A Dangerous Assignment

An Artillery Forward Observer in World War II

Book Description

  • Rare memoir of a risky job performed by relatively few troops
  • Honest and observant narrative describes the good, bad, and ugly of the war
  • Covers World War II's closing months in eastern France and Germany

    Cpl. Bill Hanford had one of the U.S. Army's most dangerous jobs in World War II: artillery forward observer (FO). Tasked with calling in heavy fire on the enemy, FOs accompanied infantrymen into combat, crawled into no-man's-land, and ascended observation posts like hills and ridges to find their targets. But beyond the usual perils of ground combat, FOs were specially targeted by the enemy because of their crucial role in directing artillery fire. Hanford spent much of his time fighting in the Vosges Mountains in eastern France and then in Germany in late 1944 and early 1945.

  • About Hanford, William B.

    William B. Hanford served as a forward observer in World War II with the U.S. 103rd Infantry Division of the Seventh Army. A retired teacher, he lives in Howell, Michigan.