Across the Rhine January-May 1945...
...from Casemate Publishing
Title: Across the Rhine
Author: Simon Forty
Publisher: Casemate Publishing
The latest in the series of books by Simon Forty which tracks the route of the Allied armies from D-Day in Normandy through to the end of the war. With this one we are getting very close to the end of the series, I believe there is one more yet to come. A 224-page hardback book which takes the story of from after the end of Operation Market Garden, then across the Rhine and into the heart of Germany and on to the actual liberation of Holland.
An Introduction sets the scene, sub-divided into sections for Canadian, British, French and US Armies, along with the German Defence, the Westwall along with Airpower and Resupply & Logistics. Then we get into the first of the 8 main sections, again, most of which are sub-divided to help manage the story of what was a huge and complex series of operations. It starts with After Market Garden, when Aachen was captured, the Scheldt was cleared and there was fighting in the Hurtgen Forest. Then something of a setback, The Ardennes Counterattack and then on To The Rhine, which involved a number of separate Operations. Then on to Crossing The Rhine, from the point of view of each of the Allied armies, with Operation Plunder (the land assault) and Varsity (the Airborne assault), along with the US crossing further South, thanks to their finding the Ludendorff Bridge still standing at Remargen. Again this is split into sub-sections for the different Allied armies. They are followed again in section 5, The Advance into Germany. With the allies securely within Germany then they could also attend to Clearing the Netherlands. After 7 years of war, the end was to come quite quickly once the Rhine had been conquered, so Aftermath and a final section on Remembrance, the Cemeteries, round off the book. As well as well written, informative text, the book is heavily illustrated not only with archive photos but with plenty of maps and a lot of modern day colour photos showing many of the places as they are today. The distinctive towers that remain from the old Ludendorff Bridge are notable inclusions. So much to see for the historian and plenty of inspiration for the modeller with the details we see illustrated.
There are so many elements to this story, including the effectiveness of Gliders and the specialised equipment of the 79th Armoured Division, the use of airpower, large numbers of POWs and the need to feed a large part of the civilian population of Holland as well. Another very good book in this series, and together with the others in this series a very good collection to keep on your reference bookshelves.
Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.