The Americans and Germans at Bastogne (Hardback)
First-Hand Accounts from the Commanders
by Gary Sterne
Now here’s a book to my heart !! Not only is its subject about one of the iconic battles in Europe during the Second World War, but also it is chockful of maps and situational sketches. AND written using interviews of the people that actually took place in the offensive.
I ‘went for the title’, and only after browsing through the book did I notice the author….. I blame it on old age and the heat, that’s my story and I’ll stick to it. But Gary Sterne is one of the famous authors among us WW2 researchers and I recommend you to ‘google’ him and his Maisy Battery website!
‘The Americans and Germans at Bastogne’ tells the tale of the last major German offensive of the war, the all-out desperate attempt to stall the Western defeat hoping for a position to maybe force the Allies into some sort of ‘truce’, allowing Hitler to move his forces to the East and counter the Russian onslaught.
As we all know, the attempt failed, at the cost of innumerable lives.
The book is really interesting because it draws on interviews with many of the Germans involved at that time. Documents that had been forgotten, were only available in Germany and/or were still in the ‘classified’ archives of post-war defense departments.
It is written in chronological order, showing what happened day by day in the Bastogne area, viewed from allied reports and matched by comments on the same events by the German officers that were involved at that time.
It provides an excellent view not only of the facts and (local) battles, but also on the WHY certain actions took place, and why certain actions went wrong!
The book’s many sketches, maps, and photos of original plans and maps are a great help in visualizing the events in that glum and violent December month back in 1944.
Also very interesting is chapter 11, where the German commanders of the offensive provide their views on why it failed. Remember, these opinions were written down right after the battles, or shortly after the war, not decades later with all the hindsight available.
One small point of criticism is the repeated misspelling (often in bold captions) of Sepp Dietrich’s name. Either a mistake by the author or the typesetter, but most definitely by the corrector.
To stay in the spirit of our current-day modernisms, I can ‘totally’ recommend this book.
You can buy the book directly from the publisher, just click here !
By Gary Sterne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Illustrations: 30 black and white maps
Published: 10th June 2020
Francois A. ‘Navman’ Dumas