With the publication of Riviera to the Rhine, the Center of Military History completes its series of operational histories treating the activities of the U.S. Army's combat forces during World War II. This volume examines the least known of the major units in the European theater, General Jacob L. Devers' 6th Army Group. Under General Devers' leadership, two armies, the U.S. Seventh Army under General Alexander M. Patch and the First French Army led by General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, landing on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille in August 1944, cleared the enemy out of southern France and then turned east and joined with army groups under Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery and General Omar N. Bradley in the final assault on Germany.
In detailing the campaign of these Riviera-based armies, the authors have concentrated on the operational level of war, paying special attention to the problems of joint, combined, and special operations and to the significant roles of logistics, intelligence, and personnel policies in these endeavors. They have also examined in detail deception efforts at the tactical and operational levels, deep battle penetrations, river-crossing efforts, combat in built-up areas, and tactical innovations at the combined arms level.
Such concepts are of course very familiar to today's military students, and the fact that this volume examines them in such detail makes this study especially valuable to younger officers and noncommissioned officers. In truth, the challenges faced by military commanders half a century ago were hardly unique. That is why I particularly urge today's military students, who might well face some of these same problems in future combat, to study this campaign so that they might learn from their illustrious predecessors in the profession of arms.
1 April 1976
|HAROLD W. NELSON
Brigadier General, USA
Chief of Military History.
Dr. Jeffrey J. Clarke has been a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History since 1971 and was named its Chief Historian in July 1990. He has also taught history at Rutgers University and the University of Maryland-College Park and is currently adjunct associate professor of history at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Dr. Clarke holds a Ph.D. in history from Duke University, is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, and served with the 1st Infantry Division and Advisory Team 95 during the Vietnam War. He is the author of Advice and Support: The Final Years, a volume in the U.S. Army in Vietnam series, and has contributed many articles, papers, and essays on military history to a wide variety of professional publications and organizations. Dr. Clarke is currently preparing a combat volume on the Vietnam War.
Robert Ross Smith received his B.A. and M.A. from Duke University and later served for two years as a member of General Douglas MacArthur's historical staff during World War II. In 1947 he joined the Army's historical office, then known as the Office of the Chief of Military History, where he published The Approach to the Philippines (1953) and Triumph in the Philippines (1963) in the U.S. Army in World War II series as well as several other military studies. Later he served as historian for the United States Army, Pacific, during the Vietnam War. At the time of his retirement from the Center of Military History in 1983, Mr. Smith was chief of the General History Branch.
Riviera to the Rhine examines a significant portion of the Allied drive across northern Europe and focuses on the vital role played in that drive by the U.S. 6th Army Group, commanded by General Jacob L. Devers, and its two major components, the American Seventh Army, under General Alexander M. Patch, and the French First Army, under General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. Had these forces not existed, Eisenhower's two northern army groups, those commanded by Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery and General Omar N. Bradley, would have been stretched much thinner, with their offensive and defensive capabilities greatly reduced. In such a case the German offensive of December 1944 might have met with greater success, easily postponing the final Allied drive into Germany with unforeseen military and political consequences. Riviera thus should balance the greater public attention given to the commands of Montgomery and Bradley by concentrating on the accomplishments of those led by Devers, Patch, and de Lattre and, in the process, by highlighting the crucial logistical contributions of the southern French ports to the Allied war effort.
This work also constitutes the final volume in the U.S. Army's series of operational histories treating the activities of its combat forces during the Second World War. It covers the period from August 1944 to early March 1945 and details the Allied landings in southern France, the capture of Toulon and Marseille, the drive north through the Rhone River valley, and, following the junction of the Riviera forces with those moving east from the Normandy beachhead, the lengthy push through the Vosges Mountains and the conquest and defense of Alsace. As such, Riviera serves as a bridge between the already published histories of the Allied campaigns in the Mediterranean and those treating the campaigns waged in northeastern France. Within the U.S. Army's World War II historical series, this volume thus initially parallels the early sections of Ernest F. Fisher's From Cassino to the Alps, and to the north Gordon A. Harrison's Cross-Channel Attack and Martin Blumenson's Breakout and Pursuit. Starting in September 1944, those Riviera chapters treating the campaign in the Vosges act as a southern component to Charles B. MacDonald's The Siegfried Line Campaign and Hugh M. Cole's The Lorraine Campaign, all supported by Forrest C. Pogue's
The Supreme Command, and Roland G. Ruppenthal's theater logistical volumes. Riviera's final chapters, detailing the German offensive in northern Alsace and the subsequent Allied elimination of the Colmar Pocket, constitute a southern companion to Cole's The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, both of which lead into MacDonald's The Last Offensive.
