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Falaise 1944: Death of an army (Campaign) Paperback – March 20, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Highly visual guides to history's greatest conflicts, detailing the command strategies, tactics, and experiences of the opposing forces throughout each campaign, and concluding with a guide to the battlefields today.

About the Author

Ken Ford was born in Hampshire in 1943. He trained as an engineer and spent almost 30 years in the telecommunications industry. He is now a bookseller specialising in military history, and an author, having written a number of books on various Second World War subjects. Previous titles for Osprey in the Campaign series include volumes 127: ‘Dieppe 1942’ and 134: ‘Cassino 1944’.

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Product Details

  • Series: Campaign (Book 149)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; 1st edition (March 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841766267
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841766263
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Ford was born in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England a long time ago. He left North End Secondary School in 1960 (I told you he was old). After three years in the Physics Department of Southampton University, he left to 'bum' his way around Europe ('bum' in this case meaning 'to drop out and live on the road'). He then became a telecommunications engineer in Southampton (to support his lovely wife Valda and daughters Amanda and Joanne) and spent 29 years at the pointed end until, in 1992, he became disillusioned with working for a living and opened a bookshop in Romsey, Hampshire. He also wrote books. He now lives in Southampton, drinks red wine (in moderation), annoys his three grandchildren Katelyn, Adam and Joseph and continues to write books (32 to date). Oh, and he also supports Southampton FC from his seat in the stands. That's about all there is to know about him.

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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on May 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Osprey's Campaign #149, Falaise 1944: Death of an Army, veteran Osprey contributor Ken Ford (not Gordon Rottman, as mistakenly shown on jacket photo) continues his survey of the major phases of the 1944 Normandy campaign. As usual, Ford's narration is clear and succinct; he has done a superb job of synthesizing the various existing secondary sources on this subject - although it is less clear if the author has actually incorporated any primary research information. The Battle of Falaise was one of the more controversial phases of the battle of Normandy and Field Marshal Montgomery was forced to relieve a number of subordinates, and the failure to close the "Falaise pocket" led to recriminations in the Allied command.

The standard sections on the origins of the campaign, opposing commanders, plans and forces are informative and useful. However, there are two points in the opposing forces section that the author fails to address. First, at the start of the Normandy breakout battles in July, there were about 1.4 million Allied troops in Normandy versus fewer than 400,000 Germans, giving the Allies an overall 3-1 or better numerical superiority in personnel. In terms of tanks and artillery, the Allied superiority was even more pronounced. Second, Ford makes little or no effort to discuss the heterogeneous composition of the Commonwealth forces, particularly the Canadians and the Poles. On the face of it, the Canadian units tended to be larger but less experienced than the British units, and Ford doesn't mention that Canadian commanders were sometimes leery about being used as "cannon fodder" by the British (remember Dieppe and Hong Kong 1941?). As for the Poles, I had to cringe when Ford described the Falaise campaign as "their first battle.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schranck on August 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the surface, Mr Ford has delivered an acceptable overview of the campaign leading up to the Falaise Pocket but I consider it highly biased and incomplete. It's a parochial vision that favors British participation over the US and propagates Montgomery's "save face" line of propaganda in keeping the Germans tied down in the east to allow the Americans to break out in the west.
A few lines are given to Operation Cobra, a few words to the Mortain Offensive, another few words to Patton moving to Argentan and then toward the Seine and the rest of the book is given to the British, Canadians and Poles. Except for the first map of Brittany, all the other maps, especially the 3-D maps as well as the color illustrations are British-centric. The author calling Patton an anglophobe is also a cheap shot. With the treatment that Patton received in the Med from both Montgomery and Alexander plus the stunts Montgomery pulled in Normandy and at home, plus the fact that Montgomery wasn't producing, one shouldn't wonder of Patton's regard for the British.
My biggest complaint is not an act of commission but of omission. There is no real criticism of the command structure: Eisenhower, Bradley, Montgomery and to a lesser extent Dempsey and Simonds. The top three generals have a lot to answer for either their overcautiousness or ineptness in handling the closing and none of it was addressed in this book.
Another signal that Mr Ford didn't do enough homework is his short Bibliography which contains all secondary sources.
I suggest if you want a better understanding and a more rounded view of this important August period that you also read the Martin Blumensen book, "The Battle of the Generals", along with Carlo D'este's "Decision in Normandy" and Samuel Mitcham's "Panzers in Normandy" or "Retreat to the Reich".
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Armor on December 12, 2009
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I recently learned that my father participated in the battle of the Falaise Pocket as part of the 1st Polish Armoured Division. The book covers the battle from both sides of the battle and gives a good perspective of all the participating Allied and German Armies.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth M. Nickerson on June 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
Like all the Osprey books this is another welcome addition to the Campaign series. For the most part these books do an excellent job of giving you a brief overview of these camaigns so that you may decide later if you want to go more in depth. I strongly recommend this title, the illustrations are great too.
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