The limits of the individual tactical volumes in this subseries were fixed according to well-defined phases of the operations in the ETO, rather than by arbitrary dates. Though an individual volume may deal with one or more armies in a given area at a given time, it contains adequate background and corollary information for understanding the place of these particular operations in the larger context. The influence of theater strategy, logistics, and adjacent combat operations is integrated into each story. Thus, each volume is an entity that can be read separately with profit; at the same time each takes a natural place in the framework of the whole.
Because the war in Europe was an Allied effort, the tactical operations of the British, Canadians, French, and other Western Allies have been sketched or summarized to place the American role in more realistic perspective. Every effort has also been made to avoid a nationalistic slant and to present fairly the critical problems of the grand alliance as revealed in planning and execution of strategy and operations. Nevertheless, it has not been possible, nor was it intended, to develop in full the narrative of Allied participation. Based largely on U.S. records, these volumes inevitably are written from an American point of view.
As these books are focused on the American role, so also are they a history of United States ground operations rather than sea and air. The reader is constantly made aware, nonetheless, that the sister services were vital parts of a team. Where air and naval matters directly affected policy or operations in the theater, this material is retained. In particular, the campaign volumes develop the role of tactical air forces as they affected fighting on the ground.
The story would be far less instructive without the corresponding picture from the enemy side. By study of interrogations and personal narratives of German officers, of captured documents, and of military records surrendered upon termination of hostilities, an accurate, interrelated account of enemy plans and operations has been developed to a degree not common in previous histories of this kind.
In the campaign volumes, attention has been focused, of necessity, on combat formations actually in the line. Nevertheless, the vital combination of arms and services essential to victory has not been overlooked. The verity and necessity of this combination are emphasized by the volumes on the supreme command and logistics. The basic unit of the narrative in the campaign volumes varies, depending on the scope of the particular volume. Usually it is the division whose story is told in terms of regiments and battalions.
The Supreme Command was designed as the capstone of the subseries. A history of Supreme Headquarters, it covers Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) theater command and the Supreme Commander focusing on the nature of coalition command and the critical decisions made. Tactical operations at army group level are discussed, covering the entire war from D-day to V-E Day. In addition, more attention than in other volumes is given to political or non-operational questions: civil affairs, press relations, military government, and so forth.
Cross-Channel Attack introduces the subseries providing background for study of all the campaigns in the European Theater of Operations. The volume focuses on planning of OVERLORD; D-day, the Normandy invasion; and tactical operations to 1 July 1944, when the Allies were assured of the success of the OVERLORD invasion, the fruition of plans and preparations reaching back as far as January 1942.
Breakout and Pursuit covers the "Battle of the Hedgerows" leading to Operation COBRA and victory in Normandy. The Falaise-Argentan pocket and the Mortain counterattack are also included, as are operations in Brittany, the reduction of Brest, and liberation of Paris. The volume closes with the pursuit across northern France and Belgium by the U.S. First and Third Armies, ending in early September at the German frontier and the gates of Lorraine.
The Lorraine Campaign chronicles the U.S. Third Army's struggle through the slow, arduous campaigning of the fall of 1944, from the Moselle to the German border and the West Wall in the Saar region. After the reduction of Metz, the story ends on 18 December when the Third Army was diverted to move against the German winter counteroffensive in the Ardennes.
The Siegfried Line Campaign parallels the effort in Lorraine, following the U.S. First and Ninth Armies during the fall of 1944 through similar costly fighting. The narrative takes the readers from first crossings of the German border on 11 September to the enemy's counteroffensive, which ended the campaign abruptly inside Germany along the Roer River on 16 December. Highlighted are piercing the West Wall, the reduction of Aachen, the bitter fighting in the Huertgen Forest, and the operations of the First Allied Airborne Army in Operation MARKET-GARDEN in the Netherlands. American participation in opening Antwerp and clearing the Peel Marshes is also included.
Riviera to the Rhine focuses on the ANVIL/DRAGOON amphibious assault in southern France on 15 August 1944 and thereafter covers the tactical operations of the 6th Army Group (Seventh U.S. and First French Armies) until February 1945. The initial lodgment, the pursuit up the Rhone valley, and winter warfare in the Vosges are all highlighted, as are the German NORDWIND offensive and the reduction of the Colmar Pocket.
