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Dogface Soldier

The Life of General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.

Wilson A. Heefner

Publication Year: 2010

On July 11, 1943, General Lucian Truscott received the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, for valor in action in Sicily. During his career he also received the Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Purple Heart. Truscott was one of the most significant of all U.S. Army generals in World War II, pioneering new combat training methods—including the famous “Truscott Trot”— and excelling as a combat commander, turning the Third Infantry Division into one of the finest divisions in the U.S. Army. He was instrumental in winning many of the most important battles of the war, participating in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Anzio, and southern France. Truscott was not only respected by his peers and “dogfaces”—common soldiers—alike but also ranked by President Eisenhower as second only to Patton, whose command he took over on October 8, 1945, and led until April 1946.


            Yet no definitive history of his life has been compiled. Wilson Heefner corrects that with the first authoritative biography of this distinguished American military leader. Heefner has undertaken impressive research in primary sources—as well as interviews with family members and former associates—to shed new light on this overlooked hero. He presents Truscott as a soldier who was shaped by his upbringing, civilian and military education, family life, friendships, and evolving experiences as a commander both in and out of combat.


Heefner’s brisk narrative explores Truscott’s career through his three decades in the Army and defines his roles in key operations. It also examines Truscott’s postwar role as military governor of Bavaria, particularly in improving living conditions for Jewish displaced persons, removing Nazis from civil government, and assisting in the trials of German war criminals. And it offers the first comprehensive examination of his subsequent career in the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served as senior CIA representative in West Germany during the early days of the Cold War, and later as CIA Director Allen Dulles’s deputy director for coordination in Washington.


Dogface Soldier is a portrait of a man who earned a reputation for being honest, forthright, fearless, and aggressive, both as a military officer and in his personal life—a man who, at the dedication ceremony for the Anzio-Nettuno American cemetery in 1945, turned away from the crowd and to the thousands of crosses stretching before him to address those buried there. Heefner has written a definitive biography of a great soldier and patriot.

Published by: University of Missouri Press

Title Page, Series Information, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

List of Maps

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Dogface Soldier is the first comprehensive biography of Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.1 It will be of interest to military historians in general, but especially those with an interest in the interwar American Army and those with a particular interest in the North African, Mediterranean, and southern France theaters of operation in World War II. It will also be of interest to those historians and ...


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pp. xiii-xviii

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Introduction: To Think Like an Army

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pp. 1-8

Lucian Truscott was one of the most highly rated combat commanders in World War II, but today his name does not enjoy the renown of a George Pat-ton or an Omar Bradley.1 Roger J. Spiller notes that, “in a miscarriage of history, he has disappeared from the view of all but the most serious students of the war.”2 This neglect seems all the more remarkable when we recall that he ...

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Chapter 1: The Early Years

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pp. 9-19

Both the paternal and the maternal forebears of Lucian King Truscott, Jr., came to the United States from the British Isles. His paternal great-grandfather, Thomas Truscott, was born in Cornwall, England, in 1796, and immigrated to America in 1821, settling near Springfield, Illinois, where he began farming.1 Thomas fathered two sons, James Joseph and George. James, born in 1832, ...

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Chapter 2: On the Road to High Command

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pp. 20-30

During the fall of 1922, the Army decided to close Camp Harry J. Jones and move the 1st Cavalry Regiment to Camp Marfa, Texas, which was much closer to Fort Bliss, the home of its parent 1st Cavalry Division. Camp Marfa had larger training areas that would provide ample space for maneuvers scheduled for the fall of 1923, “the largest-scale mounted maneuvers heretofore attempted ...

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Chapter 3: Prelude to War

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pp. 31-38

In August 1940 Fort Knox, thirty-five miles south of Louisville, was the home of the Armored Force, organized on July 10, 1940, and commanded by Brig. Gen. Adna R. Chaffee. It “was built around the 7th Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized) and the 6th Infantry (Armored) at Fort Knox”; the seven infantry battalions of the Provisional Tank Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia; the 70th Tank...

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Chapter 4: Birth of the Rangers

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pp. 39-51

Upon his arrival in Washington, Truscott reported for temporary duty with Army Ground Forces, commanded by Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair.1 He immediately went to General Clark’s office, where Clark explained to him that the Americans and British had agreed to an invasion of the European continent in the spring of 1943 and that Truscott and a number of other officers had been ...

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Chapter 5: Operation TORCH: The Invasion of North Africa

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pp. 52-71

In September 1941, Gen. Sir John Dill, chief of the Imperial General Staff, directed the British military planners to draw up plans for a return of the Allies to the European continent, taking into account the capabilities of the Americans to support that operation. The planners concluded that although “the greatest contribution to the Allied cause in 1942 would be to divert enemy forces from ...

