am 16. Juni 2013
Those who have began The Liberation Trilogy at Dawn and remained faithful during the Day have now reached the end with “The Guns At Last Light” and what a journey it has been. We have seen the American Army’s uncertain first attacks against the Axis and watched as it matured in the fire of battle to become the unstoppable force that rolled across Europe in this last volume.
This final volume begins with The D-Day invasion of Normandy. It highlights the successes and failures of that night and day and the stalemate and breakout that followed. Controversies about Operation Market Garden and the Falaise and Colmar Pockets are reported in detail. The Allied Intelligence failures that permitted the Ardennes Offensive to advance as far as it did are objectively examined. The counter offensive that cut off the spearhead and started the advance across the Rhine over the Ludendorff Bridge at Ramegen and continued until the Americans met the Soviets at various locations. The horror of the liberated concentration camps is adequately portrayed. It concludes with the final surrender, destruction of the Nazi state and the advent of peace.
The times covered in this volume were days of trial and contention within the Allied ranks. Montgomery reached a high point as an irritant to Eisenhower and other Americans as blame for the post landing stalemate was apportioned, plans for the advance into Germany were debated and the response to the Battle of the Bulge was formulated.
One thing I really liked about this book, and the Trilogy, is the way Author Rick Atkinson so skillfully blends strategy at the highest levels with the experiences of the common soldier. This book aids the reader in understanding why Hitler chose a last ditch attack against the West rather than a stronger defense in the East. It takes us into the supreme conferences and the minds of the commanders while it acquaints us with the lives of the soldiers who fought the battles and commemorates some who made the supreme sacrifice. There are many books about World War II. Some are classics around which an understanding of the War is built. With “The Guns At Last Light” Rick Atkinson has ensured that the Liberation Trilogy will rank among the classics.