The Lorraine Campaign
The Lorraine Campaign
In 1946 the Historical Division of the War Department made plans for the preparation of a nine-volume series recounting the history of the European Theater of Operations. There was no precedent in the experience of the United States Army for an official narrative account of military operations on the grand scale. Careful study of the official histories produced by the European combatants after World War I showed that these histories could offer little in the way of a pattern for recording the European campaigns of 1944 and 1945. The drastic change from the trench warfare of 1914-18 to the mobile operations of 1944-45 had complicated the task of the military historian. In World War I, a tactical situation represented by three divisions rising from the trenches in simultaneous attack on a narrow front permitted a reasonable unity in treatment and allowed the historian to write at the level of the army corps. Thirty years later, that same frontage might be held by a single reinforced regiment. The fluid condition of the combat zone in World War II and the wide dispersion of troops over the battle area resulting from the impact of the tank, the plane, the machine gun, the truck, and the radio telephone inevitably induced a degree of fragmentization and an unavoidable lack of sequence in the narrative of events on the battlefields of 1944 and 1945. It was decided, therefore, that the common denominator in the present series would be the division, since the division represents the basic tactical and administrative unit of the combined arms. Although emphasis is placed on the division, organization by chapters generally will follow the story of the army corps as a means of achieving narrative and tactical unity.
The limits of the individual volumes in this series have been set according to well-defined phases of the operations in the ETO. But it has been impossible in most individual volumes to cover the entire Western Front and include all phases of the action. As a result the individual volume will deal with one or more armies in a given area at a given time and will not necessarily present the complete story of American ground operations during that phase of the war in Western Europe. The importance of logistics in the history of the . . .