Four Hours of Fury: The Untold Story of World War II's Largest Airborne Invasion and the Final Push into Nazi Germany, by James M. Fenelon
On the morning of March 24, 1945, more than two thousand Allied aircraft droned through a cloudless sky toward Germany. Escorted by swarms of darting fighters, the armada of transport planes carried 17,000 troops to be dropped, via parachute and glider, on the far banks of the Rhine River. Four hours later, after what was the war’s largest airdrop, all major objectives had been seized. The invasion smashed Germany’s last line of defense and gutted Hitler’s war machine; the war in Europe ended less than two months later.
Four Hours of Fury follows the 17th Airborne Division as they prepare for Operation Varsity, a campaign that would rival Normandy in scale and become one of the most successful and important of the war. Even as the Third Reich began to implode, it was vital for Allied troops to have direct access into Germany to guarantee victory—the 17th Airborne secured that bridgehead over the River Rhine. And yet their story has until now been relegated to history’s footnotes.
In this viscerally exciting account, paratrooper-turned-historian James Fenelon “details every aspect of the American 17th Airborne Division’s role in Operation Varsity...inspired” (The Wall Street Journal). Reminiscent of A Bridge Too Far and Masters of the Air, Four Hours of Fury does for the 17th Airborne what Band of Brothers did for the 101st. It is a captivating, action-packed tale of heroism and triumph spotlighting one of World War II’s most under-chronicled and dangerous operations.
"I was hooked . . . . The give-and-take dialogue and the physical interchange between the members of the unit are authentic. It is how it was! . . . If you 'were there and did that' you'll relive it. If you're just a reader and not reliving your own experiences in battle, some of what you read will be hard to believe—but that is the way it was!"
—Col. William E. Weber, USA-Ret, Airborne Quarterly Magazine
“Gripping and well-written… Fenelon provides both the American and German perspectives of the fight, deftly weaving operational history with vivid personal accounts of the paratroopers who so bravely floated down to earth, where the hell of war greeted them.”
Paperback release: May 12, 2020