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National Press Club

When not fighting Germans, GIs in "The Big Red One' raised hell, says author at Book Event

May 6, 2014 | By Jeffery King |

John C. McManus speaks at May 5 Book Event.

John C. McManus speaks at May 5 Book Event.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

“The Big Red One” was the best infantry division in the U.S. Army in World War II, but its members were rabble-rousers when not fighting the Germans, revealed John C. McManus, a leading authority on the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944, at a National Club book event May 5.

That was only one insight McManus shared about the famed division in discussing his book, “The Dead and Those About to Die: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach." In another, McManus said that although The Big Red One – officially the Army’s First Infantry Division – fought well during the D-Day combat, several things went wrong.

For example, said McManus, most landing boats landed too far to the east of their planned destinations and were not together. As a result, wounded infantrymen had to wait a long time to be transported to the hospital ships.

The event was sponsored by the Club’s Journalism Institute. Bill Hickman, a member of the Book and Author Committee, introduced the speaker.