From one of the world’s leading military historians comes a thrilling and richly detailed account of the two most critical offensives in World War II’s western theater after D-Daythe Allied airborne assaults on the Rhine
Crossing the Rhine
Breaking into Nazi Germany 1944 and 1945--The Greatest Airborne Battles in History
978-0-8021-4430-0 • $15.00 • Paperback • Oct. 2009
History (World War II)
In September 1944, with the Allies still celebrating their success at Normandy and eager to finish the job, thirty-five thousand U.S. and British troops parachuted into Nazi territory in the Netherlands. The controversial offensive, code named “Operation Market Garden,” was conceived by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery to secure the lower RhineGermany’s last great natural barrier in the westand passage to Berlin. Eisenhower approved the plan over a chorus of complaints by General George Patton and other U.S. officers.
Allied soldiers outnumbered Germans by two to one, but they were poorly armed against German Panzer tanks and suffered devastating casualties. After nine days of intense fighting, they were forced to retreat, which opened up their flank to the Germans, who counterattacked at the Battle of the Bulge. Several months later, in March 1945, Montgomery orchestrated another airborne attack of the Rhine, where soldiers were fighting around the town of Wesel in Germany. This time they won and began their march into the heart of the Third Reich.
Lloyd Clark is one of the premier military historians of his generation, and his new book uses original research to chronicle both battlesexamining them in relation to one another and in the larger context of the warto show how the Allies’ earlier audacity led to their later success. He argues that, contrary to popular opinion, these operations were the right offensives at the right times for the right reasons. He relates the events leading up to combat: the intense power struggle between American and British generals, the extensive training of airborne soldiers, and the growing disillusionment of German troops. And he uses stirring personal accounts from soldiers on both sides of the battles to put readers directly in the line of fire.
Ideal for readers of Rick Atkinson and James Bradley, Crossing the Rhine moves at a fast pace, delivers an innovative interpretation of the past, and forces us to ask ourselves just what it takesin blood spilt, in lives lostto win in war.