[Includes 14 maps and 96 photos]
During most of the eleven months between D-day and V-E day, the U.S. Army was carrying on highly successful offensive operations. As a consequence, the American soldier was buoyed with success, imbued with the idea that his enemy could not strike him a really heavy counterblow...Then, unbelievably, and under the goad of Hitler’s fanaticism, the German Army launched its powerful counteroffensive in the Ardennes in Dec. 1944 with the design of knifing through the Allied armies and forcing a negotiated peace. The mettle of the American soldier was tested in the fires of adversity and the quality of his response earned for him the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with his forebears of Valley Forge, Fredericksburg, and the Marne.
This is the story of how the Germans planned and executed their offensive. It is the story of how the high command, American and British, reacted to defeat the German plan once the reality of a German offensive was accepted. But most of all it is the story of the American fighting man and the manner in which he fought a myriad of small defensive battles until the torrent of the German attack was slowed and diverted, its force dissipated and finally spent. It is the story of squads, platoons, companies, and even conglomerate scratch groups that fought with courage, with fortitude, with sheer obstinacy, often without information or communications or the knowledge of the whereabouts of friends...
In recreating the Ardennes battle, the author has penetrated "the fog of war" as well as any historian can hope to do. No other volume of this series treats as thoroughly or as well the teamwork of the combined arms-infantry and armor, artillery and air, combat engineer and tank destroyer-or portrays as vividly the starkness of small unit combat. Every thoughtful student of military history, but most especially the student of small unit tactics, should find the reading of Dr. Cole’s work a rewarding experience.