517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team

Books and References

(Book Links are to Amazon.com's info. Book cover pictures were taken from there, also.)

517th Newsletter
517th Books
Airborne Books
Battle of the Bulge Books
Battle of the Bulge Videos

Re-issued in paperback!



The Thunderbolt is published quarterly by the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team Association and distributed to all 517th Veterans. It includes stories, photos, reunion info, etc.

The publication honors those who fought and died with the Team and is intended to preserve the comradeship of those that still remain by promoting periodic reunions.


517th Books

This is the "official" history of the 517th.  The original publication was commissioned by the 517 PRCT Association, and was complied and written by Clark L. Archer - Senior Editor, with help from William J. Lewis - Secretary/Treasurer.

Several hundred copies of the book were printed in 1985, but are now rare and difficult to find.  Therefore, to help those doing research on the 517th, we have posted, on this website, a nearly-complete online version of the original publication:  Paratroopers' Odyssey 

Some hardcover copies may be available through dealers and auctions:

Paratroopers Odyssey : A History of the 517th Parachute Combat Team -- Clark Archer; Hardcover, 1985

'Battling Buzzards' : The Odyssey of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team 1943-1945 -- Gerald Astor; Paperback, Hardcover

Re-issued in paperback! October 2001

L'Offensive Des Ardennes -- Eddy Monfort, 1994, Softcover
(From Belgium, in French) Sorry, this book is not currently available.

Chapter about the 517th and Manhay, translated by Dieter Laes

First Airborne Task Force : Pictorial History of the Allied Paratroopers in the Invasion of Southern France -- Michel De Trez, Hardcover
This book contains 77 pages of pictures of the 517th, covering from Italy to Southern France.
517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team,
Turner Publishing Company.  ISDN: 1563114089

Includes stories and bios of many 517th troopers.  Printed in the 80's and may be difficult to locate.  Check for used book listings.

13th Airborne Division in WWII. This is a reprint of the Division's original history book published 1949. Covers the origin and development of Airborne troops and the Division's activities during WWII, and the "battle-hardened 517th Parachute Regiment."

We have included an online version of the 517th Chapters to our web site at:  13th Airborne History


A Blood-Dimmed Tide : The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It (Dell World War II Library); Gerald Astor. Includes several accounts of the 517th.
The Greatest War : Americans in Combat, 1941-1945 ; by Gerald Astor
Includes a chapter about the 517th.
The Bloody Forest: Battle for the Huertgen ; by Gerald Astor (August 15, 2000)
Also includes a chapter about the 517th (Tom Cross, Dick Seitz, Lud Gibbons, etc.)
  The Champagne Campaign
Author: Adleman, Robert H. and Colonel George Walton, 1969

Currently out-of-print, but used copies available

Beyond Valor: World War II's Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat by Patrick K. O'Donnell (March 2001)

Patrick O'Donnell is the author of the Drop Zone Museum, the award-winning web site which contains numerous oral histories directly from the men who saw some of the most intense action of WWII. His new book contains many of these stories, including first-hand accounts from several members of the 517th.

A Colonel in the Armored Divisions: A Memoir, 1941-1945
by William S. Triplet, Robert H. Ferrell (Editor)

This book has considerable information on the 517th 2nd Battalions operations while attached to the 7th Armored division during the Battle of the Bulge

Nila Gott has edited this autobiography of Ignacio (Nacho) Ramirez Vasquez.

Not Ready To Die is the life of a man spent trying to survive in the harsh New Mexico badlands during the 1930s. World War II took him into the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, where he made the famous Dragoon jump. The book contains stories of his survival.

The Deadly Brotherhood : The American Combat Soldier in World War II
by John McManus (Author)

includes references from Howard Ruppel's journal (Part 1, Part 2)

Escapades by William T. Webb

54 pages; perfect bound; catalogue #03-2229; ISBN 1-4120-1851-X; US$10.45

Escapades is a true story about an overseas paratrooper in World War II. Like all paratroopers, in World War II, he felt his parachute regimental combat team (the 517 PRT) to be the best there was.

See Details

From Breckenridge to Bastogne by Merle McMorrow

Follow the real life story of WWII veteran Merle McMorrow in his own words as he goes from Breckenridge, MN to Bastogne, Belgium the site of the "Battle of the Bulge."

From Rome to Berlin via Bastogne The Travel of a World War II Paratrooper

by Merle McMorrow

After high school the author spent 7 months in Bremerton, Washington working on ships damaged by the sneak attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawai. He returned home to Minnesota in December 1942 to volunteer for the US Army Paratroops. He saw service in Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg,and Germany.He was discharged in December 1945

Available on Amazon

A Veteran's Remembrance (large file: 28 MB)

John A. Alicki

by 517th Regimental Combat Team's own Lt. Boom Boom Alicki

Combat Mission by Joe David Brown

Combat Mission, originally called "Kings Go Forth", is the story of an American GI (Lieutenant) stationed in Nice during 1944, shortly after the invasion of Southern France.  Hmm.

