deep in the Ardennes forest of Belgium. Eighteen men of a small
intelligence platoon commanded by twenty-year-old lieutenant Lyle
Bouck were huddled in their foxholes, desperately trying to keep
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Suddenly the early morning silence
was broken by the roar of a huge artillery bombardment. Hitler had
launched his bold and risky offensive against the Allies—his
“last gamble”—and the American platoon was facing
the main thrust of the entire German assault.
Vastly outnumbered, the platoon repulsed three German
assaults in a fierce day-long battle to defend a strategically vital
hill. Only when Bouck’s men had run out of ammunition did
But their long winter was just beginning.
As POWs, Bouck’s platoon experienced an ordeal
far worse than combat—surviving in captivity with trigger-happy
German guards, Allied bombing raids, and a starvation diet. While
hundreds of other captured Americans in German POW camps were either
killed or died of disease, the men of Bouck’s platoon miraculously
survived—all of them—and returned home after the war.
More than thirty years later, when President Carter
recognized the unit’s “extraordinary heroism”
and the U.S. Army approved combat medals for all eighteen men, they
became America’s most decorated platoon of World War II.
With the same vivid and dramatic
prose that made The Bedford Boys a national bestseller, Alex
Kershaw brings to life the story of these little-known heroes—an
epic tale of courage and survival in World War II and one of the
most inspiring episodes in American history.