Mortain 1944...

... from Osprey Publishing

Title: Mortain 1944

Author: Steven J. Zaloga

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-3252-8

Number 335 in the Campaign series of books from Osprey, and another from the reliable hands of author Steve Zaloga. This 96 page softcover book details the events of the German Mortain offensive, known to them as Operation Luttich. It was an attempt to cut off the US Army forces who were breaking out from the Normandy bridgehead after the months caught up in the Bocage fighting. It involved  a weight of German armoured forces, many of which had been withdrawn from the Eastern side of the Normandy front, where the British and Canadian armies were fighting around Caen.

After a basic introduction and a Chronology of events, the main story starts with an examination of both US and German Commanders who were involved in the fighting, and a comparison of the make-up/strengths and weaknesses of each side. It then considers the plans of each side, allowing for the intelligence input from Bletchley Park, where the Ultra intercepts had provided ample warning for the US command.

The largest part of the book then details the events of the campaign, looking at individual units and their involvement. There were issues for the US forces, such as the isolation of a US unit on Hill 314 near Mortain itself, and its' later relief. The offensive was still a major threat, even if it did fail so it is interesting to read the detail of what happened. Well illustrated with archive photos, some excellent artwork plus maps and Osprey's marvellous 3D map views to help explain elements of the text. It ended with, somewhat unusually, an authorised withdrawal but many were to be caught in the trap of the Falaise Pocket, which is another story. A very clear and readable account.  Recommended for anyone interested in the wider NW Europe campaign.


Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.