The European Theater of Operations

What and how three and one-half to four million Americans contributed to victory in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during World War II is told in the ten volumes of the European subseries of the United States Army in World War II. These volumes are histories of units, commanders, headquarters, planning, decisions, strategy, tactics, and logistics. Because the end purpose of all activity in the theater was-as always in war-to close with the enemy and destroy him, a majority of the volumes deal with tactical operations. Yet armies without overall direction are little more than armed mobs: one volume thus tells the story of the Supreme Headquarters and the man who provided direction. Nor can a field army function without equipment, personnel replacements, supplies, or transport: two volumes tell this story.

The limits of the individual tactical volumes in this subseries were fixed according to well-defined phases of the operations in the ETO, rather than by arbitrary dates. Though an individual volume may deal with one or more armies in a given area at a given time, it contains adequate background and corollary information for understanding the place of these particular operations in the larger context. The influence of theater strategy, logistics, and adjacent combat operations is integrated into each story. Thus, each volume is an entity that can be read separately with profit; at the same time each takes a natural place in the framework of the whole.

Because the war in Europe was an Allied effort, the tactical operations of the British, Canadians, French, and other Western Allies have been sketched or summa-rized to place the American role in more realistic perspective. Every effort has also been made to avoid a nationalistic slant and to present fairly the critical problems of the grand alliance as revealed in planning and execution of strategy and operations. Nevertheless, it has not been possible, nor was it intended, to develop in full the narrative of Allied participation. Based largely on U.S. records, these volumes inevitably are written from an American point of view.

As these books are focused on the American role, so also are they a history of United States ground operations rather than sea and air. The reader is constantly made aware, nonetheless, that the sister services were vital parts of a team. Where air and naval matters directly affected policy or operations in the theater, this material is retained. In particular, the campaign volumes develop the role of tactical air forces as they affected fighting on the ground.

The story would be far less instructive without the corresponding picture from the enemy side. By study of interrogations and personal narratives of German officers, of captured documents, and of military records surrendered upon termination of

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hostilities, an accurate, interrelated account of enemy plans and operations has been developed to a degree not common in previous histories of this kind.

In the campaign volumes, attention has been focused, of necessity, on combat formations actually in the line. Nevertheless, the vital combination of arms and services essential to victory has not been overlooked. The verity and necessity of this combination are emphasized by the volumes on the supreme command and logistics. The basic unit of the narrative in the campaign volumes varies, depending on the scope of the particular volume. Usually it is the division whose story is told in terms of regiments and battalions.

The Supreme Command was designed as the capstone of the subseries. A history of Supreme Headquarters, it covers Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) theater command and the Supreme Commander focusing on the nature of coalition command and the critical decisions made. Tactical operations at army group level are discussed, covering the entire war from D-day to V-E Day. In addition, more attention than in other volumes is given to political or nonoperational questions: civil affairs, press relations, military government, and so forth.

Cross-Channel Attack introduces the subseries providing background for study of all the campaigns in the European Theater of Operations. The volume focuses on planning of OVERLORD; D-day, the Normandy invasion; and tactical operations to 1 July 1944, when the Allies were assured of the success of the OVERLORD invasion, the fruition of plans and preparations reaching back as far as January 1942.

Breakout and Pursuit covers the "Battle of the Hedgerows" leading to Operation COBRA and victory in Normandy. The Falaise-Argentan pocket and the Mortain counterattack are also included, as are operations in Brittany, the reduction of Brest, and liberation of Paris. The volume closes with the pursuit across northern France and Belgium by the U.S. First and Third Armies, ending in early September at the German frontier and the gates of Lorraine.

The Lorraine Campaign chronicles the U.S. Third Army's struggle through the slow, arduous campaigning of the fall of 1944, from the Moselle to the German border and the West Wall in the Saar region. After the reduction of Metz, the story ends on 18 December when the Third Army was diverted to move against the German winter counteroffensive in the Ardennes.

The Siegfried Line Campaign parallels the effort in Lorraine, following the U.S. First and Ninth Armies during the fall of 1944 through similar costly fighting. The narrative takes the readers from first crossings of the German border on 11 September to the enemy's counteroffensive, which ended the campaign abruptly inside Germany along the Roer River on 16 December. Highlighted are piercing the West Wall, the reduction of Aachen, the bitter fighting in the Huertgen Forest, and the operations of the First Allied Airborne Army in Operation MARKET-GARDEN in the Netherlands. American participation in opening Antwerp and clearing the Peel Marshes is also included.

Riviera to the Rhine focuses on the ANVIL/DRAGOON amphibious assault in southern France on 15 August 1944 and thereafter covers the tactical operations of the 6th Army Group (Seventh U.S. and First French Armies) until February 1945. The initial lodgment, the pursuit up the Rhone valley, and winter warfare in the Vosges

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are all highlighted, as are the German NORDWIND offensive and the reduction of the Colmar Pocket.

The Ardennes treats the German winter counteroffensive in Belgium and Luxem-bourg. The volume covers the operations of the U.S. First and Third Armies from the start on 16 December 1944 to 3 January 1945, when successful elimination of the "bulge" was assured.

The Last Offensive chronicles the operations of all five U.S. armies from early 1945 to V-E Day. Special attention is given to Operation GRENADE and the sweep to the Rhine; the seizure of the Remagen bridge; the multiple crossings of the Rhine; and the employment of airborne troops in Operation VARSITY. The story ends with the drive to the Elbe and juncture with the Soviets and, in the south, with the occupation of Germany's Alpine Redoubt.

Logistical Support of the Armies, 2 volumes, is the keystone rather than the capstone of the subseries. Relating the story of the campaigns and the decisions of higher commanders to the tyranny which logistics exercises on their conduct, it discusses tremendous materiel buildup in the United Kingdom preceding D-day, the logistical aspects of the invasion, and the effect of pursuit warfare on the Allied logistical structure. Volume I ends with the termination of pursuit in mid-September 1944, while Volume II carries the story to V-E Day.

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