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Operation Nordwind 1945: Hitler's last offensive in the West (Campaign, Band 223) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 22. Juni 2010

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"What’s really going to grab the attention of toy soldier collectors, modelers and wargamers’ is the more than 50 mostly black-and-white photos drawn from the author’s personal collection, U.S. Signal Corps files, and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration ... Hobbyists can find lots of inspirations in this highly recommended book about Hitler’s little-known but intriguing last offensive."
- Toy Soldier & Model Figure

"Zaloga does an excellent job of recounting not only how the battle progressed, but why it played out as it did. He spends considerable space analyzing the depleted state of the German Army at the end of 1944, and how political-infighting within the Reich further undermined the capabilities it still had ... This is an excellent and concise study on a little known yet important campaign. Find room for it on your shelf." -Andrew Hind, World at War (April/May 2011)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Steven J. Zaloga received his BA in history from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has worked as an analyst in the aerospace industry for over two decades, covering missile systems and the international arms trade, and has served with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank. He is the author of numerous books on military technology and military history, with an accent on the US Army in World War II as well as Russia and the former Soviet Union. The author lives in Abingdon, Maryland. The author lives in Abingdon, MD.


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In der "Campaign"-Serie des renommierten englischen Militärverlages Osprey beschäftigt sich die Folge 223 mit der letzten Offensive der Wehrmacht im Westen, nämlich dem Angriff der Heeresgruppe G (Generaloberst Blaskowitz) gegen die 7. US Army (General Patch).
Ziel war es, im Zuge der weiter nördlich laufenden Ardennenoffensive den Gegner an größeren Umgruppierungen zu hindern bzw. lokal unter Druck zu setzen. Bei Erfolg sollte die Offensive Stück für Stück vorangetrieben werden.
Der Angriff begann in der Silvesternacht, 30 Minuten vor Mitternacht des 31.Dezember 1944.
Mit wie immer hervorragendem Kartenmaterial, vielen interessanten Fotos und umfangreichen Informationen zu den beteiligten Kommandeuren, eingesetzten Truppen und taktischen Vorgängen, erfährt der Leser alle Details zu diesen harten Kämpfen im bitterkalten und verschneiten Elsass. Besonders bemerkenswert die totale Unterlegenheit der deutschen Streitkräfte in allen Bereichen. Trotzdem mussten die Amerikaner noch harte Schläge hinnehmen. Qualitativ hochwertig, in leicht zu lesendem Englisch, absolute Empfehlung von meiner Seite.
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Format: Taschenbuch
Unternehmen Nordwind wird fälschlicherweise meist als Entlastungsangriff der Ardennenoffensive dargestellt. Mit diesem Buch stellt Zaloga die Eigenständigkeit von Unternehmen Nordwind dar, insbesondere den fehlenden zeitlich-operativen Zusammenhang zu dem Angriff in den Ardennen und die eigenen Operationsziele.
Insgesamt verschafft Zaloga einen guten Überblick. Das Buch ist gut gegliedert, mit hervorragendem Kartenmaterial, anschaulichen Fotos und gut und strukuriert dargestellter militärischer Lageentwicklung. Einziger Wehrmutstropfen sind fehlende Ausführungen über die Gründe der erbitterten Kämpfe um Hatten und Rittershofen, die bei bloßem Blick auf die Lagekarte nicht mit den deutschen Operationszielen - nämlich die Einschließung des VI. US-Korps - in Einklang zu bringen sind.
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HASH(0x9a506c54) von 5 Sternen Germany's last major offensive to stop the Allies from crossing the Rhine in southern Germany 24. Juni 2010
Von Dave Schranck - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
In a way, Operation Nordwind could be considered a sequel to the author's earlier campaign, Operation Dragoon. In that campaign Mr Zaloga covers the landing on the beaches of southern France and the subsequent march north along the Rhone River to the city of Lyon by the 6th Army Group. In this campaign the front line is in the Alsace area, east of Nancy and south to near Belfort. The intention of 6th AG was to fight its way over the Vosgos Mts eastward and cross the Rhine into Germany. It would not be as easy drive for the Germans have planned several counterattacks that were on a scale that surprised the Americans and French. Both Campaigns by Mr Zaloga are excellent and taken collectively will give the reader most of the action that the US 7th Army and French 1st Army experienced in the war on French soil marching to the German border.
Dever's job was made more difficult when Hitler launched the Ardennes Offensive on 12/16. Patton had to send two Corps northward to relieve Bastogne and the 6th AG had to take up the slack.
Operation Nordwind was a deliberate attempt by Hitler to penetrate the Allied line while his major offensive in the Ardennes was in progress, taking the full focus of Allied commanders. He had hope both offensives would be successful, putting the Allies, especially 3rd Army in a difficult position. Hitler was also hoping these attacks would give him some breathing room in order to complete his special weapons program and make the Allies a little more willing to negotiate for terms if that avenue ever arose.