The Ardennes treats the German winter counteroffensive in Belgium and Luxembourg. The volume covers the operations of the U.S. First and Third Armies from the start on 16 December 1944 to 3 January 1945, when successful elimination of the "bulge" was assured.
The Last Offensive chronicles the operations of all five U.S. armies from early 1945 to V-E Day. Special attention is given to Operation GRENADE and the sweep to the Rhine; the seizure of the Remagen bridge; the multiple crossings of the Rhine; and the employment of airborne troops in Operation VARSITY. The story ends with the drive to the Elbe and juncture with the Soviets and, in the south, with the occupation of Germany's Alpine Redoubt.
Logistical Support of the Armies, 2 volumes, is the keystone rather than the capstone of the subseries. Relating the story of the campaigns and the decisions of higher commanders to the tyranny which logistics exercises on their conduct, it discusses tremendous materiel buildup in the United Kingdom preceding D-day, the logistical aspects of the invasion, and the effect of pursuit warfare on the Allied logistical structure. Volume I ends with the termination of pursuit in mid-September 1944, while Volume II carries the story to V-E Day.
This book, while it contains the history of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, is focused on the decisions of the Supreme Commander rather than the machinery of command. It is primarily a history of the decisions of General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower.
To present these decisions in the round, it includes their background: the situations, military and political, that confronted the Supreme Commander, the discussions leading to his decisions; and the controversies--inter-Allied, interservice, personal, or purely military--which he had to resolve. It also includes an account of the reactions to his decisions and their effect on the course of the war. Since the author drew his information and impressions from interviews with more than a hundred of the leading participants as well as from public and personal records, he has been able to assess and illustrate, in many cases, the weight of personality as a factor influencing Eisenhower's final decisions and their effect. To give further perspective, the author has drawn on German records and interrogations to present the enemy's views, plans, and positions, not always known to the Supreme Commander at the time.
The period covered runs from December 1943 to 14 July 1945. The author reaches back (in Ch. II) to review the origins of SHAEF and to summarize (in Ch. V) the evolution of General Eisenhower's strategic mission as embodied in the OVERLORD plan.
The volume deals with the most complex combined (Allied) and joint (Army, Navy, Air) command that had appeared in the history of war, a headquarters founded on the principle of Allied "integration," first applied by General Eisenhower in his organization of the Allied headquarters in the Mediterranean in 1942 (AFHQ). It was the culminating expression of the principle of unity of command which the Allies applied in World War II with varying degrees of success in all theaters of operations.
Recognizing this, the author has included the facts and references necessary for a study not only of the antecedents, machinery, and activities of SHAEF (Chs. II-IV), but also of its relations, on the one hand, with the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the supreme instrument of the Allied governments for the military direction of the war, and, on the other, with the principal subordinate commands that directed operations in northwestern Europe on land and sea and in the air, from 6 June 1944 until 7 May 1945.
The Supreme Commander's primary responsibility was military, and after 2 September 1944 he assumed direct command of the operations of the ground forces of the Allies. In order to furnish the setting and trace the consequences of General Eisenhower's military decisions, the book includes a full account of the campaigns of the Allied Expeditionary Force. The scale of this account is determined by the outlook of SHAEF. In general, it follows at army and army group level operations that are being recounted in greater detail in the campaign volumes of the United States Army in World War II and in the British and Canadian official histories. Since the present account is necessarily based chiefly on American records, it gives a more complete and authoritative history of American than of British operations.
Although the Supreme Commander's primary responsibility was military, the scope of his command repeatedly put him astride the traditional line between military and political considerations which modern war tends to obliterate. This line presented a problem in his relations with the British and French commanders, particularly with Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, and in the recommendations he had to make on relations with the Soviets in the last phase of the war. The volume also discusses in detail the difficulties of making politico-military decisions without timely, clear, or positive directives from higher authorities.
