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Lt. Cyril R. Murphy & his 45th Infantry "Thunderbirds"

True History of Netflix’s ‘The Liberator’ Series:

 Army’s 45th Infantry “Thunderbird” Division

"The men of the 45th Infantry Division fought for each other, as all soldiers do, but they also fought for their country. Not for what it was — with its segregation, its double standards, and its signs in front of businesses saying who could shop or eat or drink there — but for what it could be..."

murphy - thunderbird graphic.jpg

Netflix: The Liberator Series


"The new animated Netflix series tells the story of the U.S. Army’s most integrated World War II unit. A new Netflix series tells the story of this storied division as it fought across Sicily, Italy, France and into Germany. Based on the book by writer Alex Kershaw, “The Liberator” depicts how the Thunderbirds staggered through a withering 500-plus days of combat in less than two years, exacting a terrible toll on Axis troops while suffering nearly 10,500 casualties."

"During World War II, the U.S. Army’s 45th Infantry Division, one of the most racially integrated units of the era, went into battle wearing on their shoulders the image of the Thunderbird, a supernatural entity said to protect humans from evil spirits and exact vengeance on their moral enemies. They were white Americans, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans from more than 50 tribes. The Thunderbird Division became known as one of the hardest-fighting combat groups of the war.  The series and book highlight the truly gripping and powerful drama of the 45th Division. General George S. Patton regarded the Thunderbirds as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms.”

After training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where they learned to shoot and fight, to follow and lead, to be soldiers together, they shipped off to Europe. Once there, they took part in the Italian Campaign, beginning with the Invasion of Sicily. Then it was on to Anzio, where they endured artillery bombardments and blunted the enemy’s attacks on their lines. Next to France and later to frigid mountains in Germany, and deeper into Bavaria and the heart of the Third Reich, through some of the bloodiest street-to-street fighting of the war. And finally, they reached the gates of Dachau Concentration Camp, and one of the unit’s darkest moments. Their advance across Europe came at a great cost." 

From the Smithsonian Magazine

Book no.1
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