In Strategic Setting, the author describes the overall position, disposition and condition of the Allied armies in late 1944. He describes the persistent fighting in the past month in the Vosges Mts and near Strasbourg which is a direct lead in to Operation Nordwind. In its present position, the 7th Army had linked with Patton's 3rd Army and with the other armies formed an Allied front that extented from near the North Sea to the Swiss border. He also covers the friction between Eisenhower and Montgomery about differences in war strategy - narrow front vs wide front. There will be friction between Eisenhower and DeGualle as well which will peak with Ike's decision to leave the important French city of Strasbourg undefended. The Supreme Commander was still a little cautious after the surprise Ardennes Offensive and he wanted to have Devers pull back to reduce his line exposure but that would mean Strasbourg would be open to attack. The author discusses a hot topic of mine and sheds light on it. It concerns Eisenhower's decision to forbid Devers from crossing the Rhine. Mr Zaloga believes that decision was based on tactical principles and not personal reasons as some have suggested. The first two chapters are excellent and more developed than usual for this battle zone is new to many of us and providing a fuller background would allow readers to understand the campaign better.

The Opposing Commanders chapter is also well covered. The German heavy weights are well represented and includes Rundstedt, Model, Blastowitz, Balck, Obstfelder, Wiese, Hausser and of course Himmler. On the Allied side a profile of Devers, Patch, Haislip, Brooks and Tassigny is provided. Five pages was devoted to this chapter; the career profiles were good, as good as they could be in this small space. There were photos of most of these commanders. The one of General Devers was in color and very complementary.
Opposing Plans are next and five pages are devoted to explaining the preparations and deployments for the busy dual axis attack of Operation Nordwind from the German perspective. The Allies discussed how Patton will relieve Bastogne while Devers supports Patton along his weakened line. This secondary offensive by the Germans did not have the resources of its northern neighbor but the attack was sufficiently strong enough to surprise 6th AG causing the Allies to be pushed back in certain areas.

Opposing forces involves 14 pages and includes coverage of US, French and German forces and includes a brief OB for each. In this chapter the divisions involved in the combat sector is described, giving general strengths. The Americans had an advantage for their infantry was better supported with tanks and tank destroyers than the German side. Also the rugged terrain gave the Germans limited options in using their panzers in their offensive. There is a small table showing which tank Battalion was attached to which ID. The coverage of French forces are not short changed and receive almost four pages. How the French was supplied with the help of the British and mobilized from resistance volunteers from France and French Africa as well from the small free French garrison were explained.
With the coverage of the opening chapters a little more generous than usual, the battle campaign covers only 44 pages, including maps and illustrations. Mr Zaloga still manages to cover all the important engagments well. Operation Nordwind begins the campaign just before midnight, just minutes before the new year begins in the Sarreguemines-Bitche sector. With little progress Blaskowitz shifts his panzer's axis of attack east of Rothbach which generates a stiff battle near Hagenau and the Maginot forts. The advance toward Strasbourg, the Wingen-sur-Moder area, the Hatten-Rittershoffen area, Gambsheim, Herrlisheim and the eventual reduction of Colmar Pocket in late January are the other major areas of coverage.

Included with the narrative are five 2-D maps and three 3-D maps and they were all excellent, making it easier to follow all the action. The 3-D maps had crib notes to explain the battle action. All the maps include troop dispositions and axes of attack. The maps represents the battle areas mentioned above. There were also three color double page illustrations depicting the action at Herrlisheim, the German attack on the Maginot line and an air attack by the new Me-262 jets on Strasbourg. The jets were fast but their bombing accruacy was poor and still had engine problems that still had to be worked out. These illustrations were different than all previous campaigns; they were brighter and more life like. They were awesome.

There are also many excellent photos as well. With Mr Zaloga's fondness for tanks, many of the pictures were of tanks and destroyed tanks strewn among the other rubble.
In aftermath the reader is reminded that by the time Operation Nordwind was only a few days old, the worse of the Ardennes Offensive was over with the Allies starting to regain lost ground. The author points out that Operation Nordwind, just like the Ardennes Offensive turned out badly for the Germans, consuming badly needed supplies and destroying men and panzers that could have used in defending the Rhine River and the rest of Germany. After Operation Nordwind, the 3rd Army and 7th Army would plow through the remnants of the German forces to the end of the war.
There is also a two page chronology that covers key events from August 15, 1944 to Feb 9, 1945. This summary helps to solidify the key events in the reader's mind before tackling the actually campaign; I found it quite helpful.