The cross-Channel attack launched on 6 June 1944 under the direction of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, is a subject that reappears in many volumes of the United States Army in World War II, since it involved the U.S. Army in its most important and largest single undertaking in the war. This basic account of the attack is focused on the Army's participation in it, both as a plan and as an operation. It relates the project of the assault from its inception in 1942 to the strategic and logistical planning of the United States and the Allies (Chs. I-III) and to the plans, strength, and position of the enemy in 1944 (Chs. IV and VII); it describes the complex plans and preparations for the assault (Chs. V and VI), then narrates the fighting of the First Army to establish a lodgment up to 1 July 1944 (Chs. VIII, IX, and X).
Much of the book (seven out of ten chapters) is devoted to planning and preparations since this volume is intended to serve as an introduction to all of the campaigns of the U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations, as described in Chapters VIII-X and in the other nine volumes of the ETO subseries. Other volumes in the United States Army in World War II which devote considerable attention to the cross-Channel attack are Washington Command Post: The Operations Division; The Supreme Command; Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume I; and the volumes on Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare. Detailed narratives of the assault on 6 June and the subsequent campaign to 1 July can be found in Omaha Beachhead (1945), Utah Beach to Cherbourg (1947), and Small Unit Actions (1946), all in the Army's American Forces in Action series. These narratives concentrate on the action of small units in combat.
Cross-Channel Attack, like most other campaign volumes in the ETO subseries, focuses on the division as the basic fighting unit, although it often describes in considerable detail the experiences of battalions and companies on the fragmented fields of Normandy. So far as enemy records permit, it tells the story of German action at the same level. The Supreme Command, on the other hand, deals with D-day and the campaign to establish the Normandy beachhead and capture Cherbourg, from the point of view of General Eisenhower and Supreme Headquarters.
This volume follows the U.S. First and Third Armies from 1 July 1944 in the Allied sweep across France to the German border, where The Siegfried Line Campaign takes up the story of the First Army (on 11 September) and The Lorraine Campaign that of the Third Army (on 1 September). The present volume includes the battle for Brest, which ended (on 18 September) when the front had been pushed across France and beyond.
By 1 July the Allies had consolidated a firm beachhead which included Cherbourg and left no doubt that their armies had come to stay. The theme of the book is their subsequent efforts to acquire the "lodgment area" projected in the OVERLORD plan (see Cross-Channel Attack); the effort of the Germans to contain them; the breakthrough beginning on 25 July; its conversion into the breakout; the encirclement of German forces; and the ensuing sweep across France that outran all plans and anticipations.
After an explanation of Allied and German situations (Part One), the battle narrative opens (Part Two) with an examination of the hedgerow fighting-the costly and disheartening battles in the compartmentalized fields of Normandy which, combined with rain, mud, and inexperience, deprived the Americans of the advantages of numbers and mechanization in the offensive and assisted the Germans in their stubborn defense. The volume gives special attention to the methods by which the Americans overcame the unexpected difficulties that beset them and became experienced veterans.
The next phase of the narrative (Part Three) includes an account of the genesis and evolution of General Bradley's breakthrough plan (COBRA) and follows in detail the measures and events that marked its conversion into a triumphant breakout into Brittany (described in Part Four). The author then (in Part Five) recounts the swiftly changing plans of the Allies as they seized the opportunity to break out toward the east; describes Hitler's counterattack toward Avranches and its defeat; follows (in Parts Six and Seven) the development of operations designed to encircle the Germans at Argentan and Falaise; and shows the fast-moving mobile warfare that characterized the drive to the Seine, the liberation of Paris, and the sweep to the borders of Germany. A tightening logistical tether (see Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume I) and the resuscitation of German resistance subsequently brought the First and Third Armies face to face with the bitter campaigning described in The Siegfried Line Campaign and The Lorraine Campaign.
The battle narrative in this volume is, in general, pitched at corps level, but the focus of attention moves up and down the chain of command to illuminate decisions, both Allied and German, at critical moments of the campaign. The action is carefully related to the declared or postulated intentions of the responsible commanders, and success or failure is examined with reference to these and the opposing moves of the contestants. As in Cross-Channel Attack, the access of the author to abundant enemy sources has made it possible for him to represent fully the strength, intentions, and tactics of the enemy.
