War in the Ruins: The American Army's Final Battle against Nazi Germany, Edward G. Longacre

War in the Ruins: The American Army's Final Battle against Nazi Germany, Edward G. Longacre

During the early part of its existence the US 100th Infantry Division was seen as something of a 'show' division, taking part in demonstrations in the States and providing trained recruits for other units. This all changed in the summer of 1944, when it became clear that the division would be needed in Europe, and on 20 October 1944 the first element of the division landed at Marseille.

From November onwards the division was engaged in combat, first in the Vosges, then on the German border, and eventually in and around the heavily defended city of Heilbronn, in the south west of Germany. During this period the division fought its way past the Maginot line (twice), and resisted Operation Nordwind, the last major German offensive of the war, but the nine day long battle for Heilbronn was the most brutal and costly of their engagements and is the main focus of this book. The record of the 100th Infantry Division was very impressive, both on the offensive, where it captured a strong sector of the Maginot Line, and on the defensive, helping to defeat a determined German attack.

The author has produced a well balanced book, with a good mix of eye witness accounts of the actual fighting and explanation of the wider battle, putting the accounts of infantry combat into a wider context. This is an excellent unit history, focusing on a short-enough period to provide a great deal of detail of events, and all supported by a large number of eye witness accounts.  

1 - North Wind
2 - The 100th Infantry Division
3 - To the Front
4 - The Vosges
5 - The Maginot Line
6 - Plan Tennessee
7 - "Sons of Bitche"
8 - From the Rhine to the Neckar
9 - Heilbronn: The Assault Crossings
10 - Heilbronn: The Pincers Close
11 - Heilbronn: Out of the Ruins

Author: Edward G. Longacre
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 410
Publisher: Westholme
Year: 2010

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