"G Company's War" is the story of a World War II rifle company in Patton's Third Army as detailed in the journals of S/Sgt. Bruce Egger and Lt. Lee M. Otts, both of G Company, 328th Regiment, 26th Infantry Division. What distinguishes it from other accounts of combat in World War II is its parallel day-by-day records of the same events as seen by two men in the same company, one an enlisted man, the other an officer. These are the voices of ordinary GIs, the men who did the fighting, not the generals who viewed events from a distance. The two authors came from different parts of the country - Egger from the mountains of central Idaho, and Otts from a small town in the Alabama Black Belt. They did not know each other during the war, yet a remarkable similarity exists between their individual recollections of G Company's war, even down to the smallest detail. The juxtaposition of their accounts provides fascinating insights into how these two distinctly different personalities responded to the same experiences.
For the serious-minded Egger the war was a grim ordeal, and his account is packed with descriptions of the dead and wounded, the privations endured by the soldiers, and the destruction they witnessed. For Otts the war was no less an ordeal, but with a sunny disposition he responded to it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, sometimes even fun, and recorded pranks as well as his own foibles. Both men not only tell of extraordinary and daily acts of courage but speak forthrightly about those of their comrades whose conduct in battle left something to be desired. Each account is accurate in its own right, but the combination of the two into a single, interwoven story provides a broader understanding of war and the men caught in it. Historian Paul Roley has interspersed throughout the text helpful overviews and summaries that place G Company's activities in the larger context of overall military operations in Europe. In addition, Roley notes what happened to each GI mentioned, (as wounded in action, transferred, and so forth) and provides detailed tables summarizing G Company's losses by replacement draft and period.
The extensive losses, the disease and injury, the number of replacement drafts needed - these sobering facts form a compelling picture of the reality of war in a frontline infantry company by the men who lived through it.show more