This volume narrates the operations of the U.S. Third Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., during the autumn of 1944 when that army was weakened by a lengthy pursuit and taut supply lines and faced an enemy who was rapidly recovering behind strong natural and artificial barriers. The iron hand which logistics sometimes imposes on tactical operations is in evidence throughout the narrative. Like other operational volumes dealing with the European theater, The Lorraine Campaign is organized into chapters at corps level and written primarily at division level. When action at a lower level was decisive or particularly illustrative, the narrative descends to regiment, battalion, company, and sometimes to platoon and squad level. Concurrent operations of Allied and of other U.S. armies are sketched in as necessary for a complete understanding of the Third Army's story. Companion volumes recount in full the concurrent campaigns of the First and Ninth Armies (The Siegfried Line Campaign) and of the Seventh Army (Riviera to the Rhine). The story of command and decision at levels higher than army headquarters is told only where it had a direct bearing on the fighting in Lorraine, as, for example, General Eisenhower's decision to halt the Third Army at the Meuse River at the start of September while he concentrated his strained resources in support of the First Army on another axis of advance (Ch. I).
Despite General Patton's long-lived optimism that he could gain the Rhine in one quick thrust, this volume indicates that even in early September the Germans were amassing strength sufficient to delay an overextended attacker for a long time behind such barriers as the flooded Moselle River; the historic forts ringing Metz, capital of Lorraine; and the Maginot and Siegfried Lines. This is the story of the slow, plodding operations that developed in the forests and among the rolling hills of Lorraine from early September until the Third Army on 18 December was turned north to assist the First Army in the Ardennes.
A parallel account from the enemy side puts the American operations in proper perspective. The volume contains also an analytical description of the decisions of commanders at army, corps, and division levels that provided the framework of the tactical operations. Historical perspective is enhanced by frequent reference to earlier campaigning over this same terrain in 1870, 1914-18, and 1940.
Optimism ran high when the first American patrols crossed the German frontier on 11 September 1944. With the enemy defeated in Normandy and pursued across northern France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, who could doubt that the war in Europe would soon be over? As events were to prove, and as this volume relates, buoyant spirits were premature. Aided by the concrete of the Siegfried Line (the so-called West Wall) and the forbidding terrain along the frontier, the Germans were able to stabilize the front against an Allied force weakened by the excesses of a long pursuit.
The Siegfried Line Campaign is primarily a history of tactical operations in northwestern Europe from early September to mid-December 1944. It covers in detail the campaigns of the U.S. First and Ninth Armies and the First Allied Airborne Army and in sketchy outline the concurrent operations of the Second British and First Canadian Armies. Organized into chapters at the corps level, the story is told primarily at division level with numerous descents to regiment and battalion and even at times to lower units. Logistics and high-level planning (for example, the controversy over single thrust versus broad front strategy) are treated where they affected the campaign. Discussion of staff operations at army or corps level is limited to the development of tactical plans and operations.
Although the First Army's V and VII Corps both penetrated the Siegfried Line in September, ragtag German formations were able to blunt these spearheads. They did the same when the Allies sought to outflank the West Wall by crossing three major water barriers. The last of these, an assault on the lower Rhine, was a major coalition operation that combined the First Allied Airborne Army attack in southeastern Netherlands (Operation MARKET) with a ground attack (Operation GARDEN) by the Second British Army. From this point (late September) stiff in-fighting developed. Into November the Allies in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands conducted a series of small-scale operations to tidy the front in preparation for another major attempt to break through to the Rhine River and encircle the Ruhr industrial area. They focused on several specific missions: capture of Aachen, which sits astride the invasion route to the Ruhr; a drive on the Huertgen Forest southeast of Aachen to protect the forces before Aachen and to capture the dams on the upper Roer threatened by the retreating Germans; and reduction of the German bridgehead west of the Maas River in southeastern Netherlands. The Allies also sought to clear the seaward approaches to Antwerp, whose port remained the key to the logistical problems that had plagued them since the Normandy breakout.
