«BATTLEBOOK Commanding General, United States Army, Europe Senior Leader Staff Ride The Battle of the Bulge Contents The Am erican Soldier SSG Joseph ...»
An analysis of the fighting in Europe by one of the most respected American military historians, this book is probably one of the best of the critical accounts that takes into account the occasionally high tension that existed among Allied commanders -- particularly in times of stress, such as during the Battle of the Bulge, and particularly between Montgomery and American commanders, as refereed by Eisenhower. See chapters 17 and 25-30. (CK) Although nearly two decades old, this detailed examination of Allied command relationships in the European Theater of Operations remains one of the standard accounts. Weigley’s assessment of the interplay of personalities is perceptive and his grasp of tactical and operational detail is remarkably sound. As in Ambrose’s work the treatment of the Ardennes campaign is set solidly in the context of the operations that preceded and followed it. This book also benefits from Weigley’s long study of the American Army’s institutional history. (HW) Wheeler, James Scott. The Big Red One: America’s Legendary 1st Infantry Division from World War I to Desert Storm. Lawrence, KS, 2007.
“An exceptionally fine work of scholarship, written with a storyteller’s verve. The Big Red One is not just a vivid account of the nation’s most venerable division, but a compelling yarn for anyone interested in the history of the U.S. Army.” Rick Atkinson, author of An Army at Dawn and In the Company of Soldiers: “A rousing battle history of the Army’s most renowned major combat unit and the best history to date of any of the Army’s active duty combat divisions.”
First Hand Accounts
Bradley, Omar. A Soldier's Story. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1951; and Bradley, with Clay Blair. A General's Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983.
These are the memoirs of the senior American commander in the battle. Bradley's 1951 memoir, based on the diary kept by Chester Hansen, his aide, is as reserved as Eisenhower's writing. In the later book co-written by Clay Blair, Bradley was less reticent and freely vented his frustration and anger not only with Montgomery, but also with George Patton and with General Eisenhower. In A Soldier's Story, read chapter 21, "Counteroffensive." (CK) Butcher, H. Three Years With Eisenhower. London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1946.
If you can get your hands on this book, read Part Five: Cross Channel Invasion, which includes material on the Battle of the Bulge. This is the diary that Butcher, naval aide de camp to Eisenhower, kept throughout the European war, and is occasionally quite candid. The book is easy to use because the heading of each page indicates the date of the entry. (CK) Collins, J. Lawton. Lightning Joe: An Autobiography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979.
VII Corps was early the designated counterattack force, although Collins had some difficulty marshalling divisions because the fighting tended to engulf whatever units became available. (CK) Eisenhower, Dwight. Crusade in Europe. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1948.
Here you can read Eisenhower's own account of why the German attack did not unduly worry him.
Note, however, that this book (because of official secrecy) could not mention the fact that Eisenhower regularly got the fruits not only of the breaking of German codes, but also of the Japanese diplomatic code. A recently discovered fact that bears on the issue is that Hitler discussed his forthcoming offensive with Baron Oshima, the Japanese ambassador to Berlin. Oshima duly reported the conversation to Tokyo. In the process, American naval code-breakers copied and decrypted the message and evidently passed the information on to Eisenhower. This book was based on official diaries kept by his aide de camp and other members of his personal staff and is often more remarkable for what it does not say than for what it does. Nowhere in the book, for example, does his frustration with Field Marshall Sir Bernard Law Montgomery come out as it does in his private correspondence. This is a valuable retrospective account of the fighting as seen by the supreme commander. See chapter 18. (CK) Gavin, James. On to Berlin: Battles of an Airborne Commander 1943-1946. New York: The Viking Press, 1978; and Matthew B. Ridgway and Harold H. Martin. Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956.
These are accounts of the 82nd Airborne Division and XVIII Airborne Corps actions during the Battle of the Bulge. The XVIII Corps played an important role in holding the northern shoulder of the Bulge, west of the Salm River. Neither Gavin nor Ridgway shrink from critical comments about their fellow commanders. In Gavin's book, see the chapter "The Winter War" (pp. 193-266). (CK) Patton, George. War as I Knew It. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1947.
Patton kept a full diary during the war and based this book on portions of it. See Part Two, chapter 4, for the relief of Bastogne. Supplement this account, written very much with future evaluations of his generalship in mind, with selected portions of Martin Blumenson, The Patton Papers 1945-45 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974). The story of how Patton's Third Army staff functioned to plan the relief of Bastogne is well worth studying. (CK) Price, Frank. Troy H. Middleton: A Biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1974.
