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"The Filthy Thirteen"

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  • "The Filthy Thirteen"

    Ok folks, you want a crazy, first hand account of real WWII combat, look up and read "The Filthy Thirteen" by Richard Killblaine and James "Jake" McNiece.
    Be prepared for a "not so reverent" look into an incorrigible group that wreaked havoc behind German lines and accomplished goals that none thought possible. Going so far as to disobey direct orders to obey a direct order.
    They weren't "precision", but they were highly "effective".

    P.S. Jake McNiece was one of the few paratroopers in WWII who made "four" combat jumps!
    Normandy
    Holland
    *Bastogne
    *Prume, Germany

    * these two jumps were made as part of a "Pathfinder" unit.
    Last edited by FirstBubba; 06-08-2021, 10:07 PM.

  • #2
    Read 'My Heroes' by Patrick Bastow, one of my hunting buddies.

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    • #4
      I'll have to look that up guys. Thanks for the heads up.

      The one thing I did like about this book, "The Filthy Thirteen" was the "notes" in the back of the book.
      I kept two markers in the book. One for where I was reading and the other where I was in the notes.
      Quite often, in the notes they would give different soldiers recollection of the same event. The basic was there but minute detail differed. Considering the stress they were under, it's amazing they could remember anything!

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      • #5
        From #1 Bubba: "* these two jumps were made as part of a "Pathfinder" unit."

        Pathfinders are the gutsiest guys in the Airborne. They jump into unsecured enemy territory, mostly at night, to lay out and mark a drop zone. They are literally out there in a very small unit, alone and without support, until the main element of the drop can be airlifted and dropped in to support them. Take guys with big cojones!

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        • #6
          Just purchased the audio version of the Filthy Thirteen

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          • #7
            Originally posted by PigHunter View Post
            Just purchased the audio version of the Filthy Thirteen
            Enjoy, mi amigo!

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            • #8
              Originally posted by crm3006 View Post
              From #1 Bubba: "* these two jumps were made as part of a "Pathfinder" unit."

              Pathfinders are the gutsiest guys in the Airborne. They jump into unsecured enemy territory, mostly at night, to lay out and mark a drop zone. They are literally out there in a very small unit, alone and without support, until the main element of the drop can be airlifted and dropped in to support them. Take guys with big cojones!
              According to McNiece, the military came up with the idea of the "Pathfinders" to help rid the military of "bad apples".
              The "Pathfinders" casualty rate was estimated to be something like 80%
              McNiece jumped into Bastogne with two 10 man sticks. They lost one man.
              They lost none at Prume, Germany.

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              • #9
                From #1 Bubba: "According to McNiece, the military came up with the idea of the "Pathfinders" to help rid the military of "bad apples"."

                Not hardly. The Pathfinders are a long and honored tradition amongst the Airborne community. How McNiece came up with that little piece of scuttlebutt is anybody's guess, but for every combat jump, there has got to be some way to alert the pilots that they are over the drop zone, so that the green light goes on and the jump commences. It is not getting rid of bad apples, it is usually the best of the best, doing the most dangerous job imaginable.

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                • #10
                  Make no mistake, McNiece's idea of "military discipline" is NOT the norm! LOL!
                  Even with his service and accomplishments in Europe, he was never promoted to PFC. Though he was "acting" Staff Sargent when he jumped on D-Day, when he processed out of the military, he was still a buck private.
                  When he was offered the opportunity to join the Pathfinders, he was under "arrest of quarters" for being AWOL.

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                  • #11
                    Not the usual circumstances that one finds their most dependable personnel in, but WWII was the epitome of exigent conditions, and from what I gathered from my Father, (he went in on D+2) you used what you had, be it people, machinery, weapons, or rations.
                    For instance, the D-day invasion never bothered to clear the beaches of the German defending troops that remained, or the obstacles. The invasion force just went in, rushing by the resisting forces, to relieve the 101st and 82nd Airborne at Sainte-Mère-Église, on the
                    Cotentin peninsula, to facilitate the mission to capture the port at Cherbourg.
                    Click image for larger version

Name:	AmericanArmyUniformPatchWorldWarII_Pathfinder.jpg
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                    WWII era Pathfinder patch

                    Click image for larger version

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                    Viet Nam era Pathfinder patch
                    As you can see, not too much has changed, but when you see that Pathfinder patch on an Airborne soldier's uniform, you know he is a really special troop, among special troops.

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                    • #12
                      I'm telling you '06, McNiece weren't normal.

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