The US-led breakout in late July 1944 released Bradley and Patton's forces into the heart of France, and the liberation of Paris followed swiftly. A crumbling German defence led to Allied overconfidence and the resultant 'bridge too far' at Arnhem, but as the Allies approached the Rhine and the German border, resistance quickly stiffened. Hitler's last gamble, the attack through the Ardennes known as the Battle of the Bulge, brought temporary panic to the Allied ranks, but heroic stands at Bastogne and elsewhere, coupled with a German acute lack of petrol and the weather clearing to allow Allied aircraft to operate again, led to the defeat of the last Wehrmacht attack in the west. The final year of the war saw the Allies advancing as occupying forces into the heart of Germany, adopting Eisenhower's broad front strategy. Finally the book examines why the decision was made to allow the Red Army to occupy Berlin and remain on the western bank of the Elbe river.
Part of a five-volume series on the Second World War written by prominent military historians, Fall of the Reich is a masterful account of the 1944–45 campaign in Western Europe that describes both the action on the front line and the decisions made behind the scenes that decided the fate of Nazi Germany.
The conflict on the Eastern Front in World War II was colossal in both scale and intensity, as the two infamous dictators of the twentieth century – Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin – vied for supremacy in Eastern Europe. On 22 June 1941 it was Hitler's fateful decision to launch the largest invasion ever seen, Operation Barbarossa, when 138 German divisions attacked the Soviet Union. Four years later, some two million German and eleven million Russian soldiers had ben killed in the course of their struggle, and names like Stalingrad and Kursk had been burnt into the world's consciousness. The Eastern Front is a detailed account of this epic clash, the greatest continuous land battle in history. The book explores in detail the state of the German and Soviet armies in 1941, and the planning and preparation of both sides for the German attack. Campaigns covered include Operation Barbarossa, the rapid German advance on Moscow and the first Soviet winter offensive in 1941–42. The race for the Caucasian oilfields in Operation Blue, as the 1942 German campaign was known, is also described, as is the fight for Stalingrad and the infamous destruction of the German Sixth Army, the Soviet success in early 1943, and the resultant German counter at Kharkov. The book details Hitler's last major offensive in the summer of 1943 that led to the world's largest tank battle at Kursk, and the significant Soviet victories that followed, with Operation Bagration in 1944 capturing huge numbers of German prisoners. Finally, the book looks at the Soviet advance onto German soil, the capture of Berlin itself and the subsequent suicide of Adolf Hitler as shells rained on his bunker. Written by three leading military historians, the Eastern Front is a superb history of the cataclysmic struggle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
The Allied attack of Normandy beach and its resultant bloodbath have been immortalized in film and literature, but the U.S. campaign on the beaches of Western Italy reigns as perhaps the deadliest battle of World War II’s western theater. In January 1944, about six months before D-Day, an Allied force of thirty-six thousand soldiers launched one of the first attacks on continental Europe at Anzio, a small coastal city thirty miles south of Rome. The assault was conceived as the first step toward an eventual siege of the Italian capital. But the advance stalled and Anzio beach became a death trap. After five months of brutal fighting and monumental casualties on both sides, the Allies finally cracked the German line and marched into Rome on June 5, the day before D-Day. Richly detailed and fueled by extensive archival research of newspapers, letters, and diaries—as well as scores of original interviews with surviving soldiers on both sides of the trenches—Anzio is a harrowing and incisive true story by one of today’s finest military historians.
Cows with ringing bells, dark timber chalets, brightly coloured flowers, cascading waterfalls and quaint remote villages are encountered as one crosses Switzerland from East to West. The remoteness of Richetli contrasts sharply with the hustle and bustle of Montreux yet all areas are undoubtedly Swiss in character and each town, village, pass and remote Alp brings its own charms and unique flavour to this inspiring route.
A veteran of long distance routes across the UK and Europe; the West Highland Way, Great Glen Way, Raad ny Foillan and Tour du Mont Blanc, Harry was no spring chicken. However, ten years of going up mountains, across bogs and moors, swimming rivers and crossing forests had prepared Harry well. More at home in a tent than a house, this is one intelligent and tenacious Smooth Fox Terrier.
This book recounts Harry’s side of the story; his thoughts and experiences has he completed his epic 250 mile walkies over the top of the Alps from Sargans to Montreux.
But as Lloyd Clark, a leading British military historian and academic, argues in Blitzkrieg, much of our understanding of this victory, and blitzkrieg itself, is based on myth. Far from being a foregone conclusion, Hitler’s plan could easily have failed had the Allies been even slightly less inept or the Germans less fortunate. The Germans recognized that success depended not only on surprise, but on avoiding being drawn into a protracted struggle for which they were not prepared. And while speed was essential, 90% of Germany’s ground forces were still reliant on horses, bicycles, and their own feet for transportation. There was a real fear of defeat. Their surprise victory proved the apex of their achievement; far from being undefeatable, Clark argues, the France 1940 campaign revealed Germany and its armed forces to be highly vulnerable—a fact dismissed by Hitler as he began to plan for his invasion of the Soviet Union.