Retreat to the Reich: The German Defeat in France, 1944 (Stackpole Military History Series)

Retreat to the Reich: The German Defeat in France, 1944 (Stackpole Military History Series)

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 081173384X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

  • The story of the Normandy campaign from a German perspective
  • Covers every point of view, from soldiers in the field to generals at high command

    The Allied landings in France on June 6, 1944, marked the beginning of the German defeat in the West. Military historian Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., vividly recaptures the desperation of the Wehrmacht as its thin gray line finally snapped amidst brutal hedgerow-to-hedgerow fighting in Normandy and as the survivors fled the Allied steamroller in a mad dash back to the Reich. With colorful descriptions and informative details, Mitcham recounts the German military retreat and the erosion of Germany's stronghold in Europe--as viewed through the eyes of a defiant, but ultimately defeated, Wehrmacht.

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    16. Traveling at 400 miles per hour, it crossed the English Channel and landed in the London area. Utter confusion resulted. Although they caused relatively few casualties (about 6,000 killed and 17,000 wounded in the Greater London area), they nevertheless had a significant impact on the campaign. The area of northern France and Belgium now became a focus of Allied strategy solely because the V-1 launching sites were here. Also, the V-1 attacks improved German morale. If their cities were being

    toast to his host, who was as good as dead.54 Almost as soon as his uninvited guests departed, Field Marshal von Kluge sent a message to Hitler, calling the conspirators of July 20 “ruthless murderers” and assuring the Fuehrer of his own “unchangeable loyalty.”55 It was too late now, however, for Kluge to cover up his lukewarm support for the conspiracy, and he soon knew it. Colonel von Hofacker was one of the first people arrested by the Gestapo, and since his own “guilt” was easily proven, he

    to a senseless order.”6 That night he abandoned that part of Caen that lay north of the Orne (i.e., most of the city). The two panzer grenadier regiments of the formerly elite Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend, or HJ) division were now down to a strength of an infantry battalion, and the divisional antitank battalion had lost more than half of its guns.7 The British now held the northern two-thirds of Caen. South of the river, the Germans dug in, in the industrial suburbs of Colombelles and Faubourg de

    a matter of fanatical hordes to be driven forward in masses against our line, with no regard for casualties and little recourse to tactical craft; here we are facing an enemy who applies all his native intelligence to the use of his many technical resources, who spares no expenditure of material and whose every operation goes its course as though it had been the subject of repeated rehearsal.12 Of the German commanders in the West, only Rommel had faced the British since 1940 or the Americans

    French capital, and wave after wave of British and American fighter-bombers pounded the German airfields. Allied fighters quickly intercepted the German fighters that actually managed to take off, and dozens of spectacular dogfights took place over and around France’s primate city. Not one German airplane, however, reached the battle zone around Mortain and Avranches, and only 110 German fighters were still operational the next day. Meanwhile, hundreds of American Thunderbolts, Mustangs, and

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