By mid-November Allied commanders could report considerable success in these missions. Greater strength had been added with the introduction of the Ninth Army into the line between the First Army and the British. The logistical situation was gradually improving, and in conjunction with the Third Army to the south, the First and Ninth Armies were preparing a new offensive designed to carry all three to the Rhine.
Operation QUEEN was launched on 16 November, but by taking advantage of their strong artillery reserves, the inclement weather, and rough terrain, the Germans slowed the advance significantly. By mid-December some Allied troops had not traversed the seven miles to the intermediate objective of the Roer River, and the threat of the Roer Dams still existed. Coincidentally, the Germans used the time to mobilize behind the front an army group that would launch a counteroffensive in the Ardennes, bringing a halt to the Siegfried Line campaign.
This volume deals with the great German offensive in the Ardennes and Schnee Eiffel during December 1944; the armored drive to isolate the Anglo-Saxon Allies by the seizure of Antwerp; and the defensive battles fought by units of the U.S.
First, Third, and Ninth Armies reinforced by troops from the British 21 Army Group. The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge opens with the detailed planning and preparations in the German headquarters (Chs. I, II, IV) and follows the development of the campaign from the surprise attack initiated on 16 December to the point where, in the first days of January 1945, the Allies regained the initiative and resumed the offensive to cross the Rhine. The discussion parallels that given in the latter sections of Riviera to the Rhine, covering the southern Allied Army Group, and sets the scene for The Last Offensive.
The Ardennes, as in other volumes of this subseries, is structured on the division as the chief tactical and administrative unit. However, in the early hours and first days the battle mandates that the story be told at platoon and company level with cross reference to battalions, regimental combat teams, and armored combat commands. Command and control exercised by the army corps generally appears in the allocation of reserves rather than in tactical direction of the battle. Higher command efforts come into the narrative in a few specific instances, such as the gross failure of Allied intelligence; the geographic division of command between Montgomery and Bradley; the decisions to hold the American linch-pins on the Elsenborn ridge, St. Vith, and Bastogne, at the shoulders of the German salient; and the initial large-scale counterattack mounted by the Third Army. (The subject of command is given close analysis in The Supreme Command.)
The history of German command and troop operations is told in considerable detail. At the close of World War II, German officers were brought together so as to re-create the commands and general staffs of the major units taking part in the Ardennes campaign. As a result of this exercise in collective memory The Ardennes has an unmatched wealth of precise and parallel information on "the other side of the hill." Much attention is also given to the role played by the Allied air forces- particularly the tactical air commands-and to the effect of weather on air-ground cooperation and on German logistics.
The story begins with the irruption of enemy assault units in force against the green 99th and 106th Infantry Divisions and throughout the breadth of the thinly held VIII Corps front. The German breakthrough in the Schnee Eiffel is given detailed attention (Ch. VII). There follows the American attempt to narrow the rapidly evolving enemy salient by hard fighting at the shoulders of the bulge and by piecemeal tactical reinforcement at these critical points. The exploitation phase of the German offensive sees early armored successes interspersed with delays and halts inflicted by isolated and lone American combined arms detachments plus the vagaries of weather and terrain. This combination of adverse weather and difficult terrain is analyzed as it influenced German armored operations and conditioned the assault or the defense at barrier lines, roadblocks, and timbered patches (Chs. VI, XIV). The tactics of perimeter defense are shown in the record of battles at Bastogne (Ch. XIX) and those in the ring around St. Vith (Chs. XII, XVII).
This volume concludes with the final desperate effort of German armor to reach and cross the Meuse River; with the stiffening American defense at the leading edge of the salient, coupled with the German failure to widen it at the shoulders; with the commencement of the enemy withdrawal; and with the counterattacks of the Third and First Armies. The final episodes of the Ardennes battle are recounted in The Last Offensive.
Throughout this volume the strictures imposed on German maneuver by logistical failures are evident as are the superior American capability to reinforce and resupply the defense. (See also Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume II). Nonetheless, the German campaign to keep rail and road transport functioning, here described in detail (Ch. XXV), merits close study.
