Sometimes we think that war movies and novels can capture the grit, the dirt, the rugged realities of war — but then you see a photo like this and you realize that nothing can come close to the real thing. Here you can see American soldiers of the US 2nd Infantry Division, VII Corps, First United States Army, ready to march during Operation Lumberjack of the Allied invasion of Germany. Operation Lumberjack saw soilders attempting to capture the west bank of the Rhine River, taking control of crucial German cities along the way. Although the soldier in front is the embodiment of steely determination, tracing backward you can see the varying personalities and feelings of the soldiers ready to take on such a gargantuan task.
Near Harscheid, People’s State of Hesse (now, Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany.
8 March 1945. Image taken by Fred G. Linden.