Nonfiction Book Award Status: Bronze
Author Name: Bob Kern
Ground zero for a nuclear war was just over an hour northeast of Frankfurt, Germany. The small town of Fulda is nestled at the base of a natural gap in the hilly wooded terrain of West Germany and was a corridor between East and West Germany. Referred to as the Fulda Gap, this corridor was very likely the path the Warsaw forces and the Soviet Union would have taken to invade Europe.
This was the most logical and practical path for an invasion. History has shown other great military leaders had come to the same conclusion. Napoleon used this very corridor to withdraw westward during the Battle of Nations and General George S. Patton used it to push the Nazis eastward during World War II. It was the best location, by all accounts, for the Soviets to send their mechanized units through quickly to conquer Frankfurt, the capital and financial center of West Germany and Europe beyond.
European leaders were shocked at how quickly Hitler had been able to conquer Europe during World War II. To calm these fears and assure them that the United States would not abandon them at the conclusion of the war, the U.S. maintained a significant military force in West Germany for the duration of the Cold War.
The forces on the east and west sides of the Fulda Gap were the largest numbers of military soldiers and equipment gathered in one area in the history of the world. Behind each side was an arsenal of medium range nuclear missiles aimed at each other and at the Fulda Gap area. The brave men and women who served in West Germany were the first line of defense against the enemy horde that would come through the gap if hostilities ever began. Their mission was to hold that advancing horde for forty-eight hours until reinforcements arrived. None of them were expected to survive an invasion and they all knew it. This was what they had enlisted for, it was their job, and they did it proudly.
The book is a historical look at the Cold War in Germany through the careers of seventeen veterans who served there. These are their stories as they prepared to defend the Fulda Gap and ground zero…
Bob Kern is a native Hoosier. Born and raised in Bedford, Indiana, like many boys in the 70’s, he dreamed of joining the military.
His dream came true at the age of seventeen when he enlisted in the US Army never dreaming that shortly thereafter, he would find himself thrust in the middle of the Cold War.
Bob was in the US Army for almost 8 years and during those years he was quickly educated about the military life that civilians never see or hear about.
Since his honorable discharge in 1988, he has repeatedly thought about sharing his story with others to shed light on a time in history that hasn’t gained as much attention despite the importance of the time period to US peace.
Bob decided to write and publish the story of his military career so that others may have an inside view of what it was like to be in the military at that time.
Due to the overwhelming support and response from other Cold War Veterans, the third book in the We Were Soldiers Too series on South Korea and serving on the DMZ is currently being written. A fourth and fifth book are also planned
Bob is the father of five children – Natalie, Bambie, Amber, Bob, and Rob. He resides in Bedford, Indiana with his wife Marsha and his three granddaughters; Sage, Jade, and Harmonie.
Bob enjoys connecting with US veterans and sharing his stories with others.