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Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge –…
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Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge (vuoden 2016 painos)

– tekijä: Antony Beevor (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5361635,172 (3.96)7
"On December, 16, 1944, Hitler launched his last gamble in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe."--Book jacket.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:jbreten
Teoksen nimi:Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge
Kirjailijat:Antony Beevor (Tekijä)
Info:Penguin Books (2016), Edition: Reprint, 480 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto, Aion lukea
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Ardennit 1944 : Hitlerin viimeinen uhkayritys (tekijä: Antony Beevor)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 16) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This was the first book of this kind that I tried to consume as an audio book and it both worked and didn't work. It was surprisingly easy to listen to, but also very frustrating the times you wanted to stop and double check someone. By its very nature there is a lot of numbers and names and not being able to easily pause, ponder, look back means that you miss out on information. I don't think I will try this again.

The book itself seems well researched and informative. A lot of focus was about the relationship, or lack or relationship, between the generals on the allied side and then especially between Montgomery and the American generals. The all encompassing feeling seems to have been pride and any slight risk that the wrong person would be credited caused major concerns.

I would have liked to see a similar level of analysis of what happened on the German side though. Maybe there just are no sources for that.

In the war, battle, itself, well war sucks. War brings out the worst in people. Teenagers are sent to kill and maim which they at times do really well.

Hitler had this fantasy of the German army breaking through to the Atlantic coast, enveloping the northern part of the Allied forced, forcing them to give up and then crushing the rest. For this he weakened a lot of other fronts and sent his troops through the Ardennes forest, where the Allied forces were the weakest and had the weakest leadership with General Bradley sitting in a castle far away.

At first the Germans had success. They managed to gather most of the forces without the allied noticing anything and the attack came as a huge surprise. Then shortly afterwards the attack slowed down, due to lack of fuel, lack of air support, lack high quality and highly motivated troops prepared to die in a war already lost and more. That the breakthrough took too long gave the allied a chance to send in reserves and reinforcements and after two weeks the attack was stopped and pushed back.

Certain forces, initially German but later certain American forces as well, lost track of all kind of humanity in the process. They killed civilians and prisoners without any regret. Whether this happened or not seems to have depended a lot on the division's leadership. Kampfgrupp Peiper (part of 1st SS Panzer Division) lead by Joachim Peiper initiated the atrocities when he on the second day murdered 84 American prisoners in the so called Malmedy Massacre. Later, instead of controlling his forces, the American general Bradley approved of his forces taking no living prisoners, something that was a clear war crime.

Bradley takes a lot of implied criticism in the book. He made a series of mistakes and behaved childlike, but despite that, ended up with one more star as Eisenhower tried to hide Bradley's mistakes behind a promotion. Politics.

The other person taking a lot of criticism is Montgomery, the cautious British general/field marshal. His blunt, unfair and idiotic behaviour lead to a permanent fissure between the Americans and the British, and the author speculates that it might have been a key reason the Americans took the side against the British in the Suez Crisis 10 years later. Montgomery did a lot of things right militarily but by implying that he alone saved the Americans from disaster, it became too much for the Americans to swallow. Especially since it was American forces that had to do almost all the fighting, losing 80,000 men (wounded, captured, killed).

If you are interested in military history, this is an interesting book to read, but I would certainly recommend most of Antony Beevor's other books before this one. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
The 1944 German offensive in the Ardennes forest “had brought the terrifying brutality of the eastern front to the west,” concludes Antony Beevor in this book. And “terrifying brutality” is an accurate description indeed of this month-long battle. Civilians were slaughtered in their scores — by both sides, though on the German side it was intentional. Prisoners of war were killed by both sides — though, to be fair, that began with the SS massacre of captured American soldiers early on. The everyday brutality of the Ardennes battle is shown in many individual episodes Beevor recounts. He describes an Allied soldier having hanged a German soldier’s corpse from a tree and lit a fire under it. Why do this? To defrost the frozen body so that he could remove the soldier’s boots. (German boots were apparently more water-resistant than the American ones.)

There are moments when it seems that the Germans might have had a chance. At one point hundreds of Luftwaffe planes take off — long after Allied commanders had written the German air force off as a fighting force. Elite SS Panzer divisions fight ferociously even in the final days of the battle. But in reality, there was never a moment, not even at the beginning of the offensive, when the Germans stood a chance of turning the tide of war. In fact, the main effect of Hitler’s decision to launch a last-ditch offensive in the west was to ease the Soviet offensive launched in January 1945, as so few troops were left to defend Germany’s eastern borders.

This is a detailed, authoritative account that works on all levels — from the high command down to individual soldiers and civilians. Probably the last book I will ever have to read about what Americans call “the battle of the bulge”. ( )
  ericlee | Sep 23, 2020 |
more like 3.75 ( )
  Avocat1227 | Apr 17, 2020 |
On December 16, 1944, sixteen German divisions launched an offensive against American forces in the thinly-held Ardennes Forest region of the Western Front. The brainchild of Adolf Hitler, its goal was to disrupt the Allied campaign in the west by seizing the recently-cleared port of Antwerp, which was playing a vital role in supplying the American, British, and Canadian armies. Though the assault caught the Americans by surprise, many units posed a determined defense that slowed down the German advance, buying time for reinforcements to be rushed to the region. As a result of this response, the German offensive bogged down and was broken in less than two weeks, leaving a "bulge" in the lines that was gradually reduced over the following month before the campaign's end in late January 1945.

Thanks to its dramatic circumstances the Battle of the Bulge has never wanted for attention, particularly from American historians. One of the virtues of Antony Beevor's account of the campaign is his scope of coverage. Opening his book with the liberation of Paris, he takes his readers through the operations on the Western Front in the autumn of 1944 in order to show the circumstances that defined the battle. Here he gives particular attention to the battle of Hürtgen Forest, the frustrated American offensive which wore down several divisions of the American First Army that were transferred to the "quiet" Ardennes region to recover. The thinly held sector was thus especially vulnerable to a German assault, which Hitler was determined to launch in a last gamble to decide the war on his terms.

Key to the Germans' plan was the element of surprise. Beevor chronicles well their preparations for the offensive, including the deception efforts made to conceal their intentions. Though American intelligence detected signs of the build-up, the Germans were aided by Allied assumptions that a German offensive was simply too impractical to contemplate. While the Germans exploited this, Beevor underscores the strain the massive diversion of resources imposed on their war effort. With their men exhausted and their supplies limited, nearly every German commander regarded the effort as a waste of men and materiel in an attack with little chance of success.

The first ten days of the offensive form the heart of Beevor's book. He covers events in a series of chapters that provide a day-to-day chronicle of operations. Through these pages he emphasizes the difficult conditions facing the men on both sides, who battled exhaustion and the cold weather as well as each other. Beevor also gives attention to the experience of the civilians, most of whom had experienced the joy of liberation just a few months beforehand. Their lives were soon threatened not just by the fighting but by German security forces determined to exact revenge. Though his coverage here provides a degree of depth lacking from most accounts of the battle, it lacks the detail about the civilian experience Beevor provided in D-Day: The Battle for Normandy and would have benefited from additional development.

This is a minor complaint that shouldn't overshadow Beevor's achievement here, though. Overall his book provides its readers with a clear description of the events of the battle and the factors that shaped its outcome. Seasoned as it is with his often sharp judgment of the personalities in command on both sides, his book serves as an effective account of the campaign. It compliments nicely his superb history of the D-Day campaign and is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in this important episode in the history of the Second World War. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
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"On December, 16, 1944, Hitler launched his last gamble in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe."--Book jacket.

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