The Final Crisis: Combat in Northern Alsace, January 1945

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9780966638912: The Final Crisis: Combat in Northern Alsace, January 1945
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The Final Crisis is a rare account and insightful analysis of the fierce combat in Lower Alsace during Operation 'Nordwind' in January 1945, one of the last major German counterattacks during the war. From an hour before the last New Year's Day of the war until late January, this quiet corner of northeastern France was rent by a vicious attack intended to physically and politically split the French from the western Alliance. Ultimately involving 5 German and 2 American corps, some of the finest remaining German formations were thrown into this last toss of the dice against American units ranging from the highly-experienced 45th 'Thunderbird' Infantry Division to the completely green all-infantry task forces of the 42nd, 63rd, and 70th Infantry Divisions. Dangerously overextended to facilitate the adjacent Third Army's drive to relieve the pressure in the Ardennes 'Bulge', some Seventh Army units held, many bent, and an exceptional few even broke as the savage German drive came painfully close to driving a geographic and political wedge between the Americans in the north and their French allies in the south.

In terrain varying from the crags and deep ravines of the frozen Vosges Mountains, to the concrete and steel fortresses of the Maginot Line, to the icy, snowdecked Rhine plain, the soldiers of the often-overlooked Seventh Army absorbed and finally broke the best the Germans could offer, in a dramatic and dynamic series of battles that were in many ways overshadowed by the previous month's events in Belgium and Luxembourg. The author presents an outstanding combat narrative and analysis, a vivid recounting of fighting frequently at the squad and platoon levels. Following extensive research at the US National Archives and US Army Military History Institute, Engler provides not only much information about the US forces, but also an unusually complete description of the German side of 'Nordwind', especially that portion which occurred on the Alsatian Plain in the second and third weeks of January 1945.

Major units about which there is significant information included in this book include: German Forces 21st Panzer Division / 10th SS Panzer Division 'Frundsberg' / 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division 'Gotz von Berlichingen' / 25th Panzer Grenadier Division / 6th SS-Mountain Division 'Nord' / 7th Parachute Division / 19th, 36th, 47th, 256th, 257th, 361st, 553rd and 559th Volksgrenadier Divisions US Forces 12th and 14th Armoured Divisions / 36th, 42nd (Task Force Linden), 44th, 45th, 63rd (Task Force Harris), 70th (Task Force Herren), 79th, 100th and 103rd Infantry Divisions. Free French Forces 2nd Armoured Division

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Engler, Richard E., MacKechnie, Theodore
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Richard E. Engler; Theodore MacKechnie
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