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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Military / World War II
  • Language:English
  • Pages:92
  • Format:Hardcover
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781098364625

Blue Devil Machine Gunner

An interview With My Father

by Frederick Kraics

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available
Overview
During World War II, Winston Churchill called Italy the "soft underbelly of Europe." Therefore, it was selected as the first place the United States and England chose to directly attack the Axis Powers in Europe. The Allies invaded Sicily and then landed at Salerno on the Italian mainland. From there they fought their way up the Italian Peninsula for the next year and a half until they reached the Brenner Pass in the Alpine mountains bordering Germany. My father, Frederick J. Kraics II, was a soldier in one of the allied divisions that fought its way up the Italian Peninsula. A map traces the route of Fred's division from its landing in Naples to Minturno, Cassino, Rome, Volterra, Firenze, Bologna, Verona, Vicenza, Trento, and Bolzano up to the Brenner Pass in the Alpine Mountains.
Description
During World War II, Winston Churchill called Italy the "soft underbelly of Europe." Therefore, it was selected as the first place the United States and England chose to directly attack the Axis Powers in Europe. The Allies invaded Sicily and then landed at Salerno on the Italian mainland. From there they fought their way up the Italian Peninsula for the next year and a half until they reached the Brenner Pass in the Alpine mountains bordering Germany. That strategy accomplished two things. It eliminated 600,000 soldiers of the Italian Army when Italy formally surrendered in September of 1943. But more importantly, over 1,000,000 German soldiers and support troops were transferred to Italy. Of this total 556,000 became casualties. A total of 25 German panzer, paratrooper and army divisions were diverted from other fronts and used to defend Italy. Imagine what 25 more divisions could have done to stop the Normandy Invasion or change the outcome of the battles in Russia? Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels was quoted as say-ing that if the German Army had another 15 or 20 divisions to throw into the Eastern Front, "we would undoubtedly be in a position to repulse the Russians. Unfortunately, we must put these 15 or 20 divisions into combat in the Italian theater." My father, Frederick J. Kraics II, was a soldier in one of the allied divisions which fought its way up the Italian Peninsula. A map traces the route of Fred's division from its landing in Naples to Minturno, Cassino, Rome, Volterra, Firenze, Bologna, Verona, Vicenza, Trento, and Bolzano up to the Brenner Pass in the Alpine Mountains.
About the author
About the Author Frederick J. Kraics III was born in 1947 and worked at his father's hardware store during summer vacations throughout grade school. He then began working in the family's well-drilling business in the summer, beginning as a helper at age twelve and working his way up to a well-drilling foreman until he graduated college. In 1965, he matriculated to Stony Brook University and graduated in 1969, becoming the first person in the Kraics family to graduate from college. Frederick began working in 1969 and for 40 years pursued a career in banking. Most of those years were spent in helping to develop new businesses, like Bank Americard, Visa and Mastercard during the 1960s and 1970s for various banks. In the 1980s, banking regulations were changed to allow banks to offer home equity loan products. The 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s were spent creating home equity business departments and marketing home equity loans and lines of credit to individuals. From 2005 to 2009, direct mail marketing of first mortgages was added to the list of products sold. The last assignment was to assist in redeveloping a website for a bank in Manhattan. After that project was completed, he retired early at 62 years of age in 2009. Frederick lived in New York City in the Upper East Side of Manhattan at Sutton Terrace for 30 years. But weekends were mostly spent in Ronkonkoma, where he grew up at 355 Woodlawn Avenue until that house was sold in May, 2005. He retired to the city of Cortland in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State in 2013 before moving to Cape Cod in 2016.
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