examines factors such as economics, mass production, technology, and morals! It also explains some strategy, tactics, and decisions and why things were done the way they were. An interesting book. May be out of print.
Personal Accounts and Novels
Company Commander (Autobiography)
by Charles B. MacDonald
Burford Books, Short Hills, NJ
Considered a classic memoir of WWII infantry combat. The account begins with 2nd Lt. MacDonald's arrival at his first assignment in October 1944, and ends while he is a Captain and commander of an infantry company in Czechoslovakia at the end of the war. Covers his experience in the Bulge. A must read.
My War (Autobiography)
by Andy Rooney
Public Affairs, Perseus Books Group, New York, NY
An autobiography of the war years as experienced by Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes" fame. Again, not your average reenactors book, but interesting for his account of his training, and the "outsider's" view of the American military. This book is also of interest because of Mr. Rooney's interview with Major General Maurice Rose, Commanding General of the 3rd Armored Division.
News of the 45th
Bill Mauldin's Army
by Bill Mauldin
Various prices and publishers.
Read anything you can by Bill Mauldin He was rightfully considered to be the voice of the average GI in WWII.
Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945
Duty, Honor Country: A History of West Point
The Supreme Commander: The War Years of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagles' Nest
D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
Citizen Soldiers: The US Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany June 7, 1944 - May 7, 1945
by Stephen Ambrose
Also read anything you can by Stephen Ambrose. He is a prolific writer justly famous for his anthologies and oral history compilations of the participants, both major and minor, in World War II.
by Belton Y. Cooper
Presidio Press, 505 B San Marin Drive, Suite 300, Novato, CA 94945-1340
Price approx. $20.00
The author was an Ordnance Corps lieutenant performing liaison duties between the combat commands and maintenance in the 3rd Armored Division. He provides fascinating insights into the inner workings of the the division, and saw plenty of action during the course of his duties. The 36th Armored Infantry is mentioned several times in the book. One of the more interesting insights is the attrition of tank crews: The 3rd Armored Division landed at Normandy (after D-Day) with 400 M-4 Sherman tanks. By the time the division entered Germany in 1945, only 100 of the orignial tanks were left, and most of those had been knocked-out, recovered, and repaired. After the Battle of the Bulge, the division had so few tank crews left, they were forced to cut the crews from the normal five-man complement, to three men - barely enough to function in combat. Under these circumstances, the tank commander had to pull double duty as the loader. A fascinating book, and a must read for anyone interested in the workings of an armored division in combat.
Another River, Another Town - A Teenage Tank Gunner Comes of Age in Combat - 1945
By John P. Irwin
Random House, New York, New York
As the title suggests, the author was a teenage tank gunner, assigned to the 3rd Armored Division, in 1945. He joined his unit after the Battle of the Bulge, and stayed with them through the end of the war. He was later chosen to be a crew member of one of the new M-26 Pershing tanks which was much more effective against German armor. A very enjoyable book.
By Robert W. Christie
$30.00 (approx. for the hardcover)
ISBN 1-4010-2914-0 (hardcover)
The author was the platoon leader of a tank platoon in F Company, 33rd Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Division in World War II. This book is a fictionalized account of his service. It contains several random, unconnected incidents, that as he explains in his preface are distracting, but they also serve to give a feel of the randomness, and pointlessness of many wartime occurences. An interesting book.