“Compellingly chronicles one of the least studied great episodes of World War II with power and authority…A riveting read” (Donald L. Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Masters of the Air) about World War II’s largest airborne operation—one that dropped 17,000 Allied paratroopers deep into the heart of Nazi Germany.
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.
James Fenelon served in the military for over a decade and is a graduate of the US Army’s Airborne, Jumpmaster, and Pathfinder schools. He is a regular contributor to World War II magazine and has been previously published in FlyPast, Britain’s largest selling aviation magazine. His knowledge of military history also makes him a sought after technical advisor for video games, screenplays, and documentary creation. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, he and his wife live in Texas. Four Hours of Fury is his first book.
“This is the first account I’d read of jumping into a hail of gunfire by a guy who’d actually made thousands of jumps himself. As someone who grew up on World War II movies, I thought I appreciated the scale of these operations, but in these pages James sets me straight. Fact is, I had no idea.” —Rick H., Editor, on Four Hours of Fury