A combination of descriptive text and lavish illustration, mostly in full colour, makes this innovative review of GIs in the Battle of the Bulge a very desirable book. In telling the story, the author incorporates reminiscences of veterans and local civilians, including photographs of them at the time of interview. – Highly Recommended.
NAME: A GI in the Ardennes, The Battle of the Bulge FILE: R3170 AUTHOR: Denis Hambucken PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, World War Two, Second World War, European Theatre, Belgium, Ardennes Forest, US Army, GI, GI Joe, Germany Army, SS Panzers, Gruppen Fuhrer Sepp Dietrich, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery, infantry, winter war, air support, indigenous population, villagers, weapons, uniforms, kit, equipment, boots, veterans, remembrance, survivors ISBN: 1-52675-618-8 PAGES: 143 IMAGE: B3170.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yct4e3x2 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: A combination of descriptive text and lavish illustration, mostly in full colour, makes this innovative review of GIs in the Battle of the Bulge a very desirable book. In telling the story, the author incorporates reminiscences of veterans and local civilians, including photographs of them at the time of interview. – Highly Recommended.
The Battle of the Bulge was a last throw by a gambler who had already lost most of his chips. Much depended on the weather. Historians and military strategists may long debate whether the German attack ever stood much chance of success. By this stage of the war, the Allied air forces held air superiority on every front, including in the air space over Germany itself. This meant that a major threat to German land forces was presented by the clouds of ground attack aircraft that flew in cab ranks over the battle fields, ready to be called down by their forward controllers with the soldiers and armour, or to take out targets of opportunity. These aircraft ranged over the battlefields, but also undertook sweeps deep into Germany. The only relief German troops enjoyed was a brief holiday when the weather kept Allied aircraft on the ground or obscured targets. Even fog or cloud obscuring targets was not complete protection because radar was being used by heavy bombers to drop their bombs on targets that were visible to radar.
Hitler had decided that he could retake the Ardennes and the port of Antwerp to halt all further Allied advances on Germany, giving time to build sufficient numbers of V2 rockets and win the war. That accepted all sorts of assumptions and was based largely on falsehoods. German rocket production was not meeting targets, moving completed rockets to launch sites in range of important Allied targets was severely disrupted by Allied air attacks, and even rockets in initial launch mode were being identified and taken out by ground attack aircraft, particularly by RAF Mosquitoes. Bringing a large enough force together to mount a panzer attack, on what were considered under-trained US soldiers in the Ardennes, was very difficult but was achieved. Remarkably the Allies were blissfully unaware that the concentration of the best available armour and troops by the Germans was already complete. Then the weather turned and the air forces were grounded.
The Germans rolled into action and began driving the US troops back, or surrounding them. The critical weakness for the Germans was that they had to achieve momentum to reach major Allied fuel dumps and they failed to achieve that. US forces proved much more resilient than the Germans had expected, rallying and standing their ground to deny the Germans the fuel they needed for their vehicles. As the attack slowed and faltered, the Allies were able to begin deploying heavy forces to shore up the determined US survivors. Then the weather changed again and ground attack aircraft swarmed in. By this point the air assault was a final nail because the Germans were retreating and leaving many vehicles behind for lack of fuel.
The Author has covered the sequence of events and battles with an excellent selection of images of the detail of the fight, with uniforms, equipment and weapons all presented.