Based on interviews with Middleton when he served as president of LSU, and written by an historian who did not have as good an understanding of military affairs as one might desire, this book unfortunately does not tackle the big questions: Middleton's initial dispositions; the decision to order 28th Infantry Division to stand fast, regardless of losses; and the loss of the 106th Infantry Division. Nonetheless, this is a good portrait of a corps commander highly regarded by Eisenhower and Bradley. See chapter 17. (CK) Smith, Bedell. Eisenhower's Six Great Decisions: Europe 1944-1945. New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1956.
Smith was Eisenhower's peppery chief of staff and was in a unique position to observe the decision-making process at SHAEF headquarters. In this book, he outlines the key decisions he believes Eisenhower made throughout the war. See Chapter 3. (CK) Wilson, George. If You Survive. New York: Ivy Books, 1987.
George Wilson joined the Fourth Infantry Division in Normandy in mid June. He was greeted by his company commander with the promise that, if he survived the next several days of combat, he would be promoted to first lieutenant. He survived, but was not promoted until December. Wilson’s account is invaluable to anyone studying the psychological aspects of war as well as to those interested in small unit combat and personal experiences. (SW)
Some Final Recommendations
There are many German biographies and memoirs that tell various parts of the story, but there is not yet a first-rate operational history. That, however, is soon to appear. Watch for the forthcoming
publication of volume 7 in the German official history series, Das Deutsche Reich in der Defensive:
Der Krieg im Westen, im Mittelmeerraum und in Ostasien 1943-1944/1945. If you don't read German, the book will also be published in English translation by Oxford University Press. These histories, issued by the German Military History Research Office, have been widely praised by historians throughout the world and are likely to be the definitive word from the German side.
Bailey Bridging Military bridging designed by British engineers Bangalore Explosive charge used for clearing barbed wire and detonating land mines BAR Browning automatic rifle Bazooka American shoulder-fired antitank rocket launcher BBC British Broadcasting Corporation BC Bomber Command (British)
DB Division Blindée (Armored Division), French DCofS Deputy Chief of Staff DD Duplex Drive (land and water propulsion) and flotation system fitted on various vehicles – especially tanks – in amphibious landings D-Day Exact day for the beginning of an operation DFL Division Français Libre (Free French (Infantry) Division) DI Division d’Infanterie (Infantry Division), French DIA Division d’Infanterie Algérienne (Algerian Infantry Division), French DIA (27th) 27th Division d’Infanterie Alpine (Alpine Infantry Division), French DIC Division d’Infanterie Coloniale (Colonial Infantry Division), French Dieppe Raid Amphibious assault by British and Canadian troops on the coast of France in August 1942 – repelled with heavy losses DIM Division d’Infanterie Marocaine (Moroccan Infantry Division), French Dir Directive; Director Div Division DMM Division Marocaine de Montagne (Moroccan Mountain Division), French DOD Department of Defense (US) DQMG(L) Deputy Quartermaster General (Liaison) (British) DSC Distinguished Service Cross Dtd Dated DUKW 2 ½ ton 6x6 Amphibian Truck (“Duck” in Army slang) Dumb Barge An unpowered barge that could be beached Dunkerque Seaport in northern France from which British and Allied forces were withdrawn in a last minute escape after defenses collapsed in the face of German attacks, May 1940 DZ Drop zone for paratroopers and air-dropped supplies
P&O Plans & Operations Division, War Department, successor to OPD Panzer Armor (German) Panzer Division German Armored Division Panzerfaust German handheld antitank rocket launcher Panzergrenadier German mechanized or semi-armored organization, or infantry soldiers within such an organization Panzergruppe West Control headquarters for armored forces established by the Germans in November 1943 to control those decisive forces in any large-scale counterattack against Allied landings along the Channel coast PC&R Gp Port Construction and Repair Group Pillbox Low-roofed concrete emplacement for machine gun or antitank gun Plng Planning (+) (Plus) Overstrength, or with attached units
