Mountain Troops and Medics
A Complete World War II Combat History of the U.S. Tenth Mountain Division - A Battle Surgeon's True Stories
Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
Mountain Troops And Medics is a complete World War II Combat History of the U.S. Tenth Mountain Division written by Albert H. Meinke, Jr., M.D., who served as one of its front line infantry battalion surgeons during all of the division's combat in 1944-45. It unfolds as a series of interesting, true personal stories, presented in chronological order, which makes the history easy to read and to digest.
The Tenth Mountain Division was a very special Army division made up of carefully selected skiers, mountaineers, and experienced outdoorsmen. Known as the "SKI TROOPS," these men trained long and hard to fight on skis and snowshoes, and to survive in below zero temperatures in mountainous terrain so hostile to military maneuvering that it was necessary to use pack mules to transport supplies, ammunition and equipment.
During the winter of 1944-45 this division entered the military stalemate in the Apennine Mountains in Northern Italy, and on its first offensive cracked the German defenses to take Riva Ridge and the key mountain peaks, Monte Belvedere, Monte Gorgolesco and Monte della Torraccia. It was the first Allied division to break into the Po Valley, and first to reach and cross the wide Po River, using hastily obtained, hand-paddled assault boats. It then continued its rapid advance, as the vanguard of the Allied Armies in Italy, until it reached the Austrian border.
The author not only served with the first of this division's combat troops to leave the continental United States and participated in all of the Division's major battles, but also served in every one of its special task forces deep behind enemy lines. Most of the time he was well informed about local military strategies and Division objectives.
Drama, excitement, tragedy and humor are included in these stories of preparations for combat, unusual fighting conditions, care of wounded soldiers at the front, and wartime conditions in Italy. Written in non-technical language, the book is easy to read, and fulfills the requirements for an outstanding and unusual gift, especially to all World War II participants, history and military buffs, mountaineers, ski enthusiasts, and almost everyone connected with the field of medicine.
Dr. Meinke was born and grew up in Detroit, Michigan where he was graduated from Thomas M. Cooley High School. In 1940 he completed pre-medical studies at Albion College and entered medical school at the University of Michigan. In 1941 he received his A.B. degree from Albion, and, because of a sharply accelerated program brought about by the entry of the United States into World War II, received his M.D. degree in October 1943. After an abbreviated internship he entered the service on August 2, 1944.
Twice decorated, Dr. Meinke was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his participation in the battle for Monte Della Torraccia, and later received a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for outstanding service in the clearing of casualties from the tunnel disaster on the shore of Lake Garda. He also holds the Combat Medical Badge, which is the equivalent of the Combat Infantry Badge awarded to infantrymen for participation in front-line combat.
While in medical school he met Edmere I. Bondesen, a lovely girl from Detroit who was also attending the University, and near the end of July 1944, only a few days before Dr. Meinke entered the Army, they were married. With military service completed, they settled in Eaton Rapids, Michigan and started their family. There are four children: Albert H. Meinke, III, M.D., William B. Meinke, M.D., James A. Meinke and Joanna Meinke Ballard.
Dr. Meinke then entered into general medical practice in Eaton Rapids, but soon leaned toward general surgery, obstetrics and emergency medicine. He was deeply involved in the establish-ment and operation of the Eaton Rapids Community Hospital, and for many years served as its medical director, chief of surgery, and head of emergency services. He also served on its governing board for a time. In 1948 he helped to establish the Eaton Rapids Medical Clinic, one of the first group practices in Michigan, and later served as its president for many years. In 1984, after forty years in practice, he retired. He and his wife now reside in a lovely home on the west shore of Torch Lake in northern Lower Michigan.
Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)