...the Battle of the Bulge, from Casemate Books
Title: Ardennes 1944
Author: Yves Buffetaut
Another one in the Casemate Illustrated series, done in collaboration with the French publisher Histoire & Collections who originally published it in French, back in 2013. The format of the book is in line with the others in this series, with a fine selection of archive photos plus maps, colour artwork profiles illustrating AFVs of both sides, a Timeline of events and of course a very readable text which details the stories of what happened. Call-outs add specific detail of War Crimes and profiles of various commanders.
The Ardennes offensive started on 16 December 1944 and it did manage to take the allies by surprise. The Germans managed to assemble their forces and launch the attack, including a major offensive by the Luftwaffe, all without detection. The offensive ended by 25 January 1945, by which time much of the German units had managed to return to their start lines, despite their failure to achieve their main goals. The book manages to give a well balanced account of what happened to the different German attack routes, the reaction of US units. Add to this the failure but confusion caused by German special forces under the control of Otto Skorzenny, the German fuel shortage, the Luftwaffe attack of Operation Bodenplatte, the impact of the weather that grounded the allied air support over a number of days around Christmas, and the frequently overlooked support provided by British XXX Corps. There are also the well known rivalries between commanders such as Generals Patton and Montgomery and the names of Belgian towns and villages such as St Vith, Stavelot, Malmedy, Houffalise, Clervaux and of course the communications hub of Bastogne which are widely known due to the events of the battle.
A well priced book series, and this one gives a very comprehensive account of the many aspects of the Battle of the Bulge, supported by the fine selection of archive photos as well as the maps and profiles.
Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.