Big Andy

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About the author:
Aaron Elson is the son of a World War II veteran. He began interviewing members of his father's unit in 1987, and has been recording the stories of the men and women of the Greatest Generation ever since.
He has written several books about World War II, launched one of the first web sites ( with significant content about the war, and has contributed material to several documentaries, including some, such as "Patton 360" and "The Color of War," that have appeared on the History Channel.
He also has produced a unique series of Oral History Audiobooks drawing upon material in his archive of more than 600 hours of interviews.
He is currently working on a book about the life of Sgt. Mathew Caruso, a Marine who sacrificed his life to save that of his chaplain during the Chosin Reservoir campaign of the Korean War.
He also blogs about his career as a newspaper copy editor at

Big Andy

A 712th Tank Battalion Interview

Authored by Aaron Elson

Bob "Big Andy" Anderson, a farmboy from Prophetstown, Illinois, was drafted into the horse cavalry in 1941. In 1943 the 11th Cavalry was mechanized as part of the fledgling 10th Armored Division. The independent 712th Tank Battalion was broken out of the 10th and spent most of the war in Europe attached to the 90th "Texas-Oklahoma" Division.
A tank driver, Big Andy spent 11 months in combat from Normandy, through the Battle of the Bulge, the Siegfried Line, across Germany and into Czechoslovakia. He earned three Bronze Stars and had 162 points, and thought it was a joke when an officer asked him if he wanted to go home. He said sure and was told to be ready in 15 minutes.
This oral history interview, conducted at Big Andy's home in 1992, paints a portrait of combat rarely seen in documentaries and gives a glimpse into the day to day life of a tank driver, on whose skill not only the lives of his crew but the lives of the infantry to which they were attached depended.

Publication Date:
149274350X / 9781492743507
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
History / Military / World War II

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