General Jacob Devers: World War II's Forgotten Four Star

By John A. Adams | Go to book overview

NINE
Dragooned

WINSTON CHURCHILL SAID THAT THE AMERICANS DRAGOONED him into the landings in southern France, hence the selection of that code name. Jacob Devers certainly had not been. British Field Marshal Henry “Jumbo” Wilson had set things up with the notion that Devers would command the invasion of southern France in August 1944. On 1 July, Wilson cabled George Marshall, “We will need AG [army group] and I want Devers to be commander.” Marshall floated the idea of Devers’s becoming the third ETO army group commander among the players – Bernard Montgomery commanded the 21st Army Group in the north; Omar Bradley led the 12th Army Group in the center. Dwight Eisenhower, however, was unpleasantly surprised when he learned that Marshall was considering Devers.1 According to historian Forrest Pogue, Eisenhower recognized that Marshall wanted Devers. He had heard from General Carl Spaatz, commander of American strategic air forces in Europe, that Marshall was intent on placing Devers at the head of the 6th Army Group.2

More than likely, Eisenhower saw the appointment as necessary to get Dragoon aboard for a landing that was scheduled in less a month. In response to Marshall’s suggestion of Devers, Eisenhower responded that previously he had had reservations about Devers “based completely on impressions … [which] never had any basis in positive information.”3 But, he continued, “I understand that Devers has been on the battle front a lot and that he has demonstrated a happy faculty of inspiring troops. That is enough for me. I would accept the decision cheerfully and willingly.”4 Given the tone of these statements, Marshall might reasonably

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General Jacob Devers: World War II's Forgotten Four Star
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue 3
  • One - Early Years 5
  • Two - The Interwar Years 21
  • Three - Marshall Recognizes Devers 35
  • Four - Chief of Armored Force 52
  • Five - The Debate over Doctrine 72
  • Six - Commander, Eto 94
  • Seven - Deputy Supreme Commander, Mto 118
  • Eight - The French and a Southern Front 140
  • Nine - Dragooned 157
  • Ten - Up the Rhône Valley 176
  • Eleven - An End to Champagne 193
  • Twelve - Into the Cold Vosges 216
  • Thirteen - Cross the Rhine? 233
  • Fourteen - Throw Down at Vittel and Its Aftermath 261
  • Fifteen - Nordwind Strikes Devers 290
  • Sixteen - The Colmar Pocket Finally Collapses 315
  • Seventeen - Undertone to Austria 334
  • Eighteen - Postwar 372
  • Epilogue 390
  • Notes 395
  • Bibliography 419
  • Index 425
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