Retreat to the Reich: The German Defeat in France, 1944

Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., Author Praeger Publishers $38.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-275-96857-1
The German forces' reactions to challenge and to their ultimate expulsion from occupied France by U.S. and British forces are the focus of this study, covering the campaigns of June to September 1944. Mitcham, a professor at the University of Louisiana, marshals serious detail here, from German orders of battle in various actions (including compositions of units) to notes with biographical sketches of many Wehrmacht commanders. Some are fascinating and attest to scholarship, yet for a lay reader their bulk is tedious and threatens to obscure the broader themes. But for the determined reader, Mitcham conveys a documented sense of the main sectors and phases of battle, how fronts advanced, the commanding personalities, the stubborn resistance and the progressive gutting of the German forces. Adding dimension are, for example, explanations of why German forces came to be confined in the Falaise pocket, of how Paris escaped destruction via a Nazi general's scruples and of how the failed July conspiracy to assassinate Hitler debilitated the military in France. This volume offers a focused resource for the specialist and buff, but is not likely to appeal to generalists. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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