Following the Allied breakout from the Normandy beachhead in July 1944, the vaunted German Army seemed on the verge of collapse. As British and US forces fanned out across north-western France, enemy resistance unexpectedly dissolved into a headlong retreat to the German and Belgian borders. In early September an elated Allied High Command had every expectation of continuing their momentum to cripple the enemy's war-making capability, by capturing the Ruhr industrial complex and plunging into the heart of Germany. However, German commanders such as the "lion of defence," Walter Model, continued to reorganise depleted units and mount an increasingly potent defence. Although the German Replacement Army funnelled considerable numbers to the front, they all too often strained an overburdened supply system and did not greatly enhance existing combat formations. More important was that the panzer divisions, once thought irretrievably destroyed, were resupplied and reinvigorated. When the Allied offensive resumed it ran into a veritable brick wall-gains measured in yards, not miles, if any were made at all.Drawing on primary Wehrmacht and US sources, including battle analysis and daily situation and after-action reports, respected military author and artist David Higgins provides insight into the desperate German efforts to keep a conquering enemy at the borders of their homeland. Tactical maps down to battalion level help clarify the very fluid nature of the combat. Combined, they serve to explain not just how, but why decisions were made and events unfolded, and how reality often differed from doctrine in one of the longest US campaigns of World War II.

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