“The sudden attacks and seem ingly overpow ering array of six enem y divisions… should not be m isinterpreted. The quality of the divisions involved, the piecem eal efforts to launch sm all-scale attacks, and the apparent lack of long-range objectives w ould seem to lim it the enem y threat… the day’s events cannot be regarded as a m ajor long term threat.” 12th Army Group Intelligence Summary, 16 December 1944
CORKSCREW Conquest of Pantelleria Corncobs Blockships deliberately sunk off the Normandy beaches to form partial breakwaters known as Gooseberries, to shelter small craft COTTAGE Invasion of Kiska, 1943 CRICKET Malta portion of ARGONAUT conference CROSSBOW A general term used by the Allies to refer to the German longrange weapons program and to Allied countermeasures against it CUDGEL Planned small scale operation on Arakan coast, Burma. Cancelled CULVERIN Plan for assault on Sumatra CYCLONE Task force for Noemfoor
FLINTLOCK Operations in the Marshall Islands FORAGER Operations in the Marianas FOREARM Kavieng FORTITUDE Allied deception operations designed to convince the Germans of an invasion of Western Europe in the Pas de Calais area FORTUNE Planning group located in Algiers (July 1942) FOX Last major training exercises conducted by V Corps, March 1944 FRANTIC Allied shuttle bombing of Axis-controlled Europe from bases in UK, Italy, and USSR FRY Occupation of four islands in Lake Comacchio, Italy FUSTIAN British airborne landing at Primasole Bridge, Sicily, 13-14 July GALAHAD American long range penetration groups (Burma) GALVANIC Operations in Gilbert Islands GARDEN see MARKET-GARDEN GOBLET Invasion of Italy at Cotrone. Cancelled GOLD Normandy beach assaulted by British 30 Corps, 6 June 1944 GOLDFLAKE Movement of Canadian I Corps from Italy to ETO GOODWOOD British attack to break out of the Normandy lodgment in late July 1944, coinciding with US Operation COBRA Gooseberries Partial breakwaters formed off the Normandy beaches by the sinking of blockships known as Corncobs, to shelter small craft GRANITE Plan for operations in POA in 1944 GRAY Plan for capture and occupation of the Azores GREENLIGHT One of the special OVERLORD supply procedures designed to expedite the delivery of ammunition and engineer fortification material in lieu of scheduled shipment of other supplies in the first phases of the cross-Channel operation GREIF German deception operation in support of the Ardennes counteroffensive, 1944 GRENADE 21 Army Group large-scale offensive from the Roer to the Rhine GRENADE Ninth Army supporting attack for Operation VERITABLE GYMNAST 1941 plan for invasion of North Africa HABAKKUKS Artificial landing fields made of reinforced ice HALPRO Halvetrson Project – bombing detachment for China-Burma-India HANDS UP Plan for breaking out of the Normandy lodgment by means of a combined airborne-amphibious attack on Quiberon Bay HARDIHOOD II Aid to Turkey, Phase II HARLEQUIN British exercise in September 1943 to establish marshaling and embarkation procedures for a cross-Channel operation HERCULES German plan to invade Malta. Cancelled HOLLY Canton Island HURRICANE Assault force for Biak, New Guinea HUSKY Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943
MAGNET Plan that superseded RAINBOW-5 after US entry into the war, providing for the shipment of American forces to Northern Ireland MAGNETO Yalta portion of ARGONAUT Conference MAILFIST Capture of Singapore, 1945 MALLORY MAJOR Air offensive against Po River bridges, Italy MANNA British occupation of southern Greece MARKET-GARDEN Airborne & armored operation intended to establish a bridgehead across the Rhine in the Netherlands, September 1944. Operation MARKET involved seizure of bridges in the Nijmegen-Arnhem area, and Operation GARDEN was to open a corridor from Eindhoven northward toward Germany MARS US task force (5332d Brigade (Provisional)), CBI MATTERHORN Plan for operating B29s from Cheng-tu against Japan MERCANTILE Manus Island MICHAELMAS Task force for seizure of Saidor, New Guinea MILEPOST Project to build up stocks in the Far East in preparation for the entry of the USSR into the war against Japan MINCEMEAT/BARCLAY Deception operations aimed at misleading Axis forces as to the actual date & location of the Allied landings on Sicily MODICUM Party sent to London to present Marshall Memorandum, April Mulberries The artificial harbors constructed off the Normandy beaches MUSKET Projected landing on heel of Italy near Taranto, 1943
