- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471739057
- ISBN-13: 978-0471739050
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The 101st Airborne's legendary defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge hinged on small groups of outnumbered American soldiers slowing the German advance, argues McManus in this spirited account of December 16–20, 1944, before the 101st arrived. By that time, Hitler knew that stopping the Russians was hopeless, but gambled that a crushing blow to the Allies might win a negotiated peace. His plan pivoted on the capture of Bastogne in two days, with German forces moving in fast before their advantage of surprise and local superiority in forces evaporated. Hitler believed American forces would crumble at the massive onslaught—and many units did flee or surrender. But McManus (The Americans at D-Day) makes an excellent case that victory came down to a dozen units battling against overwhelming odds until, after four days of brutal attrition, the remnants straggled into Bastogne to join the newly arrived 101st. Like all good niche military history, the book describes small unit actions in detail. Soldiers who ran away left few records, so almost everyone here fights bravely. By focusing on a less familiar period, McManus makes a modest but original contribution to the vast WWII literature. 20 b&w photos. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In World War II's Battle of the Bulge, the storied surrounding of American by German troops at Bastogne was preceded by a delaying action. Military historian McManus recounts this initial phase of the battle with graphic attention to the combat sustained by the American troops unfortunate enough to stand in the path of the main German offensive. Units such as the 110th Regiment (about 3,500 soldiers) were essentially destroyed, and McManus has diligently researched their surviving records to restore their significance in the larger history of the battle. He pulls the information together in relating, at a detail scale of individual soldiers and tanks, the fighting that accumulated into the punishment meted out to the 110th Regiment. Departing its trauma with the capture of its commanding colonel, McManus examines the ensuing course of the retreat--resistance on the perimeter of Bastogne by hastily assembled American forces. McManus' intent focus may finely tune his appeal, yet the Bulge at large is a perennially popular topic with the WWII readership. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
Facing overwhelming odds and often with orders to hold at all costs, the defenders sold their lives dear and bought time for the US 101st airborne division to arrive at Bastogne and set up a perimeter defense.
The lesson of this account is that in war, stubborn defense against impossible odds matters. If panic had been the rule rather than the exception, German forces would have got further, faster, and the whole battle would have unfolded along paths much happier for the Nazis and much more difficult for the Allies.
The book is making a contrarian case of sorts, since the general view seems to have been that the 28th infantry division lost and that its failure is nothing to be celebrated. Any author making a contrarian case has to be meticulous with details and documentation, and this author has achieved this. The price is that the reader may sometimes wish to skip ahead to see how it all ends.
My own opinion had always been more inclined to the author's view and I think he proved his case. Texans do not dismiss Travis, Bowie, and Crockett and their bunch as losers. When you face those kinds of odds, the end is never in doubt. What matters is the price you exact and the delay you impose. Both in San Antonio in 1836, and on the approaches to Bastogne in 1944, the defenders exceeded what rational military calculation would have predicted. Certainly the Germans found themselves way behind schedule in this sector by the time they finally came up to Bastogne.