Combat Jump tells the too-often little-told story of the first United States paratroopers, who came into being under General Dwight David Eisenhower in World War II. In 1943, Ike had to utilize his new weapon when he was ordered to invade Sicily. The Allies had to attack a shoreline held by fierce German soldiers who had seemed invincible for the past four years. If they failed, it would mean a devastating loss of life and probably at least one year lost from the liberation campaign in Europe. The fate of the world could be said to have rested on the shoulders of these young men alongside their parachute straps.
This book takes readers alongside the paratroopers as they train in the United States and then in North Africa, and then we jump out of the plane with them into the dark Sicilian sky. Once they land, they must reorient themselves, find their compatriots, and blow up the German defenses before the Allied ships reach port. And all the while, the reader feels like they are tagging along and watching it all. That, my friends, is an exhilarating experience.
Combat Jump is well-written, and it is obvious that Ruggero has done a lot of homework. Some people might be put off by the subject matter, assuming that it will be dry and dull. No need to worry; there are enough anecdotes sprinkled in to keep it very interesting, even if you only have a passing interest in history. However, if you truly like WWII military history, you will love this book.