A GI in the Ardennes...

 

...The Battle of the Bulge, from Pen & Sword

 

Title: A GI in the Ardennes

Author: Denis Hambucken

Publisher: Pen & Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52675-6-183

 

A 143-page hardback book which takes a slightly different approach to the story of the US troops involved in the Battle of the Bulge, in the Ardennes, during the deep winter over Christmas and New Year 1944. Originally published in French in 2017, this is a new English language edition.
The book is made up from a whole series of individual elements of a page or two each, which knit together to provide an interesting way of looking at the battle. First of all there are plenty of veterans accounts, not only soldiers, but from civilians who recount their experiences from when they were mostly just children. Then there are profiles of a variety of weapons that were used by US troops during the fighting, ranging from the M4 Sherman and M24 Chaffee tanks to small arms such as the M1 Garand and Thompson sub-machine gun and more. Added to these are the items of equipment that equipped the GI, including helmets, gloves & mittens, packs, medical kits, tents, boots, and jackets. By way of health, then food, toiletries, frostbite, VD etc. Other issues include Safe Conduct Passes, letters to & from home, censorship, POWs, looting & vandalism and many others. All of these are illustrated with a good mix of archive photos along with modern colour images showing great detail of surviving items of memorabilia.
It is a different and interesting way of looking at the events of the Battle of the Bulge and what it meant for people to live/survive through some terrible days. Some of the topics it covers might easily be glossed over in any study or the battle whereas this one really does get down into the day to day necessities of living and fighting through a battle amidst severe weather. I think modellers, historians and re-enactors will enjoy this for the detail it provides, alongside the personal accounts of those who had to live through it all.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin