Most books on the battle of the Bulge focus on the fighting in the central and southern sectors of the battlefield, where the Germans made the most progress and where the dramatic siege of Bastogne took place. This book focuses on the fighting in the north, where the Sixth S.S. Panzer Army (Dietrich) was meant to advance to the Meuse at Liege and make the crucial break through that would allow the Germans to reach Antwerp and cut the Allied lines in half. In a series of hard-fought defensive actions a series of outnumbered and often under-strength American units managed to delay and then stop 'Sepp' Dietrich's advance and his army never got past the Elsenborn ridge. The American stand in this area forced the Germans to move their main effort further south and played a major part in the early failure of the entire Ardennes offensive.
This book thus looks at a crucial part of the wider battle of the Bulge. Each element of the fighting east on the northern flank of the battle is covered in great detail, with good use of both American and German sources. The main focus is still on the American side, but the German viewpoint is better represented than in similar works with their sometimes anonymous Germans. The fate of some of the civilians threatened by a return of the recent occupies is also covered.
This is the sort of book that requires the reader to focus rather more than usual if they aren't to get overwhelmed by the level of detail provided, but it is worth the effort, for Cavanagh produced a hugely detailed and very valuable account of some of the most important fighting during the Battle of the Bulge. We can follow the fate of individual soldiers and small units while also being aware of the impact their actions were having on the wider battle, while the level of detail means this will be a useful reference work for anyone studying the battle.
1 - 99th Infantry Division, 13-16 December 1944
2 - 99th Infantry Division, 15 December 1944
3 - Armageddon! 16 December 1944
4 - 393rd Infantry Regiment, 16 December 1944
5 - Büllingen Sector, 17 December 1944
6 - Losheimergraben - Mürringen, 17 December 1944
7 - Krinkelterwald, 17 December 1944
8 - The 395th Regimental Combat Team Withdraws, 17-18 December 1944
9 - The 2nd Division Pulls Back from Wahlerscheid, 17 December 1944
10 - Lausdell - Krinkelt - Rocherath, Evening, 17 December 1944
11 - Mürringen Abandoned, Overnight 17-18 December 1944
12 - The Big Red One Arrives at Dom Bütgenbach, 17 December 1944
13 - The Twin Villages, 18 December 1944
14 - Krinkelt - Rocherath, 19 December 1944
15 - The 'Big Red One' at Dom Bütgenbach, 18-22 December 1944
Author: William C.C. Cavanagh
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2012 edition of 1984 original