Knox Press

Small Victories in a Great Big War: The Terrifying and Sometimes Hilarious Adventures of a World War Two Paratrooper


An incredible journey of traumatic near-death moments, day to day drudgery, amusing situations, and even brushes with greatness in World War II.

Life for a World War II paratrooper was grave and perilous; John H. Canfield’s experience was no different. However, this young man found himself in so many crazy—sometimes humorous—situations that he almost forgot about how dangerous it was.

Filled with pranksters and superiors full of bravado and an unfortunate brush with racial bigotry with a fellow African American soldier, Canfield shares his many stories from basic training and jump school. But his best stories are from the war. From having to translate a dinner for an inebriated superior using his scant French, to getting chewed out by none other than General George S. Patton, Canfield shares a wealth of experiences from his WWII tour of the European theater.

In Small Victories in a Great Big War, John H. Canfield shows that half the battle is surviving, and that he did. With bravery and flair, Canfield returned home to Connecticut with more than a few amusing anecdotes.

John H. Canfield was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and found himself trained as a frontline medic. He then volunteered to be a paratrooper with the very real prospect of jumping out of airplanes in front of—and behind—enemy lines. Canfield experienced a wide breadth of training, including combat, and felt he was prepared enough—or lucky enough—to have survived to tell his war stories. While his time in combat was short, his experiences were vast.

More than seventy-five years after the end of World War II, John H. Canfield’s stories are now shared with the world.