Spearhead by Adam Makos

When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner’s seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He’s a natural-born shooter.

At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit.

After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank,” one of twenty in the European theater.

But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That’s how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the “Fortress City” of Germany.

Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.

As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern-day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time.

Readers Response

A band of brothers in an American tank. Makos drops the reader back into the Pershing’s turret and dials up a battle scene to rival the peak moments of Fury.”
~The Wall Street Journal

From the New York Times, bestselling author of A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel – and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.
~The New York Times

“The tension, death, and courage that were everyday experiences for American tankers fill the pages of Makos’s book. This moving story of bravery and comradeship is an important contribution to WWII history that will inform and fascinate both the general reader and the military historian.”
~Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Spearhead is “a compelling, exciting adventure. An in-the-moment re-creation of the Allied breakthrough of the West Wall into Nazi Germany by a remarkable cadre of tank crewmen of the 3rd Armored Division.”
~Kirkus Reviews

I had to order this great book after seeing a review about Spearhead in The Wall Street Journal. As I thumb through my copy, I know I will not be disappointed! I am a student of history, and keenly appreciate reading about WW II, especially American actions in France and Germany. For me, much of this is very personal in a familial sense. Author Adam Makos is a gifted writer with much more to offer in the future. The typeset makes this edition easy to read. The colorized photo on the cover brings the past to life. The notes, index, sources, etc. are complete. Well done, Random House, and a special thanks to Adam Makos!! WELL DONE!!
~Ronald English

This is the best book I have read since Adam Makos’ ‘A Higher Call.’ It is an intense and emotional journey through the end of WW II. I remember watching the film on the duel with the Panther as a kid and always wanting to know more, now you can. This book will leave you saying wow and probably rubbing your eyes a bit at the end.

I was sitting on the edge of my office chair on numerous occasions, glued to the pages reading as fast I could to see what would happen next. I can’t believe the things these boys went through to defeat the Third Reich. I love WW II history, and I now have a much stronger appreciation of our WW II tanker veterans like Clarence Smoyer and his armored infantry comrades.

All I can say is Clarence’s story should be a movie! Do yourself a favor and read this book!
~Dom

About the Author

Hailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the Associated Press, Adam Makos is the author of the New York Times bestseller ‘A Higher Call’ and the critically acclaimed ‘Devotion.’ 

Inspired by his grandfathers’ service, Makos chronicles the stories of American veterans in his trademark fusion of intense human drama and fast-paced military action, securing his place “in the top ranks of military writers,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In the course of his research, Makos has flown a World War II bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American Airman. He lives in Denver.

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Tags: Associated Press, Clarence Smoyer, MIA American Airman, North Korea, Panzer IV tank, Sherman tank, Special Forces, U.S. Army, World War II

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