The Last Hill
The Epic Story of a Ranger Battalion and the Battle That Defined WWII
by Bob Drury; Tom Clavin
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2022
Bob Drury and Tom Clavin's The Last Hill is the incredible untold story of one Ranger battalion's heroism and courage in World War II.
They were known as “Rudder’s Rangers,” the most elite and experienced attack unit in the United States Army. In December 1944, Lt. Col. James Rudder's 2nd Battalion would form the spearhead into Germany, taking the war into Hitler’s homeland at last. In the process, Rudder was given two objectives: Take Hill 400 . . . and hold the hill by any means possible. To the last man, if necessary. The battle-hardened battalion had no idea that several Wehrmacht regiments, who greatly outnumbered the Rangers, had been given the exact same orders. The clash of the two determined forces was one of the bloodiest and most costly encounters of World War II.
Castle Hill, the imposing 1320-foot mini-mountain the American Rangers simply called Hill 400, was the gateway to a desperate Nazi Germany. Several entire American divisions had already been repulsed by the last hill's dug-in defenders as—unknown to the Allies—the height was the key to Adolf Hitler's last-minute plans for a massive counterattack to smash through the American lines in what would become known to history as the Battle of the Bulge.
Thus the stalemate surrounding Hill 400 could not continue. For Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, there was only one solution: Call in Rudder's Rangers. Of the 130 special operators who stormed, captured, and held the hill that December day, only 16 remained to stagger back down its frozen slopes. The Last Hill is replete with unforgettable action and characters—a rich and detailed saga of what the survivors of the 2nd Ranger Battalion would remember as “our longest day.”
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