Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc – the Rangers Who Landed at D-Day and Fought Across Europe
Authored by Patrick K. O’Donnell, Narrated by John Pruden
Audiobook, 8 hours and 11 minutes
Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Company D of the U.S. Army’s Second Ranger Battalion was one of the Allied units which landed at Normandy, but unlike most units it was tasked with a very specific and difficult mission; scale the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc, and destroy the German guns emplaced there. If the guns were not destroyed, they could target any troops landing on either Omaha or Utah beach and jeopardize the entire invasion of Europe.
The book follows “Dog” Company (Dog being the phonetic pronunciation of the letter D) from recruitment and training Stateside to its deployment to England. In preparation for the D-Day landings, the Rangers practiced the technics of amphibious landings and scaling cliffs along the English coast.
Despite all the training, the actual landings at Pointe Du Hoc were chaotic. Several Rangers were put ashore on Omaha beach, those that were landed at their intended locations fought largely on their own for two days. They moved to their objectives in small groups, and in remarkable displays of personal initiative managed to accomplish their missions and defend their positions until they could link up with the rest of the American forces.
After being rebuilt and re-equipped, the Rangers went on to fight in the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. The Ranger Battalions were repeatedly thrust into the thick of the fighting, and by the end of the war eleven months after D-Day few of the original men remained.
The author tells the story of the Rangers from the soldiers’ personal perspectives, relying largely on interviews with the survivors. There are a number of parallels with the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division as told in Band of Brothers and this book compares well to that work. Recommended.