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Chapter 6: Duty with Ike

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pp. 72-96

After French resistance in Northwest Africa ended, Lt. Gen. Sir Kenneth A. N. Anderson’s forces began an advance on the night of November 24–25 from Algiers toward Tunis, some five hundred miles to the east. ULTRA had already revealed to Eisenhower that enemy reinforcements, arms, and supplies had be-gun arriving in Tunisia on November 10, and by “the time Anderson moved ...

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Chapter 7: Operation HUSKY: The Battle for Sicily

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pp. 97-124

On March 4 General Truscott assumed command of the 3d Infantry Division and arrived at division headquarters in Rabat three days later, accompanied by Carleton and Conway.1 The next morning he met with the division principal staff and selected special staff officers, with all of whom he was “favorably impressed.” That afternoon he conferred with the subordinate commanders and their staffs. ...

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Chapter 8: Fighting on the “Boot”

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pp. 125-144

Truscott was aware even before the cessation of fighting in Sicily that planning was under way to invade the Italian mainland and eliminate Italy from the war. Although he was not privy to all of the details of the plan, he knew that the overall concept was to have Montgomery’s “Eighth Army cross over the Straits of Messina, seize the Italian naval base at Taranto, and advance northward up ...

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Chapter 9: Anzio and the Road to Rome

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pp. 145-180

On November 13 Truscott, along with Generals Lucas, Middleton, and Ryder, attended a commanders’ conference with General Clark at the VI Corps command post to discuss future plans. At that time the Allied advance up the boot had spent its force, leaving Montgomery’s Eighth Army on the Adriatic side of the peninsula deployed along the Sangro River from the coast inland ...

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Chapter 10: Southern France

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pp. 181-215

After IV Corps officially relieved VI Corps Truscott enjoyed a few drinks with Colonels Langevin and Harrell before leaving in his sedan for Rome, where he opened VI Corps headquarters in Villa Spiga, 135 Via Trionfale, just ten minutes north of the Vatican. The first order of business after their grueling months of combat in the Anzio beachhead and the exhilarating but frustrating break-...

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Chapter 11: Army Command

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pp. 216-231

Prior to Truscott’s leaving SHAEF Eisenhower had cabled Marshall to in-form him of Truscott’s impending departure for the continental United States (CONUS), stating that he would initially report to the War Department “to be temporarily available for any kind of information or conferences that you may desire” and that he would then leave for “a short recreational period” before ...

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Chapter 12: The Final Offensive

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pp. 232-246

General Clark envisioned a three-phase attack by Fifth and Eighth Armies, which would advance into the Po valley and drive north across the Po River to the Brenner Pass. In phase one Eighth Army was to cross the Santerno River and Fifth Army was to debouch into the Po valley and capture Bologna. In phase two “either or both Armies were to break through German offenses and ...

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Chapter 13: The Postwar Years

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pp. 247-270

On June 9, accompanied by his aides and Sergeant Hong, Truscott left on his long journey home. They first flew to Paris, where they spent the night at the Villa Coublay. The next morning they met the rest of their group, including Generals Clark and Patch, with whom they would travel to the selected cities. At Orly Field they boarded a C-54 to begin the four-day flight to San Antonio, ...

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Chapter 14: Duty with the CIA

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pp. 271-288

In early 1951 Lucian Truscott received a call from his former comrade-in-arms Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, a call that would lead to a more than eight-year interruption of his retirement. Smith had been serving as the fourth director of central intelligence (DCI) and head of the Central Intelligence Agency since October 7, 1950,1 and had called to ask Truscott to come to Washington to discuss ...

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Chapter 15: The Last Years

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pp. 289-290

When Lucian retired from the CIA he and Sarah were still living in Washington but soon decided to move across the Potomac River to Alexandria. They contracted to build a house there but decided to forgo central air conditioning, which their son James believed was probably a mistake, since in the coming years his father’s chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary dis-...

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pp. 291-296

In the introduction to this book I make numerous references to the high ranking his contemporary superior officers and succeeding military historians have accorded Lucian K. Truscott as a combat commander. However, little has been written about his effectiveness as a combat leader. As Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, U.S.A., Ret., said in his farewell address in 2003 as he stepped down from ...

Glossary and Abbreviations

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pp. 297-300

Code Names

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pp. 301-302


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pp. 303-342


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pp. 343-358


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pp. 359-377

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9780826272126
E-ISBN-10: 0826272126
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826218827
Print-ISBN-10: 0826218822

Page Count: 400
Illustrations: 15 illus, 23 maps
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1