Finally Riviera is the study of a combined, Franco-American military effort, one which frequently saw major combat units of each nation commanded by generals of the other on the field of battle. Although outwardly similar, each national component had its own unique style, and a deep appreciation of one another's strengths and weaknesses was vital to the success of the combined force. National political considerations also played a significant role in the operations of the combined force as did personal conflicts within both chains of command, all of which had to be resolved primarily by the principal commanders in the field. Although Riviera often focuses more closely on the activities of American combat units, the authors have no intention of slighting those of the regular French Army or of the French Forces of the Interior, both of whose operations were vital to the success of the entire force.
The authors are indebted to a long line of officials at the Office of the Chief of Military History and its successor, the Center of Military History, who ensured the continuation of the project amid periods of reduced writing resources and rising historical commitments. Center historians who made significant contributions to the manuscript include Maj. James T. D. Hamilton, Riley Sunderland, Charles F. Romanus, and Martin Blumenson. Deserving substantial recognition is Charles V. P. von Luttichau, whose original research in German records and the resulting series of monographs on the German Nineteenth Army were invaluable. Working under the supervision of the Center's Editor in Chief, John W. Elsberg, and the chief of the Editorial Branch, Catherine A. Heerin, Christine Hardyman served admirably as both the substantive and copy editor, contributing greatly to the accuracy and readability of the account. Barbara H. Gilbert and Diane Sedore Arms then carried the manuscript through all the proofing stages. The excellent maps are the work of Billy C. Mossman, a former office cartographer and author of the Army's recently published Ebb and Flow, a volume in the Korean War series. Others who assisted include Gabrielle S. Patrick, who typed much of the final version; Arthur S. Hardyman, the Center's Graphics Branch chief, who muted many (but not all) of the final author's unorthodox ideas on maps and photographs; Linda Cajka, who designed the cover and mounted the photographs; Michael J. Winey and Randy W. Hackenburg of the U.S. Army Military History Institute (MHI) at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and Ouida Brown of the National Archives who assisted the author in selecting the photographs; Dr. Richard J. Sommers and David A. Keough of MHI; Izlar Meyers of
the National Archives; John Jacob of the Marshall Library; Kathy Lloyd of the Naval Historical Center; John Taylor of the National Security Agency historical and records offices; the historians and archivists at the Service Historique de l'Armee; and James B. Knight, Mary L. Sawyer, and Hannah M. Zeidlik of the Center, all of whom provided invaluable research assistance. The authors are also in debt to those colleagues at the Center who read portions of the manuscript, including Dr. Richard O. Perry, Dr. John M. Carland, Dr. David W. Hogan, George L. MacGarrigle, Dr. Joel D. Meyerson, and Lt. Col. Adrian G. Traas.
Outside readers of the entire manuscript included Professor Russell Weigley of Temple University; Martin Blumenson; and General John S. Guthrie, former operations officer (G–3) of the Seventh Army. In addition, portions of the manuscript were read by Col. Thomas Griess, the former chairman of the West Point History Department; French historians Paul Rigoulot and Georges Coudry; Col. Helmut Ritgen, former battle group commander of the Panzer Lehr Division; William K. Wyant, who is currently preparing a biography of General Patch; and Michael Hennessy, who is completing a dissertation on the ANVIL landings. Both Smith and Clarke also wish to acknowledge their debt to the many veterans of the U.S. Seventh Army and the 6th Army Group who freely discussed their experiences with the authors (and their interest in seeing the work completed), and in particular Franklin L. Gurley, the indefatigable veteran and historian of the 100th Infantry Division.
Following the completion of the volume, the final author discussed the bibliographical note and citations with the archivists at the Military Reference Branch and the Military Field Branch of the National Archives (Dr. Elaine C. Everly, Howard Whemann, Wilbert B. Mahoney, Timothy P. Mulligan, and John L. Taylor) to ensure that those interested could easily locate the material used in preparing this study. Since neither Smith nor the earlier contributing authors were able to participate in the final revision and drafting efforts, the final author is also responsible for all interpretations and conclusions as well as for any errors or omissions that may occur.
As one former infantryman remarked to the author at a veterans' meeting several years ago, "We don't expect you historians to tell us what we did--only we know that. What we want is to know why we did it--how we fit into the larger picture." It is this task that Riviera to the Rhine attempts to accomplish, providing a tactical, operational, and strategic story that treats the roles and missions of the Riviera-based armies, how they went about accomplishing those missions, and how those accomplishments fit into the larger framework of what another
Center historian, Charles MacDonald, once described as "the mighty endeavor."
|Washington, D.C.||JEFFREY J. CLARKE|
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