A chronicle of an ill-fated military episode describes the tactical indecision and operational carelessness at the highest levels of the Allied command that extended the fighting in Europe another eight months. 20,000 first printing.
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While scholars and soldiers have long debated the Falaise campaign that developed within weeks of the 1944 invasion of occupied France, Blumenson (the US Army's official historian; Patton, 1985, etc.) offers a savvy, comprehensive overview of the battle that might well have brought WW II to an earlier end in the European theater. Drawing on source material that's disclosed piecemeal throughout the text, the author first provides scene-setting perspectives on the post-D-day situation. Having established a secure lodgement area in Normandy, Anglo-American forces (reinforced by Canadian, Free French, and Polish units) discovered that they'd nearly encircled German defenders in a narrow salient surmounted by Falaise, a small town in the Calvados region. Although the Allies eventually closed the gap, Blumenson quotes a contemporary RAF analysis that concludes that at least 240,000 Wehrmacht troops avoided death or capture on the Cotentin Peninsula, crossed the Seine with much of their heavy equipment, and lived to fight another day. In assessing blame for the great escape--which yielded the Allies a welcome (if less than complete) victory--the author faults Eisenhower (as well as his two top field generals, Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery) for failing to remember that destruction of an enemy, not the taking of terrain, is the quickest way to win a war. He also criticizes Eisenhower for ceding lieutenants like Montgomery an overly free hand to run their own shows and for confining himself too long to the tactical estimates of Overlord's planners. Also covered are the mutinous behavior of a French officer; the poor performance of a badly led Canadian division; the freewheeling Patton's subordinate position in the chain of command; and other factors that let a notable opportunity slip from the grasp of the Allies. An absorbing and authoritative account with substantial appeal to a general readership. (Twenty photos and five maps--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
General Omar Bradley called it "an opportunity that comes to a commander not more than once in a century." General Dwight Eisenhower, in a letter to his wife, predicted that the war could be over in 10 days. Blumenson reveals how the two military chiefs, along with British General Bernard Montgomery, let slip an opportunity to destroy a large portion of the German army at the Falaise Gap in Normandy in August 1944 by failing to close the jaws of a trap as quickly as they could have. Though several thousand German soldiers were killed, wounded and captured in the Falaise pocket, the Allied victory was disappointingly incomplete, and the war continued for another eight months. Blumenson ( Patton ) analyzes the emotional dynamics among the three ill-matched generals, showing how their mutual antipathy affected the conduct of operations and led them to neglect the basic precept of warfare: instead of concentrating on destroying the enemy, they focused on capturing territory. His careful examination of General George Patton's role at Falaise Gap brings into clearer focus his skills as a high-level field commander. "Unlike most of his contemporaries whose reputations have steadily declined since the war," writes the author, "Patton's has continued to rise." Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descrizione libro William Morrow & Company, 1995. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110688142354