PANTHER British 10 Corps drive across the Garigliano River, Italy PARIS XVIII Airborne Corps phase line west of Erle, Germany PERSECUTION Assault force for Aitape operations, New Guinea Phoenixes Concrete caissons towed across the English Channel and sunk to form the main breakwaters for the artificial harbors PICADOR Plan for capture of Dakar (formerly BLACK, later BARRISTER) PICCADILLY Drop site for Chindits, Burma PIGSTICK Limited operation on south Mayu Peninsula. Cancelled PLOUGH, PLOUGH FORCE Project for training US and Canadian volunteers for snow operations in northern Norway PLUNDER Montgomery’s northern crossing of the Rhine, March 1945 POINTBLANK The Combined Bomber Offensive from Britain against Germany PRICELESS Post-HUSKY Mediterranean operations PROVIDENCE Occupation of Buna area, New Guinea, 1942. Cancelled PUGILIST Attack on Mareth Line, Tunisia, 1943
SITKA Force taking islands of Levant and Port Cros, Operation DRAGOON SLAPSTICK Airborne drop at Taranto, Italy SLEDGEHAMMER Plan for a limited-objective attack across the Channel in 1942, designed either to take advantage of a German collapse or as a sacrifice operation to aid the Soviets SOAPSUDS Early code name for TIDAL WAVE SPOONER New Zealand SPRING Canadian attack, July 1944, coinciding with Operation COBRA STARKEY Threat directed in 1943 against the Pas de Calais STALEMATE Invasion of the Palaus STATESMAN Early code name for TIDAL WAVE STRANGLE Air operations to destroy German rail, road, and sea communications south of the Pisa-Rimini line, March-May 1944 SUMAC Australia SUPERCHARGE British 30 Corps breakout, Egypt, 1942 SUPERCHARGE Revised plan of assault on Mereth Line, March 1943 SUPER-GYMNAST Plan for Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa, combining US and British plans and often used interchangeably with GYMNAST SWORD Normandy beach assaulted by troops of British 3d Division, 6 June SWORDHILT Plan for a combined airborne-amphibious operation to seize the area east of Brest, August 1944 SYMBOL Casablanca Conference, January 1943 TALISMAN Early name for posthostilities plans for Germany TALON Akyab part of CAPITAL plan TARZAN India-based portion of general offensive in Burma TED Task force in Aitape area, New Guinea TERMINAL Potsdam Conference, July 1945 THUNDERBOLT Offensive in Metz area TIDALWAVE Low-level heavy bomber attack on Ploesti, Romania, 1943 TIGER The final rehearsal for the UTAH Beach assault by units of the VII Corps TINDALL Threat directed against Norway in 1943 TOGO Second phase of ICHIGO operation Tombola A flexible 6-inch underwater pipeline designed to discharge POL tankers anchored offshore at Ste. Honorine-des-Pertes TOPFLIGHT Signal for release of press information on D-Day in Normandy TORCH The Allied invasion operation in North Africa, November 1942 TOREADOR Airborne assault on Mandalay TORNADO Assault force for Wakde-Sarmi area, New Guinea TOTALIZE Post-COBRA attack in France TRACTABLE Post-COBRA attack in France TRADEWIND Force for Morotai TRANSFIGURE Plan for airborne operation to capture and control important road nets in Paris-Orléans area, 16-17 August 1944 TRIDENT Washington Conference, May 1943 TULSA First outline plan for operations directed at the capture of Rabaul TWILIGHT Plan to base B-29s in CBI TYPHOON Task force for Sansapor-Mar operation, New Guinea
VARSITY FAAA operation in support of Operation PLUNDER VERITABLE 21 Army Group plan for a Canadian attack between the Maas and the Rhine, January – February 1945 VICTOR I Panay and Negros Occidental operation VICTOR II Cebu, Bohol, and Negros Oriental operation VICTOR III US Eighth Army operations against Palawan VICTOR IV US Eighth Army operations against Sulu Archipelago and Zamboanga area of Mindanao VICTOR V US Eighth Army operations against western Mindanao VULCAN Final ground offensive to clear Tunisia, 1943 Wacht am Rhein “Watch on the Rhine”; German 1944 Ardennes counteroffensive (Battle of the Bulge) WADHAM Threat directed against the Cotentin Peninsula in 1943 WEBFOOT Rehearsal for SHINGLE Whale Flexible steel roadway, made of bridge spans and resting on pontons, forming the piers for the artificial harbors WHITE POPPY Nouméa, New Caledonia WIDEWING SHAEF headquarters at Bushy Park, near London