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Terry de la Mesa Allen was one of the most remarkable soldiers in American military history. He failed out of West Point twice, yet ended up as a fearless battalion commander during World War I— personally leading patrols into no-man’s-land.
During World War II, following hard and successful combat in North Africa and Sicily, Major General Allen was “fired” by Gen. Omar Bradley from command of the army’s 1st Infantry Division for lax personal and unit discipline. Within a year, he was back in combat in command of the crack 104th Division Timberwolves, the first unit to reach the Elbe River and link up with the Soviet Union’s Red Army—an event that marked the practical end of the war in the Europe. Loved by his soldiers and barely tolerated by the high command, Allen compiled one of the most successful combat records of any American general in any war.