This book contains the results of a series of interviews held with the key German commanders during the Battle of the Bulge, including the main army commanders and the high command.
Three of the first four chapters come from interviews with three of the army commanders involved in the attack- Deitrich, Manteuffel and Brandenberger, and the fourth from an interview with Dietrich’s chief of staff, presumably chosen because his boss Deitrich wasn’t believed to be terribly strong on details.
Chapter five contains the results of interviews with Jodl (Chief of the Operations Staff of the OKW) and Keitel (Chief of the OKW), although only Jodl appears to have made any significant contribution. These interviews are of special interest because both men were executed for war crimes in 1946, so didn’t go on to produce any further writings.
These interviews were all conducted while the men involved were in US captivity in the immediate aftermath of the war. This means that the events were fairly fresh in their minds, and that the post-war process of shifting blame hadn’t yet begun, so their answers tend to more honest than they might have been a few years later. However they were also written without access to their archives, so they weren’t always to give precise answers. There are some signs of the later attitude of many German generals – claiming success for their own operations, and blaming Hitler and others for the defeat, but by no means as often in many later autobiograhys. The worst culprit is Brandenberger, who after explaining in great detail why the operation failed, and why his own army was unable to carry out some of its tasks (such as keeping Patton’s men from lifting the siege of Bastogne), finishes by claiming that his men succeeded at their tasks!
This is an invaluable source for the battle of the Bulge, giving the views of most of the highest ranking officers involved in the battle while it was still fresh in their minds, and before those who survived had begun to re-write events in their own minds.
1 – Sixth Panzer Army in the Ardennes Offensive, interviews with SS-Oberstgruppenführer Josek 'Sepp' Dietrich
2 – Operations of the Sixth Panzer Army, Generalmajor Fritz Krämer
3 – The Fifth Panzer Army during the Ardennes Offensive, General de Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel
4 – The Ardennes Offensive: Seventh Army, General de Panzertruppen Erich Brandenberger
5 – Questionnaire on the Ardennes Offensive, Generalfeldmarshcal Wilhelm Keitel and Generaloberst Alfred Jodl
6 – The Ardennes Offensive: A Critique, General de Infanterie Günther Blumentritt
Editor: Danny S. Parker