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11 Days in December

Book Review

 

Title:

11 Days in December

Author:

Stanley Weintraub

ISBN:

0-7432-8710-X

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

April, 2007

Rating:

In December, 1944 the Allied troops fighting in Europe thought the war would end quickly. Unexpectedly, the German Army launched a major offensive in the Ardennes Forest that quickly overran unsuspecting and lightly armed American forces in the area. 11 Days in December tells the story of this battle.

American forces had invaded Normandy during the D-Day landings in June, 1944. After an extended period of fighting in the hedgerow country of France, the Allies finally broke out of the beachhead and began the push to retake France and ultimately conquer Germany. The Ardennes Forest area was considered a quiet front that was lightly defended by American troops that were moved to this area for rest and refitting.

The German Army had decided that a push to the Atlantic Ocean from the Ardennes  area would cut the supply line of the Allied armies and extend the war until  a negotiated peace could be extracted from the Western Allies. They secretly  deployed large numbers of armor and armored infantry forces and launched their offensive on December 16, 1944 much to the surprise of the Allied commanders. This battle proved to be a decisive defeat for the Germans as they expended large quantities of men and material, but never achieved their objectives.

While 11 Days in December adequately relates the way this battle unfolded, it  is similar to an "Executive Summary" in that it is more of an overview instead  of focusing on the details and the people. Substantial time is given to the interaction of the Allied commanders as they hurriedly made plans to counter  the attack, but less time is devoted to the individuals involved in the battle and their perspective.

11 Days in December tells the story of the Battle of the Bulge and the heroic  actions of the Allied troops that stood in the way of the last major Nazi offensive of World War II. Those wishing to learn more about this battle will find the  book informative without lapsing into too many details of the battle.

 

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