African American Troops in World War II

African American Troops in World War II cover

African American Troops in World War II

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Osprey's study of the African Americans' involvement in World War II (1939-1945). Despite the contribution of black units to the American Expeditionary Force in World War I (1914-1918), and the commissioning of hundreds of black officers to lead them, the small interwar US Army continued to regard them as unsuited to both leadership roles and handling modern technology. Although African Americans had to strive against prejudice for every chance to show what they could achieve, in fact the wartime US Army conceded opportunities for leadership unparaleled in American civil society at that date. In World War II tens of thousands served in segregated units. While the majority were denied the opportunity of combat, a minority of all-black, black-officered units proved their worth in all theaters and a number of roles: black officer fighter pilots (the "Tuskegee Airmen") blazed the trail, followed by several tank and tank-destroyer battalions and a few field artillery units; and more than 20,000 black infantrymen served under both white and black officers. The Army also created the first fully integrated units, whose success prompted President Truman to order the complete integration of the military in 1948. The US Navy and Marines were slower to allow blacks to serve in combat roles and to commission black officers, but by 1945 two complete ships' companies were composed of African-Americans (though with white officers).

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: Racial segregation in the US forces – the Selective Service Act – President Roosevelt and Executive Order 8802·US ARMY: General Benjamin O.Davis Sr; US Army Air Corps/Force: Colonel Benjamin O.Davis Jr and the 'Tuskegee Airmen' – 99th Fighter Squadron – 33nd Fighter Group – 477th Bombardment Group; Armored Force and Tank Destroyers: 761st Tank Battalion – 827th Tank Destroyer Battalion; Cavalry; Field, Coast and Antiaircraft Artillery; Infantry: 92nd Infantry Division – 93rd Infantry Division – 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion – volunteer infantry replacements, 1945 – Executive Order 9981; support and service troops; life overseas·US NAVY: Steward's Mate Doris Miller; USS Mason – PC 1264 – Naval Construction Battalions; The Port Chicago Disaster, July 17, 1944 – its aftermath·US MARINE CORPS: Letter of Instruction 421; Gunnery sergeant Gilbert H.Johnson; 51st Defense battalion – 53nd Defense Battalion – other units·OTHER MARITIME SERVICES: US Coast Guard – early integration; US Merchant Marine – SS Booker T Washington·BIBLIOGRAPHY·PLATE COMMENTARIES: Uniforms: US Army – US Navy – US Marine Corps

Product details

Published Nov 20 2007
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 64
ISBN 9781846030727
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 55 b/w; 8 col
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Elite
Short code ELI 158
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Raffaele Ruggeri

Raffaele Ruggeri was born in Bologna where he stil…


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