On 15 August 1944, the Allies finally launched Operation ANVIL, code name for the amphibious assault against southern France. Long in the planning as an adjunct to the main effort in Normandy, the effort represented a victory for U.S. strategists seeking to focus Allied military strength against western Germany. The successful assault was rapidly followed up by the seizure of the important French Mediterranean ports of Marseille and Toulon and a concerted drive north up the Rhone River valley to Lyon. There the Franco-American Riviera Force, consisting of the U.S. Seventh and the French First Armies, was combined into the Sixth Army Group under Lt. Gen. Jacob Devers as the southern element of General Eisenhower's northern European command.
From September to November 1944 the Sixth Army Group struggled east through the Vosges mountains and through the Saverne and Belfort gaps to the north and south, respectively. Inclement weather, rugged terrain, and stiffening defense by the German Nineteenth Army slowed the army group's progress toward the German border to a crawl. During the well-planned November offensive, however, Devers' forces surged through the German lines, rapidly advancing to the Rhine and destroying the cohesiveness of the defenders in the process. But rather than move directly into Germany, Eisenhower ordered the bulk of the Seventh Army to strike northward in support of the U. S. Third Army's less successful offensive in Lorraine. In the process the Army group lost its momentum, allowing the Germans to retain a foothold in the Vosges around the city of Colmar and in the north to conduct a more orderly withdrawal to the German border.
In December the German Ardennes offensive forced the Sixth Army Group to halt all offensive operations and extend its front northward. As a result, the German High Command launched Operation NORDWIND in January 1945, a major armor and infantry offensive against the extended Seventh Army. A stubborn but flexible defense finally wore the German forces thin, but both sides suffered heavily from the bitterly cold weather. In February, Devers' forces resumed the offensive, eliminating the Colmar Pocket and the Nineteenth Army and setting the stage for the final drive into Germany.
This volume links the U.S. Army's Mediterranean and northern European operational series together and provides an important counterpoint for those works dealing with Eisenhower's two more well-known army groups commanded by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery and Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley. The opening section (Chs. I-XI) treats the Southern France Campaign as part of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations; a middle section (Chs. XII-XXIV) covers the fighting in the Vosges; and the final section (Chs. XXV-XXX) takes up the battle of Alsace. Joint operations are highlighted (Chs. II-VII) in the treatment of ANVIL, perhaps the most successful amphibious operation during the war, while the problems of combined (multinational) command are discussed throughout. A full account of German plans, organization, and actions is included for perspective, and the operations of the First French Army, a major component of the American army group, are also treated in detail.
The Last Offensive is the final volume of the United States Army in World War II subseries The European Theater of Operations. It recounts the closing battles in which the American forces cross the Rhine River--historic boundary of German power--and, with the Western Allies, defeat and destroy Hitler's armies deployed on the Western Front. The story in these final chapters follows those told in The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge and in Riviera to the Rhine; the time frame extends from the first days of January 1945 to V-E Day (8 May).
The massive force under Eisenhower's command had attained the battle experience of a professional army; it was superior to the Wehrmacht both in manpower and materiel. On V-E Day Eisenhower would have under his command more than four and a half million troops: 91 divisions (61 of which were American), 6 tactical air commands, and 2 strategic air forces. In this volume appears a reckoning of the total Allied effort in the West and the human cost accumulated between D-day and V-E Day. In these months a total of 5,412,219 Allied troops had entered the European Theater of Operations, along with 970,044 vehicles and 18,292,310 tons of supplies. Allied casualties for the period of combat are estimated at a figure of 766,294. American losses are carried as 586,628, of which 135,576 are listed as dead (Ch. XX).
The Last Offensive is a dramatic piece of military history and offers a varied array of ground force operations. In these final months the U.S. First, Third, Seventh, and Ninth Armies, reinforced by British and Canadian armies on the northern flank and a French army on the southern wing, erased the two German salients west of the Rhine (in the Ardennes and around Colmar) and drove to the long-time Allied objective, the Rhine. The powerful assaults to force the Rhine crossings were accompanied by a prime example of "luck" in battle, the seizure of the Remagen bridge, and abetted by a spectacular air-drop assault Operation VARSITY--the last of the war (Ch. XIV). Beyond the Rhine there follows a series of the most massive sweeps and wide turning movements in World War II, engulfing and destroying the German armies in the Ruhr Pocket (Ch. XVI). The end of the Wehrmacht comes when the Americans join the Soviets at the Elbe (Ch. XVII) while the Seventh U.S. Army races to and crosses the Danube (Ch. XVIII).
