The Ardennes Battlefield...

...December 1944 - January 1945, from Casemate Books

Title:  The Ardennes Battlefields

Author: Leo Marriott and Simon Forty

Publisher: Casemate Books

ISBN:  978-1-61200-534-8

This new book adds to the two authors earlier titles on the Normandy battlefields, and continues with the same format.  It gives the basic story of events during the German Ardennes offensive in the Christmas period of 1944, along with lots more.  At the heart of it is an excellent collection of archive photos, coupled with many modern 'Then and Now' comparisons.

The Introduction sets the scene, and provides details of the larger formations involved in the battle.  These include the Order of Battle of both sides and then details of the US First, Third and Ninth Armies, Sixth SS Panzerarmee, Fifth Panzerarmee, German Seventh Armee and British Thirty Corps.  These are accompanied by information on Airpower of both sides, including the German Operation Bodenplatte.  Chapter 2 explains the German Plan, with maps, the German resources, the Weather and the use of Special Operations units.  This is followed by an account on the operation of 6th SS Panzerarmee, and among the maps and photos is a plan of the roadways allocated to the various combat groups.  In chapter 4 it is the turn of 5 Panzerarmee, and the towns they went through, such as Clervaux and Houffalize.  Chapter 4 covers the Attack in the South, at Wiltz and Diekirch.  It is left for chapter 5 to talk about the Allied Reaction before it returns to the German forces in chapter 6 which concentrates on the Leibstandarte and the actions of Kampfgruppe Peiper.  Chapter 7 deals with events at St.Vith before Ch 8 which details the famous siege of Bastogne itself.  This include General McAuliffe's headquarters at Bastogne Barracks and his famous 'Nuts!' response to a demand for surrender.  Also mentioned in this section is the involvement of 'Easy Company' of the 101st Airborne, made famous in recent years thanks to the Band of Brothers TV series.  Patton's Advance to relieve Bastogne follows this and then the Drive to the Meuse and the final stop of the offensive before they could reach their objectives.  Chapter 11 deals with the Allied counter attack before the final two cover Denouemont and Remembrance.

Well featured throughout the book are photos of the many memorials in the region, a number of which include preserved equipment such as Sherman tanks, King Tiger, Panther, artillery pieces and some museum collections with even more memorabilia to see.  It will be good for the historian who has an interest in the Battle of the Bulge and there are some excellent reference photos and inspiration for modellers.  It is equally ideal for the battlefield visitor, with details of what happened where and with what to look for in terms of memorials and memorabilia that would be worth looking out for if you plan to visit the area.

Thanks to Casemate Books for our example