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The Story

When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner’s seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He’s a natural born shooter.


At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division—“Spearhead”—thought their tanks were invincible.


Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit.


After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank,” one of twenty in the European theater.


But with it came a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack.


That’s how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the “Fortress City” of Germany.


Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.


As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war.


What happens next will haunt Clarence into modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time.




From the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call comes the riveting story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel—and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.

Art Gallery

Bonus Video

View stunning artwork that has been inspired by "Spearhead"

Bonus Video

This "Spearhead" trailer contains the Bates film of Clarence in combat.

"Spearhead" hero Buck Marsh sits down with Adam Makos to share the story of his friend Byron Mitchell and his encounter with a Tiger tank commander in Paderborn.
Please note this video contains spoilers.

To Learn More

Cologne journalist Hermann Rheindorf first discovered the identity of Kathi Esser and introduced Clarence to Gustav Schaefer and Kathi's family. He’s produced a series of documentaries about the battle for Cologne that showcase some stunning footage.

There are some discrepancies between our research and the stories presented in these films. Notably, we reject the theory of a "trojan tank" and the theory that Kathi Esser was run over by an American tank. Both are a case of mistaken identity.

In regards to Kathi, even before Delling’s car drove into the crossfire, there was a second German car wrecked in the intersection and laying nearby were the legs of a dead German soldier—upper torso missing—and still wearing boots. You can see this in the film.

Following the battle and after Kathi’s body was removed, an elderly German woman reported that Kathi—who had been lying beside her car—was gone and she had been run over by a tank! Her proof? There was just a pair of legs laying in the street nearby, still wearing boots. She was describing the legs of the dead German soldier.

Discrepancies aside, for anyone seeking to explore the battle for Cologne further, Hermann's work is available for rent/purchase here.

Please note these video contains spoilers.

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