The gigantic size of these operations requires that this volume be structured with emphasis on the army but with close scrutiny of important engagements by divisional organizations. The detailed story of the Allied command in this period will be found in The Supreme Command. Nonetheless, The Last Offensive analyzes the controversy between Eisenhower and Montgomery over the competing strategies based on an advance all along the front versus a narrow, deep, and powerful thrust on a very constricted front. Here it is shown that the Allied front expands from 450 miles in January to twice that width at V-E Day. Also, explanation is given herein regarding Eisenhower's decision to halt the advance of the Western Allies on the Leipzig axis, short of Berlin. Despite the great Allied superiority on the ground and in the air, the war weary and weakened German troops fought stubbornly in these last battles; The Last Offensive gives credit to these veteran troops fighting in a hopeless and meaningless cause.
This is the history of the logistical operations in the European Theater of Operations in support of the U.S. Army forces in that theater from 1941 to mid-September 1944. The operations described and analyzed were under the direction of the headquarters of the combined command known as ETOUSA Communications Zone. But the focus throughout is on the relation of logistics to combat and the influence of adequate or inadequate logistical support on the planning and conduct of tactical operations by the field armies. Two major problems of supply that had important effects on these operations are treated in detail: the shortage of gasoline in the period of pursuit and the developing shortage of field artillery ammunition, which became critical in the fall of 1944.
Beginning with the arrival of the first small group of U.S. Army "Special Observers" in May 1941, the narrative tells the story of the successive predecessor commands in the United Kingdom and the activation of the European theater (Ch. I). It covers in turn the buildup of forces and logistical planning in preparation for the cross-Channel invasion (Chs. II-VII) and then logistical operations on the Continent through the end of the phase of rapid pursuit in September (Chs. X-XIV).
The major theme is logistical difficulties, first those of building up U.S. forces for the invasion of France, then of supporting them in combat. For the period of continental operations emphasis centers largely on problems of movement: cross-Channel shipping, the development of beach and port discharge facilities, and long-distance transportation by rail and truck, including the famed Red Ball Express (Ch. XIV).
Full attention is given to theater organization and command, particularly to the relation of logistics to other functions, and to the influence of personalities on the evolution of command and on administrative effectiveness (Chs. I, II, III, V, and XI).
This volume moves from mid-September 1944 to the end of hostilities in May 1945 along the same general lines as Volume I described above. As in that volume the focus is on the influence of adequate or inadequate logistical support on the planning and conduct of tactical operations by the field armies, in short, the relation of logistics to combat. Considerable space is given to theater organization and command because of the influence that these exerted on effective administration and support. The main divisions of the volume correspond to the two broad phases of tactical operations in the period covered: the period of relatively static warfare from mid-September 1944 to early February 1945 (Chs. I-XII) and the period of offensives leading to the surrender of Germany in May 1945 (Chs. XIII-XVIII). The main topics examined within each period are organization and command (Chs. II, XII, XIII, XIX); port discharge (Chs. III, IV, XIV); transportation (Chs. V, VI, XIV, XV); supply (Chs. VII, IX, XVI); and manpower (Chs. XI, XVII).
The reader will find (in Ch. I) an assessment of the logistical basis of General Eisenhower's decision in September 1944 against concentration of his resources on a single thrust to the Rhine. In Chapter XII the author surveys, in the light of the Somervell-Lutes "tour of inspection" in December 1944-January 1945, the structure of theater administration and supply as tested by the logistical problems encountered between D-day and the Ardennes offensive of mid-December. The book concludes with general observations on the logistical experience of the European theater (Ch. XIX).
Logistical Support of the Armies serves not only as an integral part of the ETO subseries of the United States Army in World War II, but also as a complement and capstone to the portions of The Technical Services subseries that deal with the wartime activities of each of these services in ETO.