By Christopher Miskimon
Sam Hogan commanded 3rd Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division in June 1944, during the Normandy campaign. At 28, he was young for battalion command, but skilled leaders rose quickly in wartime. His battalion formed the core of Task Force Hogan with 54 M4 Sherman tanks reinforced as needed by infantry, artillery, tank destroyers, and engineers. They began their war in Normandy, taking losses at Mortain. Afterward came a headlong attack through France and into Belgium. Finally, they went into Germany, taking part in the Battle of the Bulge before helping cut off 376,000 German troops in the Ruhr Valley. Sam led his men with compassion and principle, pushing them to do their part in winning the war, a task they readily rose to accept.
The author is an army officer and youngest son of Sam Hogan. This book is a fitting tribute to his father, written using Sam’s own words, interviews with members of the unit, journals, letters, and official reports and documents. The narrative is smooth and easy to follow, and there are good maps to keep the reader anchored in time and place as the action unfolds. The book is a good battle story, keeping its focus on the soldiers and their experiences through a year of unrelenting combat.
Task Force Hogan: The World War II Tank Battalion that Spearheaded the Liberation of Europe (William R. Hogan, William Morrow Publishing, New York, NY, 2023, 320 pp., maps, photographs, notes, bibliography, index, $32.50, hardcover)