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Steven L. Ossad's Blogs
... Fallen Stars: American Generals & Admirals Killed in Action (1646-2001)
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... Antietam, Saratoga, Padua & the 15th Air Force, Maurice Rose, Kadesh, Omar Bradley, usw
Finalist, 2011 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award
A hero who faced down Pancho Villa with only a pistol and turned the tide of battle during the Salerno Operation in late 1943, John Lucas discovered at Anzio that his comrades were more dangerous than his enemies.
Brevet Colonel, Commander of the 30th Indiana Volunteers, and recipient of the Medal of Honor - all by the age of 23 - Henry Lawton's career spanned four decades until he fell in battle "bringing democracy to a distant land." Featured on the Center of Military History Civil War Website
The only American armored division commander to die in battle, Maurice Rose was the son and grandson of rabbis who rose from private to general to lead the premier American armored force to victory over the Nazi empire.
Winner, 2003 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award
Creator of the modern American Rangers, Darby led his men to great victories and a catastrophic defeat, but was always in the thick of the action.
Martin Blumenson spent his life writing the history of an institution he respected greatly and knew intimately, the United States Army. He inspired generations of his students and successors to the highest standard of excellence.
Soldier, historian, biographer, memoirist, "novelist", and companion of Socrates, at the end of his life Xenophon wrote a small book proposing reform of the Athenian cavalry. A discussion of specific suggestions, the Hipparchicus
reflects decades of the author's experience as an army commander. The wily survivor of battles, court intrigues, assassinations and staggering betrayals offers subtle insights on leadership - as well as observations valuable to modern theorists and practioners of the "mounted service" that will always resonate.
The Battle of Kadesh, the greatest chariot clash in all recorded history - and the arche-type for maneuver warfare - pitted the war-hardened Hittites against a young, untested Pharaoh. The struggle that followed shaped the destinies of the two dominant empires of the early Iron Age. Recorded by Rameses as a great Egyptian victory, it is a case study of how a brilliant and well-executed public relations campaign can trump performance - and reality.
More than 3,500 years ago, Abraham, the leader of the Hebrews, led his battalion on a daring, long-distance, commando raid to rescue hostages. Hidden in a very brief passage of Genesis is the story of the first organized military action and victory of the Jewish people, a tale of courage, inspired leadership and battle far from their borders. It is as if God wrote the prequel to Operation THUNDERBALL, the Israel Defense Forces dramatic rescue of Jewish hostages at Entebbe, Uganda on July 4, 1976.
Does it make any sense to talk about a "philosophy of war?" What kinds of things would be discussed in such an academic sub-category? Whose works would make up the canon of study? On that point, why is it that Carl von Clausevitz's early 19th century book "On War" is virtually the only work generally accepted as a work of war philosophy? In a world where war is so common, why is there so little systematic examination of its "first principles?" These are only a few of the questions that spark this general inquiry.
Rare documentary videos of Martin Blumenson discussing Omar Bradley, Charles MacDonald interviewing VII Corps commander Gen. J. Lawton Collins about the Siegfried Line Campaign, and Omar Bradley reviewing Blumenson's book Breakout and Pursuit (Washington, OCMH) 1961
In 1943, Martin Blumenson was enrolled in OCS at Camp Barkeley, Texas, training as an Officer in the Medical Administrative Corps, when a call went out for men who had education in history or journalism. Blumenson, a Phi Beta Kappa History major at Bucknell University ('39), held Masters degrees from his alma mater ('40), as well as from Harvard University ('42). He raised his hand. It was one of the few times when volunteering was a good idea. Martin told me that when he was commissioned an Officer in the Army of the United States, his father, a Russian Jewish immigrant, cried with pride.
Blumenson was sent to the Pentagon where he was part of a group of professional historians under the supervision of Brig. General S.L.A. Marshall, called “Slam” (1900-1977), a journalist and one of the fathers of the academic study of American Military History. Initially expecting to be sent to the Pacific Theater under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, he soon happily found himself in England, and attached to General George S. Patton’s Third Army and later, General Alexander Patch’s Seventh Army as a Combat Historian.
After the war, Martin remained in Europe as a civilian historian, frequenting and playing piano in the jazz clubs of Post War Paris. There he met and courted Gève, a beautiful young widow of a Resistance fighter and mother of a small boy, John. They were married for more than half a century.
Recalled to active duty during the Korean War, he wrote many studies and monographs about that conflict, and was Commanding Officer, 3rd Historical Detachment, as well as Historian, Joint Task Force SEVEN. From 1952, he was a historian with the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History. There he authored two volumes in the Army’s Official History of World War II, Breakout and Pursuit, about the Normandy Campaign and Salerno to Cassino, about the Italian Campaign. He also prepared for publication The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: The Advisory Years to 1965, and collaborated on a number of other studies. He is also the author of critically acclaimed biographies of Generals Mark Clark and George S. Patton, and he was selected to be the official editor of Patton’s Papers by the General’s family.