This book was later made into the movie called Kings Go Forth, starring Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood.  See the movie info
And check out the movie trailer:
  fast connection  slow connection

Dragoon: The Other Invasion of France, Provence, August 15, 1944
by Paul Gaujac, Janice Lert, Philippe Charbonnier

192 pages; published November 30, 2004. It tells about the entire invasion, all the unites American, British, French and German. It mentions the 517th, 460th, 596th. Lots of photos, b/w and color, and aircraft involved. Names unit commanders.

The Hotton Report by Robert K. MacDonald

includes several references about Bill Boyle and the 517th 1st Battalion

168 pages
Publisher: Finbar Press; First edition (December 15, 2006)

Le Débarquement de Provence (Paperback - re-issued 2003)
by Jacques Robichon

translated: The Second D-Day (Hardcover -1962)
by Jacques; Shuey, Barbara (Translator) Robichon (Author)

Ben, I was looking around a used book store today and found a history of Operation Dragoon entitled, "The Second D-Day", written by Jacques Robichon.  The book was translated from French by Barbara Shuey for the Army Times Publishing Company in 1962.  It was first published in France under the title "Le Debarquement de Provence" (15 Aout 1944).  It was first published in the United States by Walker and Company, Inc.

There is a terrific section that outlines the aborted mission of Sgt. Joseph Blackwell and his men to capture Gen. Neuling and his staff at Villa Gladys and describes in some detail the action of 1st Battalion at Draguignan.  Good mentions of Gen. Seitz, Col. Boyle and Gen Zais.  There are also interesting accounts of the airlift.
Wayne Cross

Camp Toccoa: First Home of the Airborne.: 1942-1944 [Paperback]

G. G. Stokes Jr. (Author)

Operation Dragoon: Autopsy of a Battle: The Allied Liberation of the French Riviera August-September 1944

May 28, 2014


Airborne Books
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
by Stephen E. Ambrose
Parachute Soldier -- William H. Tucker; Based on the 1942 to 1945 diary of Sergeant Bill Tucker of the 505th PIR.
Airborne : A Guided Tour of an Airborne Task Force -- Tom Clancy; Paperback
Currahee! -- Donald, R. Burgett; Hardcover
  The Battle of the Bulge -- John Pimlott; includes many good photos
  U. S. Army : Airborne Operations: A German Appraisal --
  All Americans 82nd Airborne -- John B. Wildman; Hardcover
  Other Airborne Books from Paratrooper.net

WWII, Dragoon, Battle of the Bulge Videos
Shootout:  The Battle of the Bulge, from the History Channel

Buy the DVD: Shootout:  The Battle of the Bulge

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Featuring the story of Melvin Biddle, B Company

Geronimo: The U.S. Airborne In World War II 

Documentary with archival footage and interviews with veterans.  Includes events in Normandy, Market Garden, training, Sicily, Southern France, and Battle of the Bulge. 

Commentary includes stories from Ed Athey, Jim McWilliams, and Jim Wallis of the 517th.

Guts and Glory -- from PBS' American Experience series
program description
The Price of Peace -- PBS Home Video, (800) 828-4PBS; $19.98, plus shipping and handling.
Battle of the Bulge -- from PBS' American Experience series

On YouTube:  Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

Operation: Dragoon - The Allied Invasion of the South of France

Black and White, 30 minutes

When Trumpets Fade ; from HBO, 1998.

Set in Germany during the closing days of the war, the film uses a little-known episode of U.S. military history--the bloody battle of the Huertgen Forest--as the backdrop for the story of a battle-weary private who is the only surviving member of his platoon.

Other Battle of the Bulge and WWII Books
A Tour of the Bulge Battlefield
by William C. C. Cavanagh
Citizen Soldiers : The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944 to May 7, 1945 -- Stephen E. Ambrose
A Time for Trumpets : The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge; Charles B. MacDonald
Roll Me over : An Infantryman's World War II; Raymond Gantter
The Bitter Woods : The Battle of the Bulge
by John S. D. Eisenhower, introduction by Stephen Ambrose
Hitler's Ardennes Offensive : The German View of the Battle of the Bulge; Danny S. Parker (Editor)
Hitler's Last Gamble : The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944-January 1945; Trevor Nevitt Dupuy, et al
Battle : The Story of the Bulge; John Toland, Carlo D'Este (Introduction)
Nuts! : The Battle of the Bulge : The Story and Photographs; Donald M. Goldstein, et al
  U.S. Army in World War II: The Ardennes Battle of the Bulge; Hugh M. Cole (Text available on-line here)
The Battle of the Bulge; James R. Arnold, to be released January 2000
Ardennes 1944 : Hitler's Last Gamble in the West (Campaign Series, No. 5)
by James R. Arnold

Operation Dragoon: The Allied Invasion of the South of France, William B. Breuer, 1996