This is an excellent summary of a little covered battle sector and for anybody who wants to learn about Allied forces as they approach southern Germany and Germany's last attempt to prevent the crossing, this would be an ideal choice. Its highly recommended as is the author's other campaigns of late 1944 / early 1945 covering the Allies drive into Germany from other sectors.

The author provides an impressive "Further Reading List" if additional study of Operation Nordwind is desired or if you wanted to expand your horizons beyond this campaign. One of the books on this list I've recently read and would also recommend it. The book is by Yeide and Stout and its called "First to the Rhine". Its a detailed tactical history of 6th Army Group's struggle to cross the Rhine and it would make a nice supplement to this volume.
15 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9a50f048) von 5 Sternen Puts a spotlight on a virtually unknown phase of the war 22. Juni 2010
Von R. A Forczyk - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Even the most casual readers of military history are usually familiar with the German offensive in the Ardennes in December 1944 that resulted in the iconic Battle of the Bulge, particularly Patton's bold re-direction to save encircled Bastogne. Yet far fewer readers, even among specialists, are familiar with the `other' German winter counteroffensive in the West in the winter of 1944/45 - Operation Nordwind, which took advantage of Patton's departure from Alsace by attacking the over-extended US 7th Army. Even though Audie Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the winter fighting in Alsace and this was the last time that the Wehrmacht actually recovered any liberated territory, most Americans are completely unaware of this campaign, which has fallen into one of those cracks in the floor of history. In Osprey's Campaign No. 223, Operation Nordwind 1945, author Steven Zaloga shines a piercing spotlight upon this neglected campaign and succeeds in delivering another well-written piece of military history. Unlike the Ardennes offensive, the German counteroffensive in Alsace was smaller in scale and occurring in spasms, rather than one big push. Nevertheless, American and French forces faced some serious fighting in repelling the German counteroffensive.

The introductory section in this volume is a bit longer than usual, since the author felt that most readers would be less familiar with the advance of the Franco-American 6th Army Group into Alsace during the fall and winter of 1944 (e.g. most readers will be unaware that this was actually the first Allied formation to reach the Rhine River). The strategic setting section is nine pages and covers the fall 1944 fighting in the Vosges mountains, Hitler's insistence on holding the Colmar Pocket and Eisenhower's unwillingness to attempt a Rhine crossing in this sector. The opposing commanders section, seven pages, details the various German, American and French commanders involved in this campaign. Surprisingly, there was considerable discord among some French commanders, which required the Americans to keep Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division under US command. The opposing plans section, six pages, focuses on Hitler's insistence in mounting a counteroffensive in Alsace against the US 7th Army in order to support the larger Ardennes offensive. Both the French and Germans became obsessed with Strasbourg - Eisenhower was willing to give it up - even though its capture had nothing beyond symbolic value. The section on opposing armies is 14 pages and packs considerable information on the strength, composition and equipment of the US, German and French forces involved.

The campaign narrative itself is 45 pages long and actually consists of five set-piece battles: the initial Nordwind attack north of Strasbourg, the Sonnenwende operation south of Strasbourg, the attritional battles around Hatten-Rittershoffen, the US counterattack against the Gambsheim bridgehead and the reduction of the Colmar Pocket. Although both sides tried to conserve their infantry during these battles, there was considerable tank combat due to the flatter terrain than the Ardennes and the untested US 12th Armored Division suffered particularly heavy losses in urban combat. There were no great military lessons from this campaign, but some old tactical lessons were re-affirmed, such as close armor-infantry cooperation. The author also makes a valuable point about one of Eisenhower's less well-known mistakes in ordering 7th Army to retreat even though it was containing the German offensive; Eisenhower was skittish about under-estimating the Germans after his recent surprise in the Ardennes and was fearful that US units would be cut off. In fact, the US 7th Army was not under heavy pressure but they ended up conducting a small retreat to more defensible lines, affording Hitler his last propaganda coup in the west.

