Falling comrades, savagery of war, and the intense will to prevail in battle faced young Bill Chapman when he stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. For the following eleven months Chapman served in the most hazardous duty in the Army—dodging Nazi captures and fighting for his and his brothers-in-arms’ survival.
Retired infantry officer and author Craig S. Chapman reveals his father’s first-hand account of the horror, fear, and danger from the front lines of WWII’s most momentous events in Battle Hardened: An Infantry Officer’s Harrowing Journey from D-Day to V-E Day.
Relying on his father’s spoken war stories, as well as letters written during the war, Chapman reveals a gripping, never-before-told account of the enormous sacrifice made by the Greatest Generation—and the best and worst of human nature that emerges during war: courage, anguish, determination, and mercy.
Battle Hardened features action-packed stories and an inside look at the ingenuity and indomitability that led to an Allied forces victory. In the book, you’ll learn:
- Riveting war stories of WWII’s most significant events from the front lines of the Army’s most dangerous infantry unit
- Stirring tales of brotherhood and how a small unit developed tactics and techniques to survive the cruelty and cunning of German troops
- Exhilarating narrative of the frame of mind that motivated and bound a WWII officer to his mission to defeat the Axis powers.
Battle-Hardened: An Infantry Officer’s Harrowing Journey from D-Day to VE-Day tells the story of an American soldier’s growth from a 2nd Lieutenant eager to prove his worth in battle to a skilled and resolute commander over the course of the Northern European Campaign.
Craig Chapman delves deep into the personal recollections and mental state of Bill Chapman as he fought against the Nazis, enduring frontline combat and witnessing horror on a massive scale. Lieutenant Chapman maintains his sanity by isolating his emotions from the chaos of the battlefield, and the young officer turns into a hard-edged warrior who dispassionately orders men to risk their lives yet still manages to hold onto his humanity.
“…Bill’s story provides compelling testimony to the brutal actions endured by the Allied infantrymen who defeated the Nazi war machine.”
Although his war record did not make him famous, Bill’s story provides compelling testimony to the brutal actions endured by the Allied infantrymen who defeated the Nazi war machine. Combining the regiment’s extensive operational history and Bill’s personal perspective allows me to tell a story of war at the small-unit level that reveals much of the best and worst of human nature: courage, brutality, cleverness, anguish, determination, callousness, and mercy.
What Bill saw, what he and his comrades suffered, and what they accomplished deserve our remembrance, if only to underline the price of victory paid by the men who achieved it. The operations of the 4th Infantry Division and the 12th Infantry Regiment in World War II are well-documented but not well-known. Somehow the Ivy Division (a nickname that plays on the unit’s Roman numerals: IV) missed the limelight.
The desperate fight at Omaha Beach overshadowed its landing at Utah Beach. The Air Corps’ bombing during Operation Cobra earned credit for the breakout in Normandy while the division’s breaching of the German defense—and maintaining that breach—often gets overlooked. Charles de Gaulle proclaimed that Paris had been freed by the French people and the French Army, ignoring the 12th Infantry’s role in the city’s liberation.
During the Battle of the Bulge, the siege of the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne—and Patton’s drive to relieve it—stole the headlines from the 12th Infantry’s heroic defense of Luxembourg. The race to Berlin in the last month of the war eclipsed the 4th Infantry Division’s drive across Franconia and Bavaria. Yet, the Ivy Division had persisted through some of the war’s most intense combat, suffering the highest number of casualties among all American divisions during the Northern European Campaign, third most for the entire war.
Craig S. Chapman spent thirty years managing dual careers in telecom network sales and the U.S. Army/National Guard. As an author he has combined his lifelong passion for historical research with his expertise as an infantry officer to write a Civil War history, More Terrible Than Victory, and insightful commentary on military history subjects at his Website. Craig is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University, and the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College. He resides with his wife in Raleigh, North California.