A significant combat memoir written by a young US soldier during the bitter fighting in the Vosges Mountains, 1944-45. When 17-year old freshman Frank Gurley was placed second in his first Harvard varsity cross-country meet, he thought he had achieved the ultimate in courage and tenacity. Just over a year later, still shy of his 19th birthday, and still a scout of sorts (First Scout in an infantry rifle squad), Gurley came down from a frowning peak in the Vosges Mountains with far deeper insights into the meaning of valor and intrepid endurance...after his odyssey 'Into the Mountains Dark.' This extraordinary work is actually the result of an operational security violation and military offence for which the author could have been severely punished. Throughout his six months of combat as an enlisted man in the U.S. Seventh Army's 100th Infantry Division in France and Germany, Private Gurley maintained an extensive, up-to-the hour journal in which he and his buddies painstakingly recorded every major incident in the life of their platoon.
A former high school newspaper editor, the author risked the potential penalties for his actions and meticulously chronicled the fears, joys, gripes, thrills, and horros he experienced from the moment he enlisted through V-E Day. What might have been a prize for German intelligence or evidence in his court martial for keeping an unauthorized diary is now a boon to everyone who wants to know exactly what it was like to train and fight as an infantryman the last time the U.S. Army decisively defeated a formidable foe. The author is also an official historian of the 100th Infantry Division Association, and as such, long had full personal access to many of the division's senior officers, as well as their professional and personal papers. The author seasons his starkly candid and colourful account of daily life in training and in combat with documented, revealing vignettes depicting decisive moments at the division command post, and their corollary impact at the foxhole level.
As a result of its searing realism, comprehensive detail, and total accuracy borne of contemporary - not hindsight - perspective, 'Into the Mountains Dark' is a timeless, eminently human tale of boys' transition into manhood through the catalyst of wartime soldiering. It is also a major contribution to the overdue, but burgeoning literature about lesser-known but highly significant battles and American units in World War II. Major units about which there is significant information included in this book include: German Units 708th and 716th Volksgrenadier Divisions US Units 3rd, 45th and 100th Infantry Divisions