Operation Nordwind has five 2-D maps (6th Army Group Advance to the Rhine, November 14 to December 16, 1944; Operation Nordwind, 31 December 1944 to 20 January 1945; Operation Sonnenwende, 5-12 January 1945; Battles around Hagenau, 6-21 January 1945; Reduction of the Colmar Pocket, 19 January to 9 February 1945) and three 3-D BEV (the 6. SS Gebirgsjager-Division storms Wingen-sur-Moder, 4-8 January 1945; the battles for Hatten-Rittershoffen, 9-20 January 1945; the US 12th Armored Division attack on Herlisheim, 16-19 January 1945). Overall, the maps are excellent and support the text beautifully, but in several of the 2-D maps there are German units that are confusingly depicted in Allied-blue instead of Axis-red. The three battle scenes by Jim Laurier (Me-262 jet fighters from I/KG51 bombing Strasbourg, 13 January 1945; German troops attacking a US-held Maginot Line fort with Hetzer flammpanzers, 9 January 1945; tank graveyard in Herrlisheim, 17 January 1945) are very nice and are noteworthy for having more of a `digital look' rather than the standard painted scenes. The B/W photos, mostly from NARA, are also excellent and highly complement the volume (lots of photos of destroyed tanks in the snow). The author also includes an Order of Battle, which goes down to the regimental level for Americans and French, and a 4-page bibliography.
12 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9a50d5f4) von 5 Sternen Germany's last gasp offensive on the Western front in WW II 20. Oktober 2010
Von Steven Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This is an Osprey book, a short analysis, in this case, of a battle during World War II. Operation Nordwind was the last German offensive on the Western front. After the Battle of the Bulge began, Patton's troops were moved out of line to head toward Bastogne. Consequently, the American and French troops were spread thinly as they tried to cover Patton's vacated line and further south. Heavy fighting ensued as the Germans struck the thin line. This book tells the story of the German attack and the eventual retreat by German armed forces.

The Germans planned to take advantage of this and launched an offensive. A number of problems: many of the units were understrength; the quality of some of the combat units was suspect; the amount of armor available was less than ideal. In short, the German forces didn't measure up as once they had. There was a mini-bulge that the Germans created in their offensive.

Slowly, though, counterattacks by American and French forces pushed the Germans back to the Rhine River. In the end, this last offensive simply did not have the punch it once would have had.

There are maps in this book, but they are not always easy to read. Some place names in the text don't appear on a map. This reduces somewhat the value of those maps. Nonetheless, for the most part, the maps lay out the battlefield nicely. There are also many photos that give some sense of the scene where battle took place.

All in all, a useful brief work on the last offensive gasp by German forces in the West.
HASH(0x9a511234) von 5 Sternen Nordwind -- the fierce fighting south of the "Bulge" needs its place in our historical understanding of the end of World War II 20. April 2016
Von George N. Schmidt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
While Hollywood (rightly) had focused generations of storytelling on the Battle of the Bulge (1944 - 45), a smaller but equally fierce struggle was about to begin south of the "Bulge" on the edge of the Vosges Mountains, at an equally important entrance to the heart of Nazism. The defeat of the Nazis' Operation Nordwind was important to the ability of the Allied armies (in the case of Nordwind, the Americans and French) to move through Southern Germany and across into Austria helping to finish off Nazism and get, almost as a bargain, the suicides of both Hitler and Goebbels. For reasons having more to do with Hollywood's narratives than with the actual vastness of the brutal fighting along the entire "front" facing Nazi Germany, a student of U.S. military history is challeged to learn about the fierce fighting on the fronts that we less subject the the "Battlefield" (late 1940s) or "Band of Brothers" (a half century later) versions of what was important in late 1944 and early 1945. Hollywood gave the British to the north of the front short shrift in its retellings of the stories of the end of World War II, but almost equally short shrift went to those fighting on the south end of that vast "line" -- Eisenhower's front. Perhaps the most obnoxious piece of distortion propaganda is the movie "Patton," which charicatures the commander of the British forces, Mongomery, and completely ignores the Allied armies (commanded by General Jacob Devers) that were fighting equally bloody battles south of Patton's. This book won't solve all the problems with the myths and historiographies we learn from, but to at least recognize the battles against "Nordwind" is a decent piece of dealing with that vast puzzle -- and overcoming the simplistic historiography that a new generation will be facing.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9a50dfc0) von 5 Sternen Largely Unknown Campaign 25. Oktober 2010
Von Jeffrey Swystun - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
When I was ten and began building models of tanks from WW2, I wished I could afford an Osprey book based on the vehicle or the battles it fought. The illustrated publisher's quick histories, full-color artwork plates, maps and photographs are unique and entertaining. They, more often than not, provide a great entry point to a particular piece of history (though sometimes the authors have more passion than expertise).

The book covers an attempt by German forces to capitalize on the disruption caused by the Ardennes offensive. This campaign in the Alsace region was quite bloody and featured some of the more intense tank battles on the Western front. The need for cooperation between US and Free French Forces is well communicated and I gained new respect both for Lieutenant-General Devers and General de Tassigny though it was inevitable that the German forces would be overwhelmed. What made the greatest impression is the poor strategic choices made again by Hitler and the superlative attempts by field commanders to make the most of their limited tactical successes.

This book had an updated layout that made Osprey seem a little more contemporary, however, I do worry about Osprey's format overall. They are pricey publications for their length and they need to rethink their offer in this digital world or may lose relevance.
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