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Ghost Riders

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by GRW, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "Aggressively waving his arms, the battle-hardened Russian officer stood high in the turret of his tank.
    'Get out of the way of the Red Army!' he demanded, gunning his engines to show he meant business and would not be delayed.
    But the armed column of American soldiers he was attempting to shove aside stood their ground. They weren't going anywhere.
    Barrels of big guns swivelled to face each other. Safety catches were clicked off on carbines and machine guns. One sudden, wrong move and all hell would let loose.
    Just three days earlier, World War II in Europe had ended with Germany's formal surrender in May 1945.
    But here on a remote pine-forest road in Czechoslovakia, once part of the dead Adolf Hitler's Nazi empire, a confrontation was shaping up between the victors — now deadly rivals — that could well signal the start of World War III.
    At issue was territory. Under the agreement made at Yalta between Stalin and the Western Allies, post-war Czechoslovakia would come under the sway of the Soviet Union.
    Yet, there was something else at stake, too. The forces of gung-ho U.S. General George Patton had dared to push 50 miles across the border to grab a particular prize they were determined to hold on to at all cost . . . horses!
    Not that these were just any horses. They were the finest in the world — the sole breeding stable of magnificent white Lipizzaner stallions that for nearly four centuries had been put through their elegant, high-strutting, low-bowing paces at the world-renowned Spanish Riding School in the ornate Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna.
    They were a living treasure from Europe's past, bred for beauty and schooled religiously in traditional balletic manoeuvres in the dressage ring, under the guidance of their riders in tailcoats and distinctive bicorne hats.
    How would these regal remnants of a bygone baroque culture fare in the harsh world of Soviet Communism?
    If they fell into the hands of the victorious Russian soldiers now rampaging through Eastern Europe, there was every chance they would be butchered for their meat and their remarkable pedigree lost for ever.
    For the sake of history — and for their undoubted propaganda value, too, in the new confrontation that was shaping up with Moscow — 'Old Blood and Guts' Patton, not normally given to sentimentality, had resolved to rescue them.
    How he and his men pulled off this astonishing equine great escape is dramatically reconstructed in Ghost Riders, a new book by British military historian Mark Felton."
    JJWilson likes this.
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Dec 1, 2010
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    I think Eisenhower would have sent Patton home if he knew...

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