After retirement from government service, he wrote several comprehensive studies of the Battle of France, including The Duel for France, The Battle of the Generals, and Liberation, as well as Kasserine Pass, Anzio: The Gamble that Failed, Bloody River: The Real Tragedy of the Rapido, and Sicily: Whose Victory, as well as many dozens of journal articles, book reviews, and forewards for other books.
Martin was a distinguished independant scholar and educator, holding the Ernest J. King Chair at the Naval War College, the Harold Keith Johnson Chair at the Army War College, the Mark W. Clark Chair at the Citadel, as well as professorships at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the National War College, the University of Texas, Bucknell University, University of Nova Scotia, and George Washington University. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Ribbon, and retired as a Lt. Colonel, USAR. He held several honoraray degrees and awards, including Litt.D., Acadia University (1972), Alumni Award for Meritorious Achievement (1973) and Litt.D. (1976), both from Bucknell University, and the 1995 Samuel Eliot Morison Prize of the Society for Military History, for his life-time contributions.
For more than six decades Martin was soldier, author, teacher, colleague, advisor, and mentor to generations of historians, both professional and amateur, giving freely of his time and wisdom. When I first contacted him about my hope of writing a biography of Major General Maurice Rose, he encouraged, guided, and supported me. He offered his help generously, even suggesting that I had taught him things that he had not known before. It is hard to describe how that made me feel; I was a teenager in the early 1960's when my father bought me Breakout and Pursuit, 45 years ago.
This web-site page presents his work to the people he respected, the men and women of the profession, and his fellow citizens.
Reviews of Breakout and Pursuit (1961)
Henry I. Shaw, Jr, Military Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer, 1962), pp. 81-82.
Martin Philipsborn, Jr., The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Jun., 1963), p. 218.
Available on JSTOR
Review of The Duel For France, 1944 (1963)
Arthur Symonds, Military Affairs, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 1963), p. 39.
Available on JSTOR
Reviews of Sicily: Whose Victory? (1969)
Richard T. Burke, Military Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Oct., 1970), p. 106.
Availavle on JSTOR
Salerno to Cassino (1969)
Alvin D. Coox, Military Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Oct., 1970), p. 107.
D. Clayton James, The Journal of American History, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jun., 1970), p. 204. Available on JSTOR
"The Bombing of Monte Cassino." American Heritage Magazine, August 1968
Reviews of Bloody River: The Real Tragedy of the Rapido (1970)
Reviews of Mark Clark (1984)
Harry L. Coles, The American Historical Review, Vol. 90, No. 3 (Jun., 1985), pp. 781-782.
Available on JSTOR
Reviews of Kasserine Pass (1967)
H. M. Cole, Mlitary Affairs, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Summer, 1967), p. 99
Gordon Craig, New York Times Book Review, January 15, 1967, pg BR4.
Available on JSTOR & NY TIMES ARCHIVE
Reviews of The Patton Papers (1972, 1974)
Christopher Lehman-Haupt, New York Times, March 20, 1972, Pg. 35D.
Clayton James, The Journal of American History, Vol. 59, No. 3 (Dec., 1972), pp. 671-672.
Allan R. Millett, Military Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Oct., 1973), p. 108.
John K. Mahon, The American Historical Review, Vol. 79, No. 2 (Apr., 1974), pp. 596-597
Trumbull Higgins, New York Times Book Review, October 6, 1974, pg 386.
Christopher Lehman-Haupt, New York Times, October 29, 1974, Pg 35.
D. Clayton James, The Journal of American History, Vol. 62, No. 2 (Sep., 1975), pp. 464-465
Forrest C. Pogue, Military Affairs, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Dec., 1975), pp. 216-217.
John K. Mahon, The American Historical Review, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Feb., 1976), p. 218.
Available on JSTOR & NY TIMES ARCHIVE
The Hammelburg Raid, March 1945
"The Hammelburg Affair." Army 15 (October 1965), pp. 16-30.
Reviews of Heroes Never Die: Warriors and Warfare in World War II (2001)
Robert C. Blackstone, The Journal of Military History, Vol. 66, No. 4 (Oct., 2002), pp. 1235-1236. Available on JSTOR
I am one of the last of those mentored by Martin Blumenson. That was a great priviledge but also carries responsibilities. At his (and Gève's) Memorial Celebration at the Cosmos Club, April 26, 2005, the list of those asked to speak included friends and family, including truly great historians, like Stanley Falk and Bevin Alexander. Many other prominent members of the profession were pointed out to me. They spanned all of the generations of those Martin mentored. The widow of MG George S. Patton (1923-2004) spoke movingly of Martin and the special place he held in their family. Friends, and children of friends put the man in a personal context for the audience.
As one of the last of those he guided, I spoke on my own behalf, but also read a Remembrance from Carlo D'Este, which is available here
, and which evoked the experience of the last few generations he befriended.
This web-site offers a portal to his work on the history of the US Army and other topics. On-line texts and bibliographic support will, I hope, help insure that his voice will continue to influence the great questions that still shape the historical inquiry into the institution he served so long, so honorably, and well.
Captain Martin Blumenson, summer 1952, after sixteen months in Korea serving as commander of the 3rd Historical Detachment (Source: Bevin Alexander).